Hope and Expectations

I hope I’ll win the lottery, but I don’t expect to.

A lot of us addicts get our hopes and expectations amazingly tangled.  Most of us need to take a close look at the difference during our early recovery (and often afterward), because they can cause huge complications in our lives.

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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.The 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.

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A Little Exercise 

Personal responsibility is the foundation of the 12 Steps. In what way does each Step foster the development of our personal responsibility? 

(Feel free to list your ideas in the comments if you want to share them.)

Who Looks Outside Dreams

“Who looks outside dreams;
Who looks inside awakes.”
~ Carl Jung

blankmap-world-1ceSometimes Professor Jung sounds like a Buddhist teacher.  When the Buddha spoke of awakening or enlightenment, he meant the ability to see the world as it really is, uncolored by our opinions, fears, history, desires, and ambitions.  Jung’s statement is rather less detailed but no less true.

No one should be aware of and remain more aware of this than recovering addicts.  We are, by definition, people who looked — and may still tend to look — outside ourselves for the resolution of problems that have their roots inside.   Continue reading

Don’t Wait ‘Til No Ladies Sing

maxresdefaultTwenty-seven years ago today I checked into treatment for my alcoholism and addictions to other drugs. It was a terrific relief.

I’d known for a long time that I was an alcoholic. I was totally unaware of AA’s existence, and that there was an effective treatment for addictive disease. In truth, I couldn’t have been entirely unaware, because I’d been dealing with drunks and addicts for years as a police officer. It had simply managed to escape me that AA and other programs were anything other than a place to dump problems that turned up back on the street later anyway.

By the time my boss more-or-less forced me into treatment, I’d had most of the jackpots: divorce, foreclosures, evictions, loss of other people’s money as well as tons of my own, estrangement from relatives — all the fun things that we addicts collect along the way to perdition. My denial about my surface problems was pretty weak, and it didn’t take much for me to become accepting about treatment, then hopeful, and then enthusiastic. I ended up damned grateful to the Chief of Police and whoever advised him about how he should deal with his relatively high-ranking and increasingly visible problem.

So I got sober, haven’t had a drink or used since, and became a credit to my mother, my school, my family, my country and all that stuff. I worked in the recovery field. I talked recovery. I even became a bit of a recovery guru, writing about addiction on my own and for treatment facilities that needed a down-to-earth approach to some of their material. But, to a great degree, I was a fraud, and I didn’t even know it myself. Continue reading

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.