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.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Surrogate parents. Books can show you what good parenting looks like

I mention these books more as a way of finding an insight into what GOOD parenting looks like. For me, I have had to learn how to 'parent myself' in recovery. And these books are a guiding light as to what I should be doing. Hard to describe but they show me what love looks like. Parental love, that is.
If you have not experienced good parenting, let these books be your teachers! Even if you have had GREAT parenting you will still LOVE the story about Forrest.

The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
VERY BEAUTIFUL story of skillful parenting. A monk recommended it to me. It serves as a window into loving behavior. I found it very beautiful and moving. Heartfelt. Its fiction, written very powerfully.

Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro
GREAT because she paints a picture of healthy motherly love. (in my opinion) If you had an absentee mother, this lets you feel what its like having a loving mother. A surrogate parent. Its also fiction, written very powerfully. Like borrowing a surrogate parent for the time it takes you to read the book.

See Jane Win: The Rimm Report on How 1,000 Girls Became Successful Women ~Sylvia Rimm,
Book about a survey into what parenting skils produce girls who turn into happy productive adults. The advice although intended for children is just as useful for adults. I found it useful to see what bits I had got 'right' in my childhood, and what bits were missing, and therefore needed to be 'bolted on' in adulthood.
For instance, there was a section on how to reward successes without breeding fear of failure, which was interesting. There are lots of pointers.

Toxic Parents by Susan Forward
for a general roadmap of 'toxic' parental behavior. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the different forms of parental neglect or abuse. I think times have changed and most people are very aware of these behaviors now. But there's no harm in familiarizing yourself with these anyway.

Abuse and Trauma is referred to in another post. As well as loss of a parent. Here are the names of other posts.
After Step 9. Abuse and Trauma. Suggested Reading
After Step 9. Motherless Daughters. Suggested Reading

Motherless Daughters

Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro
GREAT because she paints a picture of healthy motherly love.
Rispondimi. by Susanna Tamaro.
GREAT because she paints a picture of terrible loss, and neglect in a very beautiful innocent way. Very moving. Will make you weep!
Anything by Susanna Tamaro really..

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman
For women with absent mothers. This gives you a rough idea of how absent mothers affects girls development. A useful roadmap, but that's all. The aa programme is STILL the solution, but this helps you see where you got sidetracked

Type in Motherless and see what comes up in amazon and google

Thich Nhat Hanh. Suggested Reading

Basically ALL his books are great. But I've just listed a few here.

Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh
This is very heartfelt, moving stuff. Poetry is like a painting of inner landscapes. Very beautiful. Teaches you how to have emotions skillfully in recovery. Also a lesson in gratitude.

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Being Peace

These two books are step 11 starter kits. A very simple introduction to mindfulness, Buddhism and mediation.

The Long Road Turns to Joy: Guide to Walking Meditation
This is a VERY cool way to meditate that you can do ANYWHERE. TNH is the grand master of walking meditation, so you may as well learn from the best!

A Pebble for Your Pocket (for children)
This is lovely and teaches children how to meditate in the simplest sense

Physical Therapies

All these things are powerful ways of changing your energy, and altering your mind state. They are very healing, and improve your 'energy'. Very protective. And of course make you feel good. Will also reveal things to you as any step 11 thing would.

Polarity Therapy
Energy Exercises: Easy Exercises for Health and Vitality, Based on Dr.Randolph Stone's Polarity Therapy
This is where I got the Taoist Arch from! VERY POWERFUL. VERY HEALING.
Very simple do-able exercises that change your energy. Can be done easily by buying the book.

Chi Kung.
Chi Kung: The Way of Energy by Lam Kam Chuen
Standing meditation. 'Stand like a tree'
Can be done for just 5minutes a day. VERY POWERFUL. VERY HEALING.
Can be followed easily from the book. Its very healing.

The Zen School of Shiatsu EC2A 4NP
VERY HEALING. Fully clothed massage. Not intrusive. Fridays are a taster session. 6.30pm - 9pm no need to book, £9.
People are always on the pull at these types of things so be warned! Also Kris is always getting intimate with students but is NEVER sexually inappropriate. He does loads of tantric stuff, so that's why. I'm just warning you!!

There are many schools but this one is good. And Kris is a good teacher. There is quite a lot of sexual energy floating about, but that's to be expected on account of the other types of therapy they do apart from Shiatsu. They do other more sexually orientated stuff. I'm not recommending that stuff. But the shiatsu is taught well here and they are sexually responsible, so it's 'safe'.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Subtle Aromatherapy. Use it at home.

Study the book Subtle Aromatherapyby Patricia Davis. to find out how to use the oils
And buy essential oils ONLY from FRAGRANT EARTH.

Good for general use is Organic Lavender Rare (2-3 drops) and Vetiver (2-3 drops) Be careful with the candle!
Better is Roman Chamomile. Good for honesty, communication, and old trauma.
Bergamot. Softens the heart. For those of you with hardened hearts out there! turns you into ' a sentimental old fool'!.
Juniper. 3 drops in the bath for a ritual cleanse.

You will need an oil burner with a DEEP basin
Buy one from Culpeppers in Covent Garden


You can achieve the same stuff by other forms of prayer and meditation, but you may as well learn how to use these things, so that you at least have the option. Also they DO work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

If the Big Book is Windows XP, Dalai-Lama-type-people are like Bill Gates

Meaning AA is a 'Lamborghini' when used WELL using skills often acquired or refined OUTSIDE AA.
As a 'vehicle' to attain spiritual growth, AA is the equivalent of a top racehorse. A Lamborghini if you like. But it is very UNDER utilized in AA. In my opinion. Its ROCKET FUEL. Very very powerful stuff!!
Newcomers and learning how to give it away to keep it are the top end of the AA scale. Its 'piece de resistance'. This will grant you more spiritual leverage than seriously expensive therapy. In my opinion.
Basically, helping newcomers is an education in kindness. And everything else really. Its a very powerful life lesson.
But my 'pillars of strength' exist outside AA. They are people like the Dalai Lama and that sort of person.
That doesn't mean I discount the fellowship in AA. I don't. The fellowship is very real to me and is a continuing source of support and nice feeling for me. But my main teachers are Dalai Lama type people. Perhaps teachers is the wrong word. They are my guides and my inspiration, and they show me how far I have to go. They are my view of the VERY (and often unattainable) distant horizon. Which I really NEED. And they fill in the blanks left by my AA teaching. They refine and make sense of the things AA have taught me.
Its like if AA was like windows 2000. The dalai lama is the encyclopedic knowledge of the programming that makes windows 2000 software run.
My fellow AA's are my 'grass roots' spirituality. The day to day practical stuff of submitting to the wisdom of others and keeping me humble. Learning to be taught by EVERYONE. Meaning everyone is my teacher, because they all reflect things back to me and show me the limits of my patience and good will.

Ok starting again. AA works as well as windows does. But people in AA don't really know how it works, just like 99.9999999% of windows users have NO IDEA at all what Bill Gates knows about how to put the software together.
Well people like the dalai lama are the Bill Gates of the spiritual world. They understand very complex and refined truths about why things work.
There is a tendency for some people to think AA is like a 'low rent' version of top dollar therapy, for instance. But in my opinion it isn't. AA IS top dollar. And if you could see as much as the dalai lama could see, you would see it for the powerful vehicle it is. Limited yes. But very powerful when used skillfully. NOT the answer to everything, but a very good vehicle for obtaining spiritual growth. Which basically means just learning to be a happy, AWARE human being.

