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Old 06-14-2008, 04:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Balance in life...

Hello all-

I have a question about achieving balance between recovery and the rest of my life.

To make a long story short, after 20 yrs. of drinking (getting progressively worse the last few years) and five stints in rehab/day treatment/IOP over the last four months, I (thank God) think that I have finally received the blessing of the desire to quit and get sober once and for all.

I have been on sick leave due to the rehabs. Since I finally got into going to meetings it was easy to find one every day to attend. I went back to work three days ago. The problem is, what I was afraid was going to happen HAS happened.

My work schedule is extremely hectic. Up at 3:30am, to work by 5:00am, leave work at 5:30pm, get back home by 6:30/7:00pm, hit an 8:00pm meeting, get home by 9:30pm, in bed by 10:00pm or so.

This may not be a big deal for others, but getting only 5-6 hours of sleep a night with little to no family time is difficult for me to do.

My original goal was to go to meetings every day. 90 in 90. I am seeing where this is going to potentially get a little screwy.

I also work on Saturdays most of the time.

I am concerned about the amount of time I am going to be spending away from the family. I know that my recovery is of utmost importance, but I also have to put time into recovery of my marriage and family. I just about lost them this last time. The only reason I haven't is through the extreme patience and love of my wife. Call her co-dependent maybe (probably), but she just didn't get to the point of totally throwing in the towel. She got close though due to my drinking and pushing her and the family away.

They are not living at home right now, and I guess after everything I can't expect them to just jump right back in and come home so soon with all of the reservations that everyone has. That's understandable. I just feel that I need to be available to spend good quality time with them. The weekends is the only time I can do it.

I guess the big question is this - as a relative newcomer to AA, would it suffice to go to four or five meetings a week instead of every day? I am not saying this because I do not want to go, just because I feel I owe my family some time; I owe them the time I stole from them due to my disease.

If I knuckle down, get a sponsor, and work an honest program, I feel that I could take the weekends off.

Is this a bad idea?
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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if I knew anything about "balance" My life wouldn't be unmanageable.

There is no recovery and the rest of my life. It is about the whole of my life. Everyday I ask myself "What have I put into the stream of life?" I hear some quote that is being in the "main stream of life," like there is a mainstream and a minor stream of life, like my recovery is over here like a dirty little secret and my job, career, etc. are over here in the mainstream.

If God is in center of my life, everything will be as it should be and I will be balanced and God will show in my life through a demonstration of principle. Have a good day.
Jim
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know those hours well
I have been there and go there today also
Remember H.A.L.T.
hungary
angry
lonely
tired

After 20 years of drinking and not taking care of yourself,maybe you should consider trying to get meals at regular times,and sleep at regular times.Get some "physical order" back into your life.Get to feeling better physically is a good idea.
In the early days of AA newcomers was taught HALT as one of the first things.If you do not feel good physically,it will affect the rest of your body,meaning your mental state.If I am too tired,I won`t work on the program,or go to meetings,I`ll get drunk eventually because I won`t feel like doing anything.I drank for the effect,so my alcoholic mind took me back to the things that brought relief.

I made 65 meetings my first 90 days.I was also working on the steps in the Big Book.I stayed home several days a week,during the week, and started being a sober member of the family.

Another consideration is getting a sponsor and getting into the solution,the steps in the book.It`s the steps I take,not the meetings I make that determines if I get sober and stay sober.Meetings are a part of the equation for me too,but I need not neglect the steps.

if you want to stay sober bad enough,and get a sponsor and get busy in the book,4 or 5 meetings a week will do fine in my experience
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Everyone is different. Some people need a lot of structure and a lot of meetings, others do not.

My experience suggests going to as many meetings as possible and not pre-deciding which ones to attend.

Hopefully you will discover how many meetings makes you feel the best.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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....Welcome back to SR!

For me...the Steps were the key to solid recovery.
Soooo...I strongly suggest a weekly Step meeting.

