About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

21 Today! (..Well 21yrs sober on the 1st of Jan)

Hey I ain't Cliffy, but I WILL have been sober for 21 !! years on the trot (a day at a time) on 1st of Jan 2008. In case these details are of interest to you)
Cool huh! Thank christ for bottled water and gym. That's all I can say!

But bless. I actually rather like Cliffy. He's an OK guy in my books.
Well I'm rather glad to have been without a drink or any other mind bending drug (illicit or prescribed) for all that time. It does you good, that's for sure.
I remember when I was new I used to think that was a really long time. I suppose it is. But when I was new it helped me a LOT to know that AA REALLY meant it when they said 'You need NEVER drink again', when they welcomed me into my home group all those years ago.
What I mean is, I took comfort from knowing that people COULD stay sober that long just by going to AA.
Amazing.

Not that it matters, but just in case you don't already know...

I have never been to rehab or psychiatric institutions. Just AA meetings.
I was REALLY mad. But AA worked for me. Mind you I found some pretty hard core big book recovery types in my home group. They had stories that would make your toes curl. And they had one it just using aa. Ah those were the days..

I have only ever done the steps (1-9) ONCE. With my sponsor from my old home group. Steps 10, 11, 12 are maintenence to keep one in 'FIT ! Spiritual condition'. (p84 i think)

I don't have a therapist. Nor do I envisage recruiting one at a later date.
I HAVE tried them in the past. The longest I had one was ? 2-3 years going once a week. I wasn't impressed. It was better than NOTHING. But I MUCH prefer, doing my 'own thing', meaning the kind of personal self awareness work that Eckhart Tolle describes in his book The power of now. I have no 'structure' as such, but I like to 'filter' whatever method I am using through (what I see as) the principles embodied in the basic text of AA. So I am kind of 'formless', but that sounds a bit naff. What I mean is I try not to be a slave to 'form', or structure basically.
BUT when it comes to taking people through the steps, I do NOT deviate from the method I was shown. Because it is the ONLY method I know WORKS. I only have EXPERIENCE of ONE method, so to deviate might ? Involve risking the other persons chances of long term sobriety. Who knows. Its just not worth the risk. So in THAT sense I am fairly repetitive.

I have not found it necessary to regularly attend any other 12 step fellowship in order to deal with or overcome other life problems. Coda, al anon etc etc. They are kind of nice to visit. Like once or twice. But I just use the AA 'vehicle' if you like.

I think the only time I have ever had mind bending drug in my system in the last 21 years is when I had a general anesthetic for 2 operations. Plus I think the injections dentists give you for root canal are 'mind altering' as such.
But I always ask for NON mind bending drugs for pain relief wherever possible.
NONE would be even better, but I am not up to the level of those people who have operations under hypnosis with NO general anesthetic at all!! I'm not sure I will EVER each that standard!

Nobody ever knows I am an 'old timer' unless I tell them how long I have been sober. Meaning sobriety has been VERY anti ageing. Thank GOD.

So yeah. AA 'works' basically.
That's what I'm trying to say.
Yeah I'm still a work in progress. Aren't we all?
Yes I still have mountains to climb. (usually mountains of text books for these essays that REFUSE to write themselves!)
But yeah, you know, there will ALWAYS be work do do.

I would say my main bit of work I am doing right now, is learning to have more FUN, and disidentify with 'victim-y' stories. Meaning not see my 'identity' as caught up in sad stories from the past. I've only just realized after listening to E Tolle audio books that there is STILL quite a significant identity caught up in the stories from the past. So that's what I am trying to drop at the moment. Its tricky, because you ending up building another identity, which I am trying to avoid. I don't want a NEW identity, I am trying to have NO 'idea' of who I am, and just BE. Easier said than done! But hey, the only instant thing in AA is the coffee! (But if you REALLY kept in in the day, you would not think of yourself as a product of a PAST, you would be TRULY in the day. In the HOUR, and the past would be something else ENTIRELY. So you see, it IS an AA principle after all that inspires this new goal...
See? The work is never done! It just changes. That's all.
Right I'm off you guys. Those essays need doing!

The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off: Jonny Kennedy

Here are the Utube links to the documentary in all 5 parts.
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy) Part 1 of 5
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy) Part 2 of 5
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy) Part 3 of 5
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy) Part 4 of 5
The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy) Part 5 of 5

I really LOVE this guy.
To me he is ? 'special', whatever that means.
I am AMAZED by his capacity to deal with such a series of situations with such good grace. In such an ? 'ordinary' (meaning ego-less I suppose) way.
It is beyond my understanding how one might accomplish that.Well I DO understand. But its like doing weight training, and then seeing another person lift MUCH MUCH more weight than you could EVER manage even with a heavy training programme. I just look at that kind of example and go ..w o w. It makes me speechless really.
I love this guy. He is an AMAAZING example.
I LOVE people like this.
Whatever. Anyway. I think this documentary won LOADS of awards. Quite rightly. Its been put together really well.
Hope you like.
Have tissues ready for the end! You will need them!
But its weepy in a GOOD way. So don't let that put you off.

If you have a resentment you want to be free of..

"If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love."

p552 Big Book from the Story called 'freedom from bondage' p544
This method is PURE MAGIC by the way! SERIOUSLY cool!
But you have to do EXACTLY what it says. No deviations, no wooly interpretations. EXACTLY what it says. (To get the full effect anyway.)
(By the way, I use the term "Pray for the Bastard' to refer to this practice.)

Written by a young woman of course. Cool!
Bless her. I identify with her!
"The mental twists that led up to my drinking began many years before I ever took a drink for I am one of those whose history proves conclusively that my drinking was a "symptom of a deeper trouble".
Through my efforts to get down to "causes and conditions", I stand convinced that my emotional illness has been present from my earliest recollection. I never did react normally to any emotional situation."
p544 Big Book

Amen!
Yeah been there, done that, got the T shirt!

I am CONVINCED (although obviously I could never prove this) that the ONLY people who take this programme SERIOUSLY. And I mean !! SERIOUSLY !!!!
Are those that have had FULL ON, no pansying around, PROPER !! P.A.I.N.

None of your 'half measure' low self esteem stuff.
PROPER A.G.O.N.Y.
Heheh
Well what do I know? But that's how its seems to me. Whatever.
I just think you have to be pretty !!! desperate to do the stuff AA suggests. That's all. I have always tended to draw the conclusion that the people who do the most work, are the people with the saddest stories.

"My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans."
Call Me By My True Names by Thich Nhat Hanh
(So yes you can feel BOTH at the same time. Weird but true!)

Frinstance. I LOVE !!!! The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off (Jonny Kennedy)
But that's another post.
TRUST ME.
That guy had a TERRIBLE time of it. But he's AMAZING.
Whatever. That's another post.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Lady Blogger!: Ann at Soberville

Go say Hi to Ann at Soberville who is 8!! days sober now . (Bless her little cottons)
Thank you Kathy at Gospodi Pomiluj for pointing her out for me!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

It's the SAD (victim-y) STORY that causes the suffering, NOT the feeling on its own

Eckhart Tolle says its the STORY (meaning self pity theme) that makes it sad. not the feeling on its own. But learning to let the story 'rabbit on' in the background WITHOUT BUYING INTO IT is the ! hard part. Step 4 helps a LOT in spotting self pity though, it has to be said..

If you stay in your HEAD you get PAIN. If you stay in your BODY away ! from the HEAD, the suffering is gone. it is just a feeling. a sensation. not a 'drama', self pity or victim story.

Whatever. as you can tell it take a little bit of practice to get right. But hey why not. Rome wasn't built in a day.
It is a cool balancing act. Its like learning to be a ballerina. Except all the balance is INSIDE.
You wouldn't slag off a girl who has JUST STARTED ballet class because she topples ! slightly when she tries to balance on tippy toes would you?
Well then! stop being hard on yourself for not being able to balance very well INTERNALLY then!
It takes TIME and effort. plus its quite a refined skill to be honest!

BTW, This approach regarding the STORY being the source of the pain, is exactly the same as the 'Neither repression nor indulgence" mantra I have mentioned before. So what he is saying is nothing new really.
Mental proliferation (inventing a 'victim' STORY to go with the emotion) is just another way of getting into indulgence (too much emotion, it multiplies, runs away wit itself and turns into suffering)
But I think I actually PREFER the way E Tolle describes it.
Whatever.
Have a nice day back at work tomorrow!

An exercise in Acceptance: Try telling yourself THIS next time you are experiencing pain, overwhelm, weepyness

Or what Eckhart Tolle calls the 'Pain body'. Whatever. The label is not that important.
This is from his book The New Earth. I think it is pretty cool. It is a conversation he had with a client who as experiencing a LOT of pain and could not 'process' it. 'Release' it. Whatever you like to ? call it.
This is what he said:

"At this moment this is what you feel.

There's nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment, THIS is what you feel.

Now. Instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is.

Which adds more pain to the pain that is already there.

Is it possible for you to completely accept, that this is, what you feel right now?