God REALLY does speak to you through 'random' people in (and out of) meetings

Actually I DO go to meetings to hear what God has to say to me through random people. Or to see who God has decided to put in my path that day. I AM taught by the synchronicity of both what people say and do in meetings. Also by who shows up. It IS true. You DO hear what you need to hear, if you are TRYING to stay in fit spiritual condition. I might add that part of staying in fit spiritual condition, means (for me) that I aim to be neither AA dependent, meeting dependent, or person/sponsor dependent. So I pretty much know that I can feel pretty good even if I go to very few or no meetings. I have been going to about one a week since November 05 because I've been co secretary, and if you know me, I'm sure you can see that I'm fine! (Actually I needed to go to more to find speakers, and I have enjoyed going to more.) Having said that, I am sure that if I really needed to go without meetings I would be fine. I have in the past gone to one every 6 weeks. Reluctantly! But I can be 'of service' ANYWHERE. I don't need to be in a meeting to do that. So if you are my sponsee, in theory that option is available to you, IF you decide to approach recovery in a similar fashion to myself. AA badly needs good sponsors though, so I hope you continue to look for people that really WANT what you've got and are willing to do exactly what you suggest. Because if they get well, they will be a great blessing to AA. In my opinion.
I'm only saying that because I don't want you to bugger off to have a life after step 9 without putting anything back into AA. Trust me you will NEED the 'good karma points' generated by 'constant thought of others' in order to invite blessings into your life! It may seem like you are constantly having to get busy making 'lemons into lemonade', but HAVE FAITH!! Sponsoring alcoholics is on of the MOST powerful ways I have found of generating 'good karma points'. So use it! Its a VERY powerful spiritual 'workout'. It produces MASSIVE amounts of blessings in every sense. Mental, emotional, physical, coincidental. Everything really. For me it has proved to be a very powerful vehicle for getting where I want to get in my mind and my emotions. I have experienced what I think are miracles of healing. I really _should_ be a train wreck. It really not normal for me to be happy, or even have enough basic skills to make my life better. If I have these skills, they are a gift from God and nothing else. They certainly did NOT originate in me. They are blessings.
That's REALLY how it works. I have come to rely on it!!
The Universe knows EXACTLY what you are doing and will reflect back to you what you 'put out'. Trust me, the world is SO weird it would make your head spin if you even had a HINT of how weird it is. NOTHING is quite as it seems! And the 'world of the Spirit' is VERY real. And sees everything! And reacts accordingly! And knows a LOT more than you will EVER know. Thank God for a higher power to look out for us in this weird business of trying to make sense of life!

PS Please ignore this if this 'does your head in'. Its a post step 9 conversation really. Step 11 stuff I suppose..

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I don't actually think people NEED AA sponsors after step 9.

Thus we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man with this book in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin. (your growth down the 'road of happy destiny')

-See, even the Big Book agrees with me! AFTER step 9 of course! NOT before!

I DO think people need 'Spiritual guidance', preferably of the HIGHEST quality available in order to navigate through difficult 'chapters' and life lessons. And to hold steady while the going gets a bit rough.
I have NEVER been a follower of convention. In 88, when I chose my home group, it was badmouthed and gossiped about by a LOT of unhappy AA people who were deeply offended by the possibility that misery might be optional. It still is sometimes, as far as I know! So I made this deeply unpopular meeting my home group. And I have been making defiant, unpopular choices about my recovery and my life ever since. Not for the sake of being defiant I might add, simply because I felt IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
Because I belonged to such a HUGE home group, and because they all seemed to stay sober, I always had people I could refer to, who were pretty cool. In addition to that I invested a LOT of time and energy into step 11. One year, despite holding down a full time job I spent over 90 full days in silent retreat in monasteries. That's not including the time I was spending in meditation groups in the evenings. My spiritual peers completely changed during that time to people outside AA.

I suppose in AA my primary influences were D and F. (both very comfortable, long time AA's). After AA, my main influences were 2 monks of 15 years from The Forest Sangha and have since left monastic life and are now living a normal life. They told me what places to go to and books to read, and gave me advice about my personal situation. I was very lucky because they took time to get to know me, (which is a GREAT blessing as a lay person). And a LOT of what I know now is based on the 'leads' I got from them. (Including indirectly the Taoist arch!) They were very senior and had read extensively. Very cool. I still feel a vivid connection with the one that helped me the most. As far as I am concerned they were a gift from god, placed in my path to show me how to adjust my path. Anyway that was 12 years ago or something, so the things they told me about which baffled me then, have all integrated into my previous AA 'teaching'. Meaning there is no longer any 'conflict of interests' between the two ideologies.

So my 'post step 9' orientation, is much closer to the Buddhist teaching I have encountered since step 9, than the beliefs I encounter when I go to AA meetings. AA meetings are NOT places where I look for 'spiritual guidance'. I go there MAINLY to do service, help newcomers, and also because I enjoy the social aspect.
If I could choose to live in the same building with ANYONE of my choosing, it would not be an AA person. Although our basic humanity is the same, I would FAR rather live with someone who valued what the Buddhists call enlightenment. So I'd want to be around someone with the special refined qualities of a senior monk or nun. Because they are a joy to be around, and I would learn so much more form them. It would be a FAR more challenging and difficult journey, and therefore a LOT more rewarding.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that you miss out MASSIVELY if you confine your 'spiritual search' to AA. Yes there are a bunch of KOOKS out there, pedaling a pile of hogwash. But there are also some real gems. You just have to try and figure out which is which.

Some people in AA are really lovely. AA is healing, and many useful coincidences DO occur when we show up and try to be of service, but the BEST information about how life ought to be lived if you take your spiritual growth seriously, is NOT to be found in AA. IN MY OPINION.

It may interest you to know that there are VERY few AA's I really identify with in terms of the manner in which I choose to interpret a spiritual path. There are many similarities. But not when it comes to the DETAIL. That doesn't bother me. This is why I don't have a sponsor as such. I like bits of what other people do, but they are too far 'off the mark' in other respects for me to want to take on board what suggestions they might have. Perhaps I am hopelessly arrogant. Who knows? Perhaps I am wrong, and there are actually a LOT more people in AA like me than I realize. I don't know. But for now, and for quite some time, my real spiritual home has been with people with similar qualities to monastics.
So basically nobody NEEDS sponsors. Yes we all NEED feedback from time to time about basic things. But BIG things, in my mind, deserve the attention of people with much greater seniority than those in AA. Who knows though, if D was still alive I might still be asking him for feedback. I really don't know.

My advice to you if you have pretty much broken the back of Step 9, regarding AA anyway, is - make use of the limited advice that's available, and prepare to be disappointed. And try to learn form the very BEST people you know outside AA. I think most of you have just dipped your toes in to step 11. Which is fair enough. But because AA is pretty lacking in terms of 'advanced' practice, you will end up really NEEDING some good step 11 people in your lives later on. I think anyway. I may be proved wrong. Who knows

AA is a comfort zone. Sponsors are comfort zones. It doesn't mean they are 'right'. They are just FAMILIAR. Yes, doing something a bit different can feel a bit scary, but that doesn't make it wrong. I'm not saying 'ditch AA'. I haven't! Just free up your thinking beyond the fearful rhetoric you often hear bandied about. Usually endorsing some sort of fearful dependency on meetings or sponsors. Question everything, including the 'party line'.
Put it this way, if people really did NEED sponsors after step 9, then why am I not a train wreck?? SEE! The evidence is obvious. Trust what you see, not other peoples fearful ideologies. Trust what works for yourself, and the things I have done. I don't think I'm full of crap. But you never know!

PS. Books are great teachers as well. Books can also be friends. I've read LOADS. And all the cool people I know outside AA read LOADS. Buy decent ones though. None of that airy fairy, Cherie Blair, 'mind body spirit' shite. 'Proper' stuff about the true nature of reality. Like 'the power of now'. Or 'women who run with the wolves'. Ill do a separate post for decent books if I can be bothered.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Step 11: Train times and cab firms for going to Amaravati on Sunday

Sunday 16th train times to BERKHAMSTED from Euston
12.09 gets there at 12.46
12.39 gets there at 1.12

Sunday talk starts at 2 (free). Sometimes gets pretty busy and its nicer to try and get a seat nearer the front.
Day return cost pretty much the same as a single I think
I think the train fare costs less if you buy it before you get on the train. (I'm not so sure as I hardly get trains)

Postcode for Berkamstead Station is HP4 2JU
Cab companies very near Berkhamstead Station are... (its better to book one before you get to berkhamstead in case you have to wait. Also you can agree a fare beforehand).

Choice Yellow Cabs Ltd
Berkhampsted Railway Station,Lower Kings Rd
Berkhamsted HP4 2AJ
Tel. 01442 875100

69 Beech Dr
Berkhamsted HP4 2HG
Tel. 01442 878722

D A Gates
North Bridge Rd
Berkhamsted HP4 1EH
Tel. 01442 874747

Address is:
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
St Margaret Lane
Great Gaddesden

By the way, Its considered 'bad form' to go to the monastery all dolled up to the nines. Short skirts, low cut tops or very clingy clothing, or loads of slap. Its not fair when you are around people who have chosen a celibate lifestyle!

