Jan 272012



I think that life done right is one long recovery process. We’re all recovering from something. Maybe for you it’s not food or booze addiction like it is for me . . . maybe it’s an addiction to selfishness or pride or anger or isolation (which it also is for me). But The Truth is that we’re all recovering jerks. The only other possibility is that we’re active jerks, and refusing to recover. Anyway, nobody recovers alone. We are in this together.


This letter is for the seven Monkees who wrote to me last night.  For the Monkees who decided last night to try to swim.


Dearest Drunken Monkee Friend,


I have been where you are this morning. I’ve lived through this day. This day when you wake up terrified. When you open your eyes and it hits you . . . the jig is up. When you lie paralyzed in bed and shake from the horrifying realization that life as you know it is over. Quickly you consider that perhaps that’s okay, because life as you know it totally blows. Even so, you can’t get out of bed because the thing is that you don’t know how. You don’t know how to live, how to interact, how to cope, how to function without a drink or at least the hope of a future drink. You never learned. You dropped out before all the lessons. So who will teach you how to live? Listen to me, because I am you.

You are shaking from withdrawal and fear and panic this morning, so you cannot see clearly. You are very, very confused right now. You think that this is the worst day of your life, but you are wrong. This is the best day of your life, friend. Things, right now, are very, very good. Better than they have ever been in your entire life. Your angels are dancing. Because you have been offered freedom from the prison of secrets. You have been offered the gift of crisis.

Kathleen Norris reminded me last night that the Greek root of the word crisis is “to sift.” As in to shake out the excesses and leave only what’s important. That’s what crises do. They shake things up until we are forced to decide and hold onto what matters most. And what matters most right now is that you are sober. You owe the world nothing else. And so you will not worry about whether the real you will be brave or smart or funny or beautiful or responsible enough. Because the only thing you have to be is sober. You owe the world absolutely nothing but sobriety. If you are sober, you are enough. Even if you are shaking and cursing and boring and terrified. You are enough.

But becoming sober, becoming real, will be hard and painful. A lot of good things are.

Becoming sober is like recovering from frostbite.

The process of defrosting is excruciatingly painful. You have been so numb for so long. And as feeling comes back to your soul, you start to tingle, and it’s uncomfortable and strange. But then the tingles start feeling like daggers. Sadness, loss, fear, anger, all of these things that you have been numbing with the booze . . . you start to FEEL them for the first time. And it’s horrific at first, to tell you the damn truth. But feeling the pain, refusing to escape from it, is the only way to recovery. You can’t go around it, you can’t go over it, you have to go through it. There is no other option, except for amputation. And if you allow the defrosting process to take place, if you trust that it will work, if you can stand the pain, one day you will get your soul back. If you can feel, it means there has been no amputation. If you can feel, you can hope. If you can feel, you are not too late.

Friend, we need you. The world has suffered while you’ve been hiding. You are already forgiven. You are loved. All there is to do now it to step into your life. What does that mean? What the hell does that mean? This is what it means. These are the steps you take. They are plain as mud.

Get out of bed. Don’t lie there and think – thinking is the kiss of death for us – just move. Take a shower. Sing while you’re in there. MAKE YOURSELF SING. The stupider you feel, the better. Giggle at yourself, alone. Joy for its own sake . . . Joy just for you, created by you – it’s the best. Find yourself amusing.

Put on some make-up. Blow dry your hair. Wear something nice, something that makes you feel grown up. If you have nothing, go buy something. Today’s not the day to worry too much about money. Invest in some good coffee, caffeinated and decaf. Decaf after eleven o’clock. Read your daughter a story. Don’t think about other things while you’re reading, actually pay attention to the words. Then braid your girl’s hair. Clean the sink. Keep good books within reach. Start with Traveling Mercies. David Sedaris is good, too. If you don’t have any good books, go to the library. If you don’t have a library card, apply for one. This will stress you out. You will worry that the librarian will sense that you are a disaster and reject you. But listen, they don’t know and they don’t care. They gave me a card, and I’ve got a rap sheet as long as your arm. When practicing re-entering society and risking rejection, the library is a good place to start. They have low expectations. I love the library. Also church. Both have to take you in.

