Friday, November 30, 2018

Nice Doggie
The girl, whose name was Sue, added, “I remember something else you said.  Your friends had to convince you not to pet a police dog in The Original Hot Dog Shop.  One night I threw a cheeseburger to a police dog. They said I threw it at the mutt. I got arrested for assaulting a police officer.”

We laughed and people started exchanging stories of stupid things they’d done under the influence, and the people they wished would forget. 

Today I’ll be grateful I’m not adding to my list of stupid things done under the influence.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Seen it All
I got out of my car and walked over to a group of people standing in front of the church.  The girl who had been crying was wiping her eyes with a tissue.

She said to me, “I heard you speak when I was in my first rehab.  The rehab took us to an outside meeting.  You were grateful your wife and kids had never seen you drunk.  I told the guy next to me someone should put Ex-Lax in your coffee. Maybe flush out the stick.”

“Wow,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Good to know you got something out of my lead.”

She laughed. “I’m crying but I’m happy.  I’m pregnant.  Katie helped me get sober. If I stay this way, my kid will never see me drunk.” She wiped away a final tear.  

Today I’ll be grateful for all the people who will never see me drunk.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Nothing to Cry About
“We have a dog,” my wife reminded me. “Where are you?”

“Parked outside the church,” I said. “The funeral doesn’t start for half an hour. I’m watching people arrive.”

“That’s a little creepy. Are you OK?”

“I’m really good. Katie was a teacher, not a school teacher, but someone who taught people about enjoying life, never losing your sense of humor.  One new girl she sponsored is crying, but most people are smiling and laughing.  Katie had a knack for helping people find the humor in the darkest days. They’re doing that now.”

Today I’ll be grateful for people who never lose their sense of humor.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Thinking of Pooper-Scoopers
‘So now what?’ Kim texted. ‘The fuse is lit. I can’t forget how cute this dog is.’

I texted, ‘Apply the slogan: think, think, think. When I see the booze commercials I have to think, think, think. By the end I was drinking mostly alone.  No models in bikinis, no rooftop parties, no cuddling by a fireplace, wine glass in hand. Just me in my depressing apartment drunk all alone. Thinking about how my drinking ended snuffs out that fuse pretty quickly.’

‘I know. I know. I know that I know, but still…’

‘’Think about why didn’t you want another dog to begin with. Get out your pooper-scooper and ask yourself if you want to use it even more often.  Look at your last vet bill.’

An hour later I called my wife. “What do you think about getting another dog?” I asked. Sometimes it’s easier to give advice than to take your own advice.

Today I will think, think, think.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, November 26, 2018

Fused
I got a text from Kim. She’d sent me a picture of her new purse. Cara had kept her promise to replace Kim’s old purse if they went to the animal shelter together. I texted her back, ‘Congrats on the purse, but did you come home with another a dog?’

She texted, ‘Help me! I went back to the shelter yesterday without Cara and took a picture of this little guy.’ She’d attached a picture. ‘I thought I’d send it to my sister who lost her dog a month ago, but now I can’t stop thinking about him! My dog habit has been triggered!’

I texted, ‘LOL, You haven’t been triggered. If you’d been triggered, you’d already have the dog. You lit a fuse! If you don’t do something, that fuse will burn slowly until you give in and get the dog.’

‘I’m so stupid.'

‘You’re not stupid, but there’s a reason they tell you to avoid the people, places, and things of our addiction. It’s ‘cause we all have fuses and if we get too close to the flame, they get lit, sometimes without us even knowing it.’

 Today I’ll avoid anything that might light a fuse.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Five People
I woke up the next day not looking forward to the funeral.

When I trained addiction counselors, I always gave them three or four gratitude exercises.  The only one that raised eyebrows was asking them to name five people they were grateful they were not. Some thought it was a cold approach to gratitude.

I thought of five people. Some names were serious, others not so much.

I was grateful I wasn’t Katie.  I had a heavy heart, but I was alive with a full day ahead of me.  I was grateful I wasn’t my wife. She had to put with me.  I was grateful I wasn’t a fan of certain NFL teams. The list went on.