Need a car for the day? City Car Clubs! £2.80-£3.95 per hour

City Car Club
Car share for a very low rental preice if you need a car for the day. There are LOADS all over London

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Step 11: You NEED to be outclassed after Step 9. Hence the importance of Step 11

Step 12: Doing Chairs is Ego Massaging

ALL AA suggestions can be mis-used in a destructive way

Autopilot, Sleepwalking, Asleep at the wheel, Knee jerk, Default settings, Passivity, Unthinking

Sanity isn't NO anger. It's not BELEIVING your anger

'Clean' anger and 'Dirty' anger

Enlightenment isnt' numbness, it's steady containment

What I call 'creating a strong Vessel'

Feelings AREN'T facts. "But it just FEELS right' Yeah right!

You can feel RIGHT with the WRONG person.
(It feels VERY familiar, meaning its probably crap!)
You can feel WRONG with the RIGHT person.
(its VERY UNfamiliar, meaning its probably a vast improvement on what you used to do)

You can feel SAFE in an UNSAFE place. (In bars when you are new)
You can feel UNSAFE in an SAFE place.(Newcomers often report feeling VERY unsettled in meetings when they first start going)
You can feel CONFIDENT when you are utterly WRONG. (Arrogance)
You can feel UNCONFIDENT when you are utterly RIGHT. (Inability to take oneself seriously)

You can feel DEFENSIVE when no one has 'attacked' you. (Persecution complex)
You can feel 'not attacked' when some one HAS treated you badly. (Doormat)


Feelings tell you a LOT about your HABITS and your COMFORT ZONE and not much else. They are NOT a true reflection of reality. They often tell you the OPPOSITE of what is true.
That's why, we hear people say in AA 'do the opposite of what your head tells you'

Therapy? It's FAR better to figure things out by yourself. (In my experience)

By the way. Bono is of the same opinion as myself. But then I class him as one of the cool people I like, that I try to learn from. (Very personal preference as I know he's not everyone's cup of tea) So its no surprise that I'm in agreement with him on this issue.
He says: "You can exorcise your demons or you can exercise them. I don't know what I've discovered about myself from analysis. The thing to watch for is navel-gazing — and I do have a very nice one — but most of what I've learnt about myself you discover in other people."

Each to their own and all, but a VERY wise person once told me that 'its far better to figure things out on your own' when I asked them about whether or not to pursue therapy. I found it hard to believe, but I am beginning to understand what they meant. I think it IS far better, even though I had no idea I could do it when they suggested that.
But then I'm a very difficult person to impress. Lots of conventionally held standards of self aware excellence are to my mind wanting in many respects. So I can see that my perspective is far from typical. But I have to say I am very grateful for the insight that that feedback offered me. It was the first time I had heard that experience expressed, and I have done quite a bit of research on the subject. I consider myself very fortunate to have been told that. And I would never have believed it, but I have found that to be the case.
For example. A friend of mine in recovery is dealing with similar stuff to myself but has gone down the therapy route. A very expensive and highly trained one I might add. Well they're not coping nearly as well with his stuff as I am with mine. -In my opinion. I know you can't compare, but I think it's fair to say I'm doing pretty good. Exercise and diet are part of my regime though. It works wonders when you take great care of your body. I'm also in love with the intangible mystery of inner change brought about by practicing the principles I learned about in AA to begin with. The 'spiritual' road is pretty weird and utterly unfathomable, but it does seem to work beautifully.

Basically I think its because the most impressive type of people I know are not therapists, so I suppose I model myself on them more than anything else. Even the very good ones I met appear to have a far more limited set of skills and abilities than the people that impress me. I find them as effective (in fact more so) as a conventional therapist, but they are not in that job. I suppose I just don't find them (meaning therapists) that inspiring. I'm much more impressed by people who live really well. Very fit, very good diet, very good at having fun and enjoying life, not heavy, but understand all the 'heavy' stuff, and give the appearance of living a 'normal' life. 'Under the radar' I suppose. That's what appeals to me far more than being perceived as a person who (due to study and training) has somehow got more answers to life's problems than another 'untrained' person. To me life is the great lesson, and you can learn to be self aware and not get too caught up in the pointless array of distractions no matter what you do. But, like I say, each to their own. That's just how I see the whole therapy thing.

Basically, I think its normal to fall in love with therapy when you discover it, just like it can be normal to fall in love with AA when you first discover that too. I've done both. I've met some pretty good therapists as well. Its just now I really think I can do a better job on my own. So this is what I tell my sponsees now.
If you have a craving to be of service to your fellow man in a 'spiritual' capacity, I have found that I can do that in just about any job description. Its unavoidable. Its just happens whether I like it or not when I am trying to have a good life and practice these principles in ALL my affairs. There is always an opportunity to be helpful to another human being, if you look for it. I find there are far too many!

Loved up? Perception of 'redeeming qualities' as filtered through the VERY distorting lens of sexual attraction

Here's a good way of looking at it. How many friends do you have that are like the person you are attracted to? How many people like him do you have NON SEXUAL relationship with? If the answer is none, then ask yourself why? In other words, take the sex out of the equation and see if they STILL have something worthwhile.
So many people choose a partner they would NEVER seek out as a friend. Unless you HONESTLY gravitate to people like them on a NON SEXUAL basis, you HAVE to question your perception of their 'redeeming qualities' as filtered through the VERY distorting lens of sexual attraction. Lust is a big thing and you wouldn't be the first person to get their brain stuck in their pants from time to time. Ah, the human condition! Don't you just love it?
Delusion is a BIG part of the mind and we NEVER outgrow it, so its no big deal. You are not responsible for what comes into your head, but you ARE responsible for how you deal with it.
Also I hope you've noticed that we see, not what is in front of us, but pretty much what we WANT TO SEE. Basically ALL perception is highly suspect. We end up filtering reality, so that what we see only confirms our pet theories. It takes a brave soul to question perception and maintain awareness of our biases in relation to what we WANT to see.
I can guarantee that in the early stages of infatuation you do Not want to see that your other half is not really compatible. And this will make it VERY difficult for you to be impartial and objective about this aspect of your reality. You're all loved up mate!
And in case you didn't already know, the world is full of REALLY lovely men that love women, who do NOT drink to excess or take drugs. It takes a bit of work to find them, but they ARE out there. I always say to people who choose problem partners/AA partners, 'What's wrong with all the really fit/cool non-alcoholics out there?' Why not pick one of them? Personally, I think non-alcoholics ROCK! But that's just my preference of partner...

All I know is that part of remaining teachable for me, means being willing to accept uncomfortable truths. whether they are convenient or not.
The pet theory is a VERY strong mindset. We all have our own cosy little ideologies of some sort or another. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong in a completely disastrous way. And most of the time we cannot tell which is which. In hindsight yes. But certainly not before.
So all I'm saying is don't be so sure that the approach you are using and the beliefs you are using as benchmarks are right, or reliable. They may not be.
I DO have high expectations of the people I choose to let into my life. AA or otherwise. And I avoid problem people like the plague unless I have no choice but to deal with them. For instance at work, or when working with newcomers or doing service.
As for dealing with issues. I have boatloads of those. I have plenty of 'stuff' to deal with. I might add, I don't 'act out'- thanks to restraint of tongue and pen. Life happens to me just like it happens to everyone else. Death, illness, weird stuff, accidents, family strife, relationship 'stuff'. You name it. If I didn't do the 'ninja' approach, I would be a train wreck. But I'm not.
I adhere to the belief that 'nothing holds true under all circumstances'. And therefore I do not adhere to any one set of 'rules'. For me, everything is on a case by case basis. I WISH life were that simple that I could just have a few rules. I don't know about you but I find life far more intelligent than any rule that exists. Life is the great teacher, not the man made (and therefore very limited) rules we invent to try and make sense of it.
'Doubt may be an uncomfortable state of mind but certainty is ridiculous.'Voltaire.
There are no facts, only interpretations. Friedrich Nietzsche. German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

Some Health Food ideas.. (unfinished)

Ingredients for DURING cooking
Marigold Swiss Vegetable Vegan Bouillon Powder

Marigold Organic Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Low Salt Cubes

To be added to food AFTER cooking
Marigold Liquid Aminos
Coming in a handy dropper bottle, this product is a yeast free, gluten free, nut free alternative to tamari and soya sauce. Brilliant for adding to stir-fries or giving that extra kick to any savoury dish. Listed on the label are 17 of the essential amino acids contained in the protein element of this product.  

Udo's Choice Oil Blend™. (Store in the fridge.)
Udo's Choice Oil Blend is a carefully blended mix of the finest Omega 3, 6 and 9 varieties of Essential Fatty Acid sources.
This premium-quality product has a pleasant light nutty flavor and is easily mixed with health shakes, protein drinks, or, added as a topping to salads and vegetables!