Alternate two prayers – “Help” and “Thank you.” That’s all the spirituality you’ll need for a while. Go to meetings. Any meeting will do. Don’t worry if the other addicts there are “enough like you.” Face it – we are all the same – be humble.

Get Out Of The House. If you have nowhere to go, take a walk outside. Do not excuse yourself from walks because it’s cold. Bundle up. The sky will remind you of how big God is, and if you’re not down with God, then the oxygen will help. Same thing. Call one friend a day. Do not start the conversation by telling her how you are. Ask how she is. Really listen to her response, and offer your love. You will discover that you can help a friend just by listening, and this discovery will remind you that you are powerful and worthy.

Get a yoga DVD and a pretty mat. Practice yoga after your daughter goes to bed. The evenings are dangerous times, so have a plan. Yoga is good for people like us, it teaches us to breathe and that solitude is a gift. Learn to keep yourself company.

*When you start to feel . . . do. For example – when you start to feel scared because you don’t have enough money….find someone to give a little money to. When you start to feel like you don’t have enough love. . . find someone to offer love. When you feel unappreciated, unacknowledged . . . appreciate and acknowledge someone in your life in a concrete way. When you feel unlucky, order yourself to consider a blessing or two. And then find a tangible way to make today somebody else’s lucky day. This strategy helps me sidestep wallowing every day.

Don’t worry about whether you like doing these things or not. You’re going to hate everything for a long while. And the fact is that you don’t even know what you like or hate yet. Just Do These Things Regardless of How You Feel About Doing These Things. Because these little things, done over and over again, eventually add up to a life. A good one.



Friend, I am sober this morning. Thank God Almighty, I’m sober this morning. I’m here, friend. Last week,  my son turned nine. Which means that I haven’t had a drink for nine years and nine months. Lots of beautiful and horrible things have happened to me during the past nine years and nine months. And I have more or less handled my business day in and day out without booze. GOD, I ROCK.

And today, I’m a wife and a mother and a daughter and friend and a writer and a dreamer and a Sister to one and a “sister” to thousands of monkees… and I wasn’t any of those things when I was a drunk.

And I absolutely love being a recovering alcoholic, friend. I am more proud of the “recovering” badge I wear than any other.

What will you be,  friend? What will you be when you become yourself? We would love to find out with you.




When Jesus saw her lying there and knew that she had been there for a long time, he said to her, “Do you want to be made well? . . . Then pick up your mat, and walk.” – John 5:6-8

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery on-line community on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

  195 Responses to “Recovery”

  1. […] Today, as I write, I feel so sad for that 17 year-old version of me. But I understand. I needed to not feel the full force of life then. I needed alcohol and I needed to starve the feelings out of myself. I was unable to process and cope without those capes, as Glennon describes them. […]

  2. So last night I hit my bottom. I almost blew up everything, and ruined everything I ever knew because I am so scared of everything. The booze helped me pretend I had it together but I don’t. I hope you will pray for me, I need help. I can’t ever drink again and it is so frightening to me as I type these words. Thank you for this article.

  3. I just have to write you and tell you how much you have changed my life. i started following your blog in high school when the first thought i might be an alcoholic came into my mind, your blogs on recovery i constantly go back to when i have a bad day you make me not feel so alone i feel like i am you in a 23 year old body. thank you for being brutally honest and saving my life many times when i wanted to give up. thank you thank you.

  4. We stumbled over here by a different web address and thought I might
    as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.

    Look forward to checking out your web page yet again.

  5. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any support is very much appreciated.

  6. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can suggest? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  7. Thanks with regard to providing these kinds of superior subject material.

  8. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really one thing that I believe I’d never understand. It seems too complex and extremely vast for me. I am having a look ahead for your subsequent post, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

  9. I’d have to examine with you right here. Which can be not anything I normally do! I get pleasure from reading a publish which will make men and women assume. Additionally, thanks for enabling me to remark!

  10. Fantastic post, I conceive internet site owners need to larn a good deal from this website its extremely user friendly .

  11. I acquired more something totally new on this weight loss issue. A single issue is that good nutrition is tremendously vital whenever dieting. An enormous reduction in bad foods, sugary food, fried foods, sugary foods, pork, and white colored flour products can be necessary. Keeping wastes organisms, and toxic compounds may prevent objectives for losing belly fat. While particular drugs briefly solve the problem, the nasty side effects usually are not worth it, and in addition they never present more than a short-term solution. This can be a known indisputable fact that 95% of diet plans fail. Many thanks for sharing your ideas on this site.

