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
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.
“Who looks outside dreams;
Who looks inside awakes.”
~ Carl Jung
Sometimes 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
The idea that limits exist only in the mind is as ridiculous as the assertion that proper positive thought will make you rich. Nonetheless, these concepts, promoted by self-help “gurus,” do attract money — to them.
Without 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
First of all, I’d like to apologize for the two-week hiatus from What…Me Sober?. Moving from a big 2/2 apartment where you’ve lived for 25 years to a much smaller 1/1 is a complicated project, fraught with turmoil. But that’s a story for another day, perhaps.
The beauty and joy of life dwell within differences.
~ Answers in the Heart, April 1
Who wants to watch the same sunset every evening? Who wants to converse only with people who parrot our own thoughts and opinions?
Why do I imagine that I need opinions to begin with, or that they bear more validity than other people’s? Is it because I am afraid? Of what? Does being “wrong” threaten who I am?
And where did I get those opinions, anyway? Are they mine, or did I inherit them from others through lazy thinking — or due to rebellion?
What makes me so sure that I’m right?
“Alcohol is probably the worst of all of the drugs in terms of effects on the fetus…”
“Drinking habits of both the mother and father may cause problems for children.”
At a recent meeting, someone brought up the topic of what makes a good relationship.
First of all, everyone has to want to be in the relationship. We all know, or can conceive, of situations where that is not the case. There are the obvious ones that send folks to protective shelters (if they’re lucky), and the “loveless marriages” where individuals either weren’t on the same page to begin with or grew apart over time, but stuck with it for the sake of the cats or something. There are people who are forced into business relationships which for various reasons can’t be untangled. These often “work”, but rarely well, and one or all parties are usually dissatisfied or downright unhappy.
We can all think of other situations where things don’t work out, and the root cause is usually a lack of equality. Good examples are a marriage where one party can’t be him/herself for economic or other reasons, or professional relationships where one party uses power without regard for others.
Equality is of paramount importance. Whenever one party is forced to change or pretend to change basic beliefs to maintain the relationship or please another, equality does not exist. This is most often seen in religious or ethnic situations, but can also exist in other areas such as business ethics, politics and so forth. Although these situations can seem to work out, far more often than not one or more of the parties will feel oppressed and the relationship will suffer. When equality is absent, a relationship becomes an issue of power and a struggle or capitulation are the only options. Either is a poor choice.
In the case of partner issues of these kinds, counseling – of BOTH parties, together and separately – may provide each the skills to resolve the differences. Sometimes a dissolution of the bond is the only answer. But one thing seems certain; unless some solution is reached and acted upon, someone (and most likely everyone) is going to suffer.
Equality is everything when it comes to human partnerships, of whatever kind. Trust me; I’ve been in both kinds. Equal is better.