(if there is a rebellious respons of No! I don't want to accept this!)
Who is speaking?
You, or the unhappiness in you?

Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?

I'm not asking you to DO anything, all I'm asking is that you find out if it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there.

In other words. And this may sound strange.
If you don't MIND being unhappy. What happens to the unhappiness?

Don't you want to find out?"

She said. After a few minutes...
"This is weird.
I am still unhappy.
But now there is 'space' around it. It seems to matter less."

By the way. My other 'fave' for 'weepy overwhelm is the Taoist Arch. I have a post about it called Weepy? Overwhelmed? Try the Taoist arch!

Its SUPER cool. Bu that's just my opinion..
I ALWAYS tell new weepy people it to help them cope with dodgy moments during the beginning bit of recovery.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day Service in St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls is !! stunning. the current building was built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London but there has been a cathedral on that site since !!! 604AD.
You can FEEL the history emanating from the pores of the stone. it is magical, and breathtakingly beautiful.

Just thought I would post this because it looks SO lovely!
The music was ? utterly ? magical. The choir I mean. AMAZING.
I STRONGLY recommend going to a service here where you hear the choir sing as it has a really ? weird but really ! cool quality to it which is impossible to put into words. Its magical. Thats the only word I can think of that comes close to describing it. It sounds like ? angels, not people.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

A BAD workman blames his tools: Use WHATEVER you are doing as an opportunity to be egoless and present in a life of service

I was thinking about edge from u2 this morning and an interview I heard him do. I really like the way he is sort of EMBARRASED by being a lead guitarist because he sees it as being a bit naff (which very often it can be.) But that's just my opinion. ie. This interview says 'Bono added that Edge is always embarrassed about being a guitar player'
Anyway. I like this because right now my pull between study and aa 'spiritual stuff' is perceived as a 'conflict' because I see the study as a pointless intellectual exercise. Which in its truest sense it IS. But despite that, I think edge was (is) a GREAT guitarist BECAUSE he has so much ? loathing of the 'traditional' egoic role of lead guitarist.
I'm not saying he's got the answers as such, or that he is the perfect example of egoless-ness. I just find his example a useful model for me right now, as it allows me to see the 'good works' that can arise when an egoless state of presence is brought to ANY task. Even a task which is traditionally VERY ego massaging.
It shows the 'good' that can come from something that looks completely pointless and superficial. (You can tell at this point that I will never be volunteering for the next x factor, or for a life in entertainment!)
Whatever. That's just me.
Basically what I'm saying is that when you say, being a guitarist/highly paid professional /brilliant academic/top judge is a pile of sh*te that can NEVER lead to enlightenment. Well that's just BULS*IT.
ANY role can be used in the service of 'waking up'. Any one who blames their ROLE for their unconsciousness is talking out of their A*RSE. Its a COP OUT.

It IS possible for the role of grade A academic to be used as a vehicle for waking up. ANY role can be used.
If I find (what seems to me to be) the pointless to-ing and fro-ing of purely intellectual argument lacking. That is MY problem.

A BAD WORKMAN BLAMES HIS TOOLS.
Edge managed to do it, and I have always liked the results of his labour. I have benefited from it in a significant way, as I find music deeply healing in some ways.
So who am I to pooh-pooh what appears to me POINTLESS academia, which (on a superficial level) CANNOT serve the soul (as such) but leans very much towards the MIND rather than AWARENESS. WHICH IS WHAT I WANT.

I just need a little more faith that although the role of academic SUCKS for me because I feel pulled back into the thinking mind time and time again, instead of a sense of BEING and PRESENCE that I encounter when I use AA as a vehicle to serve something bigger than myself, that there IS a THIRD WAY. And Edge is proof of that. It IS possible to find a egoless presence in an outwardly ego massaging activity.
Basically I miss my 'service fix' when I am pulled into academic thought. But thankfully I have enough presence of mind to know that this is BULLSH*T, and that I CAN do this task from a slightly odd (!) mental place, just like I do when I do my aa stuff.
Basically I am out of my comfort zone, and I am sick and tired of doing academic stuff the 'old' way. I want to do it the SCARY aa way. Where I FEEL my way instead of THINKING my way.
Whatever. I'm sure I will get the hang of this eventually!!!
Hey I have 2 submissions to make by the 8th, so my Christmas will be spent close to books and academic stuff. SCARY SCARY.
Ah well. It can all be used as a way of waking up. That's the main thing.
Plus its a high class problem. Yeah! But (as you can probably tell) I get VERY frustrated when I havent figured out how to do something yet. I want it NOW. Hehheh.

Right yous guys. Have yourselves a GRAND old time, and if you feel a bit 'sucky'. TURN YOUR THOUGHTS TO THOSE YOU CAN HELP.
Hey, works for me! ..Mind you I just put Mr Ekhart Tollle on my ipod when I'm having a scary study moment. Which is too often for my liking! But who wants a life hiding under the duvet? Not me! Scaring myself is the inevitable consequence of stepping out of my comfort zone, and I am FINE with that. (!!) Bring it on!
So have a good time you guys! Much love to you.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The background ? 'hum' gets louder and more noticeable the more you observe the chaos without getting entangled in it

By the way, when I use the word chaos. I don't mean that as a 'bad' thing. A better term would be 'the full catastrophe' (as Kabbat Zinn says.)

Ive been listening a LOT to Mr Echart Tolle, (From the power of now audio books) and here's something I replied to another bloggers response to chaos in relatively early sobriety. I'm still I the process of dovetailing the two ideologies, but this shows what I make of it so far. Anyway hope you are all having a relatively stress free pre holiday time. I'm doing as little as I possibly can, and trying to say no as much as I can. Whatever. Here's what I wrote. Have a good Saturday!

The ego thrashes around like CRAZY when we are caught in a corner. the ego does NOT want to 'die' to what 'is'. Thank god the ego is not YOU. Whatever YOU are is FAR more interesting than the little old ego.

The 'actor running the show' is indeed the ego. or mind. False self. ..whatever you like to call it. but yeah, if you just observe the thrashing around long enough, the 'fight' dies down, and the ego lays there resting for a bit. Until next time anyway!

Are you beginning to sense the ? 'background' ? "calm' amidst all this exterior chaos? THATS where you are heading. THATS where the really cool stuff is. That's why you are sober and you don't want to use. THAT'S where the miracle is. Its the quiet hummm of peace behind all that clatter going on outside. The humm gets louder and more noticeable the more you observe the chaos without getting entangled in it. Some people call it being self aware. Other people call it enlightenment. Gawd knows what it is. But whatever it is, it is VERY cool.

(Mind you you only GET that stuff from doing all the suggestions. Faith without works is dead as they say. ..Just in case there are some new people who think they can leave stuff out based on what I just said!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

GREAT relationship advice in Chapter 8 of the Power of Now

Just thought I'd share that.
MUCH better than your average therapy-speak, self help stuff. (In my opinion anyway.)

Goes much further than logic alone. So to speak. Its pretty !! difficult to explain adequately, so probably easier to read it yourself.

His approach seems to be an extended essay on acceptance and surrender to whatever is happening RIGHT NOW. Perfect!
It really reveals the extremely (!!!) high wisdom of the serenity prayer. (when used to good effect.) But its a VERY SKILLFUL interpretation of what the serenity prayer means.
Right I'd better be off you guys!

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
(Oh yeah and you can get all these things straight from the iTunes store as well in case you don't already know.)

"From Park Lane to Park Bench" Alcohol affects human beings the same regardless of social position.

Bush Warns Teens of Dangers of Alcohol in the Guardian

In case you didn't see, I thought I would mention the news feature about George bush talking about how he used to drink too much. Not that it matters. But I thought you might find it marginally interesting.
All human beings are pretty much the same. And just like Cancer is no respecter of social status. Neither is the compulsive nature of addiction to alcohol.
Don't assume that I am endorsing his approach or the actions he has taken. I am not. I'm just saying this disease affects everyone the same. That's all
Meaning don't think your intelligence, or abilities will prevent you from experiencing the devastating vulnerability this illness presents you with. That's all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My 'reminder' question today is Where is the Beauty?

"When you stop seeing beauty, you start growing old"
U2. Summer Rain.

To remind myself to notice the beauty around me, this is the question I am asking myself as I go through the day today. It takes me back in the moment when my thoughts are running away with me, and makes me realize where I DO find beauty. Which is not quite where I think I will find it. It's always the little things.
Why? Because if I don't I will drive myself MAD projecting into the future with lots of scary essay deadlines and piles of books to read, understand, and commit to memory. Notes to write and rewrite. VERY scary. So noticing the beauty is a way to quiet the mind and get back to a ? 'viable' working mind state. Ah there is NO escape from the programme.. When you try to go get yourself a LIFE, you end up thrown back onto the basics, in order to make good the new life you are persuing. Oh well.
Whatever. I like the question as there is beauty EVERYWHERE if I look for it.

Right well I'm off to plough through the new pile of books (that cost me £140) Ouch! ANOTHER small pile of stuff to read...(!!!)
Jeez, how does anybody DO this stuff???
Kudos to all you guys who have done this stuff before! My hat is off to you!

