Random First Step Notes

First Step Notes

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We – If we are all the same species, it makes sense that a disease would present with common symptoms for all of us. Listening to shares at meetings, talking to other addicts, reading and other experiences show us that the effects of our addiction are the same, or very similar, for everyone. We are all in the same boat.

Powerless – once we are under the influence of our drug (including the “hits” and intrigues that give us little thrills) we are out of control. We can’t always predict what we’ll do next.

Unmanageable – we can’t control anything but our attitudes toward people, places and things.  That includes significant others, business associates, people at meetings, acceptance or rejection of ideas, and anything else outside ourselves. …

Practical Karma – Karma is real, and occurs here and now, not in some other life. In one way or another, we reap what we sow, whether directly or in quality of life:

  • angry people repel nice folks and attract other angry ones;
  • cheaters and other thieves have to watch their backs;
  • stingy people find that others are unwilling to share;
  • those who withhold emotional connection fail to find happiness;
  • and so forth.

For every yin, there’s a yang.

Am I Really “In Recovery”?

frog-on-a-log-clipart-1At most meetings of anonymous fellowships we have “go arounds”, where attendees identify themselves and assure one another that they are qualified to be present.  We hear “My name is Eddie, and I’m an alcoholic,” or “My name is Freida, and I’m addicted to gambling,” or “I’m Bill, in recovery from sex addiction,” or “I’m Larry, and I’m qualified to be here.”

Only Bill claims to be in recovery, and yet on closer inspection it may turn out that he’s merely attending meetings, while Larry — whose only claim is that he’s qualified to be here — may, indeed, be truly “in” recovery.

What does it mean, to be in recovery?  Continue reading

Flashback: May 22, 2014 — Concerning A Higher Power

71I heard another newcomer at a meeting complaining about how she’d had God shoved down her throat by her parents, and she wasn’t having any part of this Higher Power stuff, blah, blah, blah.  I find this sort of thing tedious, to put it lightly, having listened to and read about it frequently over the years.  Even when I was claiming to be an atheist I thought it was shallow and ill-considered.  So, since it’s my blog, I thought I’d write about my take on the issue.  MORE>>>

Limits

The idea that limits exist only in the mind is as ridiculous as the assertion that proper positive thought will make you rich. Nonetheless, these concepts, promoted by self-help “gurus,” do attract money — to them.

500px-MONTANA-PRWithout exploring the magical thinking that underlies these sorts of ideas, it should be clear to any rational person that there are, in fact, all sorts of limits in the real world. Even in my prime, regardless of my determination, I was never going to bench press half a ton. People who don’t understand the basic concepts of government simply can’t discern what is possible and what is bullshit, and so forth.

Not only do physical and educational limits exist, there are also emotional and intellectual limits. Codependents are unable — at least initially — to discern boundaries between themselves and those to whom they are addicted. They can’t detach and let them find their own way, regardless of the price they are paying by attempting to sustain a failing relationship. Some folks will simply be unable to fathom mathematics beyond simple arithmetic. This has nothing to do with intelligence; some people’s brains work that way, and some don’t.

And there is such a thing as willful ignorance: purposely avoiding critical information because it would require us to exchange comfortable ideas for concepts that threaten our world view. People who do that are often more confirmed in their beliefs the more they are exposed to contrary evidence.

Finally, there are limits that we impose on ourselves,usually out of fear. Continue reading

TANSTAAFL

TANSTAAFLAddicts don’t do waiting well.  It’s not natural for us to wait.  We’re used to looking ahead to the next drink, drug, romantic encounter, twinkie, sale, thrill or what have you, and we want it right now!

The culture we live in doesn’t help.  It encourages us to take the easy route to — whatever.  We are told that the next easy, fun, fulfilling, better experience is just around the corner, if only we spend, read the next quick fix book by the current guru, try the latest designer beer, buy that Rolex.  We come to believe that life would be just great if we had that new car, pair of shoes, tried out that new restaurant, could get a date with that…you get the idea. Continue reading

Bodhicitta

Nymphaea_sppIn Buddhism there is a practice called “Bodhicitta,” that is essentially the desire and attempt to bring happiness and relieve the suffering of others as much as possible.  Although that sounds like codependency, it really isn’t.  Codependency involves the attempt to move an unwilling person in the direction we think they ought to go.  Whether we are right or wrong, it is up to individuals to change themselves; we can’t do it for them.

Bodhicitta, in comparison, is more aligned with compassion, a response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help.  That’s the sort of feeling that is hopefully engendered when we get into recovery. Continue reading