Marigold Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Engevita yeast is one of the richest natural sources of the B group of vitamins. It is also rich in protein, amino acids, enzymes, minerals and trace elements. Engevita is a purely natural food, specifically produced for human consumption and is a primary grown strain of Saccharomyces Cerevasiae.

Granny Ann Cooked Soya Bran
Because soya bran contains nearly one and a half times the dietary fibre of wheat bran, one tablespoon a day mixed with your food will supply two thirds of your daily requirements, Once the system is functioning correctly, this may be reduced to suit individual needs.

Granovita Sprouted Flax Powder
Linusprout sprouted flax powder is a rich source of essential fatty acids, active enzymes and fibre.
Linusprout sprouted flax powder is unlike any flax product available. Using a unique patented process the flax is grown just long enough to release the natural nutritional components that lie dormant in the seed, it is then dried and powdered using an exclusive system. The health benefits of the product are not only preserved, but they are actually increased!
- Contains no additives or preservatives
- Is gluten, lactose and cholesterol free
- Suitable for vegetarian and vegans
- Contains a high content of Omega-3 essential fatty acids
- Contains active enzymes for better digestion and nutrient absorption
- High in lignans, vitamins and minerals
- Contains the 8 essential amino acids

Store Cupboard
Linseed supplies valuable essential fatty acids, protein and dietary fibre. Biona Organic Linseed Gold is carefully cracked to aid absorption and release the soothing mucins. Unsaturated fatty acids are unstable when exposed to oxygen and light. For this reason, these seeds are packed in a protective atmosphere in a foil bag.

Poppy seeds
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Red lentils
Puy lentils
Continental lentils

Other dried foods
Yellow peas
Green Peas


Dried beans

Tins of kidney beans. (Buy sainsburys value ones for 17p)

almonds either roasted, raw, or in a butter form reduced LDL cholesterol in men and women with high cholesterol blood levels.  Dr. Spiller also reported that there was an increase in the HDL (high density lipoprotein) level in the group

Broken cashews
Pine nuts

Organic Californian raisins
Organic Desiccated coconut
Hippo Apple and pear baby food

Cinnamon powder. Add to porridge or cottage cheese with honey
Whole Nutmegs. Grate over pasta dishes. Goes with Carrot soup too.
Black pepper and pepper grinder
Lo Salt

Peanut butter with no added sugar
Sugar free Jam. No added sugar. Store in fridge

Soy sauce
Cider vinegar. For adding to shredded carrots.

Hot sauces
Peri peri sauce. Hot
Hot chilli sauce. No added sugar

Organic long grain rice
Whole meal organic Pasta. (Penne)
Organic Coarse Grain Oatmeal

Mixed dried goods
Holland and Barrett
Salad sprinkle
Soup mix. Add to veg to make soup.

Fructose. Fruit sugar.

Some Quotes & Acronym's

A drunk is a sick human being trying to get well, not a bad one trying to be good
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life unacceptable to me & I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is suppose to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Alcohol is a perfect solvent: It dissolves marriages, families & careers
Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you, you don’t have it
An alcoholic is someone whose feet are firmly planted in thin air
An ingrate is someone who bites the hand that feeds him, then complains of indigestion
Call your sponsor BEFORE you pick up a drink
Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to overcome it
Cunning, Baffling, Powerful & Patient
Death, Insanity or Recovery
Denial is Not a River in Egypt
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Do what you did & get what you got
Don’t use even if your ass falls off
Don’t drink, don’t think & go to meetings
Don’t give up before the miracle happens
Don’t work my program, or your program, work “the program”
Embrace the journey
Everything happens for a reason
Faith chases away fear
Faith without works is dead
Fake it ’til you make it
Get to the meeting early & go to the meeting after the meeting
God speaks through other people
God will not close one door without opening another
Gratitude, that’s the attitude
Half measures availed us nothing
Happy, Joyous & Free
He who laughs… lasts
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less
I came, I came to, I came to believe
I like to get a good jump on worrying about something
I may have another drunk in me, but do I have another recovery?
I need just enough to tide me over & then I need MORE
If I woke up today feeling like I did every day when I drank, I’d take myself to the emergency room
If you don’t want to slip, stay away from slippery places
If you wonder if you’re an addict, you probably are
If you don’t have a higher power, borrow mine
If we knew which drink would cause “wet brain,” we’d stop just before it
I’m really a very persuasive person; I can convince myself of anything
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over & over again, expecting different results
It gets better
It’s not easy to find happiness in ourselves & it’s impossible to find it elsewhere
It’s okay to look back at the past - just don’t stare at it
I’ve been sober & I’ve been drunk.
Sobers better - I think I’ll stay sober
Just for today
Keep coming back, it works if you work it
Keep it simple
Keep your hands in your pants & give the newcomer a chance
Let go & let God
Live for today. Yesterday’s history. Tomorrow’s a mystery
Live life on life’s terms
My worst day sober is better than my best day drunk
None of us came here on a winning streak
Ninety meetings in ninety days
Not everything that is faced can be changed but
nothing can be changed until it is faced
Once an addict, always an addict
Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic
One is too many, a thousand never enough
One Day at a Time
Pray daily, God is easier to talk to than most people
Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink
Progress, not perfection
Put one foot in front of the other
Recovery is a journey, Not a destination
Resentment is like letting someone live rent-free in your head
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm
Short version of the Serenity Prayer – “Screw it”
Sobriety is not for people who need it,
it’s for people who want it
Steps 1, 2 & 3: I can’t, God can. I think I’ll let Him
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem
Sure I had a drinking problem,
but I looked at it more as a drinking opportunity
The easier, softer way is one through twelve
The elevator’s broken, take the steps
The fear of feeling the pain is worse than the pain itself
The mind is like a parachute, it works better when it’s open
The pain is the arrow coming out, not the arrow going in
This too shall pass
The alcoholic’s mind is like a bad neighborhood,
don’t go there alone
The definition of an alcoholic:
an egomaniac with an inferiority complex
Time takes time
Trust God
Try to be grateful & resentful at the same time,
you can’t serve two masters
Today, “we” have a choice
Turn it over
Two things you have to do to become an old-timer:
don’t use & don’t die
United We Stand… Divided We Stagger
Unity, Service & Recovery
Unless I accept my virtues, I will be overwhelmed with my faults
We have to give it away to keep it
We are without a defense against the first drink;
our defense must come from a power greater than ourselves
We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself
We’re only as sick as our secrets
We’re not human beings sharing a spiritual experience…
but spiritual beings sharing a human experience.
What if there is no God? Believe anyway
When you are in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut
When we were using, we didn’t have relationships,
we took prisoners & held hostages
When the pain of staying sober becomes less than
the pain of getting drunk, you’ll stay sober
Where do I find recovery? Twelve steps past any lengths
Worry doesn’t prevent disaster; it prevents joy
Write a gratitude list & count your blessings
You are right where you are supposed to be
You can always tell an alcoholic, but you can’t tell him much
You can’t think your way into a new way of living…
You have to live your way into a new way of thinking
You reap what you sow
You’re ready for sobriety when the alcohol doesn’t work anymore

A.B.C. - Acceptance, Belief, Change
A.C.T.I.O.N. - Any Change Toward Improving One’s Nature
B.I.B.L.E. - Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
D.E.N.I.A.L. - Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying
E.G.O. - Edging God Out
F.A.I.L.U.R.E. - Fearful, Arrogant, Insecure, Lonely, Unsure, Resentful, Empty
F.E.A.R. - Face Everything & Recover / Fuck Everything & Run
False Expectations Appearing Real
F.I.N.E. - Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic & Emotional
F.U.B.A.R. - Fixed Up (Fucked Up) Beyond All Recognition
G.O.D. - Good Orderly Direction / Group Of Drunks
H.A.L.T. - Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
H.E.L.P. - Hope, Encouragement, Love, Patience
H.O.W. - Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness
S.L.I.P. - Sobriety Lost It’s Priority / So Long, I’m Perfect
S.O.B.E.R. - Son Of a Bitch, Everything’s Real
T.I.M.E. - Things I Must Learn

'Boy meets Girl on AA campus', 'wishful thinking' and 'deep-lying emotional handicaps'

I'm saying nothing but I thought reminding you all of this passage might be useful.(!!) From the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: "It is only where 'boy meets girl on AA campus,' and love follows at first sight, that difficulties may develop."

