Thursday, June 29, 2017
"If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight."
What is the point? Getting clean, staying in recovery, what is the point? What were the original reasons?
To stop getting arrested?
To stay out of jail?
To get children or a spouse back?
To stop feeling sick, afraid, and desperate all of the time?
To end being a slave to a disease?
To become sane?
To become a human being?
Whatever our original reasons, the Twelve Steps worked with a sponsor begins the task of reprogramming to become a free human being once again. With a little time clean, though, the disease of addiction plays a game on us called "selective memory" in which nothing but "good times" can be recalled.
And, you're feeling good, maybe earning money and paying bills. Perhaps the family returns or a new love relationship comes into your life, and addiction seems more like a bad dream than a chronic disease that has no cure. Perhaps you think, "Well, I've got control of this thing, now."
If you attend meetings regularly, you know what happens next. It usually shows first as not going to meetings, no longer working with a sponsor, not staying in touch with other recovering addicts, trying to maintain spirituality on last month's prayers.
See, the disease of addiction, I call "the dragon," never dies, never quits, and always grows stronger. If I let it, the dragon will gladly do my thinking for me.
I don't really need meetings. I can do this on my own. I don't have the time to spend writing and working Steps. It really wasn't all that bad . . . That is what dragon smoke sounds like. It smells like jails, institutions, and death.
On July 4th, most Americans will be celebrating Independence Day. Many by setting off fireworks and discovering why lots of folks have the nickname, "Lefty." Many will take time off, go to the beach, visit and spend time with loved ones, and a very large number will "celebrate" by using alcohol and other drugs.
For those who are not addicts, perhaps it will be a celebration. For addicts and those in recovery planning a one-time "slip" just to celebrate Independence, understand that independence is the one thing that will not result from picking up and using drugs. Instead, one might celebrate Dragonfest: the return to slavery.
Be careful out there this Independence Day; You risk losing a lot more than just your fingers.
Friday, May 05, 2017
It has a lot of names, such as, "turd-stacking," "projecting the wreckage of the future," "horriblizing" one's life, "fly-speck magnification," "asshole gazing," and many other ways to describe the disease of addiction's practice of adjusting an addict's focus until all he or she can see is what's wrong: in the universe, in the world, in the nation, in the job, in the home, and in his or her life.
As an old sponsor of mine pointed out to me, "If you stare into an asshole long enough, sooner or later you are going to get an eyeful of something that won't make you very happy."
Addiction's main tool to get us back into the nightmare is this: If I can make myself miserable enough, I'll use. Pain, troubles, unhappiness at work, at school, at home, it all comes down to "If you had my troubles, you'd use, too."
"What do you mean 'Make myself miserable,'" I asked in rehab after being told the above dynamic.
Then I learned one of the most important facts of addiction and my experience with it: I didn't use because I had troubles; I had troubles in order to give myself excuses to use."
My original reaction was, "Bullshit. It can't be that simple. Why would I make myself miserable?"
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
This weekend I am attending the Brothers In Spirit men's retreat in Alfred, Maine. Flyers and details are available at the NA Maine website under "Events." The theme is Guilt & Shame and what to do with them. Both are prime setups to go back to using ("If you'd done what I did, you'd use, too.")
Even if you do not attend the retreat, the program is published below mainly because it's fairly self-explanatory and make excellent topics for meetings, sponsorship discussions, or just plain writing.
about brothers IN SPIRIT
Welcome, a little about Brothers in Spirit, about our theme, and a time to meet and share.
Guilt, shame, & the payoff
What is guilt? What is shame? How does the disease of addiction use these to encourage relapse.
letting go of shame
To let it go we have to pick it up. Using sharing, sponsors, friends, and Steps Six and Seven as parts of letting go of shame.
Clearing past wreckage using Steps Eight and Nine
FOCUS ON FORGIVENESS
Forgiving the guilt and shame we put on others, and forgiving ourselves: Resolving resentments.
HAPPY, JOYOUS, AND FREE
Without resentment, shame, and guilt what's left is a future as a human dealing with problems instead of medicating them, keeping the way clear for happiness, serenity, and fulfillment. Step Ten, hope, and keeping growth in recovery
Regarding the question, "What Price Sanity?" the answer is, "Whatever it takes."
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The issues dividing Americans, and many others outside the United States, affect those in Twelve Step programs, as well. They are the kinds of issues that can tear apart a meeting with very real life and death consequences. That is why "we have no opinion on outside issues."
Still, to be responsible and productive citizens, the issues that affect us and the issues we can affect need to be addressed maturely and responsibly so that when we do sit and share in those meetings, we know we have done what we can do and can then let go of it all at the meeting in order to deal with the big problem: addiction.
So . . . health care. . . . Maybe we should begin with something easier. The national debt is a prob . . . ."
Okay, let me start again. Hillary Clinton lost because . . . . Enh! Screw it! I'm going skiing.PS. That is not me.