Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wednesday
December 31, 2014


Cling On
Tony told the group he’d stopped by to check on his dad.  His dad was almost out of pain pills, three weeks early.  He found brochures for headstones his mother had sent his father with a note reading “Hope you need one soon!” 
“I tried to talk to her, but she hung up on me,” Tony said.  “He wanted me to help him get Percocet.  It was a mess, but I’m not ready to give up on them.”
"It's been decades since you decided to live with your dad.  If your mom hasn't forgiven you, or your dad, by now, she probably isn't going to.  Let it go.  Your father doesn't seem at all interested in getting sober. Let that go, too.  Every now and then I get the sense you really, really want to change your life.  Grab onto that."
“I still don’t see why I have to let go of my parents to get sober,” Tony said. 
“It’s like holding a cat.  If that cat wants to be held all is peace and purring.  Hold a cat that wants to get away and you’re likely to get scratched, badly.  Besides, the more things you hold onto, the less securely you can hold any one of them.”

Today I will choose carefully what I cling to.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tuesday
December 30, 2014


Ready or not
Julie was crying. "He said he’s going to petition for primary custody of the twins.  I didn’t even think he was serious about the divorce until he filed.  Now he wants custody?  How could he do that to me?”
I reviewed her history of relapses.  I tried to get her to see why Darren might want to raise the children on his own.
“I know I’ve relapsed a bunch of times, but how could he betray me? He’s always been a teddy bear, now he’s mauling me over a couple of glasses of wine?  He turned on me, he’s not the man I married, and I don’t think it’s fair!”
"Even a gentle bear can be kicked too many times,” Martell said in a voice I imagined he used to teach a beloved grandchild an important lesson.  “You can’t blame the bear when it turns on you.” 
Kim had a slightly different take on Julie’s lament. “How about you don’t kick the teddy bear because just because he is a teddy bear?  How about you don’t mistreat someone just because he’ll put up with it?  And how about you don’t complain when he’s finally had enough?”
“He betrayed me!” Julie protested.  No matter how it was presented, Julie just wasn’t ready to hear the message.  I told the group to move on, thinking Darren was doing so, even if Julie couldn’t understand why.

Today I will accept some people just aren’t ready to hear what they don’t want to hear.
Sadly, those are the people often left behind.


Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Monday
December 29, 2014


Patience
The next day Kim told the group she'd met a woman who had given up her daughter for adoption.  Myra had struggled to get sober, relapsing several times before getting any serious clean time.  She had also made many false starts before reconnecting with her daughter.  Kim planned to ask Myra to be her sponsor.
“I’m drawn to her,” Kim said.  “I’ve never felt that way about sponsors in the past.”
“Why do you think that is?” I asked.  Kim explained her past sponsors had gotten sober on the first or second try.  She described them as recovery stars, women who bounced to their feet quickly after stumbling over addiction.
“Myra really had a hard time getting her life back together. I think she understands my struggles.  Recovery wasn’t so hard for my other sponsors.  I think they had a tough time being patient with me.”
I thought about good athletes who became mediocre coaches, and marginal athletes who went on to stellar coaching careers.  Was patience, or lack of it, the issue?

Today I will seek the patient wisdom of those who’ve struggled.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Today's Freebies

 The Kindle version of Staying Clean, Taking Medications  is free at:
http://www.amazon.com/Ken-Montrose/e/B001K8MG0S

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!


Relapse Prevention Group will return on Monday, December 29th.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tuesday
December 23, 2014


Ummm
That night I was sitting at home thinking about Tony and his painful revelations. My heart broke for Julie even though I thought her husband was doing the right thing.   
After a while I closed my eyes and cleared my mind. 
“Whatcha doing Daddy?” my daughter asked when she came home.
“Having an ummm moment.”
“What’s an ummm moment?”
“An ummm moment is when I put aside the sadness of the day and sink into my chair.  It’s gratitude and mindfulness wrapped in quiet.  It’s like I’m saying ‘today was tough, tomorrow may be tougher, but ummm, right now is OK.”

