Random First Step Notes

First Step Notes

2016-07-25_194017

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.

Am I Really “In Recovery”?

frog-on-a-log-clipart-1At most meetings of anonymous fellowships we have “go arounds”, where attendees identify themselves and assure one another that they are qualified to be present.  We hear “My name is Eddie, and I’m an alcoholic,” or “My name is Freida, and I’m addicted to gambling,” or “I’m Bill, in recovery from sex addiction,” or “I’m Larry, and I’m qualified to be here.”

Only Bill claims to be in recovery, and yet on closer inspection it may turn out that he’s merely attending meetings, while Larry — whose only claim is that he’s qualified to be here — may, indeed, be truly “in” recovery.

What does it mean, to be in recovery?  Continue reading

Long-term marijuana use changes brain’s reward circuit

“We found that this disruption of the reward system correlates with the number of problems, such as family issues, individuals have because of their marijuana use,” Filbey said. “Continued marijuana use despite these problems is an indicator of marijuana dependence.”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607151239.htm

Thought for the Day — 5/29/2016

In AA’s first years, I all but ruined the whole undertaking with…unconscious arrogance. God as I understood him had to be for everybody. Sometimes my aggression was subtle and sometimes it was crude. But either way, it was damaging — perhaps fatally so — to numbers of nonbelievers…. Even now, I catch myself chanting some old barrier-building refrain: “Do as I do, believe as I do — or else!”

Bill Wilson, AA Grapevine, April 1961

Flashback: May 22, 2014 — Concerning A Higher Power

71I heard another newcomer at a meeting complaining about how she’d had God shoved down her throat by her parents, and she wasn’t having any part of this Higher Power stuff, blah, blah, blah.  I find this sort of thing tedious, to put it lightly, having listened to and read about it frequently over the years.  Even when I was claiming to be an atheist I thought it was shallow and ill-considered.  So, since it’s my blog, I thought I’d write about my take on the issue.  MORE>>>

Limits

The idea that limits exist only in the mind is as ridiculous as the assertion that proper positive thought will make you rich. These concepts, promoted by self-help “gurus,” do attract money — to them.

500px-MONTANA-PRWithout exploring the magical thinking that underlies these sorts of ideas, it should be clear to any rational person that there are, in fact, all sorts of limits in the real world. Even in my prime, regardless of my determination, I was never going to bench press half a ton. People who don’t understand the basic concepts of government simply can’t discern what is possible and what is bullshit, and so forth.

Not only do physical and educational limits exist, there are also emotional and intellectual limits. Codependents are unable — at least initially — to discern boundaries between themselves and those to whom they are addicted. They can’t detach and let them find their own way, regardless of the price they are paying by attempting to sustain a failing relationship. Some folks will simply be unable to fathom mathematics beyond simple arithmetic. This has nothing to do with intelligence; some people’s brains work that way, and some don’t.

And there is such a thing as willful ignorance: purposely avoiding critical information because it would require us to exchange comfortable ideas for concepts that threaten our world view. People who do that are often more confirmed in their beliefs the more they are exposed to contrary evidence.

Finally, there are limits that we impose on ourselves,usually out of fear. Continue reading

QUOTE OF THE MONTH (and comment)

JKR“The tides of populism and nationalism currently sweeping many developed countries have been accompanied by demands that unwelcome and inconvenient voices be removed from public discourse…

…Intolerance of alternative viewpoints is spreading to places that make me, a moderate and a liberal, most uncomfortable….I find almost everything that Mr Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted. But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there. His freedom to speak protects my freedom to call him a bigot. His freedom guarantees mine….

“If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed the line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justification.”

~ J. K. Rowling

How does this apply to recovery?

Am I open-minded about the recovery ideas of others in the rooms, or do I preach the gospel of my fellowship and suggest that those who disagree with what I consider the True Way find recovery elsewhere?  Am I offended by the way some speak, or how they dress?  Do I raise holy hell if someone mentions drug abuse at an AA meeting?  Are my tirades tolerated; my right to my opinions honored, despite the fact that I advocate curtailing the rights of others?

Maybe I need to think about that.