1manzstory.com ~ Guest Blogger

I am pleased to share my second guest blogger this month! Bryan, age 45 is from Alabama and his profession is education. He writes daily entries on his blog 1manzstory.com where he shares his recovery from alcoholism, addiction and mental illness. His story is one of faith, hope and resilience. Regardless if you have struggled with addiction or not, I guarantee you will find his journey inspiring and relatable.

Bryan spent 25 years of his life drinking and getting high. During that time he experienced death of family members, the suicide of his kid’s mother, two divorces, bankruptcy, loss of employment, homelessness, raised two kids without a mother, and near death experiences from drinking and drugging.

Bryan explains “through all of that wreckage, I found God on His terms, rather than mine through surrender. The world is safer without me under the influence. My relationships with people have gotten better, gaining in self awareness, and working with others with addictions and showing them hope have helped me stay sober now 3.5 years.”

I chose to share three of Bryan’s entries from this week but I encourage you to click the link to his blog to read more and subscribe to his daily messages. I look forward to receiving his words in my inbox every morning and I encourage you to follow him as well!

1manzstory.com

You may also contact Bryan via email at bryan197072@gmail.com

Enjoy!

Blessings,

Stacey ~ iamalive

And Then There Were None 11/19/15

by Bryan ~ 1manzstory

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That title was taken from the Agatha Christie novel about 10 people invited to an island who began to die one by one with each who were still alive blaming the latest to die as the killer. In the end, there were only two left. For a long time I held close to the idea that I could still maintain contact with my drinking buddies and stay sober. It’s like bouncing a ball with no air.  I just didn’t want to cut them off because we had some hair raising good times together I would think. I was younger then, and a lot less wise. For me, I have had to change everything in order to stay sober including the people I choose to run with these days. After all, it might cost me my life. I’m talking here about the hard core drinkers like I once was. It’s natural for the last few standing to somehow gravitate toward each other in common brotherhood with the same old tall tales and same old war stories. We have a saying you probably have heard, “if nothing changes, then nothing changes.” The reality has been that I had to change EVERYTHING in order to get and maintain my sobriety..from places I once frequented, some acquaintances, and even my normal routine for a while. It was weird at first, but I’ve gotten more use to it. If I go to a concert, I go with a recovery friend. If I go to a ballgame, I go with a recovery friend. If I have a hang out, most all my buddies are in recovery. It’s not a right or wrong thing, it’s just that my mind has changed, and so have my associations. I had lunch today with two of my buds in recovery. I go to different places  when I travel to create new memories, not to the same haunts to relive yesteryears. Some of the former “friends” weren’t really that at all. We just used each other to get whatever we needed. Today, I can be real, honest, and open about who I am and where I am going. There is a freedom in that. I also have relationships with people that were once impossible. That is a gift. I cherish the gift and the freedom and I never want to take them for granted. God is willing, when I humbly ask…..good day!…b

Holiday Triggers 11/16/15

by Bryan ~ 1manzstory

imageI might as well get it out a few weeks before the holiday boom. I spent 25 years of my life for this one time of year. It started about first frost and ended on a bad lake outing on the 4th of July. It’s changes in the weather as much as the holiday season. It’s time to hunt, or in my former life, hanging around the deer camp, drinking until two in the morning, and forgetting where I had put all my gear. It’s frustrating to live like that….but, boy how I anticipated it. It’s usually about the time I switched from beer to scotch. I still remember the warm feeling I got from that first swig. It’s insidious, insane, warped, and completely mind boggling how a guy like me would even show up to family functions taking drink after drink around a family who doesn’t celebrate with wine. I must confess, if I don’t stay busy this time of year, I have invariably relapsed, usually over some nostalgic thought of “what might have been.” The excitement of being off work, or just having an odd feeling over being placed in social settings where I am uncomfortable changed my thinking. Today, I drive my own vehicle, just in case I need to make an early exit. There is no use in standing around a Christmas party watching everybody else get hammered. The reality is that they get up and go to work the next day, and I call in sick and can’t get out of bed; Completely and utterly defenseless against that first drink without God’s help. This will be my fourth consecutive Christmas and Thansgiving sober and for that I am grateful. There is hope because it has gotten much better. Spending time with loved ones and helping others is how I spend my seasons now. I do a little traveling, too. I don’t have to live in pity and remorse over yesteryears, I enjoy the season for what it is and no longer for what I wished it once was….good day!….b

 

Storms gonna come 11/15/15

by Bryan ~ 1manzstory


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Its been a few days since I posted a daily writing. I miss it. I miss hearing from you. I can make up all the excuses why, but if I do, I know I am heading for rocky ground. It’s tough, especially with no shoes on my feet. That would be my connection to those, like myself, in recovery. An alcoholic understands another alcoholic like no one else can, and for that I am grateful for the recovery family network that surrounds me with hope and love. My life, like everyone else’s, is busy these days. The south is one of the few rare places I have found where I will be wearing a parka in the morning and cut off khaki’s and Birkenstocks by mid afternoon. Much like life and my recovery, winter will come and tornadoes will spin. The question is am I prepared? I just got back from a stay on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and just like viewing the Grand Canyon, God makes a believer out of me. To see beauty in nature, to feel the presence of His marvelous handy work is a blessing that I don’t want to miss. Just a few years ago, I would sit on my porch for days on end, lost in the madness of a disease I could no longer postpone or evade. The storm blew thru, and I didn’t want to die like that. Cutting up wood for the winter is essential here, and like recovery, it’s not what I do…it is who I am. My grandpa taught me that every now and then, a man has to stop and sharpen his own axe. No man can keep me sober, and no man will sharpen my axe. Splitting wood is an art form. Recovery, however; is not. I must do the work to prepare for life’s storms. Going to meetings teaches me that, praying and meditating also teach me that. It’s not what I do necessarily when times are good that always matters, it’s as simple as putting back a little when they are, so I’ll be prepared when the storms of life come…..blessings!…b

 

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