Is Something Gaining On You?

The past is behind you; watch where you’re going!

I was just reviewing old bookmarks, and ran across the last blog entry of a writer friend who is no longer with us.  If you want to read it, you can find it here.  Marsha was a fine writer and teacher, and a good person to have in your life.  She brought the pleasures of poetry and literature into the minds and hearts of thousands of students.  A pretty darned good legacy, when you think about it.

Reading her poignant post got me to thinking about the idea of a “life well-lived.”  Who decides about that?  I am agnostic, so I don’t look forward to some Great Beyond.  As far as I know, this is it — the whole show, not a dress rehearsal.  (Although I generally hate being wrong, I wouldn’t mind being mistaken about that; however, logic prevails.)  That being the case, the only life I expect to have beyond the grave is in the memories of people, slowly to fade until the wisps are carried away by the winds of time; a tiny part of the whole, but unnoticed down the years by those to come.

So, unless I want to indulge in magical thinking I have to accept that the sum of my life is my legacy as well, and I have to ask myself whether I’ve lived that life so as to leave something worthwhile behind, however ephemeral.

My desire to take a hard look at that question has varied over the years. I stopped drinking and drugging in 1989 and thought I was sober. As it turned out, I really wasn’t. (Think unaddressed process addiction that far preceded the chemicals.) Only in the past few years, after another “rock bottom,” have I started to deal effectively with that one.

Overall, though, I think my total progress and some of the things I’ve accomplished are probably not to be ashamed of. Whether others share that opinion is none of my business. I’ve slowly come to understand, at least intellectually, that I live in my reality, and what’s going on in someone else’s is not my concern.

However, I think it behooves us all to occasionally look back, think of our lives to date, and decide if they’re something we can be satisfied with.  If we feel as though we’re on the right track, maybe we can attend to the details a bit more closely. If it seems as though we are a bit short, then we might sit back and consider how we can re-map our journey. Perhaps our criterion should be something like, “Have I helped others as much as they’ve helped me.”

I don’t know.  What do you think?

As Sick As Our Secrets

Addiction is all about secrets.  By the same token, recovery is about letting sunshine and fresh air into the hidden corners of our souls.  In addiction we build ourselves a little fantasy world, a totally imaginary place where we go to hide when we act out. Continue reading “As Sick As Our Secrets”

It works, IF….

I just celebrated my 28th year sober from alcohol and drugs.  I write that only to indicate that I know something about this thing we call “recovery”, even if I haven’t done it perfectly.

Over the years I’ve heard and read many times that AA and the other 12-step programs don’t really work very well; that they are effective for only a relatively small percentage of people; that the statistics show — blah, blah, blah.  Putting aside the fact that since those programs don’t keep statistics (So from whence came that so-called data?), I’d have to say that I agree with them, but only with a major qualification. Continue reading “It works, IF….”

An Unsolicited Plug

For several reasons I make it a point not to review books or accept ads, “infographics,“ and guest posts on this blog, except in extremely rare situations.  When I tried it the first one led to more, and to requests that didn’t meet my standards (never easy to refuse for a codependent like me), plus other complications, like conflicts of interest, etc.  I don’t like hassles, and promoting business in whatever fashion is not the purpose of this site.  However, it’s my blog, and I occasionally make exceptions for myself when I think it’s important enough.  This is one of those times.

My long-time readers will probably have noticed the blurb in the sidebar for Joe C’s book, Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings For 12-Step Life.  No doubt the word “agnostic” turned some of them off.  I’d like to comment on that, and explain why the ad, recommendation, or whatever you want to call it is there.

Continue reading “An Unsolicited Plug”

Addiction is a disease, and we should treat it like one

Ted Talk: Addiction is a disease and we should treat it like one.

 

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 “Don’t Wait ‘Til No Ladies Sing”