Movies Much?

Recently, the recovery community asked people for a list of movies that they relate to their recovery. And a quote from each one. Here’s what we got:

Wild – “I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed.”

Requiem of a Dream – “Nurse: She’ll come. Harry: No she won’t. Nurse: She’ll come. Harry: No she won’t.”

Wreck-it Ralph – “Turns out I don’t need a medal to tell me I’m a good guy. Because if that little kid likes me… How bad can I be?”

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – “Be excellent to each other. And Party on.”

The Matrix – “Morpheus: Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Speaking To The Students

Last semester, some of our students spoke at a Drug Awareness class here at UNO.

“A major purpose is to open the lines of communication about addiction and recovery. One woman and I spoke for an extended time after relating our stories,” one of the speakers said.

Students were quick to raise their hands, some with questions from a career standpoint and others with questions about friends or family members who concerned them.

If you are interested in having representatives from the recovery community speak at one of your events contact Mark ( mfrillman @ unomaha.edu )

Books Much?

Recently, a few members put together a list of books that helped enhance their recovery.

My Spiritual Journey by The Dalai Lama and Sofia Stril-Rever

“In this elegant self-portrait, the world’s most outspoken and influential spiritual leader recounts his epic and engaging life story. The Dalai Lama’s most accessible and intimate book, My Spiritual Journey is an excellent introduction to the larger-than-life leader of Tibetan Buddhism—perfect for anyone curious about Eastern religion, invested in the Free Tibet movement, or simply seeking a richer spiritual life. The Dalai Lama’s riveting, deeply insightful meditations on life will resonate strongly with readers of Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, or the His Holiness’s own The Art of Happinessand Ethics for the New Millennium.” (From Amazon.com)

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

“This book is a modest attempt to aid God’s hungry children so to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.” (From The Introduction)

A. W. Tozer
Chicago, Ill.
June 16, 1948

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho continues to change the lives of its readers forever. With more than two million copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has established itself as a modern classic, universally admired.

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found.

The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams. (From Amazon.com)

From The Seekers: Rumi

Boil Nicely Now

Look at the chickpeas in the pot,
how they leap up when they feel the fire.
While boiliing, one of them rises to the top
and cries, “Why are you setting this fire under me?
Did you buy me for this tumbling and tourture?”
The housewife keeps hitting it with the ladle.
“No!” she says, “boil nicely now,
and don’t leap away from the one who makes the fire.
It’s not because you are hateful to me that I boil you,
but so that you might gain flavor,
and become nutritous and mingle with
essential spirit.
This affliction is not because you are despised.
When you were green and fresh,
you were watered in the garde:
that watering was fo the sake of this fire.”

-Mathnawi III, 4159-65
translation by Kabir Helminski

What stood out to us was “It’s not because you are hateful to me that I boil you, but so that you might gain flavor.”

Formerly, I thought that my negative consequences were just a punishment. In recovery, I’ve discovered that my “afflictions” have become part of what makes me unique – and uniquely helpful. Rumi reminded me to trust that the spirit of the universe is working with me, not against me. Rumi also reminded me of the power of gratitude.

In recovery, whenever I’m angry or depressed I don’t have to drink or use drugs. All I have to do is grab a pen and paper and start making my list. I’m grateful for my fingers. My toes. Sober friends that care about me. A safe place to hang out on campus.

I get a list of ten or so things I’m grateful for and suddenly life doesn’t seem that bad.

J.

The Seekers Study is a weekly meeting. It is geared at helping expose people in recovery to a variety of different spiritual perspectives, in hopes that they will develop a better understanding of what spirituality means to them.

 

Testimony #7

Please note that some of the material may be graphic and/or vulgar in nature. Student’s names are kept confidential.

On January 10th, 2009 my life had hit a low like I had never felt before. It was a very cold and icy night in Omaha, NE and my driving condition was not up to par; I had been drinking and smoking marijuana. I did not see the red light until it was too late and ended up getting t-boned by a plow truck. Thankfully there were no injuries in this accident, but the consequences to follow were a string of events that would finally lead me to surrendering my control over alcohol and drugs.

Before this accident I had two other alcohol related offenses that landed me on probation. I had people telling me that I may have a problem and needed to seek help. Very rarely did the thought cross my mind that a problem existed with the way I was living my life, but when it did it was usually at the fault of my parents or the police, never was it my problem. The previously mentioned accident was an exception, it was at this time that the thought came to me that every time I drink or do drugs something bad happens. This accident landed me on probation, once again, with a 2nd DUI.  The judge required me to complete an outpatient treatment program and attend 1 AA meeting a week.

