Tobacco Cessation and Avoiding Weight Gain

I was quoted again about tobacco cessation, this time appearing on and online article on WebMD.  click to view

Stopping smoking was one of the toughest, and most rewarding, things I have ever done for my recovery. I sobered up in 1993 and could not stop smoking until 1999.  Like some really smart people have told me:  “It takes what it takes.”

One of the things that was really helpful for me was to have been actively involved in a substance abuse recovery program.   It gave me a lot of tools to use and heightened my own level of disparity and disgust with what I was doing to my body by continuing to smoke.

Along the same lines, I was working for a treatment center that went tobacco-free.  As part of that, I was required to take a class to teach the clients how to stop smoking and then teach them the same material.  That was a difficult set of mental gymnastics that I had to perform to continue smoking, especially when personal consistency between words and actions is such a huge part of staying clean and sober.

There were a number of other factors that collectively made it a good time for me to stop smoking.  If you want to learn more about that, or think that you may want to try stopping, give me a call at (501) 478-0182.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Tips for Staying Clean and Sober

Holidays can be a stressful time for many people new and old in recovery.  Here are a few of my favorite tips for staying sober during the holiday, or any other, season.

If you are invited to a party where drinks will be served and you want to go:

  1.  Bring your own beverage.  A bottle of water, a cup of coffee shop wonderfulness or a craft root beer are all good things to have in your hand.  Nobody has ever turned me away with a six-pack of fancy soda or box of expensive tea.
  2. Plan an exit strategy.  Have tickets to a movie or a game; better yet, agree to chair a 10 PM meeting.   Get a sitter for only a few hours, not all night.
  3. It should go without saying, stay away from the bar area.
  4. Food is great.  Make sure to eat things that you actually like, or would like to try.  Ask your host if anything contains alcohol (or these days cannabis).  Watch out for booze-flavored candies and pastries such as bon-bons and tiramisu.   (When in doubt, spit it out.)
  5. Go late enough that the drinkers have only had one or two rounds and leave early.  Being sober, hopefully you will begin to notice that the jokes get re-told, louder and less funny as people become more intoxicated.  After the first two rounds the drinkers usually won’t be able to remember who was there, or for how long.
  6. Have your own ride.  A sense of independence can be a sense of safety.  Leaving, or not going at all, should always be an option.  If it is not, then it may be time to take a hard look at your personal commitment to sobriety.

If I am ever asked why I am not drinking, I claim  a severe allergy to alcohol, even alcohol that has been cooked out of a dish.  (It just so happens that when I drink alcohol I break out…windows…relationships…in handcuffs…in jail.) On this note, I purposely do not eat anything which contains even traces of alcohol or alcohol-flavored foods such as beer-battered onion rings or fish.  Both of the brain cells I have left might get confused and decide that something that tastes good might be good for me again.

Back to the allergy excuse; most people would not press strawberries or green beans on someone who has identified they have an allergy to them.  I have learned that usually the only people who have ever had a problem with me not taking a drink were people who had some sort of perverse relationship with alcohol themselves.    Remember, you never have to answer to anyone who questions your decision to not drink.

Religion and health are both great cop-outs.  Nobody but the biggest dolts or idiots would try to slip an observant Jew or Muslim a slice of bacon or cause a serious athlete to fall off their training and diet regimen.  If you claim religious observance or health consciousness, back it up with your behavior.   Most seasonal holidays have some sort of religious associations to them and revisiting them with a clean and sober perspective may be enlightening.

Bring a game that can be played by both young and old.  Most children will gravitate towards an adult who is willing to pay attention to them, especially if that adult is not intoxicated.  I like dice games and cards because they are portable and not age-specific.

I have been and have used a sobriety partner when I go to holiday parties.  Before going, I have a conversation with my support person, often my wife, about a code word or phrase that either one of us can use to leave immediately, no questions asked, no repercussions or pouting about how much fun they are losing out on that night.  Steely stares and emotional outbursts in the car on the ride home are not much fun; but, they sure beat a hangover or a night in jail.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, nor is it entirely original.  Most of the best stuff that I have gotten has come from someone else that has shared it with me.  What I have shared is things that have worked for me, in my own sobriety.

Enjoy the holidays and remember that whatever you observe, it is just another day sober.

Blessed to be Alive

On Friday last week, I was involved in a collision at 65 MPH.  I was headed south on a four-lane highway, in the right lane, cruise control set at 65, speed limit 70 in a 2010 Grand Marquis.  I was hit, ever so gently, by a lady in a Kia Sorento, on the door and just above the rear wheel well.  She had drifted into my lane as she was passing.

The only apparent damage to my vehicle, and hers, looks like it could have been done by a shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot.  A good wash and wax should take care of most of the damage.

As someone who has persistently struggled with faith, this was just another evidence that something bigger was looking out for me.  I might be mistaken; but, thinking a bit differently makes me appreciate living the life that I have just a little bit more.

Crazy stormy today.

Gosh, it is windy, rainy and grey-yellow outside this morning.  I hope everyone makes it to and from work and school safely.

This has been one of my better months business-wise.  My LLC is showing a profit and I have been able to help a number of clients meet their goals.  A friend of mine related that I look a lot younger since I started working for myself.  I feel good about going to work each day and believe that what I am doing is good.