Today I will be grateful for ummm moments.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Today's Freebie
My Plan to Ruin Your Life: The first workbook written by your Addiction
available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Monday
December 22, 2014


Changes
“I was hoping my dad’s accident would change things,” Tony said, shaking his head.  “I was hoping my dad would want to get sober with me. He asked me if I could bring him a little flask of vodka.  He’s lying in a hospital bed with a morphine drip and he still wants booze.  How is that even possible?”
“He’s an alcoholic,” I said stating the obvious.  “He probably wouldn’t even feel the alcohol through the morphine, but he still wants it.”
“Did you tell your mom about the accident?” Kim asked.
“I called my mom from his hospital room. I thought maybe she’d feel sorry for him.  Maybe that would open the door a little for us to talk.  She said it was a shame he wasn’t hit by a truck, a really big truck driven by another drunk.  That way my dad would be dead and another alcoholic would be off the roads and in jail. She can’t let go of her anger any more than he can let go of the booze. Nothing changed.”
“You ready to accept they’re not gonna change?” Martell asked, putting a hand on Tony’s shoulder.
“It sucks, but the accident made me see the two of them are who they are. They don’t want to change.  I’m trying to be grateful for having my eyes opened, but it ain’t easy.”

Today I will accept some people will never change.
Today I will try to be grateful for whatever makes me face painful truths.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Today's Freebie
My Plan to Ruin Your Life: The first workbook written by your Addiction
available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Friday
December 19, 2014


Paper Tigers
A week later Seal told the group, “My old boyfriend went to jail for hitting his new girlfriend.” 
“Isn’t she your cousin?” Tony asked.
“Yep. I always thought they had something going behind my back.  When I left him they both said I'd be sorry, that I was too weak and stupid to live on my own. I always thought she was so smart.  Him too.  Now she’s in the hospital and he’s looking at five years in jail.  Sometimes we think the people holding us back are above us, when really, they are beneath us, and sinking.”
“Wow,” Tony said.  “What you just said sounded pretty smart. Guess they misjudged you.”
Seal looked surprised. “Here’s something even smarter that I just realized,” she said.   “They weren’t holding me back, the way I saw them held me back. They were paper tigers.”
“I used to see booze as all powerful,” I said.  “It owned me. It took me a long time to see if I didn’t pick it up, it had no power over me.  Paper tiger.”

Today I won’t let paper tigers hold me back.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thursday
December 18, 2014


Appreciation
Martell was the last to share. He couldn’t believe how far out on a limb his company and his union had gone for him.
“I violated the safety rules,” Martell said, shaking his head. “Then I got addicted to painkillers.  Can’t believe they still want me back.”
“How many years did you work there?” I asked.
“I’ve been there twenty-eight years.  Worked my way up through the ranks.  I was floor supervisor when I got hurt.  That’s part of the reason the insurance company was so put off.  They said the floor supervisor should know the safety rules.  The bosses and the union must have really called in some favors, twisted a few arms.”
I asked Martell why they would do that for him.  Martell was a modest man, but little by little I was able to drag out of him reasons his company would want him back. 
“It’s not the kind of place where they pat you on the back,” he said.  “Nice to know they appreciated what I did all those years.”
“Shame it took an accident for you to find out how much you were appreciated,” Tony said.

Today I will let someone know I appreciate their efforts.

  Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Today's Freebies
Free Kindle versions of the following  are available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S:
  • Heroin, Oxycontin, & Other Opiates: Breaking your addiction to them
  • Home Groupies (a daily meditations book in the form of a novella)
  • Meditations for the First 30 Days: How not to become roadkill on the highway to recovery
  • My Favorite Character Defects: The next workbook written by your Addiction  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wednesday
December 17, 2014


Waiting
Only Martell and Kim had escaped the weekend unscathed.  Martell had gotten a call from his boss saying they might have found a way to get Martell his old job back.  Kim had spent a quiet weekend with her father and stepmother.
"I'm sorry you had such a tough weekend," she said to the group.  "I spent the weekend with my father and stepmother in upstate New York.  My stepmother and I went shopping together in the village.  Everywhere we went, people were glad to see her." She choked up a little, struggled to find her voice, and added, "I had forgotten how much I loved being with her, how happy she makes everyone."
"You look sorta sad for someone who had such a happy weekend," Martell said as he handed her the tissue box. 
"Every time I get sober I see how much she's aged while I was drinking.  Same for my father.  I'm afraid they will pass away while I'm trying to get my act together."