You will be able to work out a balance
as long as you remain sober.

Blessings to you and your family
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The only problem with cutting meetings is not knowing how many can be cut before drinking is appealing once again. It doesn't happen right away, it just creeps in one day at some time unbeknownst to you. My opinion, the weekend meetings would be most important; that's the time I have the most free time.

I've been sober for many years and I do appreciate trying to balance work, family and meetings. I had cut a meeting or two too many over the past year and nearly drank. My excuses, family, work. Without being sober neither of those are going to matter when I'm drunk.

Getting a sponsor, working the steps, reading the Big Book, 12&12, going to meetings, getting good AA contacts that you can talk with (and feel comfortable talking with). Those are the keys. At this point, if you decide to drop a meeting (I'd recommend only trying 1 a month at most!!), make up for it by checking in with your sponsor or another guy in AA. Making sure you have daily contact with AA is important, especially in early sobriety.

Good luck, blessings.
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I was told early on in my recovery, "only go to a meeting when you don't want to." I have followed this advice for a few years now, and while there is, in my opinion, NO substitute for taking the steps as quickly as you can and getting a sponsor to show you the way, the frequency of meetings is a function of how comfortable you are with your God and your own sobriety. I know people who attend meetings everyday, and then have a drink to celebrate their consistency of attendance!

Balance is all to me. I came to AA to start living my life again. I have always looked around me in a meeting and found those who have what I want, and then stop them after a meeting and ask them what they are doing. After listening to them I try and follow the advice of the book, "if you want what we have, then you have to do what we did."

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS, INCLUDING MODERATION!

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Old 06-14-2008, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome back to SR!
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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glad to hear you are so seriously looking at these quesitons. For me, when I returned to AA after 8 years of treatment and a stay at a treatment center, I was asked if I could commit to 3 meetings a week. I have 3 committed meetings (I only miss if something really important comes up). I usually end up attending 5 meetings. I spend alot of time with aa friends, go to a woman's coffee & bb study group and several religous based activities. However, ONLY the 3 meetings and one spiritual activity do I have commitment to. On all others, if I need to clean house, go visit my family, spend time with my son...or even have a good tv show on....are optional.

It's worked well for me. Many people have gotten sober in AA when only 1 meeting a week...or even no meetings were available.

thanks for posting.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jfanagle View Post
I was told early on in my recovery, "only go to a meeting when you don't want to." I have followed this advice for a few years now, and while there is, in my opinion, NO substitute for taking the steps as quickly as you can and getting a sponsor to show you the way, the frequency of meetings is a function of how comfortable you are with your God and your own sobriety. I know people who attend meetings everyday, and then have a drink to celebrate their consistency of attendance!

Balance is all to me. I came to AA to start living my life again.
I am getting close to 6 months of sobriety. I was so fortunate that the first person I spoke to face to face after making that phone call ended up being my sponsor We started working on the steps immediately. I had a sponsor & was into the step work before I went to my first meeting!

With respect to meetings, I am still trying to find the right balance. I have a career with irregular hours that takes me out of town quite often. I have a wife & small children - chores, evening activities for the kids that I can't expect my wife to handle on her own.

Initially, I went to 2 meetings a week but I am now trying to get to more. For me, it is not a good idea to go to meetings when I am exhausted - I don't get much out of them. My rule of thumb is that if I choose not to go to a meeting, I better have a darn good reason (my wife & my sponsor both have "permission" to kick my ass if I am just being lazy).

At my meeting last night, I commented that I honestly feel the best I have ever felt in my life. The promises of the BB are starting to come true. Meetings help me focus, gain perspective, learn, help others. But I have no doubt that it is the steps (working through them & trying to live them) & the guidance and direction of my sponsor that got me to this point. I used to be concerned that I worked through the steps too fast but I had to do it to "save me from myself" - my ego would have taken over & I would have started doing things on my own again. I can't say that I did the steps "perfectly" - just the best I could at the time. And I find that the further I get into the program, the more I learn and I can always revisit the previous steps with a better understanding.

