Self-delusion, and other fatal habits

Addiction and self-delusion are inevitable partners. We adjust our thinking and beliefs as required to justify and protect our drugs of choice, whether they’re chemicals, sex or other addictions such as gambling, shopping and so forth. We rationalize our behavior, and become defensive whenever anyone “calls us on our shit.” We avoid confrontation any way we can, by lies, deception, sneaking around, minimizing our involvement, comparing (He drinks a lot more than I do!) (Everyone my age does it!) (It’s a normal part of life!), and otherwise trying to confuse the issue and stop folks from getting too close to the truth.

These things may fool people temporarily, but we get tangled up in our lies eventually, so that even we don’t know the truth from falsehood. Or perhaps our behavior reaches a stage outrageous enough that even a codependent’s “believer” is overcome, and they have to look the truth in its bloodshot eye. When this happens, our partners become the problem — to our way of thinking — and “if you were married to that s.o.b, you’d use drugs too!” Continue reading

If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong,

Having fun is the first condition of creativity.

Alice Miller (1923-2010*

In order to teach effectively, a teacher needs to create a curriculum that stimulates student’s minds. The best ones think up exciting, fun projects that keep students interested, engaged and — yes — entertained. (Unfortunately, most of us know what the others do.)

Recovery requires work and sometimes pain, and can become drudgery. There has to be effort, and often we don’t want to deal with the things that come up, or want to minimize them. However, it does not have to be — and should not be — boring or tedious. If it is, someone is doing something wrong, and we need to take a good look at how we’re handling our program. Continue reading

Thinking It Through

aa_think_think_thinkWhen we first get into a program of recovery, whether it is for substances or behavioral problems, we are still pretty-much controlled by our cravings. Think of addictive cravings as sort of like hunger: we may not be conscious of them every second of every minute, but if we have access to food we are going to eat — unless we have a very good reason not to.

 Impulsive thoughts are closely related to compulsion. They just spring into our heads, seeming fully formed, because we’ve been used to acting on impulse. And because impulsive acting out has been our habit for so long, we may find that if our addictive thinking isn’t straightened out quickly, we’re in trouble. A friend of mine describes it like being in a bubble — it’s familiar, and easy to slide into. Once we’re in there, we’re effectively isolated from clear thinking and common sense.

 “Think, Think, Think” is one of the most common slogans on display in meeting halls (sometimes turned upside-down to remind us of our jumbled thought processes). It’s to remind us to think things through before giving in to our impulses.

As addicts, we have to realize that we’re victims of “auto-thinking”.  Our thoughts normally run first to the familiar ways of dealing with issues. Happy: act out. Sad: act out. Dog ran away: act out. Dog came back: act out. Pissed off: act out. Acting out may not mean getting high or going on a shopping spree. It may show up as anger — nearly always based on fear — or withdrawal (ditto), or in many other ways.

Then too, just because we have an idea doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! We need to check them out carefully, in our own heads, and with others. If we’re angry, we need to back away long enough to think about the matter, then try to approach it in a constructive way instead of impulsively blowing up. Going out with the gang to a bar probably needs some thought.  Going on that date because we so miss interacting with people who might fill that empty place.  Buying that expensive (whatever), likewise.

 We also need to learn not to settle for the first good idea. There may be a better way to handle things. Our addict inside tells us that stuff needs to be resolved now — or it tells us we don’t have to deal with it at all. Neither is usually the case. We have time to reflect, but we have to deal with problems eventually, before they get bigger.  Usually, though, we have time to back off and think about it: go to a meeting and share, call a sponsor or other recovering person, journal about it, or just reflect on the facts instead of what we think about it.

 We don’t want to get locked into a rash decision, and until we learn the skills of contemplation, it comes naturally.  First of all, Think, Think, Think!




Big Change or small change?

Recovery is about change, but there’s big change and small change. Sometimes we get them confused. For example, we may realize that our program isn’t quite going the way we’d like. So we look for a new book to read, find a meeting that “suits” us better, look at a new fellowship, find a new sponsor — maybe even get a new job or move into a different halfway house, a mini-geographical cure.

This is small change, and it may even help for a while, but it’s not Big Change. Our small change may give us knowledge and temporary satisfaction, along with the excitement of something new, but it’s more like running in circles than progress in recovery. Continue reading

A group of middle-aged whites in the U.S. is dying at a startling rate

The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, the researchers concluded. Before then, death rates for that group dropped steadily, and at a faster pace.

An increase in the mortality rate for any large demographic group in an advanced nation has been virtually unheard of in recent decades, with the exception of Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union. MORE…

Are We Humans Being?


by Bill

I know that I’ve written about this before, but I had a few more thoughts.

If we examine our lives, all too often we may discover that we are “humans doing,” rather than simply humans being. Many of us find ourselves extremely resistant to slowing down and going with the flow — accepting what the world sends us without trying to live at top speed and influence every nuance of our lives. Perhaps we learned to speed through life because we became convinced somehow that we didn’t measure up in some way, that we had to race to some ephemeral destination to succeed, and that if we could only get there, we’d be okay.

Continue reading