  12. An intriguing discussion will likely be worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you can write a great deal far more about this subject, may perhaps possibly not frequently be a taboo topic but normally persons are insufficient to chat on such topics. Yet another. Cheers

  13. Wonderful site you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  14. Spot on with this write-up, I in fact assume this site wants significantly much more consideration. in all probability be once again to read way far more, thanks for that information.

  15. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  16. Appreciating the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  17. Hi there. I found your blog utilizing windows live messenger. It becomes an extremely well written article. I will ensure that you bookmark this obtainable time for find out more of the useful data. Basically post. I will unquestionably returning.

  18. Thanks for another informative website. The place else could I get that type of info written in such a perfect method? I have a undertaking that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  19. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks a lot

  20. Correlation =/= Causation

  21. I lack to to thank you for this brilliant read!! I without doubt enjoyed every insignificant bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out in mint condition stuff you post…

  22. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back very soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great writing, have a nice morning!

  23. Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Many thanks!

  24. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  25. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

  26. It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  27. I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be working with? I’m experiencing some minor security problems with my latest website and I would like to find something more secure. Do you have any suggestions?

  28. What made you think about such a topic. Its funny I am not the only one that feels that way about it. Keep it up!. youve gotten an ideal blog right here! would you prefer to make some invite posts on my blog? Added Additional.

  29. I just wanted to type a small note in order to thank you for these pleasant recommendations you are giving out at this website. My extensive internet investigation has at the end of the day been compensated with useful details to share with my family. I would admit that we site visitors actually are quite lucky to dwell in a very good website with very many outstanding professionals with very helpful methods. I feel truly blessed to have come across your entire website page and look forward to plenty of more exciting times reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

  30. That atomic security organisation standard said there is a prospect which will around 90 years individuals were being subjected to radiation, in keeping with information and facts gathered as a result of wpolscemamymocneseo provided by public governing bodies and other solutions.

  31. G-
    Today, for me, is day 2 of my new life minus my addiction (which happens to be pills/painkillers). I just had to tell you that this new life I’m working on, it doesn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it would. And I had to give most of the credit for that to you, G. I have this page printed and posted throughout my house and car as well as bookmarked and saved on my phone. I’ve read it and studied it countless times in preparation for this “new” me. You see, I can relate to you on SO many levels; as a mom, as a writer, as an introvert, as a PERSON; I am you! And we belong to each other. And if you conquered this recovery thing and continue to live it every day, then why the hell can’t I?! Oh wait, I CAN! You see, I’ve been an addict for at least 10 years now, to one thing or another. I’ve made it through day 1 more times than I can count. But day 2… Day 2 is the hard one for me. But this time I’m armed and ready and I WILL make it to day 3 and 4 and 5 and 637 and then some! So thank you, G. You are my inspiration and you have and continue to SAVE MY LIFE. Bless you and thanks for being you. Now…BRING IT ON, DAY 2!!!

  32. Thirteen years ago, I’d hit a really LOW low and the last person who realized the “jig was up” was me. My friend called my parents. My parents came to me. My parents took me home. I woke up. The jig was gone but I was still there. Thirteen years later, I have a new jig – one that doesn’t include pills and destructive friendships. I can still be an enormous mess but a huge difference is that I’m no longer the LAST person that knows; often, I’m now the first to know.

    Each day is a new day and I’m very happy, G, that you are having some of THE BEST new days ever! You’re so deserving of heaps of happiness :-)

  33. hi!,I love your writing very much! share we keep up a correspondence more about your post on AOL? I need a specialist in this area to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you! Looking ahead to peer you.

  34. [...] recently started reading this blog and this post in particular really grabbed me. It’s about recovering from addiction, and the first [...]

  35. G,

    I am new to your blog and I have to say better late than not at all. Your writings are beautiful and to the core. Having grown up with a Mother who has has an eating dissorder and two daughters as well I can totally relate to your story. Being present and in the moment has taught all of us to appreciate the life we have here on earth as hard as it can be at times.
    Thank you!!

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>