A.A. has many single alcoholics who wish to marry and are in a position to do so. Some marry fellow A.A.'s. How do they come out? On the whole these marriages are very good ones. Their common suffering as drinkers, their common interest in A.A. and spiritual things, often enhance such unions.
It is only where "boy meets girl on A.A. campus," and love follows at first sight, that difficulties may develop.
The prospective partners need to be solid A.A.'s and long enough acquainted to know that their compatibility at spiritual, mental, and emotional levels is a fact and not wishful thinking.
They need to be as sure as possible that no deep-lying emotional handicap in either will be likely to rise up under later pressures to cripple them.

The considerations are equally true and important for the A.A.'s who marry "outside" A.A. With clear understanding and right, grown-up attitudes, very happy results do follow.

And what can be said of many A.A. members who, for a variety of reasons, cannot have a family life? At first many of these feel lonely, hurt, and left out as they witness so much domestic happiness about them. If they cannot have this kind of happiness, can A.A. offer them satisfactions of similar worth and durability? Yes--whenever they try hard to seek them out. Surrounded by so many A.A. friends, these so-called loners tell us they no longer feel alone. In partnership with others--women and men--they can devote themselves to any number of ideas, people, and constructive projects. Free of marital responsibilities, they can participate in enterprises which would be denied to family men and women. We daily see such members render prodigies of service, and receive great joys in return.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Weird shit. Now computers can tell what you're thinking

BBC article called Brain sensor allows mind-control

Proof (as if proof were needed) that there is PLENTY of weird shit out there. Alien technology no doubt. Passed down to the healthcare profession from the military, MANY years after it has been discovered and figured out. (I love a bit of conspiracy theory as you can tell!)
Well I don't know about you but it doesn't make me feel more comfortable knowing that the technology is ALREADY out there to create implants that enable a computer to recognize distinct thought patterns. Who needs Derek Akora when a computer knows what you're thinking! Oh well. Never mind eh.

Just think what ELSE they know about that hasn't yet filtered down into 'conventional' use. The mind boggles!

A lower fat percentage means you're less likely to get Cancer

And type 2 diabetes
And heart disease.

See BBC article Weight link to breast cancer risk

Do yourself a favor and go to the gym! An hour every day would be great. And stop eating things that you tend to overeat, because that's what makes your fat percentage go up.
The NHS is already on its knees, so don't expect prompt treatment when you need it. Take preventative steps now by reducing your fat percentage, increasing muscle mass, and eating bland healthy foods in moderation.

You will thank me later when you are informed by your local health authority that they cannot provide any more diabetes drugs till the beginning of the next financial year (April 200?) because they have already spent their entire budget for medication, but that you may be able to buy the drugs yourself over the internet from Croatia. But that they cannot guarantee that the drugs are made to the standards they expect in the NHS. You will end up spending your savings on dodgy pills from croatia to tide you over till April. You won't have a choice. Because if you do not medicate your type 2 diabetes every day, you risk losing your eyesight or a limb, or going into hypoglycemic shock.

Trust me it PAYS to take care of your body. Fat percentage is no longer a 'vanity' issue. Its desperately important, and may be the determining factor that prevents you getting cancer and diabetes in future.

Basically the gym is NOT an option!
Sorry! But its true I'm afraid....
The writing is on the wall with the NHS. So take preventative steps today!!

Wordless transmission. It's a HIGH teaching.

The best things in life are wordless!
A sunset
A flower
The feeling of love you have for another human being
The special feeling you have when you are in the same room as someone who truly supports you.

Basically the BEST, highest teachings go way beyond words. Words and language are simply far too crude and 'clunky' to grasp these refined 'truths'. So please have respect for these type of learning experiences. They go very deep and are very profound. I doubt the human language will ever be able to describe reality as we get to experience it. But that's ok. Words are just a convention we are stuck with to communicate basic stuff with one another. I don't think they were ever intended to reflect reality accurately.
This is why I favor the 'spiritual' route to freedom rather than the therapy route. Therapy relies on language and the ability of our mind to grasp concepts. To me growth as a human being is infinitely more complex than any of those very superficial functions. I MUCH prefer the infinite complexity of higher truths, as revealed to us in ways I don't suppose I will ever understand. We need to be comfortable with a path that embraces and makes use of faculties we do not and cannot understand. I love the mystery of a spiritual path. To me it is by far the most sophisticated learning curve there is. It would take many lifetimes and a very special type of person to be able to grasp even the beginnings of reality. And I think reality is infinitely more weird than you could possibly imagine. Thank god we have a higher power who understands it a bit better than we do!

Careers Counseling

The 2006 edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers,

A careers counselor who works according to the What colour is your parachute book is:
Jo Ouston
07976 262 776
020 7821 8299

Career Analysts
Since our establishment in 1965, tens of thousands of individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds have achieved real career success and personal fulfilment as a direct result of our unique specialist consultancy services.
Over 80% of our business is referred by previous clients.

Birth Control. Consider the Mirena

The Mirena is Free on the NHS. You can't forget to take it. Its by far the most effective way of avoiding unwanted pregnancy.
Do NOT just use whatever you happened to be using when you were drinking. Lazy, lazy, lazy!! Find out about whats on offer and choose the safest route.


You snooze, you lose ladies!!!
Condoms break!! And some days are INFINITELY more fertile than others, in case you didn't know already...
Also happy/less stressed people conceive more easily than depressed ones. And men who do NOT drink a crate of beer, smoke 30 fags at the weekend and pass out on the couch after eating too much pizza, have (surprisingly) a higher sperm count. So if your romantic conquests in recovery no longer resemble Rab C Nesbitt, then you are at much greater risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

And just for newcomers...
For new women who are already sexually active or in a relationship. PLEASE REVIEW YOUR BIRTH CONTROL. Nobody likes having to have a termination. You may very well have been very negligent in your birth control when you were drinking, but that doesn't mean you can't get pregnant now, just beause you didnt end up pregnant before.
PLEASE. don't be careless in this matter once you get into recovery. You will be MUCH healthier now you are not drinking. So you are at increased risk of getting pregnant. Pease make an appointment at a family planning cinic and find out what options you have. There is nothing to worry about with things like the pill. They have some really low dose stuff around now. Try to choose the type of birth control that is least likely to get you pregnant.

The Green Tara Mantra

If you have become what I call 'energetically sensitive' as a result of doing the first 9 steps. This will help you keep psychic attack and negative vibes generally at bay.

It goes.
A Picture of the Green Tara is here.

There are many types of what is called 'psychic protection' on the market so to speak. But my two favorites are..
A. Generating good karma/energy by 'constant thought of others', (provided your MOTIVE is good).
B. The Green Tara Mantra

I know virtually nothing of these things, but I am of the belief that the Green Tara is a protective 'Being' or 'Energy" or both. Either way, as far as I'm concerned, she is REAL. And very powerful. She always decides to incarnate as a female. She is a very strong female energy. She is very green and sits on a lotus. Her only 'job' is to PROTECT.
Rather than try to explain it I'll just tell you how to use the Mantra.

Basically just repeat it over and over. The more you practice, the better you get! You can say it whilst using a Mala if you like. You can buy Malas at places like Watkins in the Links menu sidebar. Also you can get picturesof her and other 'Beings' in places like Watkins.
In addition to that you can visualize her while you say the Mantra. Sometimes I just visualize her in the centre of the room that I happen to be in. I imagine her to be a huge irridescent luminous enegy with female form, sitting in a very distinct pose like the picture depicts. With balletic accuracy of limbs. Very beautiful and filled with light. Large too. The size of two people high, with an elaborate and detailed 'thing' that she is 'sitting' on. She's very cool in my opinion.
Anyway I digress. What I have found, is that I DO get protected form 'bad' vibes and hostility of sorts

Disclaimer: Ignore this completely if this does your head in! I have NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in trying to make you adopt ANY practice that you do not feel ok about. This is an OPTIONAL step 11 'widget' for want of a better word, only for those that like to try.

Disclaimer 2: Please use common sense with this! Do not seek out dodgy people places and things for no particular reason and think you will be 'safe' because you have this mantra! The universe does not reward wanton stupidity!

Women cheat a LOT more than men do. Sober!