Have a good Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The meaning of Pride (manifesting as Judgment) as learned in Step 4 and 5

Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Powell

I think this book explains what Sponsees (hopefully) come to understand as being 'Pride' - manifesting as 'Judgment' in step 5. This book really encapsulates the pointlessness of making ANYTHING 'good' or 'bad'.
It is essentially an essay on how reality is in fact NEUTRAL, yet we ascribe value to it either in the form or 'good' or 'bad'. This creates problems with the self, as we 'decide' some bits of us are 'good' and others 'bad', and EDIT our expression of yourself to EXCLUDE the parts we fear we will be JUDGED for...Not realizing that the very act of doing this *ucks us up and destroys any sense of authenticity and integrity. A loss or drop in honesty ALWAYS results in a diminishing and lowering of the personal state. Basically 'we are as sick as our secrets'. (By the way this does NOT mean that a 'free for all' approach to honesty is any good either!)
What's the solution? A COMMITMENT TO TELL THE UNFLATTERING EGO PUNCTURING TRUTH EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Hahhaah
Yeah! Easy huh? (..erm.. no!)
Well its not as bad as it seems. Thank GOD AA prepares us for this by the 'induction' of step 4 and 5. The idea is, is that that teaches us the GOOD things that come to pass when we learn to made ego puncturing admissions a way of life.
Oh well.
Anyway I just found this book the other day, and realize that it contains a lot of the principles I learned by going to retreats and doing step 11 stuff. It espouses 'Neither repression nor indulgence' (as the monks use to say), but kind goes on a bit so you know exactly what that sentence means. Its a book about ACCEPTANCE of the MYRIAD of internal landscapes us human beings get to experience on a daily basis! So if you have not yet grasped that YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT COMES INTO YOUR HEAD BUT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT, then this might be a good book for you to read. Its very short. I prefer thing to be expressed in more esoteric terms than therapeutic terms ,buts that's my personal preference. I find this book a little limiting, but a VERY good starting point for those who are ENSLAVED by a belief that they are 'bad, or what they think and feel are 'bad'.
No such thing my friend! Us humans ALL have weird s**t floating around in our brain space from time to time! Its no big deal! Trust me!
Right now I REALLY am off..

TONS of Eckhart Tolle on Utube. If you are interested..

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
(Oh yeah and you can get all these things straight from the iTunes store as well in case you don't already know.)

I have just discovered that there are LOADS of talks on Utube by Eckhart Tolle, so it's a FREE way of finding out what he teaches. Here is a little talk on being ordinary, as opposed to being 'special and different'. (as us AA's like to call it..)
I LOVE !!!!! 'Ordinariness'. For want of a better word. Its SO refreshing! And uncommon.
Watching him speak and his use of gestures and expressions is very interesting as I often resort to posture and expression as a way of communicating a mind state that it is VERY difficult to explain WELL by words alone.

In this clip he also pretends to be someone who is 'stuck in their head' as I like to call it. Which he calls somebody who has a lot of 'mental noise' going on.

He then goes on to 'show' how acceptance to things, such as mental noise or unhappiness COMPLETELY CHANGES the way that 'thing' is being experienced. That's what acceptance is. But he makes it quite understandable. He relates acceptance to surrender. All words we AA's are familiar with.
I must say I do like this guy. I LOVE it when people aren't too serious. I think people who are not monks and nuns can afford to be a little bit 'looser' in the way they communicate. Meaning they do not need to be on their 'best behavior' all the time.
Right gotta go! LOVELY sun over this way today!

VERY Highly Recommended. Eckhart Tolle Audio books. 'Power of Now' and 'New Earth'

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle Audiobook
(Oh yeah and you can get all these things straight from the iTunes store as well in case you don't already know.)

An alcoholic with a more advanced appreciation than myself, of the function of Step 11, gave me a copy of the above titles the other day, and I must say it's good stuff! Thanks J!
Here is a list of the audio books by Eckhart Tolle on Amazon for your reference. In case you are interested..

I have this on ongoing repeat play on itunes in the kitchen, (makes a nice change from lectures..) and on shuffle on my ipod player in the bedroom. (all night when I sleep) When I'm roaming about I'm plugged into my ipod, so basically I'm listening to this LOADS.
I leave stuff on all the time in the background. Don't know why. I just do. (Hmm.. Avoiding study perhaps? ..Heheh)
TV is for wimps! Heheh. Well see I don't really watch TV and I only put low speech radio on to provide low background noise. Music is for running, gym and cleaning up, and staying awake when I VERY tired.
Books are COOL. I am not very !!! Good at reading, but I am better at listening. Books tend to get neglected. But I cant ignore stuff that is playing.
I really like it. Its filled in gaps and put together bits I did not see were connected.
I can see that it might seem confusing for someone that is still very caught up in their ? illness before step 9. As really a much more pragmatic approach is needed until the psyche stabilizes after step 9.

Having said that, if it doesn't freak you out or confuse you, I think it is FINE to listen to this type of stuff whenever really. Only YOU will know if this is 'doing your head in' or not. If it is, then shelve it till after step 9. If not, just give it a listen but PUT NO PRESSURE ON YOURSELF TO GRASP THE WHOLE NINE YARDS for the time being. Just listen to it 'lightly'. Don't get anxious about the bits that don't make sense, just take the bits that make sense and don't worry about the rest. Oh yeah and don't do something DRASTIC based on something you heard without checking with another human being first!! You know. Basic common sense stuff really.

When I listen to stuff like this, I have no conflict whatsoever between this and AA ? doctrine. Its all one thing. This is a exposition of step 11 and a guide to 'practicing these principles in all or affairs'. That's all. How to be more honest. How to do GOOD step 10's and see though your own BS. Through to what is REALLY important. The bit behind all the pointless ego battles.
He talks a lot about the BS of the ego. I see this is a more detailed description of what AA describes as self centeredness (self obsession/ ego) and the drama we constantly act out as 'the actor running the show'. The thing that creates suffering.
Only yeah, he frames that argument within a ? Existential view of the world in a non dual way. Meaning its all one thing. Whatever. I think its good. There's no point in me trying to explain it really. I just tried so that you might get a rough idea what its about and why I like it.
But its good s**t! Trust me!

Also it is FULL of GREAT advice on relationships, how to get stuff done, and ! all sorts! Cool!
Don't think that this kind of stuff means AA is c*ap or a 'second class' version of spirituality. It is not. AA is very VERY cool, WHEN USED TO GOOD EFFECT. I don't see it as 'second class',in the SLIGHTEST. I just like this more detailed explanation as a way to add a depth of understanding to the largely EXPERIENTIAL lessons AA has taught me. So there you go. (Just in case you thought I was dismissing the AA spirituality...)

Right well I'm off. Have a great Tuesday!
I have to do some study now! Yipes!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

When (still drinking) friends or partners think we are not so much ? 'FUN' as we used to be..

"The people that matter don’t mind, and the people that mind, don’t matter"

Hmm sometimes, others (usually the ones still drinking) view our new found perspective as being a bit ? Gloomy. A bit serious. A bit .. Well not as much 'FUN' as we used to be. What then?

If a guy were to complain about us (women) not being 'our old selves' (meaning ? jolly or upbeat) this is how I would interpret a request to 'snap out of it' and 'put it behind you' etc etc.
By making such a request what he is saying is "it disturbs me now that you are more emotional than you used to be, this frightens me and I would prefer you to have emotions that more closely resemble mine"

Being anesthetized makes a HUGE!!!! difference to the way you feel things. Simple repression is NOT a viable route for you now. You require different directions. You need to learn how to navigate THROUGH the forest. NOT around it. It is the path of the spiritual warrior so to speak. Not for nancys!
If your other half stopped drinking altogether too, he might also feel things (!) differently.

Part of it is also coming to terms with the way men and women are emotionally different. John grey has some good advice in Mars Venus books.
But you cant just 'banish' stuff. You have to learn to live with the tide of UNANESTHETISED emotion, with some GRACE and HUMOUR.
That's all you can do really.
Plus you need to be STRONG enough to do the right thing when you feel overwhelmed or overpowered by unpleasant emotion. You know, usual stuff. Call people, reach out to a newcomer, meetings, fellowship. All that stuff.

But don't worry, It will be FINE. There IS a 'middle way', even is your (still drinking) other half is unlikely to ever REALLY understand what it is like for you to adopt it.
Yes you WILL learn how to be 'Sober NOT Somber', but it ma not happen overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day, so give yourself some time to figure out this new skill. It IS possible. Even if you can't do it RIGHT NOW.

Practicing 24hr service need not mean a massive restructuring of your day (Or life)

Well faith without works is dead, so I see a spiritual life as one as orientated toward the benefit of as many others as poss.

At first glance it is easy to assume that that must mean 24hr hospice work or something. But what I have found is that EVERYTHING (eating, gym, answering the phone etc) can be done with either a SELF OBSESSED agenda (motive), or a CONSIDERATION OF OTHERS welfare. (motive). meaning it is an ATTITUDE more than an action.

