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.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Rescuing a newcomer from a 13th stepper

13 stepping seems to be as rife as ever it was. I went to a meeting last week where there was only one female newcomer and so I went and spoke to her right at the very end. I didn't waste much time. Within 30 seconds a creepy bloke less than five years sober who looked to me to be a bit dodgy was over at the speed of light and asked her in a particularly manipulative fashion to go for coffee. On the face of it it didn't appear to be a particularly aggressive or overbearing request but it was extremely manipulative and it didn't escape my attention.

The poor newcomer didn't know quite what to say so agreed to go for coffee. Even I would have found it difficult to roadblock his seemingly inoffensive invitation to coffee at this point. Instead I waited until he had gone and I said to the newcomer "do you really want to go for coffee with that person?" Sure enough she said that she didn't really want to. I also said "you realise that it is considered bad form for men in meetings to befriend women who are very new and ask them to go for coffee?" I asked had she heard of 13 stepping? I said to her "what do you think this behaviour tells you about his sobriety?" I said "I would say it is not a good recommendation for either his sobriety or the type of person that he is." I told her "I'll handle it" we went outside of the meeting and proceeded to make our way to the usual coffee place.

We made no effort to invite him or include him in the group. While we were walking up the road he very silently and stealthily managed to catch up with us and just started walking alongside us like he was part of the group that was invited. Nobody said anything. After about 15 seconds of him walking alongside silently I just turned and said "we've changed our mind, so it's just us not that will be be going for coffee if that's all right." He didn't know quite what to say to that. He mumbled some statement and stopped following us up the road. None of us said goodbye to him, we just carried on walking.

Sure enough when I had more time to speak to the newcomer it turned out that he had previously tried to manipulate her into some kind of sexual situation to which she had objected. There's one in every meeting it seems. You have to be careful and really watch out for the new women because there is nearly always one sexually predatory or lonely male in every meeting. They are very clued up as to who has the most easy to manipulate and will always make a beeline for the newest woman. We ended up having a really nice evening because we went out for coffee with the newcomer and she was very relieved to have escaped it the clutches of the dodgy bloke. She learnt that you can stand up for yourself without being aggressive or strange, and to be a lot more cautious about people she meets. Meaning she shouldn't assume that everybody in the meeting has her best interests at heart. We ended up having a lot of fun. I'm just very glad I managed to get to speak to her quickly before the other guy got there first at the end of the meeting. Anyway I hope you had a nice weekend and thanks for taking the time to read this.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

We can be a great blessing to others in times of real crisis

Reading Syd's blog posts about bereavement made me think about how draining it is processing grief. In my case what was probably more draining than the caretaking prior to death and the grieving, was dealing with disturbed and obstructive family members who basically lost the plot because they were not living along spiritual lines.

Testing times like a critically ill family member or the death process itself really shows in stark relief who has a spiritual program and who doesn't. The members of my family that were heavily invested in worldly affairs and had no real spiritual life to speak of really lost it big time. When I say they didn't have spiritual life, they did have what looked like a religious interest, but to my way of thinking they had no real spiritual life. They weren't terribly nice people to begin with and the whole death process really brought out the worst in them. And I think that was by far the most draining issue.

Also the aftermath such as organising the funeral, all the social awkwardness that goes along with everybody else's very negative perception of the death process really takes its toll. There seem to be very few people who are able to process the whole bereavement thing gracefully or skilfully, and instead thrash around in self-centred misery and don't think very much about what they can do for others  as a way of getting out of themselves and relieving their emotional burden. Basically like most crises and difficult situations it really brings forth who has a spiritual program  that works and who doesn't.

I think the 12-step program is an excellent induction into dealing with crises. I think people who have done the 12-step program really shine in difficult situations if they are using their programme well. I think we are very lucky. We can be a great blessing to others in times of real crisis ..in my opinion. That's what I find anyway.  I hope you're having a nice Thursday :)

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The rough-and-tumble unmasks the half measures members

Firstly I'd like to apologise for my lengthy absence. My computer was getting very buggy and slow and it badly needed an overhaul. I finally sorted out a new setup and so everything has finally cranked up to a more acceptable speed in the computer department.

I've also been very absorbed in the mine of information on YouTube in the form of documentaries and fascinating reports that would never normally be available on mainstream television. Some interesting news sources.. and I am constantly mining it for lengthy lectures on just about everything. I have to download them and listen to everything speeded up in order to get through it all. And somehow I still manage to not listen to everything.

As regards meetings,  an enduring preoccupation of mine at the moment is forewarning people I suppose that length of time sober alone can mean very little. Perhaps because I frequently encounter the attitude that I might be beyond reproach because I've been sober for a long time, I find myself constantly warning people that nobody is beyond reproach including me. And that if I suddenly started acting in a strange or unreasonable way, then that behaviour speaks volumes and is far more important than how long I have been sober.

 Actions speak louder than words.
"Be as gentle as doves, but as wise as serpents. for I send you out as sheep among wolves.." as they say..

Basically I think that being around a long time makes it  easier to look at who has fallen by the wayside over the last 20 something years. It seems  like less of a mystery looks likethe people who come unstuck over time are compromised in some way, or have sold out in some form or other. I find it interesting over  all these years watching who relapses. I hear things through the grapevine  (usually when people who have been harmed in some way discuss their problems with me) about how certain AA people have been treating other people, and sure enough sometime later the people in AA who have been acting off beam seem to relapse. Eventually.

Who knows? but it's been something that's been on my mind lately because I think over the last six months or so quite a few people have crashed and burned.  Meaning some people who had been around a long time and a short time who were acting in a harmful way towards others have relapsed. The masks have come off so to speak.

The good news is that the people whose program I respect have not relapsed. Every single person I know who consistently helps newcomers seems to stay sober. They might have other issues but at least they get to stay sober. I don't think AA was really intended to make everybody's issues disappear. Everyone has issues. Doesn't matter who you are. So that part doesn't bother me. The important thing is to stay sober and to try to skillfully handle the mental and emotional "stuff" in our heads instead of just being dragged around by it heedlessly. That's good enough for me. But like an  Old-timer used to say "I just do my lousy best" and I think that's very good advice. Especially for those perfectionists out there.

It is my belief that the current economic pressures and general upheaval will have the effect of shaking from the tree the more  "buffet-style" AA members. There are plenty of things to  drive yourself mad about in the news so it will be interesting if nothing else.

Basically I think that now is a good time to keep your side of the street clean, keep your head down and maintain your service by helping others in some form or other. It's a very useful time to cultivate this selfless quality. And I don't mean be a martyr.

Despite all the fear mongering and upheaval going on I feel very positive and a little bit excited. I'm extremely glad at times like this that I had the opportunity to learn to live along spiritual lines.

Anyway sorry this post is too long again as usual. I'm going to try and be a little bit more brief because I suspect it is terribly boring reading  long posts. Even with speed reading software.

Anyway I really hope everyone out there as well and maintaining a insightful and unfazed mindset in these somewhat challenging economic circumstances. Now that I have a spring cleaned kit I have no excuse not to be able to post more regularly. Thanks for taking the time to read this.