Wimps

Picture1.pngstep9 (2)               SOBRIETY IS NOT FOR WIMPS

The initial act of embracing a lifestyle which denies the greatest crutch available to mankind – substance abuse – is in itself heroic and worthy of Congressional medals.  OK, so the fact that the majority of people don’t use alcohol and drugs as crutches is irrelevant.  We’re talking about you and me – addicts who have been hooked on alcohol or heroin – not normal social users.  We’re talking about men and women who could not survive a day without a fix.  Denying our bodies and minds that which enabled survival in another day of addictive behavior was not a wimpy thing to do.  It took courage.

But, day one of recovery was just the tip of an iceberg.  Days two, three and four brought to our broken minds and bodies a realization of  the gravity of our disease.  Many of us could not conceive of a lifetime void of our crutches.  We slipped, relapsed, gave up – WIMPED OUT.

That is said with the greatest love and compassion for those who still suffer.  Recovery, in my mind, is not based on merit or worthiness.  It is indeed a gift of grace, but it is also a journey into the most difficult undertaking any of us will ever attempt.  Throwing away that crutch can be the most terrorizing endeavor any of us will face.  When one of us has a relapse, all of us shake in our boots because we know that “there but for the grace of God go I.”

But a life facing enemy number one everyday does not need to be a life of daily terror.  We have garnered the necessary tools to fight addiction.  We have the armor available to end each 24 hour period successfully and joyfully sober.  We have a Higher Power who wants us to be warriors.

During those initial days of sober living a friend of Bill’s told me, “Y’all just stay sober today even if your arse falls off.  And if it does, drag it to a meeting.”

It’s a simple concept, this sobriety thing, but it can be terrifying.  Don’t wimp out.  A sober life can be one helluva ride.

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GABBY COOKS – rotini & sirloin

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

I’m not trying to convince anybody that I’m a gourmet cook or even a good cook.  But, I love made-from-scratch meals with minimal ingredients that take less than 1/2 an hour cooking time and, most importantly, don’t break the bank.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

ROTINI & SIRLOIN  is a man-sized meal on a shoe-string budget.  Serve it with a nice green salad and a side of cooked fresh carrots.  Carrots are one of the least expensive vegetables in my grocery store and soooo healthy.

These are the ingredients

 

1/2 pound ground SIRLOIN

(2) cups ROTINI (uncooked)

(6) cups WATER salted like the sea

(4) tbsp BUTTER

(2) tbsp FLOUR

up to 2 cups MILK

(2) cloves crushed GARLIC

(1) cup shredded cheese – a mix of PARMESAN & SHARP CHEDDAR

(1) small can MUSHROOMS

(1) tsp dried OREGANO

(1) tbsp dried PARSLEY

SALT & PEPPER to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot bring the salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook according to package directions.

In a large skillet brown the ground sirloin trying not to break it up too much.  Keep it chunky.  Cook until no longer pink.

Drain the meat, add the butter and over a low heat melt the butter.

Add the garlic.

Add the mushrooms and cook in the butter for a few minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the mixture in the pan and stir to cover all the ingredients.

Cook the flour till it is golden, stirring continually.

Turn up the heat to a medium low and add a cup of the milk stirring continually.

When the sauce begins to thicken add more milk to bring it to a creamy, smooth consistency.

Add the parsley and oregano.

Finally, add the cheese and stir until blended and smooth.

Ladle with a slotted spoon the pasta into the pan with the sirloin sauce and stir to cover the rotini completely.

Add some of the reserved pasta water, a spoonful at a time, if the pasta is too thick.

 

 

 

Step 3 revisited

Clean and serene in a crazy world

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“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS step 3, pg 59 in How it Works.

When was the last time you read those words or listened to them recited at a meeting of other recovering alcoholics?  Do we understand fully the significance of this life-saving concept which gave us the credentials to be a part of God’s family even after years of separation and denial ?

At my 1st AA meeting I was scared, I was sick, I was morally and spiritually bankrupt.  I knew I was going to die either by a black-out car wreck or by suicide.  My personal life was a disaster and my job was in jeopardy.  Most of my friends abandoned me, a few stood by me, but all knew that Larry was a sick puppy.  All except Larry.

You see, Larry had learned to play the game.  I’m talking about that mind game we alcoholics master at some point in our drinking careers.  I had my list of scapegoats lined up to cover every conceivable mishap in my life.  I conned, connived, and lied my way through the car wrecks, the lost jobs, the broken relationships, the days of alcohol-induced sickness.  In the end days of my drinking I truly believed my own cons.  Finally, reaching out to mental health services at the hospital in desperation, the psychologist assigned to me listened to my con for one minute before asking, “How much do you drink?”

My surrender was immediate because I was sick of being sick.  I replied, “A few beers once in a while,” but I knew then in the psychologist’s office that the only person I had been conning all this time was me.

“My name is Larry, and I’m an alcoholic,” I announced at my 1st AA meeting.