Today I will remember:
people are under no obligation to wait for me to get my act together.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Today's Freebies
Free Kindle versions of the following  are available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S:
  • Heroin, Oxycontin, & Other Opiates: Breaking your addiction to them
  • Home Groupies (a daily meditations book in the form of a novella)
  • Meditations for the First 30 Days: How not to become roadkill on the highway to recovery
  • My Favorite Character Defects: The next workbook written by your Addiction  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuesday
December 16, 2014


No problem so bad …
The next group meeting was on a Monday.  It had been a tough weekend for most of the group.  Darren, Julie's husband, had filed for divorce on Friday.  Michelle's husband was barely hanging onto life in an ICU after a second heart attack. Tony's father got hit by an SUV after stumbling out of a bar in Lawrenceville.  Roger's youngest daughter had sent him a text saying she no longer wanted to hear from him.  Seal's ex had started dating Seal's cousin. 
"What do all of you have in common?" I asked them.
"We all had horrible weekends," Julie said between sobs.
"All of you can get through this," I said.  "All of you have been clean and sober before.  All of you have weathered storms.  All of you are here today when you could be out getting high.  "
"And all of us know that's easy for you to say," Roger said.  He crossed his arms and glared at me.
"It is easy for me to say you can get through this clean and sober," I said.  "That doesn't make it any less true."

Today I will remember just because something is easily said, doesn't mean it isn't true.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Today's Freebie
A free Kindle version of My Favorite Character Defects: The next workbook written by your addiction is available at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S
from December 13th to the 17th.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

Monday
December 15, 2014


Privacy
That night my daughter was waiting for me at the top the stairs when I got home.
"You knew," she said, poking me in the chest.
"What?" I asked.  "And why are you poking me?"
"You knew about Brat Boy's new girlfriend and you didn't tell me."
"He thought you'd grill him for information.  He asked me not to say anything."
"Of course I'd grill him!  I'll bet you didn't get any details, did you?"
"He told me where she lives in case I need to pick him up.  She's in his grade at school and he likes her.  I know what a father needs to know."
Blondie looked at me with a mixture of pity and sadness.  She rattled off a list of things she wanted to know, and how she planned to get the information.  I wondered if she had lied about going to soccer camp in the summer, sneaking off instead to the CIA's Interrogation school.
"Give the kid some privacy," I said, knowing she wouldn't.  I pondered how this world of train wreck reality TV shows, selfies, YouTube, NSA, Big Data, and tabloid journalism would be better off with just a touch more privacy for everyone.

Today I will respect other people's privacy.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Friday
December 12, 2014


Opinionated
Roger told the group he was struggling to write a letter to his wife.  The letter began with an apology, but quickly became an instruction manual for fixing their marriage.  Most of the instructions were for his wife.  Roger asked the group members for their opinions of his letter.
They had a lot to say, but one by one he dismissed their suggestions. When Martell pointed this out, Roger shrugged and said, "No offense, but I realize now I'm the only one who truly understands my situation."
"I think people understand your situation, but you're not interested in any opinion that disagrees with your own," I said.   "You don't have to agree with other people, but at least consider their opinions.  Otherwise it becomes too easy to believe your own b.s."
"And I think if they only opinion you care about is your own, you're better off keeping it to yourself," Tony said.  "Don't waste our time." Group members nodded in agreement. Roger didn't say anything more.

If the only opinion I value is my own, I'm better off keeping it to myself.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thursday
January 11, 2014


Kind Hearts
Michelle said, "I have this fantasy where my husband has a second heart attack and God whispers in his ear, 'this is what you get for cheating on Michelle.'"  The group laughed, except Julie.
"He could die if he had a second heart attack," she said quietly.
"Julie," Michelle said, "I'm mostly kidding.  I don't really want to see him die.  I'm just angry. He betrayed me."
"I'm sorry," Julie said.  "I know this group is about holding people accountable.  Ken's always talking about facing hard truths, and not glossing over people's bad behavior.  But, I just can't help feeling bad for the man.  He shouldn't have cheated on Michelle, but he almost died all alone."
"You have a kind heart," Seal said. "Don't be sorry for that."
"Somebody's got balance out Mr. Cold and Responsible here," Tony said, gesturing in my direction.  Most of the group echoed that sentiment.  I took my lumps with a smile
"Seal's right," I said. "Don't be sorry for your kind heart.  The world needs more kind hearts." 

