Opinions

opinionIt has been said that opinions are like wrinkles: everyone has them, and the older we get the more we have.  We give them a great deal of power.  Some of us are practically ruled by our opinions, and the opinions of others impact our lives daily in myriad ways: politics, individual human rights — even what we (or our significant others) believe we should be wearing.

When we really think about it, we can see that “our” opinions often aren’t really ours.A majority of the time they are based on the opinions of others that we glean from conversations, the news and infotainment media (usually those that tell us the things we are comfortable hearing), our clergy, friends and social sites.  Seldom do we bother to conduct unbiased research, drawing from sources on both sides of a question so that we can form original opinions of our own.  In fact, most of the things we “believe” or “feel” are things that someone else wanted us to believe and feel.  Rarely can we honestly say that our positions on issues are solely our own. Continue reading

The Built-in Forgetter

[I’ve been more-or-less absent from the blog for several months due to surgery in the family, among other things.  All’s well there, and with any luck I’ll be back to my regular lackadaisical posting.  Thanks for your patience.]

forgetterWhen we begin to “get on with our lives,” or “make up for lost time,” or study to become an addiction guru — whatever — we can easily drift away from our program.  We feel good, our finances are becoming something like organized, and we’re generally busy and entertained by the stuff of our lives.  We begin to think that we can handle it all.

The idea that we can somehow cure a chronic disease can be problematic and sometimes tragic.  People feel better so they stop taking the medications that got them that way.  We addicts stop taking care of ourselves in the ways that got us moving forward.  We get stressed, lose focus on what’s really important, and begin the slide toward relapse.

When that happens (assuming that we survive) many of us are ashamed to go to a meeting and admit that we messed up — the worst possible decision we can make.   We need to hit the brakes and return to the basics that brought our success to begin with, getting back on the path to sobriety with meetings, phone calls, fellowship, sponsor, Steps, meditation, daily inventory and so forth.  Relapse is part of addiction, and everyone at the meeting has been there or come terrifyingly close.  All we’re really doing is admitting to ourselves and other people that we’re no better than any other “bozo on the bus.”    

Why did we forget where we came from?  It’s because we are wired to forget pain.  We automatically push such memories aside, and that’s why we are able to get back on the horse, or deliver a second child, or drag ourselves up and dive back into the scrum on the field of life.  But those of us who made a habit of addictively suppressing pain in whatever way possible are even more likely to do it, and that’s why our “built-in forgetter” makes us so prone to backsliding.

Our programs are there to help us stay sane by keeping us in good spiritual, physical and emotional health.  We put them on the back burner at our peril.

Quote

‘We act as though Truth were something we could stuff in our pockets, something we could take out every once in awhile to show people “Here! This is it!” We forget that they will show us their slips of paper, with other Truths written upon them.’
~ Steve Hagen Roshi

Dental Pain Isn’t the End Of The World

giraffe-tongueI just had a tooth pulled.  It was a simple extraction: took about 2 minutes (really), including the cleanup of the socket (eeeeew!).  Never felt a thing.  

Afterward the dentist gave me all the standard instructions, including his recommendations for analgesics if needed, and said if I needed something stronger to give him a call.  I explained that I’m in recovery and don’t do drugs, but that I’d gotten through abscesses before with nothing but ibuprofen and I was sure I’d be okay. Continue reading

By Request: Psychiatric Survey Notice

NOTE: This is NOT bogus.

—–BEGIN ANNOUNCEMENT—–

California State University San Marcos
You are Invited to Participate in an Online Research Study
Scale Validation Survey (IRB Code Number: 893513-1)

 A new scale is being developed for people with various psychiatric diagnoses. The purpose of this online study is to test the validity of the scale among people from diverse backgrounds. It is hoped that this work will lead to further research and potential clinical applications. This online survey will involve completing a series of questions for approximately 25 to 45 minutes.

You must be at least 18 years old, fluent in English, a resident of the United States, and diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder to participate. You are not eligible to participate if you participated in our recent interview study.

To participate in this online research study, please visit:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FV7MTFL

 To learn more about this research study, please contact the researcher, Stephanie Price (price049@cougars.csusm.edu), or the advisor, Dr. Heike Mahler (hmahler@csusm.edu).

—–END ANNOUNCEMENT—–

Holidays Are Dangerous For People In Early Recovery

thanksgiving-mayhemHolidays can be tough for recovering people, their families, and friends. Emotions are close to the surface and expectations — good and not so good — are in the air. It’s a pretty safe bet that all of us have issues of one kind or another that are closely associated with holidays, especially Thanksgiving and the other Winter holidays. The dark jokes about wrestling around on the dining table and knocking the turkey on the floor can carry more truth that we’re happy admitting.

Wrestling aside, all sorts of things may surface when families get together. Continue reading