Category Archives: denial

Bitch, Whine And Debate, Or Experience, Strength And Hope?

Note: These comments are not meant to apply to
newcomers or people in crisis.


I get really annoyed at meetings when the discussion veers to subjects that have nothing to do with recovery. I’m perfectly willing to admit that the irritation is my problem, but this is my blog and I’m going to discuss it anyway.  :-p

The other night I was at a meeting where the chair asked for a topic, and one of our more “intellectual” members raised a hand and commenced a five-minute dissertation on how they didn’t understand why we say in the rooms that it takes an addict to really understand an addict, why they shouldn’t just be able to speak openly about their addiction to any friend and get useful feedback, etc. They used the words obviously, clearly and in my opinion a lot. This sort of thing does nothing to promote discussion about recovery; it merely exercises the ego of the speaker.

Our fellowships are not debating societies. They are about getting a sponsor, developing a support system, working the steps and practicing the 12 principles* in our daily lives. If I want to bitch, whine or debate, I need to do it outside a meeting with my sponsor or a support, not hijack a meeting with subjects that have little or nothing to do with the process of recovery. Better yet, at whatever point in recovery I may be, I need to remember that I’m the problem, and projecting my complaints onto other people or ideas is not conducive to a genuine pursuit of sobriety.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing now: projecting my issues.

Or maybe not.

* 12 Principles? What 12 principles?

None Of My Business (Revised)

SerenityBecause I talk to folks about recovery a lot, I run across issues with self-esteem (in addition to my own). It’s not unusual to find situations where someone is obsessed with a remark they heard and blew all out of proportion by projecting their own fear onto it. Often these are comments that the offended party perceived to be “rude” and regarding which they believe that they are entitled to an apology. (Translation: “My self-esteem is damaged and I have to shore it up in any way possible without threatening it any further, therefore it’s the other person’s job to fix it.”)

I try to point out that everyone is rude on occasion, for a variety of reasons, and that even though some people behave like jackasses a good deal of the time it doesn’t mean that we have to give their remarks any more than minimal weight. I often mention that what other people think, even about us, is really none of our business. That doesn’t usually penetrate far, at least at first.

I’ve seen this a lot over the years. Some folks just don’t understand that (a.) we can’t control what people think about us, or what information about their lives they choose to share with us; (b.) that those things really are none of our business; and that (c.) we aren’t “entitled” to anything, outside of a legal framework. Our entitlements are strictly in our own heads. You get a lot of push-back when you say that to folks, but consider . . . Continue reading

Outside Issues (Tradition 10)

I get really tired of hearing the “book beaters” play the outside issues card every time someone in a meeting shares something that makes them uncomfortable. I’ve been reading AA-approved literature for nearly three decades, and I’ve not yet found anything that prohibits talking about drug, sex, shopping, gambling or hoagie addictions in an AA meeting.

Bill Wilson was a smoker and experimented with psychedelics. (His nicotine addiction killed him 36 years after the founding of AA, and we won’t even get into his extra-marital issues.) Dr. Bob was an admitted drug addict in addition to his alcoholism. Bill made it clear in a number of his writings that no one was to be excluded from A.A. meetings.

The long form of Tradition Ten reads as follows:

10 — No A.A. group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues–particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever. [Emphasis mine.]

I have to wonder why there are still people, old-timers included, who don’t get that “outside issues” means things such as the above, not matters that bear directly on sobriety. Are we here to make smokers, overeaters, benzo users and others comfortable — to pick and choose our recovery — or to make newcomers welcome and support everyone’s recovery?

I’m inclined to think that some of these issues make some members really nervous, and that’s the reason for their objection to discussion of other addictions. As we all (should) know, substitute addictions are one of the most common by-products of abstinence from any “primary” addiction.

Bleeding deacons, show me some literature that contradicts what I’ve written here. Let’s get a discussion going in the comments.

Rationality Can Equal Control Issues

Addicts are attracted to chaos. Although we crave stability, many of us find it extremely uncomfortable. Despite what we believe to be the case, we find chaos and lack of control normal, because it reflects the conditions in which we grew up: lack of autonomy, capricious decisions and behavior by others, and no stable foundations for our lives.

Who’s running the show?

Whether we came from dysfunctional families where complete chaos was the norm or equally dysfunctional roots where all the reins were held by others, the effects are the same. As kids and in adulthood we continually tried/try to gain control of our lives by controlling others or by acting out. By attempting to control others we unconsciously create the familiar conditions of our childhood in an adult setting. By acting out, we stifle our lack of control beneath drugs, eating, sex, shopping or what have you. In either case — usually, both — we are attempting to control feelings and/or situations that we find uncomfortable or intolerable.

Continue reading