Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Tattoo...

Got my first Tattoo this week. I've wanted to get one for a LONG time, but never had any idea what I wanted to get, so it never happened.

I'm happy I waited. This is my permanent chip to carry with me, something to never let me forget about my sobriety.

It's an ambigram (a tattooed work of art that can be read both forward and upside-down) on my right upper arm - the word Strength. I plan on getting the word serenity below it next week to form a semi-circle.

Even better is the fact I got it with my best friend. She got one on her left side that reads Hope one way and Faith the other. We both got into the final stages of this mess together, so it's only appropriate that we have a way to remember getting out of it together.

My name's Bruce, and I'm an alcoholic...

UPDATE: This wasn't something I did to stop drinking... its something I've wanted for a long time. It was just nice to get something to symbolize my sobriety.


  1. Bruce, have you talked with your sponsor? It's a good idea to check in to discuss things like this.

  2. He knew I was getting one... Can't say I'd let him dictate my tattoo decisions tho. Its more about symbolism to remember the mistakes we've made so we won't repeat them.

  3. Though I am not your sponsor Bruce, I'd sure like to talk with you sometime--to help me stay sober. Here are a few things I remind myself:

    A tat never EVER kept one (or two) from drinking!

    We gotta let go of our old ideas. "The result was nil until we let go absolutely."

    Am I willing to go to ANY LENGTH to stay sober?

    Those first few weeks are really hard ones--or they were for me anyway. Glad you're making it, and your girl also!


    Sunday morning at 9:30 (24-Hr Club) is an excellent meeting, if ya can make it!

  4. that is cool looking. my husband want to get one of those with our two daughters' names

  5. I got my first tattoo on my 39th birthday. I didn't check with my sponsor or my parents either and I doubt any of them could have talked me out of it. My sponsor is there to work through the steps of the book with me, not be my babysitter or parent. I found some great truth in that tattoo, some great truth about powerlessness and about what others think of me or say to me has power over me.

    My head (the committee my sponsor calls it) told me lots of stuff was working against my better ideas. The fact that you chose to write that it wasn't going to keep you sober indicates that you, like me, already heard some judgment or idea that 'made you' want to clarify the purpose. Powerlessness is in the need to justify, explain or reason with someone or something that has power over me. That power is the same power that takes me to the drink beyond my ability to reason it out. The feeling/power "made me" act and caused me to reason, but the reason doesn't come until after the impulse. Where does that impulse come from and where will it take me.

    Things, opinions, ideas have power over me, though at times I REALLY wish they wouldn't. Though we want to believe they don't. They do! Why?

    Have you ever noticed that there are some people, or institutions, that we can't seem to get out of our heads? Like when you went to get the tattoo... any person or thing come to mind as you were doing it... any voice of opposition? Besides the ones here I mean. Though they're not really opposing they're just expressing opinions. Why do the opinions matter? Why do they have the power to make me want to explain myself, to debate? Why do THEY have power over me?

    Those, I learned, were the voices of powerlessness, the ones I began to set to paper in a first column of a list that became freedom from having to explain, justify or reason it out in argument or debate. I began to get better from those early "decisions" to symbolize my sobriety... but only because my sponsor and the fellowship growing up around me were so great about telling me I wasn't alone and that my experiences weren't unique, they were just the right experiences to show me powers in my life.

    I realized somewhere in the process of recovery that I make lots of what seem like innocuous decisions to do stuff to symbolize or to make me feel connected, problem was ... I wasn't doing the stuff that really did get me the power. So even though the books, the hanging out with friends doing cool stuff, going to meetings and 'talking' to my sponsor symbolized a connection and weren't necessarily bad ideas, I learned something that started with some direction and suggestion on page 61 of the Big Book. Even when trying to be kind and not doing anything to cause anyone else or even myself harm I could be in the powerlessness of my disease. Of course I bet your sponsor explains this much better than I do.

    Mostly I just know that even at 39 years old it upset me that my parents and other people still affected me with their opinions (of MY tattoo on MY body, with MY friends and MY ideas about how I live MY life.) Why could they still make me feel THAT way? Good question huh?

    Bet you'll find the answer when you stop doing innocuous stuff (that's only about you and your friends anyway) that causes you to have to argue with the committee instead put the real inventory on paper! :)

    Have an awesome day today Bruce, I LOVE that tattoo!

  6. I got my first tattoo for my 45th birthday. It was something that I had wanted for a long time but wanted to wait until the right time. I will be getting one on my 50th, 55th, 60th, you get the idea. I did it for myself. It is meaningful only to me. No one could have convinced me otherwise. I told my sponsor after the fact and had a huge grin on my face, like a kid who's hand was caught in the cookie jar but really enjoyed the cookie. For me, a tattoo is intensely personal, much like my faith. I like your tattoo. What is more important is that you like it.


  7. Thanks for the comments folks. I didn't mean to snap back angrily. This Tattoo was something I wanted for a long time. I put A LOT of thought into this decision... It was actually going to be Chinese symbols for several different words, but once I saw this one I had to have it.

    I LOVE it! My best friend and I had planned on getting one together for a very long time. Originally we wanted to get out first Tattoo together, but in the midst of one of our drunken stupors last year she got one with her ex boyfriend instead of me.

    She regrets it now, and I was very upset. We finally got our Tattoos together, my first and her second. Something we will have for the rest of our lives to at the very least remember each other :)

  8. Bruce why do you say I regret it? I wanted the tattoo I got for a long time and I went to get it not based on who I was with, but because I wanted it!

  9. I meant you regretted getting it drunk and not sober...


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