In case you don't know already. One thing that being around recovering (or whatever) women of one sort or another over the last 20 years or so has shown me, is that women are SIGNIFICANTLY less trustworthy than men when it comes to sexual fidelity. This is what I have learned.
Don't worry, its opportunity more than anything else. Women simply have more opportunities to have sex outside their relationship than men do. Meaning they get 10 opportunities for every one a guy gets. But its still very depressing because everybody has a choice and choosing to cheat on the person you claim to be in love with shows very poor character and deceitfulness in my opinion. Qualities I find very repellant.
In case you're wondering, I am just as guilty of sexual misconduct as any other alcoholic I know, so I am far from lily white in this area.
I suppose what has been disillusioning for me in recovery is seeing this behavior in my non alcoholic 'sisters'. Un-inebriated, stone cold sober decisions to deceive their long term partners without seeming to have ANY conscience about it AT ALL. It bugs me, but I have no excuse to look down my nose at any other human being.
But for those of you that were as naïve and idealistic as I was before I figured this out, I thought it only fair to let you know.
I have met many women with chips on their shoulders about men and 'trust issues', but by far the worst offenders in this category are women!! I hope this will help you put your resentments against men into perspective and teach you to be much more careful about the women you allow your partner to spend time with.
Also its a good lesson in getting to know oneself generally. If we see ourselves as 'the good guys' and blokes as 'the bad guys' then we put ourselves at risk of doing wrong. It's useful for us to see that WE are far more likely to stray than our male partners. To be vigilant about the time we spend with other men, and to back off when we feel we are likely to stray. It's useful to be aware of these things, so that when trouble comes we spot it at 100 paces instead of letting the situation get awkward. If you are in a relationship you need to be very aware of ANY sexual interest outside the relationship, and talk to someone and try and sort it out. Do NOT keep it to yourself, or tell yourself its 'ok'. You are as sick as your secrets.

In case you think I don't know what I'm talking about, please look at paternity statistics. (They're awful!) And remember, that's just recording the amount of illegitimate pregnancies! I can assure you there are many more sexual betrayals than there are resultant illegitimate pregnancies!

Also bear in mind that unscrupulous people tend to not want to advertise their poor behavior. Women tend to not want to advertise that they decided to give the plumber a b*** j*b on Friday morning or that they shagged a minicab driver Wednesday afternoon in a lay by after a party in Hastings. Or that they picked up a younger guy at work by handing him their phone number and meeting him for sex later that week, or the same day even. Or that they walked up to a guy they liked the look of in the supermarket on Sunday and shagged him in the car afterwards. It doesn't sound very impressive does it? Well that's why they aren't in a big hurry to tell you about it!! Trust me. It happens. A LOT.
A LOT more than you realize. Depressing but true. Women appear to have had a conscience lobotomy when it comes to sexual behavior. Oh well.

Learning how to talk to, meet, or get to know guys after Step 9

Its all practice really, but here's some things which might help you build up your confidence and social skills..

Flirting and Walking Tours. Fridays. Leicester Square and Walking Tours. Fridays. Leicester Square

Street cupid. In case you see a dish at the bus stop!

Speed dating. Married men and all that, but at least it teaches you how to break the ice and start speaking to people you do not know. Book places on the guest list in the light bar for afterwards.

Internet dating site.

The light bar. Free. Book guest list before 3pm. If you are going to go to bars, you may as well go to the nicer ones.

The Long Bar. Free. Bit of a queue. Posers and such, but good practice

The Buzz Bar. Cheap early evening dance-fest. 2 quid or something, and it closes at pub times. Full on dance fest. Not much in the way of talent, but its a great place to learn how to swing your pants sober.

The Loop off Oxford Street. A skanky disco type place. You have to pay to get in. But there's a lot of people that pass through here, so its a good place to 'practice'. Theres bound to be someone you like the look of here. Mind you they may very well have alcoholic tendencies. Its a bit of a pick up joint I think. Not sure exactly. But whats good is that is is very ordinary and unpretentious, and not full of losers.

The Kingly Club. Free! They let you in on the door if you look alright, as far as I know. Cool Members bar. Some posey types. But no bad behavior, or obnoxious men. They get thrown out pretty sharpish.

Milk and honey. 150 quid a year membership. Bad for meeting people. Good for a quiet (non alcoholic) drink with a bloke. Staff are a bit groveling and drinks are pointlessly overpriced, but its much better than a skanky bar.

Worlds Best Bars. Check this out to see if there are other cool places to go. There are some good places near old street which are cool but not central. No fee to get in.

Comedy Clubs
Good for being sociable with guys and getting to know them better in a group rather than on your own which can be a bit more intimidating. If you make a point of going to one every week with a comedy buddy girlfriend, its no big deal to mention it to a guy who looks nice and tell him he can come along too if he likes.
Buy time out and go to the ones which get a star rating. Often very cheap 4 quid or something.

Café Rouge
Good place to meet people you know very little about. There's no pressure to have anything to eat, so you can leave if you don't like them, and if you do, then its an alright place to stay longer.

Cinema is not good unless you go in a group or you have already decided you like them. Its lousy for getting to know people.

Tate Modern on a Friday and Saturday night is a great place to hang out with someone you would like to get to know better. Much nicer than a skanky bar full of people getting pissed.

Also you should really be doing stuff that appeals to you anyway. Friday night skates or what have you. Or Sunday afternoon lectures at amaravati. You're FAR more likely to meet a similar minded person when you attend things that interest you. Doesn't mean that you will like them or anything, but its good practice.

Also Do not get intimate with your personal trainer, yoga class teacher or kick boxing teacher, as the entire class will have done the exact same thing beforehand. A sort of yoga class/ kick boxing conveyor belt of willing sexual conquests!! Never mind eh!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday at 2pm. Why does the grass appear greener on the otherside?

Cool! This talk is being held on Sun 16th. Next Sunday at amaravati. For those of you who are crippled by envy (you know who you are!) this could be very interesting! Hahaaaha
In fact if its a nice day and someone has a car a bunch of us could all go in, it could be a lovely day out by all accounts! A holiday from boring old AA!! Hahaha. Well its just an idea, but I'd chip in for petrol or split a cab fare, and come along if anyone fancies it..

Chill out at Amaravtai at the weekend. Free!

You have to write to the guest nun in advance to book a room to stay in. Normally they will only let you stay a weekend to begin with, in case you are a nutter! You can go up there every weekend if you like! Some people do. Its a very cool chilled out green place to hang out at the weekends.
Berkhamstead is a 20min train ride from Euston. and Amaravati is a five mile trip from the station. There's a cab company in the station itself, and last time I went it was a fiver or so to get there. Getting back to the station is easier as there is usually someone who can give you a lift.
A lot of what I learned after step 9 is based in the teachings they do at this monastery. It might throw you into turmoil initally because it 'looks' different from aa, but the trick is see where they cross sect each other. Now I see these teachings as a way of fleshing out what I learned in aa. There is no 'battle' between the two teachings. Basically if you keep looking for the similarities not the differences it will help. But like most things in life, it requires some effort and hard work. I figured it out, so I'm sure you can too if you set your mind to it!
You have to 'stick with the winners' like you do in any spiritual practice. And this place, just like AA attracts its fair share of nutcases. you have been warned!! but just like when you stumble across a really good aa meeting, when you stumble across a very cool monastic they are unforgettable. so keep your eyes peeled!!

Amaravati link here.

Info on the nuns here.

Step 11. Cool Sunday talks at Amaravati in the summer

Every summer, public talks are given on Sunday afternoons on different aspects of Buddhism by senior members of the community. For further information please write to enquire nearer the time. The talks usually begin around 22th July.

Also Every Saturday afternoon (14:00-16:30), we offer a meditation workshop for beginners with an opportunity for questions to be answered. All are welcome, no booking necessary.
The classes are held in the Bodhinyana Hall.

Amaravati link here.

I MIGHT stop all sponsoring in October. So finish all your step 5's before then!!

There's a high possibility that because of the additional workload in October that I will be unable to sponsor from then until my workload reduces. I will more than likely not be doing any step 5 or step 1 and any lengthy explanations or what have you.
Obviously if my circumstances were to change, then so will this. But that is my guess for the time being.
So basically, aim to get step 5 finished before the end of September. You have two months!!! Then I'm TOO BUSY. Thankfully I have enough competent sponsees that you could switch to if you wanted to finish doing the steps with them. The method I have used is not really designed to be 'high maintenance' after step 9, and I see no reason why you can't become much more independent by seeking out and relying upon the feedback you can get from the HUGE amount of cool people in AA. It's foolish to rely on any one person. I was always fairly independent of my sponsor, and most of the things I learned in AA I learned from listening to old timers and other people who were very active when it came to service. Also by getting to know the big book. Obviously you need to have a sponsor to work through the steps from 1 to 9, but after that, its just a series of life lessons which teach you how to ask for help, get feedback, and apply what you have learned from the programme. I don't think sponsorship was designed to make you dependent on one person. Its an easy trap to fall into, but you need to 'make your AA nest' wherever you happen to be. If you all decide to go work in new york, for instance, I would hope that you would use what you had learned to find good meetings and create a good network of support for yourself.
So in theory, by drawing back from sponsorship for a while, I'll be helping you learn how I became more self sufficient in recovery. This is a good thing as far as I am concerned. Dependency is an arse. You have to learn how to kick the habit, no matter how comfortable the rut. If its any consolation, I've been very independent since doing the steps with my sponsor. Because I had such a cool home group, there are always people I can think of to ask, when I need to find out something. So don't worry!! Put yourself about! Mingle! Go for LOTS of coffees with service types, and you'll be fine!! I would strongly advise against isolating, or fearfully keeping your weaknesses and 'growing places' to yourself. Its humbling telling a new person stuff that you're not sure about, but its do able.
Also I would STRONGLY recommend a good step 11 practice to help bring you into contact with wise non alcoholics. Yes you meet a few kooks along the way with that one, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you will find some real gems. My spiritual advisors (for want of a better word) exist mainly outside AA, although I believe AA provides a channel for god and synchronicity to 'speak to me'. Plus its an opportunity to score good karma points by helping people get sober. Which we all desperately need, I might add.