I was raised in a sober environment, with most of my immediate and external family being in either AA or choosing a sober life. I had been to more 12 step meetings than most AA members by the time I was ten years old and had a working knowledge (or so I thought) of the 12 steps. I knew that AA worked for people and could see this evidence all over my family, but it was not what was going to fix me. I continued to drink while on probation and while attending outpatient treatment. Little did I know that the information I was accumulating in those programs would finally take hold in October of 2009. On October 9, 2009 I had my last drink. I had been regularly attending AA meetings, got a sponsor, and started building a fellowship of support that helped me surrender my control.

Sobriety has not only been about combating my control over alcohol and drugs, but also about figuring out who I am. Giving up alcohol was the easy part for me. When I was new the only thing that I could understand is that drinking caused me problems and I wanted it to cease being an issue for me. Today I can see that I am the problem and I drank to cover up the wrongs inside myself. I have learned that once I can work on myself and face who I truly am, only then can I gain a so called power over my alcohol and drug addiction.  Spirituality has been a major factor in my sobriety. I have struggled over the years with a concept of a Higher Power, but so long as I have been willing to believe I have felt that Power work in my life. Sobriety has been a big roller coaster ride for me, with highs and lows, in fact I have had to deal with some of the most difficult situations, in my life, sober. When I was a little over 2 years sober my dad was diagnosed with cancer and my grandmother was starting to become very ill. Sobriety taught me that instead of running from these problems and getting drunk or high over them, I should run to them and see where I can be helpful. By being a part of my family during these hard times I was able to build closer relationships with both my father and my grandmother and not dwell on the difficult situations we were facing.

I had tried college right after high school, but partying quickly took priority in my life and I failed out of school after only a year. In 2012, at the age of 25 I decided I wanted to go back to school. I was able to complete an associate’s degree at a community college and have since starting working on a Bachelor’s degree here at UNO. In community college I was not aware of any recovery groups at my school and was forced to seek out support on my own. I had my AA community and luckly I was part of a fellowship of young people, many of whom were in school. The support from this fellowship helped carry me through my time there.

I found out about the UNO Recovery Community before actually becoming a student here. Knowing that there was support on campus was a big reason why I chose this university. Being a non-traditional student, I find it difficult to find campus organizations that I can fit into. The CRC has not only given me the support I need for being a student with alcoholism and addiction, it has also given me a way to feel a part of my school and participate in my learning outside of the classroom. The best part of the CRC is the community we are building. It is one of the coolest things to walk into the CRC dorm and talk about life, spirituality, sobriety, etc. Having a support system on campus was something I did not even know I wanted until I experienced it. I am very excited to watch the growth of this community and hope to one day see sober housing and scholarships. I tell everyone I meet about the CRC and encourage students who are facing drug addiction and alcoholism to come check it out.

A huge part of my recovery is having a support system that can hold me up when I feel as though I am falling. The CRC is that system for me here at school. A lot of my friends outside of school either are already graduated or have never had the experience of going to school sober. The CRC gives me the opportunity to learn and grow with people who are in the same shoes I am in. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next few years with this community and I am so pleased to be a part of something so big.

From The Seekers: The Dhammapada

“Vigilance (or Earnestness) is the path to the Deathless (Immortality / Nirvana);
Negligence (Thoughtlessness) the path to Death.
Those who are vigilant (who are in earnest) do not die,
The negligent (those who are thoughtless) are as if already dead.” (Verse 21)

“The monastic (or a mendicant) who delights in vigilance (earnestness)
And fears negligence (thoughtlessness)
Moves about like a fire, burning fetters small or large.

The monastic (or mendicant) who delights in vigilance (or reflection),
And fears negligence (or thoughtlessness)
Is incapable of backsliding (Cannot fall away from his or her perfected state)
And is quite close to Nirvana.” (Verses 30-31)

These verses are from the translations of Gil Fronsdal. In parentheses are the translations of F. Max Muller.

These verses taught us that a core piece of Buddhism is mindfulness. According to the Dhammapada, it is imperative that we pay attention to our thoughts, and not let ourselves drift into selfish thinking.

