Good evening, I am clean and sober. It's a long story, but I came to the decision that my prayer life is more important to me than being in a recovery program, like twelve-step meetings. I had an experience a few years ago, which was to stay overnight at a convent for religious discernment. I was not using drugs or drinking, at the time. Smoking was not allowed in or around the convent, and so even though it was difficult, I did not smoke while I was there. I prayed the rosary in the prayer room, instead. It was the most freeing and fulfilling experience in my life. It is full of joy to be there, because one feels so free of sin, so innocent, so blameless, and that sets us free. But my past was full of mental hospitals. Sometimes I would wake up from a psychotic break or suicide attempt and find myself committed in a mental hospital. It began decades ago. But this time, I woke up and I was in a Benedictine priory. Like the mental hospitals, we slept in twin beds, and it was very strict. But I was so happy that I wanted to stay there, but they said I could not become a nun because of my mental illness. Besides, I could not seem to shake the addictions in me, but later I left the drugs and drinking behind, but I still cannot get myself to quit smoking nicotine cigarettes and drinking caffeinated beverages. And so, I live in an adult family home, again on a twin bed, but smoking and junk food are allowed here. I have a painting of the Savior on my wall and I pray the rosary regularly. Again, I am in a mental health program, but my psychiatrist says I do not need to be in a drug and alcohol recovery program. However, sometimes I feel like I need to talk about sobriety, and I have chosen to haunt this website a little bit to talk about it. The last bottle of alcohol I touched to my lips was a bottle of tequila, which I hid in my closet from my caregivers, but then I had my father come and help me take away the bottles without telling my caregivers or my mother, and he brought the box to the Goodwill, where they recycled the bottles for him, dutifully. I suppose it was codependent-like of him to do that, enabling my secret keeping. But the problem of the bottles is over now, and I made a painting of the Serenity Prayer and now have it on my wall, and I look at it often and think to myself, "More often than not we should not go out and change something. More often than not we should pray for and have serenity to accept what has happened to us and do God's will." I am no longer addicted to any substance, other than nicotine and caffeine, and I feel so good. I feel healthy. But I still have an emptiness to pray more.
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  • @StrengthBringsHope... Thanks for your post. I'm so happy that you're clean and sober, and that you have found something that helps you stay that way. Believe me: There are as many ways to get/stay sober as there are people in this world. There is no "one-size-fits-all" method. So if what you're doing works for you, keep doing it. You don't have to go to 12-step meetings to get/stay sober. Yes, they help a lot of people; but everyone has to find their own way.

    I'm incredibly proud of you. Thanks again for sharing. And keep reading/living the Serenity Prayer. It's a great one.
  • I'd like to edit what I said earlier. My faith and sobriety are equally important to me. I have been an addictive personality, not just to drugs and alcohol, but also to food, smoking, and coffee. Food caused my triglycerides, my blood fats, to rise, and can be dangerous for my heart. I also have a higher chance of getting Diabetes. Smoking can be damaging to my heart and cause asthma, which has already happened with me, chronic bronchitis, and possibly even the early stages of emphysema, and could cause various types of cancer. Coffee is dangerous for the heart when not used in moderation. These are all things to work on, and my doctor is working with me. Moderation. And abstinence. Overall health is also mental health. I am a survivor. I know that none of our lives are eternal, and in some way, shape, or form, we'll all pass away someday, but I don't have the attitude anymore that since all of us are mortal, why not just have a huge party every day. Whether our lives after death are eternal or not, is up to religion, but all I know is that I have hope, and that is why I am clean and sober today, and I thank you all, and I credit my relationship to God, too, and I do have respect for recovery programs and support groups, not to downplay their value, because I do know that people need them to spare their health and even lives.
  • I'm so glad to hear that you're working on all of those things, @StrengthBringsHope. And that you're working with your doctor, too. It's always good to have a medical professional on board for stuff like that. And you're right: Moderation and abstinence. I'm a firm believer in the saying "Everything in moderation." Whether it's coffee, tortilla chips, or chocolate cake...too much of a good thing can be very bad for you.

    Keep working hard on improving yourself, my friend. I'm proud of you.

    Go forward, be brave, and keep the faith!
  • @StrengthBringsHope hey there! so glad you're back here... and i'm glad you're free from drinking.... that's great!

    and your faith...that's wonderful. nothing wrong with living a faith-filled life. and, like dean said, each person's faith walk will be different...and that's alright. you do what works FOR YOU.

    smoking... it's tough to quit... but possible. there are some online resources that might help. smokefree.gov comes to mind. but glad to hear you are working with your doctor when it comes to moderation...

    sounds like you are making progress.... and this is great.

    sounds like your experience at the convent was wonderful! glad to hear it!

    come by anytime to share. we'd love the dialogue!
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