But having said that, when I have some spare time I DO try to use that for the benefit of others. But I also see being well and happy as a GREAT form of service, as it helps ALL those you come into contact with.

Think HONESTLY about who has helped you MOST.
What did they do?
Well that's a good idea of what REALLY helps people as opposed to how you THINK they ought to be helped.

I find it is kindness and love that helps me most. so that's what i try to offer others. Think of a 'life of service' more as a perspective, or 'view' that encompasses the welfare of others that you meet, rather than HAIR SHIRT idea of self denial and martyrdom. Because that doesn't help anyone. the happier YOU are, the more you can help others.

Don't worry about it. Just try to help a few newcomers and see what happens. You don't have to fix them. Just TRY and be helpful. Point them in the right direction and ell them the REALLY SIMPLE stuff that you take for granted, that they have never heard before. 'Its the FIRST drink that does the damage' and so forth. Might not seem like much to you, but information like that can make the difference between success and failure for those people. You'd be surprised!

Anyway better go. Just try to think of what you can do for the newest people in the groups you go to. Remind them of the baby talk. Tell them to get phone no's. Take theirs and try calling them briefly the next day just to say hello and ask what meeting they are going to later. Nothing special. But you would be surprised how good it makes you feel.
Self obsession on the other hand, is always a bit of a (!!) downer!

Monday, October 22, 2007

'Lost' in Uncharted Territory: I have no compass. And I have no map. Uncertainty can be a guiding light.

Growing up in just about any way at all means journeys out of your comfort zone are UNAVOIDABLE.
Welcome to UNCHARTED TERRITORY.
Even though this new stuff is GOOD, it can STILL feel VERY scary when embarked upon, and uncertain. Terrifying, as a matter of fact. For some anyhow.

After a lifetime of drama and fear, and survival skills, feeling comfortable can feel like something is missing.
Not feeling constantly preoccupied can feel like something is 'wrong'.
Also when really SERIOUSLY reevaluating long held beliefs WITH ALL SINCERITY, it can completely 'Rock your World'. Realizations can be VERY far from comfortable. People think insights will be 'comforting', or 'cozy'. Not so. Some can be terrifying. They challenge EVERYTHING. It can seem like there is NOTHING to hold onto. Sometimes, because, for the time being anyhow, there ISN'T. (..Oh ye of little faith.)

So I'm just saying. Feeling 'lost' or without any reference to hold on to, is not comfortable as such, but I see it as being very healthy. Meaning you are in a process of reevaluation.
BUT LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IN LIFE, you need to use a little common sense with this. Do this in moderation. Don't go 'full tilt' if you can't hack it. If its all getting a bit much, go do something very simple and reassuring, like go to a meeting and coffee after. Have a nap or go see a nice movie. You know, unchallenging stuff. Gym. Whatever.

For a LOT of us, the UNKNOWN and UNCHARTED world is the world of 'Happy joyous and free'.
The world of 'comfortable in my own skin'.
The world of 'There are no 'Big Deals'.
The world of TRUST.
The world of 'I feel safe'.
The world of 'I feel looked after'.

Not everybody. But a LOT. Especially those with abusive pasts.
Or those who live in TERROR of rejection.
Or those with CHRONIC DEPENDENDENCE upon external validation in the form of a relationship. (Most women seem to think their lives are a travesty of inconsequence if they are not in the role of wife/girlfriend) Jeez. Almost as mad as when a guy thinks he is a complete waste of space unless he is a ? 'sufficient' ? Breadwinner.
We are all as bad as each other really. We are ALL riddled with crazy irrationalities. What separates the men from the boys, is not whether we HAVE them, its to what extent we allow our lives to be DOMINATED by them. That all. So don't go thinking you are some kind of freak loser because you have spotted an irrationality. Welcome to the human condition!! It is CHOCK full of paradoxes and contradictions. Sure beats a Rubik cube any day for its brain teasing capacities!

Like Bono says in Zooropa
And I have no compass.
And I have no map.
And I have no reasons.
No reasons to get back.

And I have no religion.
And I don't know what's what.
And I don't know the limit.
The limit of what we've got.

Don't worry baby. It'll be alright.
You got the right shoes.
To get you through the night.
It's cold outside. But brightly lit.
Skip the subway.
Let's go to the overground.
Get your head out of the mud baby.
Put flowers in the mud baby.
Overground.

No particular place names.
No particular song.
I've been hiding.
What am I hiding from?

Don't worry baby. It's gonna be alright.
Uncertainty can be a guiding light.
I hear voices. Ridiculous voices.
In the slipstream.
Let's go. Let's go overground.
Take your head out of the mud baby.

She's gonna dream up the world she wants to live in.
She's gonna dream out loud.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bed Bug Infestation: Don't sit down on trains Between Aldgate East and Stratford

And other East End trains in that vicinity. Why? Because you are at risk of picking up a bed bug off the seat.
The bugs are about the size of an apple pip.
And the amount of infestation I London has shot up, but is much higher in those areas than other parts of London.
Getting rid of them is a total pain in the a*se. You have to chuck out mattresses, bedding etc. Its expensive!

Anyway. Just thought I'd share that with you!
I heard a pesticide guy who deals a LOT with bedbugs on LBC Radio recently saying he would NOT risk sitting on a London transport seat between those two stations. Plus loads of horror stories about the piles of bedbugs he has come across along the way..
Lovely!
On that cheery ! note! I will bid you all a deliriously happy Monday while I head of to (yes you've guessed it) the gym. Then Study!!

Oh and by the way I LOVE !!! this new gadget. (Super Trackstick GPS Tracking System) Pointless for someone like me as I am not scaling some obscure mountain at great personal risk, but I just LOVE Google earth, and quite like the idea of looking at a PROPER map and seeing a little journey trail of all the little places I go to. Pointless but FUN. Whatever..
I am VERY tempted to get one. We shall see.. I have a bunch of other stuff to sort out. So I'l do that first.
See y'all..

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New regular Friday meeting

I am going to start going regularly to a Friday meeting in town, as I cant make the Thursday one during term times. So if you want to find me, that's where I'll be. There is coffee after as there is a ton of places nearby. If you're not sure which one I mean email me and I'll send you the address. Ms J's Sponsee, (Ms V) already goes there.
Yeah and I MIGHT be able to make Ms L's Sponsee (Ms C's) Saturday one too, but I dont think I can make that one a regular. We shall see.

Back to sorting out my new computer stuff... !

Hidden Motives: When Genuine DESPAIR is also a form of ATTACK

I just LOVE this book. They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James
Us ladies are VERY good at being ANGRY in more 'covert' ways. We don't want to be seen throwing punches, or yelling at people in the street, so we employ SNEAKY ways of expressing HOSTILTY.
We are SO good, we don't even know OURSELVES that we are being angry after a while..
(Yeah I know some women are more dis-inhibited with 'out-and-out' anger, but this is for the ones that sneak anger in the back door. So to speak.)
Anyway here's the quote:

"Our despair is GENUINE
But is is ALSO a means of expressing HOSTILITY
A COVERT way of FRUSTRATING and RETALIATING.

ANGERED by the failure of others TO NUTURE US

We use MOODS and threats, to 'GET BACK' and ''teach a lesson'
By exaggerating our plight, and acting in a miserable fashion
We AVIOD RESPONSIBILITIES
And place ADDED BURDENS on others.
Cold and stubborn silences are PUNITIVE BLACKMAIL, a THREAT of trouble to come."
P206 They F*** you up by Oliver James.

Ouch!
I kind of knew moods were a way of being angry, but I think he has captured this trait REALLY well in this passage.
Particularly the despair and the nurture part.
I tend to view despair as something that hurts the owner more than anything. And if I am experiencing despair, I am too self absorbed to see the impact it is having on others. Even if the mood is not 'acted out' as such.
I LOVE this passage. Good old Oliver. Perhaps men have a better view of the way us women are covertly angry. Who knows. But I LOVE this observation.
I just LOVE finding hidden anger and attack.
See I don't do the more obvious moods or sulks as such. Nothing that you would notice externally anyway. I'm from the more repressed end of the spectrum. But I hadn't seen the way the feeling of despair could have a sneaky more unconscious agenda to punish, that's all.
Yeah I know some women do very OVERT moods and sulks. Door slamming. Plate throwing. Obvious tantrums and what have you. Those are EASY to spot. It is the SUBTLE stuff that sneaks in under the radar that bugs me. So there you go.

So just for the sake of clarity. If we were all really good at EGO PUNCTURING HONESTY.
Instead of 'doing' despair in this way.
We could say:
"Yes right now, it WOULD be true to say I am feeling some despair.
But in addition to that, I can see there is (quite a strong) temptation to use that mood as a way of punishing you. Classic GUILT TRIP material really..
You see the truth is, that I AM angered by (what **I** see) as your FAILURE to NUTURE me.
But rather than say that OUT LOUD, (because lets face it, it sounds a bit naff and petulant.)
Its 'easier' (Ha!..NOT!) to flail about, feeling sorry for myself, and wallow in a sense of hopelessness, (because I KNOW that will make you feel BAD) rather than deal with this problem face on. Or GOD FORBID
ACTUALLY HAVE THE GUTS TO ASK FOR THE THING (whatever it is) THAT I THINK (?) I NEED RIGHT NOW, that you APPEAR to not be giving me.
You know WHY I don't ask?

