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.

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

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.
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.
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.
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.

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!)
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!