Another rule of thumb I have is to always err on the side of caution. I would much sooner do too much for my sobriety than too little - it's just so important.

Don
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jjaaam View Post

I have a question about achieving balance between recovery and the rest of my life.
..... I feel that I could take the weekends off.

Is this a bad idea?
Hi there jjaaam and welcome back!

for me, its always a sketchy plan whenever I start planning how to run my life and try to keep "it" separate from my recovery. real sketchy.

just my experience, of course, but for me, recovery from this ongoing, progressing, fatal condition if untreated, IS my only life.

it therefore must be first and foremost, or else, I will eventually lose those other aspects of my life, those things that give meaning to my life like:

friends, family relations, a partner, productivity and work, feeling a part in my community, and the ability to be of service to humanity.

keeping life and recovery in separate mental compartments is a mistake for me. I tried it. didn't satisfy, and I went back to the old destructive, hopeless ways in short order.

Hope my experience can help someone else.

keep on sharing with us!
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Last edited by miss communicat; 06-14-2008 at 11:08 AM. Reason: imperfections, of course
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Old 06-14-2008, 11:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I will say Welcome Back.

I will also say that since we really don't know you, and haven't done any face to face with you I must ask..........................

What does your Sponsor say?

Oh, don't have a Sponsor yet? Then get one. This is the person who will not only guide you through the steps, but will guide you through your early recovery life.

Very important, please get a sponsor and talk this over with said sponsor.

J M H O

Welcome to LIVING SOBER, it's one h*ll of a ride!!!!!

Love and hugs,
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Up at 3:30am, to work by 5:00am, leave work at 5:30pm, get back home by 6:30/7:00pm, hit an 8:00pm meeting, get home by 9:30pm, in bed by 10:00pm or so.
the problem aint just trying to fit a meeting into the day. there is also a problem fitting anything into your day. you only have 3 hours a day that are not related to working.

those three hours are very important. if you are home and want family time, it will be important to make sure that you are with your family when you are home. if you go to a meeting on another day then maybe, go early and meet people before the meeting, then participate in the meeting, and try to make some contact after the meeting. this is the experience of the meeting before the meeting and the meeting after the meeting. it can be a more rewarding way to have a meeting. but that may not work.

it is not a good thing to spend those 3 hours every day at AA, or reading AA or self help material, or listening to tapes...when you have a familyi that you want to learn be with and grow with and change with and love and serve.

take it one day at a time. don't be offended or think your doing something wrong when people keep telling you to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. do what works for you. if you stay clean then things are working. and you got to keep working. keep changing. ONE DAY AT A TIME.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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There is no recovery and the rest of my life; It is about the whole of my life.
Welcome back to SR, jjaaam. When my eyes open in the morning of each new day, I am again experiencing the gift of continued life made possible by a loving God, not by my will, nor by my power.. This new life is not the old life and in order to experience this gift fully; recovery will not fit neatly into any conception of life I might create. Recovery based in the guidance of a power greater than self is not a component of daily living, but rather the firm foundation from which every decision, activity, every function of life must spring. We do not fit successful recovery into our new life, it is our new life from breath to breath.

It was not that many years ago, when I once again made the conscious decision to return to the first drink. Before I took that first drink, I was irritable and discontent; life was not moving according to my wishes. In short order, I sacrificed everything tangible in my life as I was wont to do on each new adventure with my old friend beverage Alcohol. As the money dwindled down to nothing, I found myself in a desolate, wooded area on the banks of the Wabash River with only the clothes on my back, a pocket knife and a bag of slowly melting ice, a plastic cup and two plastic half gallons of Vodka. I remember cutting a number of leafy limbs to make a day bed for my lounging purposes facing the flowing river and I nestled the Vodka in a dirt pit with the remaining ice packed around it as my refrigerator; this was the sum of my world. Again the thoughts of death returned; I was the king of nothing except the next drink.

