A Challenge

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I belong to a 12-step fellowship that deals largely with relationships — with others and with ourselves.  Last night, at the end of the meeting, the question was raised: What Is Love.

My challenge to you is to address this question in the comments.  What is your idea of love — healthy, sustainable, long-lasting love?  I’m not referring to the lust that often characterizes new relationships.  Although it has its place in the scheme of things by encouraging us to remain with the “other” until something longer-lasting hopefully evolves, it never lasts and thus is not, in itself, capable of sustaining a healthy relationship.  I’m talking about the kind of love and respect that has old couples walking along hand-in-hand and smiling at each other at the start of their second thirty, forty or fifty years.

So, let’s hear it.  Be sure to use the comments, not the contact form, so that we can all see each other’s ideas.

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People Need People

By Bill

Path-300x241One of the fellowships that I attend is focused, in the early stages, on the process of overcoming obsessions.  Obsession of one kind or another is a big component of most addictions, but some more than others.

The interesting thing about obsession is that it is a vice best practiced while alone.  Our brains go ’round and ’round, and we are unable to shake the undesirable thought pattern no matter how hard we try.  Our minds keep coming back to it, him, her, that, those, and it can seem as though ridding ourselves of the thoughts is like trying to push toothpaste back into the tube.  But put us in the presence of another human being with whom we have to interact, and things are different.
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Happy 80th Birthday, Your Holiness!

"Dalailama1 20121014 4639" by *christopher* - Flickr: dalailama1_20121014_4639. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dalailama1_20121014_4639.jpg#/media/File:Dalailama1_20121014_4639.jpg

“Dalailama1 20121014 4639″ by *christopher* – Flickr:  Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – 

“Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or non-believing, man or woman, black, white, or brown — we are all the same. Physically, emotionally and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss, and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture and language make no difference.”

His Holiness Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso
14th Dalai Lama

 

 

Blaming Has No Place In Recovery

By Bill

There is much debate about the causes of addiction: environment, genetics, moral failing, physical changes, emotional trauma and so on.  While interesting intellectually, these things have nothing to do with quitting.  If I’m acting out, the reasons for my alcoholism and other addictions don’t really matter; what matters is stopping.
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Laughing At Ourselves

To itself, a small child is the center of the universe.  It cannot differentiate among itself, its surroundings and its caregivers for some months, and can’t detach completely for years.  Since, to begin with, it’s consciousness is the only one it is able to recognize, it naturally believes that it is the center of everything, and that other people are there to tend to its needs.

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As we become older and wiser, we usually gain a sense of perspective and proportion regarding our place in the scheme of things.  However, for those of us whose emotional development was stymied by trauma, abuse, using alcohol or other drugs, or losses of other kinds, it may be difficult to move out of the “me-me-me” stage and through the various passages that lead to maturity and adulthood.  That is almost universally true of alcoholics and other addicts.

That being the case, most of us addicts have problems adjusting to the world by understanding and adopting a sense of ethics, discipline, and other such attributes — most definitely including a sense of humor that allows us to laugh at ourselves.  Like the small child, we take ourselves far too seriously to find humor in our fumbles through life.

One of the first signs of healthy recovery is the ability to find ourselves and our foibles amusing.  The ability to find humor in our mistakes and gaffes gives us a sense of proportion and our place in the world.  Instead of constantly grading our dignity, which leaves us rigid, vulnerable and fragile, we gradually develop a sense of our true importance as human beings — to ourselves and to those around us.

One of our greatest needs as social creatures is to be well-regarded by others.  As addicts, we largely blocked others out of our lives for fear of being thought unworthy. (We call that shame.) Now that we are are beginning to believe that we have self-worth, we can let down our guard and see the ways the amusing human condition shows up in our own lives, instead of merely laughing meanly at others.

By keeping our self-importance in perspective, we learn to grow up in ways that we were previously denied

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