The Big Book Races

I recently changed my morning reading habits a bit. For the past few years I’ve been depending mostly on meditation books that were broken down into relatively small pieces, and reading other inspirational (or whatever) books in larger chunks.

This year I picked out two books in addition to the one I’ve been using for a couple of years–books not laid out in a daily reading format–and determined to treat them the same way, taking them in small, easily digestible chunks and then meditating on those readings, instead of trying to cram my head full as has been my habit for most of my life.

I read a few pages at most, stopping at what seems a reasonable point. Sometimes I read only a few paragraphs; on one occasion, only a couple of sentences. I find that I’m getting far more out of the basic text of one of my fellowships, for example, than I ever got when reading a chapter at a time. Cutting it into small chunks makes it far easier to digest and see how it applies to me. It seems that I do better with less to think about, rather than more; with small ideas, rather than big chunks. (In fact the eating/chewing/digesting analogy seems to fit perfectly, now that I think of it.)

This leads me to a problem that I’ve had with “big book” and similar meetings since back in the Dark Ages. Continue reading “The Big Book Races”

Greetings, and an observation about kitchen duties…

First of all, I want to wish everyone the best possible new year, consistent with the effort that you’ve been willing to put into your recovery. I’d go with the overall “Happy New Year,” but that’s bogus: happiness, of whatever kind, is an inside job, and no magical incantation from me is going to make it anything else.

Now the kitchen.

Let’s imagine that we are cleaning the kitchen as part of our New Year’s Resolutions.

We do the dishes and put them away. We clean out the fridge and toss the containers with the green stuff growing on the top (along with the others that we don’t really dare to open). We sweep and mop the floor. We organize the cabinets and toss all the junk we’ve accumulated and will never use into the garbage with the rest of the detritus. We sterilize the cutting board, wipe down the counters, clean the stove and the oven, and store all the cleaning stuff beneath the sink.

We look at all we’ve done and pronounce it good.

Then we take the garbage, throw it in the broom closet, and slam the door. We lock it, because we don’t want anyone to see it.

Eventually we notice an unpleasant smell in the kitchen. It grows worse over time, and then we look over at the closet and we see all sorts of nasty stuff seeping out from under the door.

At that point, we either clean out the closet and remove the garbage to the dumpster, or we’ll have to abandon the kitchen and–pretty soon–the house as well.

All that work shot to shit, when all we had to do was finish the job as thoroughly as we began.

CLICK THE PIC…

Thoughts For The New Year

“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue–if you care for yourself at all–and do it while you can.”

– Marcus Aurelius, ‘Meditations’ 3.14

“The essence of all growth is a willingness to change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails.”
– Bill W., The AA Grapevine, July 1965

And if your sponsor has you doing a yearly inventory, remember that inventories need to include the skillful ways along with the unskillful.

Hosting People In Recovery For The Holidays

Jolly, not folly…

Social occasions that involve people in recovery—especially early recovery—can pose some perplexing problems for the hosts. On one hand, a host who is aware of a guest’s need to avoid mood-altering substances may wish to do what is possible to keep from exposing them to temptation. On the other hand, social drinking is a part of everyday American culture. Most social gatherings involve some drinking by some of the guests. A host may be at a loss as to how she ought to deal with guests in recovery — especially those only a short way along on their journey.

There are some simple things to remember….

Hosting People In Recovery For The Holidays

Holiday Feelings

Holidays can be rough on people in recovery, especially those of us who haven’t yet been able to develop normal relationships with our families of origin and/or old friends. If we don’t handle them carefully, they can be a real test of our sobriety. That’s especially true if we’re alone. Then self-care and attention to our well being become especially critical.
Read more…

Post-acute Withdrawal–Why The Quick Fixes Don’t Work

One of the biggest differences between addiction and sobriety is that truly sober people are able to accept pleasure’s natural ebb and flow.

As much as we might like to have it otherwise, healthy pleasure isn’t constant. Pleasure is the body’s way of rewarding us for doing things that benefit survival of our offspring and ourselves. When pleasure becomes the norm, rather than the reward, the system breaks down. We begin to pursue pleasure for its own sake, to the neglect of nature’s original intentions. Continue reading “Post-acute Withdrawal–Why The Quick Fixes Don’t Work”