Okay, God . . . what am I supposed to be learning this time?

There’s an old saying something like, “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”  That’s certainly inarguable logic, but most of the time it fails to lead to a valid conclusion.  Most people don’t care about us one way or the other.  Those who do care usually wish us well, as long as we’re not standing in the way of their comfort somehow.  The fact is, we’re not powerful enough — most of us, anyway — to make ripples in the lives of those who aren’t pretty close around us.

Assuming that we’re not annoying other folks enough to make them want to take time to mess us up, things continually going wrong in our lives usually mean that we aren’t properly interpreting the lessons that life is trying to teach us.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but most often they boil down to our not wanting to hear what the teacher is saying.  After all, it’s not only easier but far more comforting to attribute our misfortunes to bad luck or to someone’s ill-will or mistakes, rather than to look honestly at the part we had in them.

Everything that happens in our lives is a lesson.  Good, bad, or indifferent, there is always something to be learned.  The big question is not “Why Me?” but rather, “How can I honestly interpret this lesson and learn from it?”

“Slips”

I can’t count the times I’ve heard shares in various fellowships like this: “I just had one beer, but I figured since I’d slipped anyway I might as well have another.”  (Substitute pertinent acting out for “beer”.)

All too often, these sorts of remarks are heard from folks who were “out there” for much longer than just an evening or a couple of days, most often for months or years, and they all say it got worse than before.  Because the next morning  Continue reading

Integrity

Dictionary.com defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”  

Way back in the ‘80’s during the real Miami Vice days, I knew a Dade County police officer whose beat was along the Miami River.  “Jorge” was offered $50,000 to take his lunch break at a particular time — one day, one time.  In those days, that was roughly equivalent to a year’s pay for a patrolman. Definitions are well and good, but when the bag man shows up with 50K and you have kids in school and a mortgage, it’s simpler than that: do I do the right thing,  despite the cost, or the wrong thing?

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Whose Goals Are They, Really?

I got married the first time because it was expected that I would when I reached a certain age.  It was a lousy match, and ended in divorce — for good reasons.  (I got two wonderful kids from that marriage and I don’t regret it at all, but it wasn’t exactly my choice — more a matter of the path of least resistance.)   Continue reading

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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