Well firstly, because I probably don't even know MYSELF what it is!!.
Why? Because I am FAR better at thinking about what I DON'T want instead of what I DO want.
When I'm in one of these moods, I'm more interested in PUNISHING you, than ACTUALLY SORTING OUT MY PROBLEM.

And secondly, because I HATE thinking of myself as NEEDY. Which is what I essentially AM, when I'm in one of these moods. Its quite a VULNERABLE place, and I don't like being VULNERABLE and EXPOSED like this. Its too ego puncturing!

Thirdly. Actually SEEING what I DO require to feel 'nurtured' is VERY, VERY ego puncturing. It makes me see my own HUMANITY. And I don't want to be human.
I want to be INVULNERABLE!
To rise above everything!
To feel FINE all the time! (ie not FEEL vulnerable EVER again.)
And even WORSE. Let YOU see me being VULNERABLE. Ouch!
These messy, squishy emotions are EMBARRASING to my ego, and reduce me (in my UNFORGIVING eyes) to the level of a pathetic blob. Basically I HATE admitting my weaknesses and BASIC HUMANITY. Even to myself. Yeah the alcoholic ego does NOT like that ONE BIT!

So that's why I throw a mood. And do the 'despair' trip.
Keeps me in the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION.
Which I can see is not really ! helping. To say the least.
So yeah, there is some genuine despair going on, and I'm not ashamed of that.
But this time I am NOT going to use it as a CLUB to BEAT you over the head with. (Which you will be glad to hear!).
I will EVEN, go so far, as to actually sit down and think about EXACTLY what version of 'nurturing' I had the GALL to harbor an EXPECTATION of receiving.
And once I have FIGURED OUT WHAT IT IS,
I might very well POLITIELY ASK YOU for that thing.
ONLY THIS TIME, I will NOT harbor a GRUDGE or an EXPECTATION that you are BOUND to oblige me in this request.
Hey I am not running the show here.
I am not the 'manager'.
This is a two way street, and I can ask, but that DOESN'T guarantee that I will 'get'.
But at LEAST I will have the GUTS to ask.
Instead of simply ALLOWING the "All is lost' and 'What's the point?' THINKING, and the feelings of despair and overwhelm that INEVITABLY accompany that.
Even if ASPECTS of those despairing feelings are genuine.

Heheh.
Im not saying you SHOULD say this, but I just thought it would be fun to articulate a more ego puncturing admission of what is going on, behind the scenes, so to speak, that Oliver James describes in that passage.
I like YANKING the dodgy thought processes into the light, for scrutiny.
The 'cure' for everything is HONESTY. Well that's what I think, so a bit of brutal truth-telling seems to pave the way for change. Well that's what I find. The truth seems to make the disease shrink back into the cracks in the ether from whence it came. Seems to banish shadows. Honesty is like a flashlight. I call it 'cleaning under the cooker'. Bleh!! No one LIKES cleaning under the cooker! Have you SEEN what's under there? Its GROSS!
But if you do get stuck in and face the ! Yukky ! Stuff down there, a burden is lifted, and we feel better.

Phew! Why cant I write SHORTER posts??
See then I wouldn't have so many half finished ones!!
Hey have a FABULOUS Thursday y'all..

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sexually transmitted CANCER

Yeah the HPV VIRUS responsible for cervical CANCER is INFECTIOUS.
EVEN WHEN YOU USE A CONDOM.
Scary huh?
What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Cancer? By the American Cancer Society
"Recent studies show that condoms ("rubbers"), while they do provide some protection, do not completely protect against HPV. This is because HPV can be passed from person to person by skin-to-skin contact with ANY HPV-infected area of the body, such as skin of the genital or a*al area not covered by the condom. The absence of visible warts cannot be used to decide whether caution is needed, because HPV can be passed to another person even when there are NO visible warts or other symptoms."

Bleh! I know. Yik! factor 10!
There is a vaccine that you MIGHT be able to get free from your doctor if you ask politely. Otherwise its 500 quid or so to get it done privately.
The good news is that the vaccine works for most of the viruses. Its pretty effective.
So if you are planning of having lots of sexual partners, you should consider vaccination. Cervical cancer tends not to show up in young women. You see it more in age 40's or so. But when it DOES show up, it kills quite a few women. The more partners you have, the greater risk you are at.
Lovely eh? As if the sexual health minefield wasn't bad enough..
Never mind. I suppose we should be cheering from the rooftops that they have discovered such an effective vaccination against cancer. That's a neat trick. Even if I say so myself.
There's a TON of stuff on cervical cancer and mortality rates on the internet if you REALLY want to find out about it.
But if you are a HYPOCHONDRIAC, save yourself the anxiety. Easier just to fork out the 450 quid and be done with it. Then you have no need to worry..

Just thought I would mention, in case you hadn't seen this on the news..
See y'all..

For your reference..
Cervical cancer vaccine for girls aged 12 on Times online.
Vaccination (done privately) for 450 quid, if you feel the urge..

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

They F*** You Up by Oliver James

They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James
I saw this the other day and bought it. It's a good un.
I must admit, I like Oliver James. I like Philip Hodson too. Whatever. This is a good book.

If you had dodgy parents, you MUST read it. It doesn't change anything as such, but it maps out some menta and emotional responses to abusive or negligent situations. Gives you a rough guide as to what you are up against. Without self awareness, you really are sc*ewed.
Awareness is the way out. So inform yourself as to how you are habitually getting in the way of your own sanity, and it will be a DARN site easier to act differently.
I don't see this as an 'answer' as such, just a useful roadmap, that informs me which is the best road to take. It is a good observation of the human condition. Read, and learn.
Knowledge is power. It is no substitute for a spiritual life, or of 'constant thought of others', but in order to behave well, it IS necessary to INFORM ourselves. Not in order to feel sorry for ourselves, but to understand ourselves better, with the aim of avoiding some of the more predictable booby traps. Education is a good thing. Anything that shows us our demons is a good thing. We need to be able to see them in order to overcome them. We cannot fight what we cannot see.

Right I better be off. Have a nice Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Do you think honesty comes in degrees? Or is it all or nothing?"


Door at UCL, originally uploaded by Irish friend of Bill.

I saw this posed on another blog and thought it was an interesting question. Anyway, here's what I make of it.

"Do you think honesty comes in degrees? Or is it all or nothing? "

Neither. Those two alternatives are too limiting.
Holding back keeps you in a retrogressive (and very repetitive) groove, regardless of how often you are honest with the less ego puncturing things.
Secondly, its the effort and the intention that betrays the caliber of ones honesty, not the result.
Going to ANY lengths? Well that's gold plated, lustrous and beautiful.
Half measures? Looks as unattractive as it feels.
There is no need to reconfigure the 'terms and conditions' of the AA programme to fulfill a personal definition. Every word in there tells you EXACTLY what you need to know. You need no further definitions.
I am certain, that you KNOW, without a ! moments hesitation, whether you are going to 'any lengths' to tell the ego puncturing truth. Or not.
See? There's your answer.

I have a TON of half finished posts ! Too do because I am in the midst of preparing for a VERY busy academic year. I am VERY!!!! Excited!
Hopefully I will find the time to post them while I go on an shopping spree, and what have you. (Any excuse!)
I WISH I could tell you how many COOL things have 'rearranged' themselves to make my life workable. I have a pretty busy schedule at the best of times, but I need to get quite ! creative when I put some MORE stuff on my plate.
Suffice to say. God is !!! good! Hahaa.
Anyway. That's another post really..
Right. Gotta go.
Bear with me on the comment moderation. There is a 'Restless irritable and discontent' commenter doing the rounds. Again! No change there then!
Right the gym beckons. As does the desperately alluring Apple store..
Have a great Tueday y'all!

(Yeah and three cheers for Johno on getting in to the new course)
Kudos! See? It works!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Constant thought of Others (Not just Newcomers): ALL life situations can be viewed as "An Opportunity for Service"

There is nothing more to life than giving. Being helpful. Its the only reason we're here really. To TRY to help one another.
See the film Groundhog day.
Any life lived in the absence of 'giving' is a life not worth having. Well that's what I think. A spirit of generosity is EVERYTHING. Without it, it is a VERY grey lackluster world.
This is a clip from the film Groundhog Day with Bill Murray.
"Helping others IS the foundation of your recovery". (p97)
"CONSTANT thought of Others and how we can help meet their needs" (p20)

Service is NOT something you do at the weekends. Or something you reserve for newcomers. It is an ATTITUDE. A service mindset.
ALL life situations can be viewed as 'An opportunity for service"
Just requires a little imagination. That's all.
Job, prayer life, family life. EVERYTHING can be done with an ATTITUDE of EITHER Self Seeking OR Self Forgetting.
EVE-RY-THING!

