Facing Death In Sobriety

accacb19e8617fcb577a52ddd18377ccIt’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted here on Ask Recovery Rob. I’m not going to apologize, as we all go through changes and challenges in life. The last few years have been the most challenging in my 25 years (August 23) of sobriety. In fact, this past year has been the most.

A few years ago, I left the blogging world and working for a detox and rehab. I snatched up a marketing position with a start-up company that offered me good money, good exposure, and quite frankly this new position seemed to pull nearly every job experience I’ve had in to one position. I had to pinch myself, as it just seemed to good to be true. I won’t go into the specifics, but let’s just say that I should have taken more time, listened less to the promises, and paid more to the actions. As they say, the world is filled with good intentions. Or, we judge ourselves by our intentions while others judge us by actions.

I nearly went broke. They didn’t pay me the money they owed me, but that’s also on me. I stayed on way longer than I should have, but I finally had enough and found another paying job in October of 2016. It’s a crazy busy job that challenges/frustrates/rewards me nearly daily. Is it the end all? No, but it pays well, and I can start clearing up the wreckage.

As some may know, I have an ex. We split way back in 1995. We were both active alcoholics/addicts and got sober at the same time…before the split. We were lucky and maintained a friendship through the many trials and tribulations. In May of 2009, my ex picked up. I was living in San Diego at the time, which is many miles away from Boston. I tried over the many years to stay in touch, but when he disconnected his phone, his email, his work, and even all his friends, I knew there was one of four ways it would turn out:

  1. He’d call me asking for help.
  2. He’d call me saying he was sober.
  3. He’d land in jail
  4. He’d be dead.

Through the years, I made many calls, and I honestly can’t say a month went by that I didn’t go looking for him in some way. In Feb 2017, I received the call. It was the one I didn’t want. He’d died a couple weeks prior.

I was devastated. I could barely move.

I went to an AA Meeting. I cried. I was the most vulnerable I’d ever been.

I didn’t drink. I didn’t use. I didn’t break, although it felt like I was breaking each day.

I questioned my sobriety somewhat though. I question why I was there. I questioned the reasons I stayed sober. I questioned out loud.

My AA family was there for me. They nodded, offered condolences, hugs, and support. Some even understood when I said, “A part of me got sober for him. A part of me stayed sober to be that role model for him. A part of me got sober so that he would have a person to come back to. And now, those can no longer be motivators or me.”

Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m an alcoholic. That was never in question. It’s just that a part of me was doing this with him, for him. I do hope I am explaining that clearly.

It still remains tough. I have good days and bad days, and I still can’t speak about him without emotion and fighting back the tears. I know it will get better.

And that’s what keeps me going back to meetings….at least today.


Addiction Advice | Using Your Sober Tools

There are no promises of happiness in sobriety.

What we are offered in Alcoholics Anonymous are the tools to make ourselves happy, and these tools are manual. You’ll need to sort of work as an apprentice and be guided along by someone who has much more experience. In AA that’s called the Sponsor/Sponsee relationship. Just remember that you have to want sobriety and you have to want happiness.

Earlier I wrote a post about coping with depression in anxiety. This is a perfect example of how to use the tools. Here’s a snippet to get you started.

Coping with Depression


And here is where you can find the full post!


Recovery Rob

Addiction Advice | Learning How to Enjoy Good News

RecoveryRob3Even after 21 years of sobriety (August 23, 1992) I continue to struggle when good news comes my way. For those in the know, I’ve been offering addiction advice since before I got clean and sober. I worked in an alcohol and drug detox and rehab in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1990-91, and have been doing similar work since then (Drug and Violence Prevention for the Governor’s Alliance Against Drugs), but online for about 5 years with Pat Moore Foundation in 2008, and here at Ask Recovery Rob in late 2011. Continue reading

Jagged Little Edges Book Review

Jagged Little EdgesIn June of this year I was contacted to write a review for Jagged Little Edges, a fictional novel about a young woman’s struggles with addiction. Typically, I wouldn’t have reviewed the novel for my Ask Recovery Rob website because I try to stay within the non-fiction realm when writing a review for my addiction advice website. However, I like fiction and the author, Lorelie Rozzano, offered a free, soft-cover book. I couldn’t resist. By the way, I receive a number of offers a year but most of them are for e-book or simply a manuscript. I decline these at this point because a) I don’t have an e-reader, b) I don’t want a pile of papers on my desk, and c) I also don’t care to use my computer in bed at night to read at all. Continue reading

People in Recovery Get People in Recovery

Truth“My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations.”

This is such a powerful statement, which is found in the Big Book, Acceptance is the Answer. It depends on which edition of the Big Book you have to find the page, so give a look at the chapter and you tell ME what page is it on, okay?

My sober life is amazing. Well, at least I feel that way today. Tomorrow might be a tough day, but today will be a good one because I want it to be. I have the opportunity to share my story, share my crazy thoughts, share my struggles, and most importantly share my solutions. Continue reading

The Tornado Inside All of Us

TornadoI still hit about 3-4 meetings a week. I’d say the average is two a week because there are times when this just doesn’t happen though. There are some life events that come about and I simply choose them over a meeting. But, make no mistake…I will not go more than a week without at least ONE meeting. If it happens, as I am not perfect, I feel my life begin to gust. I know where my life is headed so I get to a meeting. (That’s the addiction advice I offer today!) Continue reading

Book Review | Dig Deep In One Place

Last week I received a wonderful email regarding the book “Dig Deep in One Place: A Couple’s Journey to a Spiritual Life.” It’s a book written by Bill and Sandy Fifield who have both overcome addiction and are now passionate writers, speakers and artists. Bill and Sandy write wonderful, honest and encouraging articles on the struggles of overcoming addiction and healing the mind and body and would love to share their latest article with my readers. 

So, here goes!  Continue reading

Drug Addiction Advice | Holding On To Hope After Drug Detox

RecoveryRob3Holding on to hope during an opioid drug detox recovery can be a struggle. Most of us have tried to stop cold-turkey but the withdrawal pains were so difficult we reverted back to the opioids just to find some physical relief. It’s understandable, but the good news, if you’d like some drug addiction advice, is that the physical aspects of opioid dependency improve after a supervised medical detox. The ‘struggle’ then becomes more about PAWS, post-acute withdrawal syndrome, which psychological addiction, cravings, and temptations that can last for years, and in some cases PAWS can last a lifetime. Continue reading

Complacency and Slips

as_bill_sees_itMy favorite meeting of the week is Tuesday – Tuesdays mornings to be exact. The meeting surrounds the gem of a book, “As Bill Sees It.” What I like best about this book and the meeting is that it’s a bit of a forced topic. I often like that. I tend to ramble, so direction is still necessary. Anyhow, the meeting was about page 99 in “As Bill Sees It” and the page is entitled

“The “Slipper” Needs Understanding.” Continue reading