September is National Recovery Month, whatever meaning that may have. It’s also, National Yoga Month, National Honey Month and National Prostate Health Month. Once you’ve relaxed, sweetened-up and prepared for a prodding, think about those around you who have escaped the need for escape, who have managed to live life without chemical assistance and who have transformed their lives from quiet desperation to quieter inspiration. And know, really and for true, that if you need help in that transformation, people like me and everyone else at Hope for New Hampshire Recovery are there for you.
The articles below were written by Keith during National Recovery Month 2020, published in the Manchester Ink Link
A little over a week ago, I wrote about my friend, Larissa, who’d just been fired from her teaching job. Larissa is very smart, very creative and very deep into problem-drinking territory. In fact, by her admission, Larissa long ago had her visa stamped at the gates of alcoholism. Regardless, Larissa had called me for help and advice, knowing I’d been in her shoes, and hoping I could help her navigate her way into sobriety… Read More
I just got off the phone with a dear, dear friend. Larissa is in her late 30s, holds a graduate degree and works as a teacher, where she is seen by her students and peers as insightful, creative and a dynamite professional. Her classroom is always abuzz with excitement, and her students routinely say she’s the best educator they’ve ever had. Larissa has been married for 15 years, has a couple of great kids, and does volunteer work in her community, focusing on the elderly. In that, she is also highly valued and seen as near-saintly. She is smart and charming and any number of other adjectives… Read More
Most of us are familiar with standard plot structure: Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution.
Typically, the resolution of the story leaves the protagonist a little bit better off than s/he was during the exposition. In the case of recovery narratives, though, the resolution is an ever-upward line. Almost literally, the sky is the limit… Read More
I was in the shower a while ago, meditating on when the last time I took a bath was and sort of/kind of using a razor to clean up the hair on my neck. (I realize, rereading that first sentence, it gives the impression showering is an occasional activity for me. It’s not. I shower many times a year.) (As another aside, my daughter and I have, between us, probably seven kinds of shampoo and five kinds of conditioner. Which, after much writing in circles, brings me back to the razor in my hand.)… Read More
I don’t know horses. I mean, I can recognize a horse, distinguish it from a cow or a llama. I have a good picture of “horseness,” those descriptors that identify horses from nonequine creatures. Still, I don’t know horses the way some who knows horses knows horses. (What a funny sentence that last one was.) At the racetrack, I’m definitely over my head… Read More
As a little boy I was very small. I know, I know. All little boys are small—except for those with “Jack Disease” who are hairy and look like Robin Williams, but I was extraordinarily small, so tiny that when I started kindergarten my mother brought out a step-stool for me to spare me the embarrassment of having her lift me onto the first step of the bus. When I got a bit older, I dreamed of being, in those far less sensitive times, a midget. As a little person I could work the circus, travel the country and not have to worry about 4th grade. Alas, I finally grew into the relatively short, but not remarkably so, man I am today… Read Mor
I am one of the last people you should listen to on issues of spirituality. After all, when I first got into recovery, my higher power (Higher Power for those of you for whom higher power is a substitute word for God) was an imaginary number—i is the symbol for the square root of -1, a value that does not exist for square roots must be positive. Although imaginary, i is indispensable in solving some quadratic equations. If math problems can be solved with a nonexistent value, then it was good enough to help me solve the problem of my life. If nothing else, it placed something outside my will, ego and appetite at the center of the universe… Read More
Some of the (way) older among you may remember Pollyanna, the 1960 movie starring Hayley Mills, who lives her life playing the Glad Game, an optimistic exercise that requires the player to find something to be grateful for in every situation. For instance, one Christmas Pollyanna doesn’t find a doll inside the “missionary barrel” at church. Instead, her present is a crutch, and she is glad she doesn’t need one. Pollyanna is, in short, so chirpy it hurts. Read More
My father was introduced to his craft during World War II. While other soldiers were fighting and dying all over the world, my dad learned how to make dentures. After all, dental pain could reduce the fighting capability of even the toughest soldier, so my dad served the Army by making sure soldiers had good fitting dentures. Learning this as a boy taught me two things: the world has a lot of people who perform behind-the-scenes actions that make big events possible and “war hero” was never going to be attached to most of their names. Still, he did good work and served his country… Read More
“Any man who finds early recovery easy probably didn’t need recovery at all.”—Unattributed 19th-Century quotation. Unattributed because I just made it up. When I was using, a lengthy period of abstinence was two or three days, an experience that began with a glorious first day… Read More
I don’t have to drink or use. Today.
A few lifetimes ago, I worked in education. Many of those who know me today have a hard time picturing me as director or principal of alternative schools, but that’s who I was for more than a third of my adult life. (Of course, even harder for them to imagine is me as a Baptist of any kind, much less a Baptist minister and seminarian, but there it is.) Read More
I don’t have to drink or use. Today.
I write this Friday morning. Last night, Lucy, my dog whom many of you knew, died after being hit by a car. From everything I could tell, she died instantly at impact, a blessing I suppose. Becca, my oldest daughter, found Lucy’s corpse at the bottom of our driveway. I was sitting on our porch. Becca’s shrieks called me… Read More
There is one proven solution for quitting drug and alcohol use. It is 100 percent effective, with no relapse or reoccurrence worries at all. This solution guarantees the drinker or drugger will never, ever use again. Not only that, it is easily available to all who use, and for many is the ultimate goal of addiction—even if the drug or alcohol user isn’t ever consciously aiming toward it. This solution has no side effects for the user and requires nothing—no change in attitude nor behavior—it is completely effective… Read More
Finding recovery, I know, is a strange concept. After all, if recovery is returning to health after a period of sickness, it seems like abstinence and time would be all the necessary ingredients. If I’m sick with a sunburn—overuse or abuse of the sun—I stay inside and in a couple days I’m better. If I’ve got a bellyache from too much apple pie, I avoid eating for a bit and give my digestive system a chance to clean itself. Moving from the physical to the emotional, if I’ve got a broken heart, staying away from my beloved for an extended period will get me right as rain. Why isn’t this true for drugs and alcohol? Read More
I’m Keith, a person in long-term recovery from alcohol, opiates, methamphetamine and any other damned thing I could put in my body to transport me from here and now to some other there and then. Life, you see, made me feel homeless, like a refugee dropped in a land that would never be his. My purpose, every single time I used, whether smoking, shooting, snorting or drinking, was to escape from under the unbearable weight of existence—or at least existence in the bodily, mentally and spiritually wasteland that was Keith… Read More