Ron Morrison is retired from the US Navy. He is currently living his dream between his home in Washington state and the tropical islands of the Philippines. His days are spent working on his legacy, caring for his wife, meditating, and just being grateful. Ron runs the spirit of recovery blog where he writes about his reflections on sobriety and reviews books related to addiction and alcoholism.
1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
That depends on how ‘rock bottom’ is defined. I think the most common definition is ‘the moment when you decide you need help,’ so we’ll go with that. For me it was after losing two jobs back to back due to showing up under the influence, followed by an intervention by my wife and son.
I prefer to think of my rock bottom as the moment I surrendered and turned the whole affair over to the universe at large. That was one night, after I was three-quarters of the way through my recovery program, when the mother of all cravings hit me. That led me to a place of unfathomable hopelessness and demoralization, and sometime during the night I just gave up. I quit fighting it, turned it over to my conception of God at the time, passed out exhausted. I haven’t had a craving since.
2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
Ha! Which first 30 days? I relapsed over and over through the years. It was not always worse each time, but the overall trend was definitely down. My last first 30 days. I checked into the hospital for detox (I had an annoying habit of withdrawal seizures) and spent three to five days on the medical ward. And I did have a seizure while there. That was followed by about four months, if I remember correctly, intensive outpatient treatment at the alcohol counseling service. The balance of the 30-day period was a surrealistic blur while my body healed and my mind tried to un-fog itself.
3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
Well, I’ve reconnected with my true self. I found the courage to take a leap of faith and concede the race to the rats, which gives me the freedom to follow my passion. Maybe the best thing, tho, is just living without the guilt, shame and self-loathing I had while I was drinking.
4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
Not much I could say that I hadn’t heard and ignored already. Except maybe I could tell myself to stop looking outside for the answers, because I already have them in me. And that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
That I can choose my attitude, and making the right choice there makes all the difference in the world.
6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
Hmmmm. I picked my first cashew nut off my own tree. And I turned 61 years old. That’s more than twice what most people who knew me back in the day were betting on.
7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
Mostly, I hate the slogans. But I find the Serenity Prayer and “Live and let live” very useful.
8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery rocks because I am at peace with myself and the world in general. It’s a second chance to do something worthwhile. The possibilities may not be limitless, but they’ve expanded by several factors of ten.