Today I’ll make a list of five people I’m glad I’m not.

 Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Home Groupies (daily recovery message novella)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Another Day
“Long day?” Dr. Deb asked as she turned out the light.

“Sure was,” I said. “Katie was one of a kind. I like Cara in much smaller doses. Not sure what’s going on with Kim and Josh.”

“Tomorrow’s another day.”

“It’s the day of the funeral, but it’s still another day.  Who knows what good might come from it?”

Today I’ll be grateful for another day.

 Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Free This Week:
Dancing with Rachel
AArdvarks: A Daily Recovery Message Novella
Home Groupies


Friday, November 16, 2018

You Bet
“While I’m thinking about it,” Dr. Deb said, “what’s with all the scratch off tickets in the garbage?”
I said, “Josh’s new thing is gambling.  He buys them twenty at a time.  He likes to say if you want to win, you gotta play.”

“The state doesn’t make money by printing winning scratch-offs. The house, the state, they always win.”

“I told him you have to play the odds.  It’s like being an alcoholic. Drive drunk often enough and you’ll get a DUI. Do the next right thing long enough, and odds are things will turn out OK.”

“Track mud through the house again and maybe your wife poisons you.  Odds aren’t in your favor.  Has Josh won a lot?”

“He makes twice what I do and he tried to borrow $100,” I said. “Because I bet on doing the next right thing, I had the money to give him. I didn’t give it to him because chances were good it would just feed his gambling habit.”  

Today I will play the odds.

 Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Something New
“What’s your other Katie memories?” Dr. Deb asked.

I said, “Guys in my first AA home-group had been into cocaine as well as alcohol. They were always looking for adrenalin rushes to replace the coke rush.  Katie got talked into going whitewater rafting with them."
“And Katie loved it?” Dr. Deb asked.

I laughed. “No, Katie hated it. These guys took her down some rain-swollen, boulder-strewn, boat-eating, killer of a river.  She banged up her arm and a leg, thought she was going to drown. Stayed mad at them for a month.”

“That’s your fond memory? Your friend almost drowning?”

“It’s a fond memory because she forgave them.  They took her skydiving and she loved it.  She taught me a valuable lesson. If you give up something that’s been a big part of your life – good or bad – you may have to do some searching to find something new.   I thought Katie was close to relapse before she took that first jump from an airplane. If you don’t find something new, you’re likely to fall back into old habits.”
Today I will try something new.

 Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Treating People Kind
I went to bed. Dr. Deb was still awake, reading a book.  She asked me about Katie. I told her my first sponsor had said when someone dies, the first thing you should do is call up three good memories of that person.

“What do you remember about Kate?” Dr. Deb asked me.

“We were at a diner after an AA meeting. Some new guy gave the waitress a nasty answer when she asked him to repeat his order.  After the waitress walked away, Kate took a spoon and splashed steaming hot coffee onto his arm. He asked her what the hell she was doing. She told him he was going to apologize to the waitress or she would dump the whole cup onto his lap.”

“Did he apologize?”

 “He stomped out of the diner never to be seen again.”

“Why is that one of your favorite memories?”

“Katie set a good example, sticking up for that waitress. Even though he left, she gave the new guy something to think about.  Other newcomers heard the story and the message. Being newly sober, maybe struggling with withdrawal or the mess you’ve made of your life, isn’t a good reason to treat people badly.”

Today I won’t use my problems as an excuse to treat others badly.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Persistent
The tapping stopped.  He pulled out his laptop and looked for a solution online. His expression told me he’d gotten the answer, but still didn’t understand the process.  He picked up his phone and typed a message. Long pause, smile.  I guessed he’d texted his sister, who also excelled at math and science.  His phone rang. 

“Mom’s upstairs, Dad’s sitting in his chair,” Brat Boy said.  After he listened for a second he turned to me and added, “Blondie says not to pay her rent, give that money to me, she’ll be happy to live in the homeless shelter until she graduates college.”