Today I will be grateful for the kind hearts.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wednesday
December 10, 2014


Fear of Forgiveness
"I'm afraid of forgiving my ex," Michelle said.
"I couldn't forgive him, but I'd admire you if you did," Seal said. "Why are you afraid to forgive him? Are you afraid you'll be tempted to take him back?"
"No, I don't think I could ever take him back," Michelle said, the corners of her mouth turning down.  "It took a lot of soul searching, but I realized I liked my resentment.  I liked being the victim and holding the moral high ground.  If I forgave him, I'd have to give up some of my self-righteous anger.  Now that I'm sober, anger is my favorite way to alter my mood."
"You were afraid when you gave up the booze and the pills," I said, "but I know you're happy you did.  Why don't you face your fear of forgiveness and see what happens?  You can always go back to hating him again."

Today I won't fear forgiving others.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tuesday
December 9, 2014


Papering over
Tony passed his phone around.  "This scares me," Tony said, showing the group a picture of an obese man with the watery eyes and the broken veins of a late stage alcoholic.  "I love my dad to death, but I don't want to look like him."
"I know what you mean," Kim said.  She showed the group a picture of her mother. "Her face is tight from a million bucks spent on lifts and tucks.  Five times a year she gets these $15,000 skin treatments in Zurich.  They don't do much good because she spends most of her time drunk, sunning herself on a beach.  She's wearing an expensive wig because her diet pills make her hair brittle. She thinks the money makes her look good, but she's just papering over her problems."
"What does papering over mean?" Seal asked.
Martell answered. "It means fooling yourself into believing you've hidden your faults.  Comes from back in the day when a tradesman might try to cover shoddy workmanship with wallpaper.  Couldn't be done.  The paper Kim's mom is trying to use is dollar bills, but it's the same principle.  Have to tear down the old and rebuild things right because no amount of paper will cover the flaws."

Today I will remember most faults can't be papered over.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Monday
December 8, 2014


Chain, Chain, Chain
Roger was talking on his cell phone in the break room.  I didn't have to be a banker to know he was discussing some sort of financial deal.  Later, I asked Roger if he knew my friend David.  David had attended my homegroup for years.  He too had been banned from working in finance, and had gone to jail for ignoring that ban.
"He was my mentor," Roger said.  "He taught me everything I know."
"Did you know he went to jail?" I asked.  "He went to jail for violating his ban from financial dealings."
Roger smiled and shook his head. "David went to jail because he made some stupid mistakes.  He didn't understand the law."
 "I thought the law barred you from working in finance for five years. That's what you told me."
"There's a strict interpretation of the law, and then there's reality.  The speed limit says 65, but you know you can go 71 without getting a ticket. I'm like a smart driver who knows the reality of the law."
"I'd say you're more like a dog on a chain.  Smart dogs know the length of their chains. Even so, some have sore necks because something excites them, they build up momentum, and run until their chain snaps them back.  They're not stupid, they just get lost in the excitement of chasing whatever they're after."
Today I won't let myself get lost in the chase.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Friday
December 5, 2014


Beauty
At the break, Martell put his granddaughter's drawing on the refrigerator in the break room.  "If anyone can guess what this, I'll buy them lunch," he said, laughing. People guessed monster, bearskin rug, vacuum cleaner, space ship, and a platypus.  "It's a roast piggy bank." He pointed to a circle over a circle.  "This is the snout and this is the apple in the piggy bank's mouth."
"I never would have guessed that," I said. "No offense."
"No offense taken.  I had no idea either until my wife told me.  It's still beautiful to me, and that's what counts."