Who knows how it will pan out! I will keep you posted!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Want to meet some very cool new friends? Go to the Dalai Lama event in Brittany next week!

Its been cancelled im afraid, but the same could be said for any dalai lama event so I'll leave this post in for future reference.

There is always a very cool crowd that these types of things. They tend to be a little older in age terms, but not entirely. Like a lot of Buddhist crowds, they are generally middle class, and white, but they often have unconventional interesting freelance lives of some sort. I've met some very talented people at things like that. What's nice is that in addition to being talented, productive and unfussy, they are terribly mellow and unpretentious. Total lack of ego in comparison to the 'usual' ego battles we see in AA.
Basically, if you go to any very good senior monastic teaching, there are some very cool people there. Its a totally different vibe than a meeting, and a very different mindset you encounter. Its a good education into how childish/mad and 'outright mental defectives' we are in AA! I've found these crowds extraordinarily mellow and accomplished. Even the 'regular' housewife types are impressively at ease with the world.

So that's my hot tip! Go meet cool people in Brittany on the 16th-21st of July! Its IS 'sticking with the winners' in the 'real' world. In my opinion.
Weblink for Dalai Lama Teaching Here

Monday, July 03, 2006

The pursuit of Success and a 'better life' is a VERY high teaching

Disclaimer: NO major changes till after step 9. Provided you have completed the steps competently! As you may know already I do not think that everyone who is sober in AA has 'recovered'. Even those who have been sober a while. To me, some are 'accidents waiting to happen'. But that is MY opinion. So when I say after step 9, I mean only if you've done it 'properly'.

Ok here we go...
This is more of a post step 9 thing. Usually only affects those who are making GENUINELY positive improvements to their life. And who also have developed a good capacity to 'feel'. Pursuing success while still numb will not have quite the same effect im afraid. Lots of people (in AA and out of AA) are dissociated and numb to some degree. Denial is the root of all dissociation and numbness. If you have successfully become a 'stronger vessel' (as a result of completing the first nine steps) you will have a MUCH greater capacity to experience 'the whole catastrophe', as they call it. Which is a GOOD thing! Great joy and great 'everything else' can be on the menu, if you have 'cleared a channel' with the help of the first nine steps.

If you 'stay where you are' and not venture out of your comfort zone, you will not see this 'stuff' nearly so clearly.
Some people come to AA with GREAT jobs or great houses or partners already, so they have no reason to make improvements in those areas.
But we ALL have own own pathetic, weak places. And if we TRY to make improvements in THOSE areas, then yes, we will enter a very high level of spiritual growth.

Dealing with success and the pursuit of success will show you your 'stuff' like NOTHING else. Its a VERY powerful, respectable spiritual path.
A better job
A more satisfying job
A more satisfying career
A more fulfilling relationship
An improved style of relationship
Trying to be happier
Having a makeover. New hair new make up new wardrobe.
Betting a better body by going to the gym

ALL these things will VERY QUICKLY show you ALL the cracks in your armor.
Also, you MAY (if your life finally starts turning around for the better) start believing that now that you are FINALLY getting the life you always wanted, that you might die.

Fear of Death.
Hard to explain. But if you discover how wonderful life CAN be, you begin to understand the reality of how death can snatch it all away in an instant.
Basically you start to value life. And you see the fragility of life and the possibility of loss much more clearly.
The possibility of loss and death was always there, but you never cared much for life, or cared whether you lived or died, so you never really got to learn this lesson till now.
So don't be alarmed by suddenly fearing death. It doesn't mean something is terribly wrong. It means you are finally realizing that you want to be alive, now that you are learning how to live well.
Even for non alcoholics, when they stumble across a wonderful, life changing partner, they fear death for the first time in a new and powerful way. I see this as a HEALTHY appreciation of life.

Getting in touch with your inferiority.
If you seek improvements, (and are not numb), you will feel strong inferiority, despair, hopelessness, pessimism, bleakness, lack of confidence.
Again this does not mean that something is 'wrong'. Feelings aren't facts. It just means you are no longer numb and you are getting to see your 'stuff' around the area of success. A reflection of your old programming about what you can and can't do, and what you do and don't deserve. Its your 'stuff'. If you behave better than you feel, and do the next right thing anyway, you will come out the other end of the 'tunnel' eventually.
Remember this programme is all about ACTION. Not thinking.
If you get fed up with these waves of negative feelings and thought forms, you can 'treat' them by the usual stuff of going to meetings, communicating your internal environment to your (informed) peers, and helping others. Mainly newcomer women. All these actions will soften the impact of these 'psychic terrorists' on you, and make for a more comfortable ride.
Personally I can turn around the most devastating emotion is less than 2 minutes by talking to a newcomer. Why do you think I love newcomers so much!!
I hope you get an idea of how much 'stuff' I've HAD to process, by how many newcomers I talk to. Hahaaa I have LOADS of 'stuff'. But ultimately I think we ALL have our mountains to climb.

Anyway. Just so you know. Trying to improve your life (if you are not numb and have cleared a channel using the steps) brings you in touch with difficult and uncomfortable internal beliefs and habits. And when you DO finally see how wonderful life CAN be, death becomes a new 'fear' for want of a better word.

All these things are do-able if you are in 'fit spiritual condition', so don't worry about it. Don't be alarmed, or think you must be doing it 'wrong'. Yes they are 'uncomfortable'. But that's all. Its like having a bruise on your leg and you just have to be patient while it gets better and stops hurting. Its nothing to be alarmed about. You just keep on keeping on and it gets better!! Trust me, I'm a doctor!! Hahahaa
Can you see now why its so important to be 'comfortable being uncomfortable?' This is why Patient Endurance is SUCH a valuable skill post step 9. These things REALLY can be NO BIG DEAL. That's my experience! It might feel like being stuck in a whirlwind sometimes, but thank God for newcomers. They save us from ourselves.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Buy a Laptop (or desktop) from Dell Outlet

Del outlet
You NEED to be online.
And you really need your own computer instead of a shared one. In my opinion anyway.
Trust me!!
I use Macs which I love, but if you are going to buy a PC buy one from the Dell factory outlet. Trust me!! I know what I'm talking about!!
Don't worry if you don't know how to use computers, you will pick it up as you go along. None of us were trained. We all just pick it up as we go along... If you REALLY want to, go to a local class to learn basic internet stuff.

Stuff that makes people want to be in the same room as you

This is in the context of dating I suppose. This is what I think works.

What can I do for you today? The milk of human kindness. Belief in the goodness of mankind. Compassion. Being able to move on. Not holding a grudge. Liking men. Having no resentments toward men. Constant thought of others. Kindness. Generosity. Being absolutely honest all the time. Even when it means you have to have uncomfortable conversations. (in a considerate fashion). Being able to do stuff that you don't want to do. Restraint of tongue and pen. Impulse control. Skillful honesty. Social skills. Staying out of harms way when you have the hump temporarily. Patient endurance. Being comfortable being uncomfortable. (A necessary skill if you are to endure waves of irrational reactive emotions such as defensiveness WITHOUT acting out).Telling the truth. Authenticity. Humility. Not taking yourself too seriously. Being able to laugh at yourself. Being able to laugh full stop! Common sense. Uncomplicated. Don't let things get on top of you. Just get on with it. No big deals. Wear life like a loose garment. Ability to enjoy life. Look after your body and your appearance. Make up. Heels. Being fun. Ability to have fun. Being guileless. Intelligence. Hard work. Not being attached to any particular 'form' as such, just wanting the relationship to work.
All the stuff in the poem called the invitation by oriah mountain dreamer.