During our study, I found that Buddhism’s emphasis on selflessness and mindfulness relate to what many of us learned in 12-step programs: the inventory process. To enjoy sobriety takes more than being sober. I have to continue opening up to other people in recovery about what’s troubling me. I have to practice reflection, looking at my actions and asking myself questions like “How was I selfish?” and “What should I have done instead?”

J.

The Seekers Study is a weekly meeting. It is geared at helping expose people in recovery to a variety of different spiritual perspectives, in hopes that they will develop a better understanding of what spirituality means to them.

Testimony #6

Please note that some of the material may be graphic and/or vulgar in nature. Student’s names are kept confidential.

A whirlwind of factors set me up for failure as a young teen, including abuse and addiction throughout my family. I began smoking pot at age 13, followed by an expulsion from school for possession. By the age of 15, I was regularly using various pills and alcohol. My addict tendencies were there from the start.  Alcohol was my first love. It was the solution, or I had thought, to all of my problems in my life. It made me strong, confident, brave, beautiful, but as time progressed, all of the promises that alcohol made began to slowly turn to lies.

At 17, the drugs had gotten heavier and the freedom I once got from alcohol was gone. At one point I was placed in honors classes, a gold medal athlete, and a trained musician, but I made the decision to no longer attend high school. I left midway through my sophomore year. I was sleeping on random couches, and had nothing of my own. I was a stranger to not only my family, but to myself. In the following months, I continued to go downhill, and fast. I couldn’t make it through a day without suicidal thoughts and crippling anxiety. I had begun to regularly experience alcohol withdrawal. I had even moved to different states in hopes of starting over. After several suicide attempts and stays in psych wards, at age 18 things began to click. I didn’t like where the last years had gone and didn’t recognize who I was. My future was bleak. No education, no real ambitions. No hope. I decided to quit using drugs and spent about a year trying various ways to control my alcohol use, drinking only on the weekends, just beer, only on special occasions, etc. I drove to a couple AA meetings, but never had the nerve to go inside.

On November 12, 2014 I started drinking and partying with some friends. What was supposed to be a light evening, turned into a 4 day blacked out binge…again. I had thoroughly embarrassed myself, my oldest and dearest friend had arrived from Colorado to see me and I had no recollection of his visit. I lost my keys, spent what money I had left, and lost yet another job. I woke up that morning, and decided I was done. I had had enough.

I have been clean and sober since November 16, 2014. I couldn’t have done it without attending AA. I feel stable and secure in my recovery. Everyone has their days, but most days, being a nondrinker has become second nature and I have not only accepted, but embraced that sobriety is part of my day to day life. I had never realized that alcohol was the source of my depression, and many of my problems until I had gone without. My depression has lifted, and my anxiety is manageable. The majority of my problems have resolved themselves. I look forward to what the future has instore for me and I’m no longer a stranger to myself and my family. I couldn’t be more of a classic example of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.

School had never been a priority for me until I quit drinking.  I only spent a few months in college before I had gotten sober, but my grades suffered. I struggled and didn’t apply myself. I wasn’t really there. The clarity that I’ve gained from sobriety allows me to balance recovery, school, and work. I have a new found confidence in myself allowing me to take on various obstacles, whereas before I would have given up without a fight.  With a clear vision, and set goals, my education has become a top priority in my life. With the exception of a day here or there, I look forward to attending my classes and studying. To be where I am today is a miracle, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I never would have believed that I would have the dedication and ambition that I do now.

Attending UNO has only strengthened my love for learning and reminds me why I got sober. I immediately found myself a part of the recovery community on campus, and what a help that has been. Having that immediate support from my peers reminds me that I’m not going through this alone. It keeps me humble, and pushes me to continue to try my best. Regarding the recovery community, it means the world to me to be able to extend a helping hand whenever possible, by just committing my time or showing my support in whatever way I can. There have been so many people along my journey who’ve been by my side and I am honored to be able to be that person for someone else.  I haven’t been able to attend many of the on campus AA meetings, but just knowing they’re here is a comfort. I believe that the recovery community on campus is essential to my success throughout college. The resources, the people, the environment, the only way that the recovery community on campus could support my recovery more is by providing housing for sober students specifically.  

My mother likes to say that I’ve finally returned to the person I was when I was a child; caring, happy, responsible, bright, but I don’t like to say that I’ve returned to who I was before my sobriety, rather I’ve become a whole new person, a person I never thought I could become. I have never fought for anything like I have my recovery.  It means everything to me, without it I’d have nothing, including my education and my future.