The one true reason I returned to drinking in the above description was that I was unable to fashion life in recovery my way, under my own power. I refused to acknowledge the unmanageability of my old life and I failed to change that deficit with what little power I might have thought that I possessed. I had once again insanely attempted to fit recovery into my life, by my own power; I missed the lesson again.

What true concerns do I really have today in this new life when matched against the experience of my old life? You see jjaaam, by my own power, I failed miserably to fashion a life of freedom. I am not like other men and women, I am an Alcoholic and my ability to manage life successfully the old way is gone. When I attempt to fit my conception of recovery around life, I fail.

While you are looking for that mythical balance we all vainly attempt to find via our own power in earlier recovery, maybe you can pause for a few moments in your hectic life and a begin a daily gratitude list followed by prayer. Seek the answers from a power greater than yourself. Allow your new life to be rooted in the strength of God’s possibilities and not yours. Be open to change and grateful for the opportunity.

By the way, how long would you have that hectic work schedule if you kept drinking? How long would you have your family if you kept drinking? How long will you have anything if you keep doing it your way?

If I can help, please PM. Best to you.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Hello all-

I have a question about achieving balance between recovery and the rest of my life.
Just an observation, VMMV. Years before I started drinking again, I was in that mode of working all the time. 60-84 hrs. per week, year round, did this for years. Alcoholics like myself can find numerous unhealthy ways of filling the void left by drinking. I'm in the process of moving now, looking at all of the crap I spent money on, all of it utterly meaningless, most of it probably used to fill some hole I seem to have here, none of it filled that hole.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:06 PM   #16 (permalink)
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When AA first started, they had 1 meeting per week. Period. Most people did not even own telephones.

Today we all - or most of us - have cell phones and can call an AA buddy or 2 when we need support. There is also this forum, which is a great source of support for me.

90 in 90 days is no where to be found in the big book.

As someone else posted, the # of meetings you make it to is not nearly as important as working the steps, and trying to make amends to your family.

Good luck and keep posting.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I'll also call BS on the 90/90 thing. If it works and fits into your life then do it. If it doesn't, then don't do it.
The day that Sobriety and A.A. becomes a burden or becomes something I feel forced to do, I'll probably end up drunk. I'm supposed to be enjoying sobriety. Aren't I?
The 90/90 thing that I don't get is, how the hell can we plan a 90/90. Isn't that thinking three months into the future when we are supposed to concern ourselves with "Today" and not "Tomorrow" per the suggested program?
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
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IMO spending time with your family is number one.
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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IMO spending time with your family is number one.

Tib, Good to see you on the boards these days, I'd agree family time is essential, however, unless they had specific exact instructions on how to recover from alcoholism by having a spiritual awakening, I'd suggest the original poster find a recovered alcoholic and work out of the Big Book, ASAP.

A sober alcoholic with no program isn't exactly a sunbeam of joy to be around, at least not the ones I've encountered.The family as a whole, will benefit greatly as a result of their loved one going through the process.
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:33 AM   #20 (permalink)
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A sober alcoholic with no program isn't exactly a sunbeam of joy to be around, at least not the ones I've encountered.The family as a whole, will benefit greatly as a result of their loved one going through the process.
Been there, done that. You can take the steps piecemeal if you like, or you can get into the nuts and bolts of this thing and experience recovery. Just not drinking is not enough for me, I need it all: serenity, sanity, joy, peace, no fear of alcohol. The problem has been removed, so long as I continue to live this way, it is open to all.

Rob hit the nail on the head, a sober alcoholic with no program can often be a carrrier of the "ism". The recovered alcoholic has real answers to the drink problem. The Big Book is not a mystery. There are clear cut directions to a way of life far beyond anything many of us ever imagined possible.
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