Today I will be grateful beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thursday
December 4, 2014


Irony in motion
"What's up with you?" I asked Roger.
"My daughter graduated from high school with highest honors.  I know this because her picture was in the paper.  Do you know who my wife took to the awards dinner? My ex-$%#*&^-girlfriend!  My youngest daughter, the only one who'll even text me, says the two have a lot in common.  They both hate me.  They both feel foolish for having been duped by me. And, they like to plan their revenge together."
"Your wife isn't a little angry, maybe jealous about the affair you had with this woman?" Julie asked.
"Apparently they've gotten past the jealousy part by constantly joking about my alleged quirks and shortcomings.  My ex-wife and my ex-girlfriend have become best buddies.  How's that for bitter &^%$#@ irony!"
"Irony has to be set in motion," I said.  "You lied to your girlfriend about being married while you stole from your kids and your employer.  I'd say you gave irony a big push down a steep hill."
Roger stormed from the group room.

Today I'll try not to do anything to set irony in motion.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wednesday
December 3, 2014


The last ray
"My dad was a little better," Martell told the group.  "He said 'I know you!' when I walked in the room.  Didn't remember I was his son, but he did remember I had been there before."
"That means a lot to you, doesn't it?" Seal asked.
"I know it's not much, but it's something.  Just once more I'd like him to call me 'son,' but I doubt that's gonna happen."
"What was he like?" Roger asked.
"He was big in the union, took part in the civil rights movement, everybody knew him.  He was the sun." Martell smiled and shook his head. "He was the sun," he said again.
"This must be so hard for you," Seal said.
"Sometimes.  But mostly, it's like watching the sun set on a cloudy day.  The brightest ray of light is the one that breaks through between the clouds and the horizon."    


Today I will be grateful for the very last ray of light.
Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tuesday
December 2, 2014


When one door almost closes
"You OK?" I asked Tony.
Tony said, "When my parents got divorced I had the choice between my workaholic, Type A, mother and my alcoholic father.  My mother assumed I'd pick her.  I was ten years old.  I knew they were both crazy, but my father was a happy drunk so I chose him.  Mom never forgave me.
 "When I was fourteen I ran away from home.  I got to my mom's office about 4:00.  She made me wait in the lobby until 5:30.  Then she reminded me I had picked my father instead of her. She paid the security guard to drive me home.
"Last time I tried to visit her she called the cops.  I'd give my left arm if the only thing keeping us apart was a little awkwardness.  Knowing where she is, but not being able to see her is like having the door shut on my fingers.  It's closed, but I can't walk away."

Today I will be grateful for times I was able to walk away from closed doors.
Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Greenbriar publications are available at:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Monday
December 1, 2014


Reconnecting
Kim looked sad. "I have a daughter. She's 23 now. I miss her over the holidays."
"When was the last time you saw her?" Seal asked.
"Twenty-Three years ago.  I gave her up for adoption."
"You had money," Tony said.  "You had resources.  You could have gotten a nanny to help raise her. I'm not judging you, I'm just asking, why'd you give her up?" 
"Even with a nanny one is expected to spend time with her child.  I was having too much fun."
Silence fell over the group.
"I know where she is," Kim said.  "I've talked with her parents.  They have no objection to me meeting her.  I think about meeting her every time I get sober."
"So why don't you get in touch?" Tony asked.
"I'm afraid to take the first step," Kim said.  After a long pause she added. "It might be really – I don't know – really, really awkward."
Tony said, "You get over awkward." Like most people in the group I was surprised to hear his voice crack and to see a tear in his eye.

Today I won't let a little awkwardness get in the way of reconnecting with someone.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose


Greenbriar publications are available at:


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tuesday
November 25, 2014


Karma
"My ex had a heart attack," Michelle said smiling from ear to ear.
"I know he dumped you for a younger woman, but can you really be happy about that?" Roger asked. Roger's ex-girlfriend had been fifteen years younger than his wife.
"He lived.  He was snorting coke in bed with one of his twenty-somethings.  She panicked – I'm guessing the coke was hers – and bolted.  He had to call 911 himself." 
With mock sincerity Kim asked, "Are you're hoping this will be his wake-up call? Do you think he's seen the light and will live a more spiritual life from this day forward?"
Michelle laughed.  Seal snorted.  Martell shook his head and said, "Man got what he deserved. Karma."
"He got run over by karma," Michelle said, her smile fading a bit.  "I do feel guilty about being so happy over his misfortune."
"You're human and he betrayed your trust," Seal said.  "I wouldn't feel too bad."

