A Semi-Serious Discussion of New Year’s Resolutions

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So, did you make any?

Tis the season to make massive, life-changing pronouncements about the as yet unmarred calendar stretched out before us.

This year, I’m going to be good.

I’ve read a bunch of articles and blog posts mocking or dismissing New Year’s resolutions.  I get it.  Imagining we’re suddenly going to be different and fix all the things we dislike about ourselves because the page flipped from December to January is a bit of wishful thinking.  My friend Dan, who guest-wrote my last blog post, said this in a recent Facebook post:

“January 1st, 2016 has been an awesome day. I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions, in part because my first AA sponsor drilled in my head ‘one day at a time is all your little mind can handle Koenigs.’ Today was a great day, going to make tomorrow a great day when I wake up.”

I really like this approach, and everyone in recovery understands the wisdom implied.  Making big plans for the rest of the year–or the rest of my life–is often a super way to implement absolutely no change whatsoever.  Any of us who sin and repent have said, at least once, “I will never do that again!”  Uh-huh.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Just swear off that pesky sin and be done with it?  The only “never” I can accurately report from my experience is that this never works for me.  Taking life on a day at a time, seeking to make changes a day, an hour, a minute at a time, turns out to be as much as we can handle.

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  –Jesus

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Fighting for Hope: Recovering from Addiction

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First, thanks for reading and for all the encouragement in response to my last few posts.  I often experience some inner backlash when I try to be that honest; hearing that it’s helping people makes the difference between keeping it up and gnawing on my spleen.

Part One addressed cynicism, Part Two depression, and Part Three overcoming our fears and naive faith to find hope in life’s depths.  Now we’re addressing addiction.

I’ve asked my friend, Dan Koenigs, to write this post.  Dan was two years ahead of me in high school.  We were casual friends then, each pretty messed up in our own ways.  Now we’re true friends, because we have the same hope in common.

Dan is changing the world.  This is how it happens, one day and one decision at a time.  Dan’s been sober for 24 years and works as a counselor for people with substance abuse issues.

If you think you are beyond hope, or doubt you can change the world, or have given up on ever recovering from your addiction, read Dan’s story.  Dan is a very good reason for hope.

onedayatatime


 

 Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker; beer a carouser…Those it leads astray won’t become wise.”

I have yet to meet an alcoholic who chose to be one.  This blog is not meant to be a discussion on the validity of the Disease Concept or a discussion on willpower.  Here is what I know: alcohol affected me at an early age in ways that I still have a hard time understanding.  Maybe it was my dysfunctional childhood, maybe it was the acceptance of underage drinking by my family, maybe it was a result of being sexually abused by a Catholic Priest at the age of 12, or perhaps it was indeed a genetic thing.

Here is what is important: I had my first real drink at the age of 12 or 13 and I learned early that I could drink and I forgot, forgot everything.  I would drink to forget the pain of being alone, the pain of being sexually abused, the pain of feeling like I was not accepted by others or the pain of not knowing who I was.

Relief drinking is what I was doing and like all addictions, the relief does not last long and then I would drink more.  I became good at hiding it or at least I think I hid it because no one seemed to notice that I was drinking on a regular basis.  At the age of 16 I was drinking more days than not. Continue reading