Alcoholics are APPALLINGLY Self centered. This CHRONIC self obsession is the root of their suffering. And poisons their experience of their life no matter HOW many fortunate circumstances they may obtain. Including fortunate religious circumstances.

If ALL you do is help the occasional newcomer, and then go right back to being CHRONICALLY SELF OBSESSED, in ALL your affairs, you will CONTINUE to suffer.

Self Seeking v's Self Forgetting
So basically Newcomers are your BEST CHANCE at grasping the importance of not being SELF OBSESSED.
If you think you can view Service as being CONFINED to newcomers, you are SORELY mistaken.
Until you TRANSFER the SKILL of SELF FORGETTING , FIRST acquired whilst working with newcomers, TO EVERY OTHER AREA OF YOUR LIFE , you will continue to "step on the toes of your fellows and they retaliate". (p62)

"Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate" (p62)

So yeah. The first 100 members were Not talking out of their A*SE when they said
"Helping others IS the foundation of your recovery".

Trust me. Its the truth. Whether you like it or not.
Helping NOT JUST NEWCOMERS.
Helping FULL STOP.

That's why they say:
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of MAXIMUM helpfulness to others." (p102) Big Book.

OTHERS.
Not JUST newcomers.

Yeah newcomers get PRIORITY. Why?
"Our PRIMARY purpose is to STAY sober and HELP other ALCOHOLICS to ACHIEVE sobriety." (From The AA Preamble)

So yeah. They get TOP priority. In terms of free time. (If any!)
But AFTER that, we help 'others'.
Ie ANYBODY.
Not just arbitrarily.
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of MAXIMUM helpfulness to others." (p102) Big Book.

Ie in a way that helps as MANY as possible. So try to help in such a way that brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number with the limited resources of time and energy you have. It is a complex moral argument. One has to delegate time and energy with the consideration of the potential impact one can make. An ineffectual and time consuming ATTEMPT to help, deprives many others who COULD have been helped with a better course of action or a more effectual strategy.
So basically its a very STRATEGIC approach to the expenditure of ones time and energy in trying to help others.

My EXPERIENCE is that when I pursue a life goal with a SELF SEEKING motive
I do not have as much success in achieving that goal, as when I adopt a SELF FORGETTING motive.
My mind is clearer, when I adopt the latter.
I can see the wood for the trees.
More is revealed.
Plus I don't p*ss people off nearly as much.
I meet the right people at the right time.
I 'bump into' the right information.
It just 'works' better.

Yeah DESPERATION gets results too. But the emotional 'fallout' for THAT coping mechanism is VERY high. Its a very UPTIGHT condition to maintain. Unless you plan on anesthetizing yourself with mind altering drugs to 'take the edge off', you could end up like a VERY !!! tightly coiled spring!

How do you know when you are doing this thing?
When you keep having the experience Bill Murray has when he is on the dance floor in the movie Groundhog Day. Ie Almost every conversation he has includes an expression of appreciation for a past act of some sort. There is also some unspoken appreciation which is just as real, but doesn't take the form of words. Its not that difficult to tell when one is appreciated. If people are always glad to see us, we can assume they benefit from their association with us.

But the rule is. Just like Bill Murray does in the film..
YOU DO THESE THINGS ONLY !! TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY LIFT ! YOUR SPIRITS.
If you become a MARTYR
You get 'NIL POINTS'

Why?
Because by becoming a MARTYR
You place yourself in BREACH of the EXPLICIT instruction
"We (meaning the first 100 members) are SURE that GOD WANTS YOU TO BE HAPPY JOYOUS AND FREE" p133 Big Book
"WE (meaning the first 100 members) ABSOLUTELY INSIST on ENJOYING LIFE" p132 Big Book

So, Get off the cross we need the wood
Do it like Bill Murray instead.
Have some FUN with it for Gods sakes!

Perhaps that clarifies what I mean when I use the word 'service' better..
Have a good Monday y'all.. Keep on keepin on as they say..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I have a great life, but I would lack the POWER to enjoy it if I did not "Perfect and enlarge my spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice"

I have a great life, (in my opinion anyway) but I would lack the POWER to enjoy it if I did not:
"perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others," (p14)

""Lack of power, that was our dilemma."
as they say.
"we could wish to be philosophically comforted, (ie enjoy all our COOL STUFF) in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (p45)"

Service. Helping others achieve sobriety, and having a life purpose of "constant thought of others and how I can meet their needs" (p20) is the lynch pin of ALL my inner joy.
So, How many newcomers are you helping stay sober these days?
They are TOTALLY mind altering!

People think I am being 'nice' because I try to be helpful. But I am am taking care of ME. Of MY life.
I KNOW that the less self centered I am the BETTER my life works. So keeping my brain in "constant thought of others and how I can meet their needs" (p20) 'gear', by trying to help alcoholics for a short while every day, is no big deal. I see it like brushing my teeth. Or having a shower. It takes about the same amount of time, so what's the problem? Doesn't feel like sacrifice to me. It feels good. Why else would I do it?

So what I'm saying is
SERVICE MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
"constant thought of others and how I can meet their needs" (p20) MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD

I have cool things in my life, but where does my joy emanate from?
SERVICE
Weird huh?
I've long since stopped trying to figure it out. All I know is THAT'S HOW IT IS. That's how life WORKS.
So that's what I do.
Easy really.

"Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now." (p124)
"If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the CERTAIN trials and low spots ahead" (p14)
"Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives."

So if you want to feel gloriously !! happy, fulfilled, and have a sense of meaning and purpose
GO GRAB YOURSELF A PERSON NEWER THAN YOU
And pass on WHATEVER you know. NOMATTTER HOW LITTLE.
Hey you gotta start somewhere.
Just TRY to be helpful. That's all. Just do your lousy best and let go of the outcome.

Then, you can enjoy all the !! Cool things in your life!! Excellent huh?
Oh yeah. And it practically GUARANTEES you stay sober!!
Why?
"Chapter 7 Working with others. Practical experience shows that NOTHING will so much insure immunity from drinking as INTENSIVE work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." (p89)

So its a DOUBLE WIN really...
Have a nice Thursday y'all..

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Short of Newcomers to talk AT? (heheee) : New Ladies in Blogland.

Feeling Restless, irritable and discontent?
That feeling of something missing?
A 'God shaped hole' perhaps?

What you need, is a MIND ALTERING NEWCOMER!!
FREE in every AA meeting!!
GUARANTEED to make you feel happy joyous and free in 5 minutes or your money back!
Remember. "It works when ALL else fails" *
TRY ONE TODAY!!
(Hey, and you're NEVER too new, to start giving it away to keep it! Kindness costs nothing!)

* It works when other activities fail. (p89)
Hehehee. Sorry I know its a c*ap joke, but I couldn't help myself.

So yeah.
The Newcomer is THE most important person in the room. (As they say)
Even if the room is a virtual one!
Besides, Its always a little opportunity for service.
From what I can see, the new ladies around at the moment seem to be...
Katia at Seeking the Cranberry(First meeting yesterday. Bless er!)
Lea at Recovering Wino
Johna at My Lifetime Movie
Krista at Wine-O
Clarity at Clarity Case
Kathym at Gospodi Pomiluj
Ms Shadow at one door away from heaven.10 months ALREADY! Time FLIES huh? Practically an old timer already!
Ms V at Onward

(Haven't posted for a while, but you just never know..)
Rhonda at journey to Wellness
SE at The World of an Addict

"Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to help other alcoholics when he escapes his own difficulties. Suggest how important it is that he place the welfare of other people ahead of his own. Make it clear that he is not under pressure, that he needn’t see you again if he doesn’t want to. You should not be offended if he wants to call it off, for he has helped you more than you have helped him. If your talk has been sane, quiet and full of human understanding, you have perhaps made a friend. Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism. This is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. he will be more likely to follow your suggestions." (p94)

Have I missed any? REALLY new ones I mean.
I have some more listed on my sidebar on the right under Alcoholic bloggers under one year.
Tell me some more if you know of any...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How it DOESN'T work: 26 Methods that FAIL UTTERLY: Religion, Therapy, Will power, Self knowledge etc

Heheh. The poor bloke in the picture! Reminds me of some of my former Sponsees on a bad day! Or before they do the 6 things! should I say! Right, anyway..Back to the subject in hand..
These are things which I see as part of Step 1. Step 1 is EXHAUSTING. This is part of the education as to what recovery asks of us. What Is required to succeed. And why previous attempts have failed.
I think ALL my Sponsees were women who had failed at sobriety previously. Either because they could not stop drinking, or they were suicidally depressed and felt life was not worth living sober. Ie they were at the jumping off place.
Basically, they are people who have 'been through the system' and it just hasn't worked. Often they are disillusioned with AA, and the programme, and they expect to fail. Again. Part of what I do, is identify what was missing from their previous approach. This is not entirely necessary, but I have come to actually quite enjoy ferreting out the offending action, or inaction. This does not mean they choose to use the information immediately. Some do. Others are 'bludgeoned into humility by pain and unremitting suffering'. But anyway, this will hopefully give you an idea of what I have learned is no substitute for the AA programme, and in many cases impedes the programme when employed prior to being restored to sanity as a result of the steps.So here goes. This is a LONG one, so you may need a STRONG cup of coffee to get to the end! Heheh.