“She told you to tell me she loves me, didn’t she?” I asked.

“That might be a closer translation of what she said, but I don’t speak blonde, so who knows?”  

Brat Boy picked up his notebook, read the problem to Blondie. He explained his answer and what he’d seen online. “It’s right, I know, but it doesn’t look right.” Another pause. “Okay, thanks.” 

Brat Boy boy was smart, but it was his persistence that really drove his success.  He reminded me of so many people I’d known who’d gotten sober, lost weight,  or moved ahead in their careers by combining something they knew with persistence.  They knew they had to make a change.   Day in and day out, they did what needed to be done to make that change.

Today I will be persistent.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, November 12, 2018

Physics
“I’ll be up in a minute,” I said to Dr. Deb. Brat Boy sat in a chair across the room and started working on his Physics homework. He began tapping his pencil on his notebook. 

“Can I help?” I asked.

Brat Boy read the homework question to me. The problem involved a body’s velocity and momentum.  Apparently momentum had something to do with Mass, although for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what the body’s religion had to do with the problem.  

I was a psychology major. I asked, “How does it feel about its body as it goes forward?”

Brat Boy laughed. “You’re a big help Dad. I’ll be sure to ask my teacher tomorrow. Love you Dad, but math and science are not your strong suit.”

Today I’ll be grateful for people who love me despite my shortcomings.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose


Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.

Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Friday, November 9, 2018

HALT
We talked most of the afternoon and into the night.  Everybody left.  I got out my computer. 

“It’s getting late,” Dr. Deb said as I sat down next to her on the couch.

“Feel like I ought to do something,” I said. “I haven’t  done anything all day.”

“What’s that slogan? STOP?”

“HALT,” I said. “Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.”

“Didn’t you tell me about a study you read connecting Alzheimers and lack of sleep?”

“Good point,” I said.

“Let’s go to bed.  I’ll let you rub my back.”

“Lucky me,” I said, knowing I truly was lucky.

Tonight I will get a good night’s sleep.

 Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Replacements
As the afternoon wore on, I noticed nobody said anything about wanting a drink.  Early in recovery, all of us had struggled to stay clean and sober. We had all seemed one crisis, one sad event, away from relapse.  Over the years we’d all replaced drinking with other ways to cope with stress.

Sam had turned to food.  If Cara was to be believed, sex had become Kim’s drug of choice. Josh gambled.  Cara shopped. 

Roger and Trevor had replaced drinking with work.  I went to the gym.  Both Roger and Trevor sometimes spent longer hours on the job than they needed to.  At times I went to the gym when I had more important things to do.  All three of us were much better off because of what we’d chosen to replace drinking with.

Today I’ll replace something unhealthy with something healthier.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Worst Case Scenario
So we talked about Katie.  Like most people, we focused on all the good she had done.

Trevor said, “I know it’s strange, but when I die, I don’t want people to pretend I was a saint.  Talk about the good and my faults.”

“What’s the worst you could say about Katie?” Kim asked. “Before she got clean she stole pills from her dying grandmother. She sold her kids’ Christmas presents for drugs.”

“What’s the worst thing you could say about her after she got clean?”  Josh asked.

“If I she had shown me one more picture of that damn dog,” Billie said, “I would have killed her and the mutt.”

“Getting diet advice from somebody as skinny as Katie got old fast,” Sam said.

“She thought I had a gambling problem,” Josh said. “She wouldn’t get off it.”

“Wow,” Trevor said. “My critics could say a lot worse about me.  I feel like I gotta raise the bar, leave this world with less bad things for people to say about me.”

Today I will raise the bar on how I live my life.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

To Face the Things I Cannot Change
“Speaking of avoiding things, did you notice none of us has said one word about Katie?” Josh asked.

“I’ve accepted that she’s gone,” Cara said. “I don’t need to talk about it.”

“She hasn’t even been buried yet,” Josh said. “We’re all together for the first time in at least a decade because she’s gone. It seems a little odd not to talk about her.”

