Category Archives: The Roustabout Heart




I did not know which group to join… or who would have me.

Was I an addict who drank too much or an alcoholic who also did drugs every day? That decision was beyond me.

I didn’t want to be both. That seemed like way too many meetings, and I was already very busy getting loaded around the clock.

So I did nothing, for a bunch more years. And not surprisingly, things continued to get worse.

Today, I am so grateful for the countless resources available to me, whenever I need help. I always feel welcome in the company of my friends and neighbors in recovery.

I could not do this by myself.




Shame is an unpleasant emotion. When I was using, I did my best to avoid it. The guilt was bad enough. But at least with guilt, I was motivated to correct the things I’d screwed up.

The shame was far worse. It separated me from myself and others. I felt disconnected from everything. I did my best to pretend the embarrassment and discomfort weren’t there, and my addiction grew. It created in me a chronic sense of worthlessness that I kept trying to ignore. I covered up these feelings by getting high. Escape was an easy way to alleviate the pressure, at least for a little bit.

Once I began to recover, I started feeling strong enough to look inside myself at some of the true sources of my pain and confusion. Therapy helped me change the discouraging messages I told myself. Exposure to a reliable community of sober individuals reinforced my own positive self-talk.

Prayer started to make sense. God opened my heart and made it possible for me to practice forgiveness – across the board. I forgave everyone, including myself. It felt great to let all that garbage go.

I found so many ways to keep my sobriety fresh and new. These powerful resources help me stay clean to this day.

* Artwork by Gottfried Helen