Today I won't judge myself harshly if I'm happy karma has gotten somebody deserving.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose


Greenbriar publications are available at greenbriartraining.com and http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001K8MG0S

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Monday November 24, 2014


RPG
Life and death, millimeters and seconds
Group was supposed to start at 9:00.  By 9:20 only Martell and Seal were in the group room.
"Where is everybody?" I asked them both.
"There was a big pileup on 79 North," Seal said. "They may be caught behind it.  The news guy said the ice was only as thick as a greeting card. Three people were taken to the hospital.  One was taken by helicopter to Allegheny General.  He's in critical condition." A silence fell over the three of us.
By 11:00 everyone had arrived safely.  The stragglers compared notes.  Tony had been almost four miles behind the accident.  Kim had been three cars behind the last car to crash.  She had seen several cars in front of her skid into the pile.
I thought about life, death, a couple millimeters of ice, and the few seconds that must have separated Kim's car from the last car to crash.
"I am so grateful you are all here, safe and sound!" I said.  I meant it. 

Today I will be grateful for all the people in my life,
knowing the difference between life and death is sometimes millimeters or seconds.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friday
November 21, 2014


RPG
Correction
The next day I was ready to send out my daily message when I noticed a glaring error.  I wondered how many times I had read the message without seeing that error.  After correcting the mistake, I sent out the message, hoping I hadn't missed any other typos.  I was happy I had caught my mistake before I forwarded it to the 1,500 people who read my messages.
That day's gratitude list included mistakes I had been able to correct.

Today I will be grateful for mistakes I can or did correct.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose


Other Blogs

AArdvarks, a daily messages blog about a group of young people in recovery, can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/7393493-epilogue-julie 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday
November 20, 2014


RPG
The importance of stretching
Later that evening I was at the gym, hanging from the pull-up bar.  A friend walking by said, "You know you're supposed to pull yourself up, right?  You don't get any stronger hanging around like a lazy bat."
As a child I had burned half my chest and back.  Every so often I needed to stretch the skin around my shoulder to keep a full range of motion.  I was going to tell Mikey that.  Instead I said, "Mikey, you're getting huge!"
"Really?" he asked, obviously pleased. "I've been lifting a lot of weights."
"Oh yeah, the non-stop talking workouts are making your jaw muscles bulge."
He muttered something about me being akin to a wise mule.
I went back to stretching my scar, determined not let the things that had damaged me limit me.  I decided not to allow past damage limit my heart, nor to let my thinking grow stiff. 

Today I will not let past damage limit me.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose



Other Blogs

AArdvarks, a daily messages blog about a group of young people in recovery, can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/7384466-priorities 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wednesday
November 19, 2014


RPG

Agreeable disagreements
After the group Julie and Seal, the two primary combatants during the session, hugged.  Julie told Seal she was sorry for all that Seal had suffered.  She said she admired Seal's strength.  Seal said she admired Julie's faith, even though she had little of her own.
I was struck at how such a nasty argument had brought the two closer.  Too often I had counseled people who had ended relationships over a single argument. 

I will be grateful when an argument brings me closer to someone.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose


Other Blogs

AArdvarks, a daily messages blog about a group of young people in recovery, can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/7373039-drop-outs

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tuesday
November 18, 2014


RPG

A reasonable plan
When it was Julie's turn to speak she said, "There is a Devine plan for all of us."
Seal reacted as if she'd just been kicked in the shins. "Was it part of God's plan for me to be beaten and abused? There's no plan." Julie and Seal got into a heated discussion. Tony and Kim sided with Seal, while Martell and Roger sided with Julie.
Michelle tried to inject some rationality into the discussion, hoping to calm down the entire group.  "There's two issues here, plan and reason." Seal wasn't having it, and the discussion got louder.
Finally, Julie said to me, "Tell them there is a Divine plan."     
I said, "Sometimes I think the plan is for us to reduce each other's suffering.  We have the tools, but we'd rather argue about the plan.  People love to say 'everything happens for a reason.'  What's the Divine reason for child abuse, starvation, rape, murder, and disease?   Maybe that reason is we haven't followed the plan, we haven't done enough to help each other."

Today I plan to do more for others.

Relapse Prevention Group © 2014 by Ken Montrose


Other Blogs

AArdvarks, a daily messages blog about a group of young people in recovery, can be found at: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/7372228-normally-happy