There, I had done it.  For the first time in many years I got honest with myself.  And then I listened.  I tried to convince myself that I was not as bad as they were.  But, I found myself relating to what they were saying and agreeing, “Yeah, I did that, too.  That’s me.”

Someone talked about God and I freaked.  “You don’t really believe that stuff, do you? There is no God.  Intelligent people don’t need God.  I sure as hell don’t need God.”

A fellow at the end of the table quietly responded, “And look where that got you.  You’re sitting in a room at a table with a bunch of drunks.”

Again, that moment of surrender.  “OK, OK, you’re right.  Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was.  I’ll listen to your stories about God.”

And so it began, my journey in sobriety.  The God of my understanding was nothing like the God of my childhood which had burdened me with guilt and shame for 34 years of my life.  It was a unique feeling, a devotion which I had never before experienced, this God of my understanding.  What an amazing concept!

Today I celebrate that I am no longer excluded from a worshipful relationship with a higher power just because I don’t profess the ‘right’ God according to other people.  I no longer feel unworthy just because I’m a broken man trying to be a better man.  I no longer feel condemned to hell just because I’m not convinced by their idea of heaven.

Are you in love with sobriety?  I am.  Do you remember your first meeting?  I do. Amazing, isn’t it, that we should be loved so much by a God of our understanding?

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will, not mine, be done.”

 

 

GABBY COOKS – mac & cheese

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

What’s more comforting than home-made macaroni and cheese?  And even better is this stove-top recipe which eliminates a baking dish and a 45 minute wait while it bakes in the oven.  This dish is table ready in 12 minutes.

These are the ingredients

 

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(2) cups dry elbow macaroni
(4) quarts water salted like the sea and brought to a rapid boil
(4) tbsp. unsalted butter
(2) tbsp. flour
up to 3 cups milk
(2) cups sharp cheddar cheese shreds
salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS
In a large pot bring the 4 quarts salted water to a boil
Cook the macaroni as directed on the package
In a saucepan melt the butter over a low heat
Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir for several minutes
When it turns golden, add about 1 cup milk and stir again
Stir until the sauce turns creamy and increase the heat to a medium low
Add more milk until it is creamy and smooth
Add the cheese and stir again until it is thoroughly blended
Salt and pepper as desired
When macaroni is done ladle it out into the cheese sauce with a slotted spoon
Blend until the pasta is evenly coated.
If the macaroni and cheese is too thick and gooey add a spoonful at a time of the pasta water until it is deliciously creamy and smooth

GABBY COOKS – baked pork chops

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

These are the ingredients

 

(2) 1″ thick pork loin chops
(1) tsp prepared mustard – Dijon if you have it
(1) tsp soy sauce
(1) tbsp mayonnaise
(1/2) cup sharp cheddar cheese shreds
salt & pepper
(1) tbsp fresh rosemary chopped or 1 tsp dried
(1) tbsp fresh oregano chopped or 1 tsp dried
(2) small red potatoes unpeeled sliced very thin and coated with 1 tbsp olive oil – optional
DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F
Tenderize the meat with a meat mallet.
Place the pork chops on an ungreased cookie sheet or shallow baking dish
Mix the mustard, soy sauce, and mayonnaise in a small bowl
Brush the mixture over the pork chops
Divide the 1/2 cup cheese over the tops of the pork chops
Sprinkle with salt & pepper
Top with the oregano and rosemary
OPTIONAL POTATOES – layer the potatoes over and around the chops and then top with the oregano and rosemary
Bake on middle rack for about 45 – 50 minutes

 

dead or insane

Clean and serene in a crazy world

UNSHACKLED 2

Okay, so the chains of addiction have been broken and life as a sober man is beyond any high ever experienced.  Gone are the hangovers, the headaches, the retching, the lies, the fears, the pain, the loneliness, the self-loathing, the searching, the desperation.  Gone are the thoughts of suicide, the fits of anger, the desire to hurt another person.  All that is in the past – or is it?

Just because I am not drinking or drugging does not mean I am normal and healthy.  My demons continue to reside in that space within waiting an opportunity to emerge and control just as before.  Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful.  My disease wants to see me dead or insane.  Have I accepted that?  Or do I entertain the thought that maybe after years of sobriety I could possibly drink again – only this time as a social drinker?

Several of my dear friends thought so.  They went out to do more field research.  A few returned to the fellowship to tell me about it, but some did not.  Some died in accidents, some died from cirrhosis or other alcohol-related health issues, some overdosed, some committed suicide.  I am not willing to take that risk to learn if I  have become a social drinker.  Why would I?  Life is too good and there is too much work to be done in my remaining years.

It’s all about commitment.  My commitment to sobriety and my Higher Power is infinitely stronger today than my innate tendency to be addicted.  I refuse to believe that I am cured.  That brokenness which led me through 17 years of alcoholic insanity is continuing to be healed, but I am not yet cured.  That cure will take place on the day I take my last breath in this life.  Then I can claim freedom and perfection.

“No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.  We are not saints.  The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.  We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”  pg 60 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS

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