“Somebody will probably mention her passing,” Trevor said. “Seeing as how we’ll be at her funeral.” Everybody but Cara laughed.

“You don’t accept things by ignoring them,” Roger said. He put an arm around Cara. I couldn’t remember ever having seen her cry before.

Today I will accept - and face - the things I cannot change.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Monday, November 5, 2018

Tour De Frantic
“Even if I wanted to date, I don’t have the time,” Billie said. “I’ve gone back to school for my master’s degree.  I’m working my regular job and two days a week in the doc’s office.”

“If you had to work two jobs to make ends meet,” Trevor said, “I’d admire your effort.”
“I hear a ‘but’ coming,” Billie said.

Trevor said, “But I gotta wonder if you’re not riding in the Tour De Frantic. Keeping so busy, pedaling so fast, you don’t have time to think or feel.”

“I want to better myself, and make life a little nicer for my son,” Billie said.

“No doubt, but are you trying to do too much all at once? Why the second job and school at the same time?”

Billie started to say something, but stopped and stared at Trevor.

Trevor said, “I’m not judging you, I’m just asking you to ask yourself why you’re doing so much.  Getting ahead? Avoiding doing something else?”

Billie said she’d think about it. I wondered if there were times I kept busy to avoid rather than accomplish something.


Today I’ll ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Friday, November 2, 2018

Getting Past That
None of the men in the room, including me, took offense at being called a dog. We knew Billie was really talking about her ex, a lying cheating dog who abandoned her when she needed him most.
Billie had torn her shoulder moving a heavyset elderly man at work. She got addicted to painkillers and soon began diverting them from patients. She collapsed in a hospital elevator. The ER found opioids, muscle relaxers, and Xanax in her urine. She lost her job and was sent to rehab.

While she was in detox, her ex dropped their son off with Billie’s sister, cleaned out their bank accounts, sold her car, and moved to Arizona with his girlfriend. Billie hadn’t known about the girlfriend.

“You can’t let past mistakes rule your life,” Sam said. “Not all men are like whatshisname.”

Cara, having all the tact of a runaway garbage truck, said, “At least sleep with a few while you’re still relatively young. Kim can show you how to hook-up online.”  Being used to Cara, we all ignored her, including Kim.

“Sam’s right,” I said. “You can’t let past mistakes rule your life.”

Today I won’t let past mistakes rule my life.

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Doggone Smart
Billie pulled a ratty piece of paper from her purse. Putting on her glasses, she said, “This reminds me of something you wrote about your dog, Ken.” She read out loud. “My dog’s brain is the size of a walnut.  We used to walk in the woods behind my house.  Two days in a row he got a big thorn in his paw.  Now we walk the other way.  When I try to walk him toward the woods, he sits down.  He cannot be forced down the path where he felt the pain.  I have a much bigger brain than my dog.  Time and again I walked down a path that nearly killed me.  When I look in his eyes I know he knows he’s smarter than I am.  Now and again I have to remind him who smashes his muzzle on the cabinets because he’s forgotten for the umpteenth time that he cannot stop on the linoleum.”*

“Hey Ken, give yourself credit,” Trevor said. “Your brain’s at least the size of an avocado.”

“There’s more,” Billie said. She began reading again. “I will prove to myself that I have as much common sense as the average dog.  I will not return to the places where I used alcohol and other drugs.  I will not pick up the first drink or other drug. God, thank you for the dogs.  Remind me of their wisdom the next time I curse one as I clean the sole of my shoe.”

I smiled, “I wrote that a long time ago. Do you read it when you’re thinking of repeating past mistakes?”

“Whenever I think about dating again,” Billie said. “It reminds me men are dogs.”

Today I’ll try to use as much common sense as the average dog.

*from Meditations for the First Thirty Days ©2002 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination ©2018 by Ken Montrose

Dogged Determination is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and anyone you might know is purely coincidental.


Other works by Ken Montrose are available at: www.greenbriartraining.com https://www.pinterest.com/kenmontrose/mt-rose/