"If you want to hide something from an alcoholic, put it in the Big Book"

In my ? 'introduction' I say "I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's BEST KEPT SECRET a lot of the time. (In my opinion). "
The reason I say this, is because 99 times out of 100, the alcoholics I bump into in meetings are OBLIVIOUS to the points I list below, despite having read the big book MANY times, yet evidentially have FAILED to study adequately.
Studying something bears NO resemblance to READING something.
This is why I INSIST on Sponsees buying fluorescent markers and a FULL size hard backed copy of the big book, so that thy will haven enough room to DIFFERENTIATE these passages, and many others. Otherwise they stand NO CHANCE WHATSOVER of finding them again. Quickly and efficiently anyhow. And I don't know about you, but I have a LIFE to be getting on with. I do not have time to waste looking for passages again and AGAIN, instead of simply highlighting it once, or making a note in the margin. Life is TOO SHORT!
Anyway. Like I say, here are some EXTREMELY EXPLICIT INSTRUCTIONS from the Big Book that MANY alcoholics I meet HAVE NO IDEA EXIST. Which is a shame. But like every other thing in AA, is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
90% of these points I learned from the "Favorite old timer" in my old home group. One of the things he used to say (That his sponsor told him) was:
"REALLY get to know the Big Book. Because you may be the ONLY walking Big Book you ever meet'
I used to think that was a bit melodramatic, and grandiose. I wish that were the case. Instead, I find many (!!) alcoholics are unaware of these, and many other EXPLICIT and UNCOMPROMISING STATEMENTS in the basic text. I would like it to be different. Because I would like the degree of suffering to be the minimum. But I am not 'running the show'. So instead I do my lousy best to pass on what I consider myself VERY lucky to have learned. If anyone picks it up and uses it, great, if not, well I never had any power over those people anyway, so it makes no difference.

Disclaimer:
Oh yeah, and if some of the things on the list 'shock' and 'horrify' you, don't take it up with me, take it up with the first 100 members!!
I happen to have found that the things that the first members documented have been true IN MY EXPERIENCE and the experience of others that I have observed using both the the same method as myself and different versions than the one I use. 20 years of 'unofficial' clinical observation, if you like.
I do NOT insist that you agree with me OR them. Because what you make of these IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.
So make of them what you will. I list them here for your information. Nothing more.
Like most things in life, applying ANY principle without common sense or with the wisdom of an experienced assistant (ie sponsor) can end up with disastrous results. So don't blame me, If you apply ANY of these in an incredibly kack-handed way, and suffer as a result. That's what sponsors are for!
What I am NOT saying, is that these things have no value at all. Because that's not what the first 100 members said either. These methods fail as ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROGRAMME OF RECOVERY, not !! as a WAY OF PRACTICNG ASPECTS THE SUGGESTED PROGRAMME IN ITS ENTIRETY. But I'm too tired to explain that now. Enough! Another day!
Anyway, I'm waffling now. Here's the list.

How it DOESN'T work.
1. Religion.
2. Human power.
3. Therapy.
4. Self knowledge.
5. Humiliation (The memory of.)
6. Half measures. (As opposed to "Any lengths'.)
7. Holding on to your OLD IDEAS. (This is EASILY the TOUGHEST requirement.)
8. A Mental Defence.
9. Thinking. (As opposed to ACTION. i.e.: Trying to THINK yourself well)
10. Will power. (i.e.: White knuckle. Self will. 'Trying hard', Exerting oneself.)
11. Keeping on guard.
12. Avoiding temptation .
13. Moral and philosophical convictions.
14. Just not drinking.
15. Just going to meetings.
16. Kidding (deluding) yourself that you are enjoying sobriety when deep down you are NOT.
17. Having a "Befogged" brain.
18. Your conduct continues to harm others. (And you are not sorry.)
19. Self reliance.
20. Self Confidence.
21. Constant thought of SELF.
22. Indulging the 'dubious luxury" of anger, resentment, retaliation, or argument.
23. Trying to keep ego puncturing admissions to yourself (You are as sick as your secrets.)
24. An 'easier softer' way.
25. Being Vague.
26. Not COMPLETELY 'giving yourself' to THIS simple program.

(All Page references below refer to the Basic Text of Alcoholics Anonymous.)
1. Religion.
"Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may be FAR superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he well be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient." (p93)
"He interrupted: "I used to be strong for the church but that won’t fix it. I’ve prayed to God on hangover mornings and sworn that I’d never touch another drop but by nine o’clock I’d be boiled as an owl." (p157)
"Then he (the Lawyer) added, "He (God) sure didn’t do much for me when I was trying to fight this booze racket alone." (p158)
("Alone" here refers to without OTHER ALCOHOLICS as opposed to other similarly inclined religious people.)
"To be vital, faith MUST be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive ACTION." (p93)
"Though not a religious person, I have profound respect for the SPIRITUAL approach in such cases as yours. For most cases, there is virtually no other solution." (p43)

2. Human power.
(that includes therapists, Priests, etc as the last time I heard, they are STILL using human ones.)

"No human power could have relieved our alcoholism." (p63)
"Neither he nor ANY other human being can provide such a defense. His defense MUST come from a Higher Power." (p43)
"Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (p45)
"Something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change." (pXXVII)
"There is NO doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from DIVINE help." (p43)

3. Therapy.
(ie Human power)

"Neither he nor ANY other human being can provide such a defense. His defense MUST come from a Higher Power." (p43)
"No human power could have relieved our alcoholism." (p63)
(Doesn't say, "except for therapists, or religious people")
"Something more than human power is needed to produce the essential psychic change." (pXXVII)
"He had consulted the BEST known American psychiatrists. Then he had gone to Europe, placing himself in the care of a celebrated physician (the psychiatrist, Dr. Jung) who prescribed for him. Though experience had made him skeptical, he finished his treatment with unusual confidence. His physical and mental condition were unusually good. Above all, he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable. Nevertheless, he was drunk in a short time. More baffling still, he could give himself no satisfactory explanation for his fall." (p26)
"There is NO doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from DIVINE help." (p43)

4. Self knowledge.
"The actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly any exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize, to smash home upon our alcoholic readers as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience." (p39)
"Above all, he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable. Nevertheless, he was drunk in a short time. More baffling still, he could give himself no satisfactory explanation for his fall." (p26)
"Why was it, when these dangers were pointed out that they agreed, and then got drunk again immediately?(p107)
"I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots." (p42)

5. Humiliation.
(the memory of)

"We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink." (p24)
"The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove." (p24)
"This time I had not thought of the consequences at all." (p41)
"Why was it, when these dangers were pointed out that they agreed, and then got drunk again immediately?(p107)
"Why could they not see that drink meant ruin to them? (p107)

6. Half measures.
(As opposed to "Any lengths')

"Half measures availed us NOTHING" (p59)
"We believe there is no middle-of-the-road solution." (p25)
"The result was NIL until we let go ABSOLUTELY." (p58)
"IF you have decided you WANT what we have and are willing to go to ANY LENGTHS to get it- THEN you are ready to take certain steps. (p58)
"Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to ANY LENGTHS to find a spiritual experience" (p79)
"Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to ANY LENGTHS for victory over alcohol." (p76)

7. Holding on to your OLD IDEAS.
(This is EASILY the TOUGHEST requirement.)

"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and THE RESULT WAS NIL until we let go ABSOLUTELY." (p58)

8. A Mental Defence.
(ie: thinking in the form of reliance on ones thinking to 'save' you from temptation)

"We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink." (p24)
"neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." (p43)
"The almost certain consequences that follow taking even a glass of beer do not crowd into the mind to deter us. If these thoughts occur, they are hazy and readily supplanted with the old threadbare idea that this time we shall handle ourselves like other people. There is a complete failure of the kind of defense that keeps one from putting his hand on a hot stove." (p24)
"They prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come-I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. (p41)
"I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots."
(p42)
"This time I had not thought of the consequences at all." (p41)
"Why was it, when these dangers were pointed out that they agreed, and then got drunk again immediately?(p107)

9. Thinking.
(As opposed to ACTION. ie: Trying to THINK yourself well.)

"Outline the PROGRAM OF ACTION, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him (p94)
"the spiritual answer and PROGRAM OF ACTION which a hundred of them had followed successfully." (p42)
"They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical PROGRAM OF ACTION." (p69)
"To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive ACTION." (p93)
"This is not all. There is ACTION and MORE ACTION “Faith without works is dead.” (p88)
"We pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or ACTION." (p87)
"We have then completed Step Seven. Now we need MORE ACTION, without which we find that “Faith without works is dead.” (p76)
Chapter 6 Into ACTION (p72)
"Next we launched out on a course of vigorous ACTION" (p63)
"The two friends spoke of their spiritual experience and told him about THE COURSE OF ACTION they carried out." (p157)
"You may suggest A DEFINITE COURSE OF ACTION" (p142)

