April 16, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

In the past 12-plus years, I’ve spent a lot of hours in church basements, meeting halls, recovery centers and classrooms. This time was shared with other drunks and addicts who’ve given up drinking and using in favor of a more life-affirming manner of living.

I am my own kind of madman, and many other alcoholics/addicts are crazy people; in those often-subterranean rooms, though, we focus on our common humanity rather than our isolating lunacy. From the moment I walked into my first recovery meeting, I’ve been struck by the wisdom of the rooms, the insight into the human condition I kept hearing. Much of this wisdom was distilled into mottoes or slogans, and each time I heard a new one I thought the speaker had made it up on the spot—until I heard it seven or 70 more times.

I wish I could tell you the source of the 30 or so bits of insight into the alcoholic condition—I can’t because I don’t remember who said what when or wrote what where. All I can say is these aphorisms, slogans and one-liners align well with my view of life, and have helped keep me away from a drink or other mind-altering substance. I hope you find them helpful—or at least amusing.

  • Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
  • The newcomer is the most important person in any meeting.
  • If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.
  • If I could use socially, I’d get high every night.
  • If you’re not moving away from your addiction you’re moving closer to it.
  • Each and every addict—-clean or not—-teaches us some valuable lessons about ourselves and recovery.
  • We came to these rooms not because we drank a lot, but because we drank too much.
  • Try to replace guilt with gratitude.
  • Let go of old ideas.
  • Change is a process, not an event.
  • I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you:The good news is that you’re not in charge. The bad news is you’re not in charge.
  • Take what you can use and leave the rest.
  • The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice.
  • You can’t give away what you don’t have.
  • It’s a pity we can’t forget our troubles the same way we forget our blessings
  • We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences
  • Although we are not responsible for our disease, we are responsible for our recovery.
  • When you get sober you can write down all the gifts you get…when you go out you can reverse the pencil and erase each gift one by one.
  • If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
  • Quitting was easy. Staying quit was impossible.
  • I thought you were normal until I got to know you.
  • Nobody comes here on a winning streak.
  • Alcohol and drugs were my anti-me solution.
  • If I could drink like a normal person, I’d be drunk all the time.
  • My basic problem is me.
  • Most of my life was a reaction to a reaction.
  • I kept on “starting over” but  I never changed a thing.
  • When I’m drunk and things go my way, I throw a tantrum.
  • I violated my standards faster than I could lower them.
  • Winners do what they have to do and losers do what they want to do.
  • Recovery is made up of glorious years and some lousy days.

I hope to see each of you at the second virtual Sicker than Most Show this Saturday from 7:30 to 9:30. Here’s a link:  https://zoom.us/j/157737339.

Setting the bar remarkably low, I’ll probably read some of my poetry, or do standup. I won’t sing, though, although the Hope staff may well perform as a whole.

You matter. I matter. We matter.


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