10. Will power.
(ie: White knuckle. Self will. 'Trying hard', Exerting oneself.)

"Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent." (p24)
"Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (p45)
"In alcoholics the will is amazingly weakened when it comes to combating liquor, though if often remains strong in other respects." (p7)
"The queer mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power." (p92)
"I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots." (p42)
"What has become of the common sense and will power that he still sometimes displays with respect to other matters?" (p102)
"The man agreed that no amount of will power he might muster could stop his drinking for long. A spiritual experience, he conceded, was absolutely necessary" (p155)
"Such codes and philosophies did not save us, NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TRIED" (p45)
"Can you discard the feeling that you are dealing only with habit, with stubbornness, or a weak will? If this presents difficulty, re-reading chapters two and three, where alcoholic sickness is discussed at length might be worth while. (p140)
"How could they be so blind about themselves? What had become of their judgment, their common sense, their will power? Why could they not see that drink meant ruin to them? Why was it, when these dangers were pointed out that they agreed, and then got drunk again immediately?(p107)
"We had gone on drinking many years beyond the point where we could quit on our will power." (p34)
"His human will had failed" (p11)
"Oh no,” said my friend, “this chap is either through with liquor, or he is minus a job. If he has your will power and guts, he will make the grade.”
I wanted to throw up my hands in discouragement, for I saw that I had failed to help my banker friend understand. He simply could not believe that his brother-executive suffered from a serious illness." (p139)
"I felt I had every right to be self-confident, that it would be only a matter of exercising my WILL POWER and keeping on guard." (p40)

11. Keeping on guard.
"We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink." (p24)
"I felt I had every right to be self-confident, that it would be only a matter of exercising my will power and keeping on guard." (p40)
"Not only had I been off guard, I had made no fight whatever against the first drink. This time I had not thought of the consequences at all." (p41)

12. Avoiding temptation.
(without doing the programme of recovery.)

"Any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure." (p101)
"Nor are you trying to run his life so he will be shielded from temptation to drink. If he is conscientiously following the program of recovery he can go anywhere your business may call him." (p147)
"Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do." (p100)
"We meet these conditions every day. An alcoholic who cannot meet them, still has an alcoholic mind; there is something the matter with his spiritual status. His only chance for sobriety would be some place like the Greenland Ice Cap, and even there an Eskimo might turn up with a bottle of scotch and ruin everything!" (p101)
"Our rule is not to avoid a place where there is drinking, if we have a legitimate reason for being there." (p101)

13. Moral and philosophical convictions.
"We found that such codes and philosophies DID NOT SAVE US, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn't there. Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly." (p45)
"Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to." (p62)

14. Just not drinking.
"We feel a man is unthinking when he says that sobriety is enough." (p82)
"Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition." (p122)
"Those who DO NOT RECOVER are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program" (p58)
"Half measures availed us NOTHING" (p59)

15. Just going to meetings.
(As opposed to COMPLETELY giving oneself to THIS simple programme)
"Those who DO NOT RECOVER are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to THIS simple program" (p58)
"Half measures availed us NOTHING" (p59)

16. Kidding (deluding) yourself that you are enjoying sobriety when deep down you are NOT.
"We smile at such a sally. We know our friend is like a boy whistling in the dark to keep up his spirits. He fools himself. Inwardly he would give ANYTHING to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life without alcohol." (p152)

17. Having a "Befogged" brain.
"It is IMPERATIVE that a man’s brain be cleared BEFORE he is approached"
( pxxiv)

18. Your conduct continues to harm others. (And you are not sorry).
"If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, WE ARE QUITE SURE TO DRINK We are not theorizing. These are facts out of our experience" (p70)

19. Self Reliance.
"Wasn't it because self-reliance failed us? Self-reliance was good as far as it went, BUT IT DIDN'T GO FAR ENOUGH. (p68)

20. Self Confidence.
"Some of us once had great self-confidence, but it didn't fully solve the fear problem, or ANY other." (p68)

21. Constant thought of SELF.
"Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of OTHERS and how we may help meet THEIR needs." (p20)
"Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery." (p97)
"A kindly act once in a while isn’t enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be." (p97)
"Chapter 7 Working with others. Practical experience shows that NOTHING will so much insure immunity from drinking as INTENSIVE work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail." (p89)
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others" (p107)
"Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life" (p86)
"The rule is we must be hard on ourself, but always considerate of others." (p74)
"Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now." (p124)
"If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the CERTAIN trials and low spots ahead" (p14)

22. Indulging the 'dubious luxury" of anger, resentment, retaliation, or argument.
"If we were to live, we HAD to be free of anger". (p66)
"The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison". (p66)
"Resentment is the "number one" offender. It DESTROYS more alcoholics than ANYTHING else". (p66)
"This business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is FATAL. For when harboring such feeling we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die." (p66)
"The more we fought and tried to have our own way, the worse matters got" (p66)
"It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness". (p66)
"These resentments MUST be mastered". (p66)
"From it (meaning resentment) stem ALL forms of spiritual disease". (p64)
"To conclude that others were wrong was as far as most of us ever got. The usual outcome was that people continued to wrong us and we stayed sore". (p66)
"The world and its people really dominated us". (p66)
"God save me from being angry. Thy will be done. We avoid retaliation or argument." (p67)
"If your husband is trying to live on a spiritual basis, he will also be doing everything in his power to avoid disagreement or contention." (p118)

23. Trying to keep ego puncturing admissions to yourself
(You are as sick as your secrets.)

"Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost Invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story." (p74)
"More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it."(p73)

24. An 'easier softer' way.
"Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost Invariably they got drunk." (p72)
"At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not." (p58)

25. Being Vague.
"It would be EASY to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some DEFINITE and valuable suggestions." (p86)
"If you are an alcoholic who wants to get over it, you may already be asking-"What do I have to do?"
It is the purpose of this book to answer such questions SPECIFICALLY. We shall tell you what we have done." (p20)
".wants to recover and that he will go to ANY extreme to do so, you may suggest a DEFINITE course of ACTION" (p15)

26. Not COMPLETELY 'giving yourself' to THIS (!) simple program.
(NOT!! 'Mary's program', 'Frank's Program', or the 'Hazeltwig program'. THIS !!! program.)

"Those who DO NOT RECOVER are people who cannot or will not COMPLETELY give themselves to THIS (!!!) simple program" (p58)
"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and THE RESULT WAS NIL until we let go ABSOLUTELY." (p58)
"Half measures availed us NOTHING" (p59)
"We believe there is NO middle-of-the-road solution." (p25)
"We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not." (p58)

Phew! Have a GREAT Sunday y'all. Time for my run!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

If Jane Tomlinson's example doesn't convince you there's NO excuse for Self Pity. NOTHING will..

From the Guardian. Although you can find this story in MANY newspapers online. I just picked the Guardian article at random.

The tireless charity fundraiser Jane Tomlinson has died. The mother-of-three took up running after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2000 and told she had six months to live.
In the following seven years she raised £1.75m for charities, most of it through feats of endurance which included cycling from Italy to Yorkshire and across the US, as well as numerous marathons and gruelling ironman events.

Here's an interview with Jane Tomlinson that was broadcast on Womens Hour on radio 4 today.

Pining? Song 4 Mutya: Don't react now. You can't go back now. Just look ahead now.

Yeah I know. I'm just indulging myself now. But I meet quite a few 'heartbroken' types in the rooms, pining for somebody who rejected them.
I like Johno's maxim, "Rejection is God's Protection'.
I must say I HAVE found this to be the case. EVERY time.
But for those of you that are still ? Convinced that these former liaisons have any redeeming merit, I thought this tune might cheer you up a bit. Besides, the message, is very true.

"Just as soon as I'm on top of my life, there you are again
But don't react now. You can't go back now.
Don't panic, panic, (Mutya), Just look ahead now."
Groove armada: Song for Mutya

Plus I just like Groove armada AND Mutya from the Sugarbabes. I think she looks GREAT in this vid. Not 'dull , boring and glum, like some righteous folk I see". I LOVE it when women look strong, confident, and sassy. Cheers me up!

"Am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see?" (p152)
..er ..NO.
Since when did being 'Spiritual" mean wearing Beige and not being funky? Nah. Tambourines and sandals are not necessary. Thank GOD. Personally I find that there is nothing very conservative about a spiritual life. It forces me to question EVERYTHING, and maintain a flexible open minded attitude to things. Scary, but very refreshing at the same time.

Anyway, I'm glad her solo career seems to be taking off as she seems like a nice human being. GA are pretty cool too mind you.

And even more pointless! Little bit of eye candy. Here are some pointless . pics . of . the . Groove Armada Guys who I think are pretty easy on the eye as it happens.