Stuff that (I think) drives the sane guys away..

Stuff that (In my opinion) that drives them away faster than a speeding bullet (if they have any sense)

Loneliness written all over your face or your behaviors. Victim mentality. Blaming everyone else for your problems. Not taking any personal responsibility. Neglecting your appearance and body. Being neglectful generally. Needy. Needing reassurance all the time. Being a drain. Energy vampire. Emotional Dependency on them to 'fix' you. Hopelessly dependent on other people generally. (As opposed to being a self-made woman so to speak). Needing to be 'saved' by others. Desperate. Intense. Trying too hard. Shrill. Strained. Speedy. Wired. Being 'too busy'. Hamster in wheel type perpetual motion. Unavailability. 'A highly strained abnormal condition'. Nervous. Nervous laugh. Nervous smile. Smiling all the time. Fixed strained smile. Ingratiating. Obsequious. Fawning. Putting them on a pedestal. Oily. Insincere. Apologetic. Apologizing all the time. Inferiority. Being cranky, grumpy, Shirty, Narky. Disdainful. Touchy. Irritable. Impatient. Angry. Holding a grudge. Chip on your shoulder. Nagging. Complaining. Sour faced. Hard faced. Bitchy. Attacking. Sarcasm. Sneering. Ridicule. Having a laugh at the expense of others. Putting other people down. Making 'digs'. Self pitying. Martyr. Being over responsible or having caretaking tendencies. Miserable. Ungrateful cow. Miserable cow. Indignant. Disapproving. Snotty. Snobby. Superiority. Thinking you're better than them because you have a 'spiritual programme'. Spiritual Pride. Haughty. Sniffy. Lofty. Condescending. Patronizing. Delusion of grandeur. Ego. When you think you're 'right'. Needing to be 'right'. Needing to win. Needing to win a pointless argument. Not being able to back down. Never apologizing or taking the blame. Reactive. Defensive. Always interpret seemingly negative situations as a deliberate attack. Not being able to give the benefit of the doubt. Persecution complex. Thinking 'it's always about you'. No faith in human nature. No trust. Hate men. Badmouth men. Badmouth anyone. Have a low opinion of men. Have a low opinion of anyone. Bitter and twisted. Harshness. Vindictive. Cruelty. Being short with people. Rudeness. Bad manners. Being ignorant. Taking pleasure in harming others in the guise of 'revenge'. Any punishing behaviors or thought forms. Not tipping. Being tight fisted. Being mean. Being mean spirited. Being rude to waiters. Or anyone really. Being too busy to talk. Very rude. Getting irritated by something as simple as standing in line in a supermarket. Getting your knickers in a twist about anything. Zero impulse control. Materialism. Shopping addiction. The NEED to shop. Liking and 'believing' in shopping. Spending more than you earn. Laziness. Being half hearted. Being inflexible. Deluded belief that a house or car will make you happy. Using anyone. Hating your boss. Hating anyone really. Saying bitchy things about the women you are supposed to be friends with. Being dishonest. Weeping in arguments. Not being calm. Being restless irritable and discontent. Being greedy or wanting 'things' far too much. Stubborn. Dogmatic. Not making an effort. Expecting them to do all the work. Being a 'passenger'. Boring them to death. Going on about yourself all the time. Being tired all the time. Hypochondriac. Being a big girls blouse. Dropping out of tough situations at the first hurdle. Trying to be 'nice'. Superficiality. Phoniness. Fake. Goody two shoes. Being 'nice'. Saccharine. Strained politeness. Ladishness. Swearing. Callousness. Scruffiness. Not being feminine. Inability to cope under pressure. Everything's a Drama. Everything's a BIG DEAL. Petulance. Sulking. Tantrums. Melodrama. Door slamming. Dramatic exits. Flailing around instead of getting on with solving the problem. Drama queen. Whingeing. Dumping. Venting. Being inconsiderate to anyone. Wanting to have things your own way all the time. Getting the hump when you don't. Moody. Up and down. Argumentative. Opinionated. Bossy. Controlling. Foot in mouth disease. Putting all your eggs in one basket. (-Puts FAR too much pressure on the relationship!!). Manipulative. Scheming. Indirect. Hinting instead of stating directly. Wimpiness. Doormat. Accepting poor treatment. (They will lose respect for you). Smart Alec. Arrogant. No flies on me! Breezy indifference. Trite. Glib. Saying things like you've said them a thousand times before. Too 'free' with your personal truths generally. Saying significant personal stuff so frequently that the words and memories lose their specialness. Careless. Not caring. Unfeeling. Terrified of Vulnerability. Crying all the time. Being over emotional. Sentimentality. Sugary-ness. Gushiness. Being numb. Making a show of backslapping camaraderie. Being loud. Being quiet and mincey. Being serious or earnest. Taking yourself FAR too seriously. Sense of humour failure. Dull. Boring. Glum. Wearing sludgey-coloured or grey, drab, shapeless clothing, and no make up. Unenthusiastic. Depressive. Listless. Lethargy. Inertia. Low energy. Despairing. Relentlessly pessimistic. Morbid reflection. Morbid preoccupation. Bleak outlook. Doom and gloom merchant. Giving up too easily. Negative thinking. Being Flaky. Lousy timekeeping. Disrespectful. Closed minded. Preconceived ideas. Bigoted. Mental loafer. Thinking the world 'owes you' something. Expecting generally. Having expectations of others. Demands. Ultimatums. Games. Trying to dominate. Wanting the power and control in a relationship. Sexual misconduct. Using sex to control in a relationship. Being judgmental about sexual behaviors. Sexually squeamish. Being focused on the things you hate about your body. Hating your body. Hating yourself. Being 'down' on yourself all the time. Never being happy with what you've got. Betrayal. Infidelity. No integrity. Emotional infidelity. Cyber affairs. Flirting or having (undisclosed) un platonic INTENTIONS or conversations with men other than your partner. (You are as sick as your secrets!). Behaving with other men in a way that would make you feel uncomfortable if your partner was watching. Deluding yourself that just because you have not kissed/had sex with another man that therefore you have not betrayed your partner. Weakness of character. Spineless. Timidity. No will power. Excuses. Rationalizations for negative behaviors and attitudes. Taking your partner for granted once you feel secure in their affections. Taking them for granted full stop. Letting yourself go. Being in a relationship for money or security instead of because you love and respect that person. -BAD karma!!!! Status orientated. Name dropper. Wanting/expecting to be paid for all the time. 'Making do' because you're frightened of being alone, and kidding yourself that you can sustain that situation. (-The truth will out!)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sober 'stuff' to do if you are bored

Some people cannot think of things to do now they are no longer in the pub. (!!) usually before they have finished step 9!! After step 9, there never seems to be enough hours in the day!!
But for those of you who can't think of anything, here are some ideas..

All of these things can be ways of meeting new people

Go to the gym!!
Running clubs
Cinema. As many films as you like for 14 quid a month.
Online community of self help and AA stuff
London Markets such as...
Brick lane market on sundays
Portobello market
Meditation classes
Shiatsu Class 6.30pm Fridays Old Street EC2A 4NP
Mind body spirit-type workshops
Cycling clubs or organized cycle rides.
(lots of fit guys with tight buns ladies!!)
London walks.
Be a tourist for the day!
The London Riverboat to Kew
Top of a Sightseeing Bus!
Go on the London eye
Go rowing in Hyde park
Go see the London dungeons
Frisbee in the park
Cycling in Richmond park.
Endless coffees, window shopping and problem solving after meetings on the Kings road.
Horse riding lessons in Hyde park
Fencing lessons in a local club
Tate Modern
Serpentine Gallery
The royal academy
Soames Museum
Cool V&A exhibitions
Classes of some description from Floodlight magazine.
Cooking classes
Comedy Clubs
Open university course

Summarize your most important current dilemma into a 20 second statement

Then the next time someone says "Hi so and so, how are you?" Tell them!!
I find this really funny and a bit cheeky but I use this one ALL THE TIME. It's a FABULOUS trick. I strongly recommend you try it!!
I actually think this is a really FUN thing to do. I cant wait to hear how you get on with it...(If you want to tell me that is)

Heres an example
My most pressing current 'dilemma' for want of a better word is that I could be laid off in two weeks time, but because I am starting a degree in October, rather than looking for another similar job to the one I have now, I am going to TRY to get a job relating to my new study.

So if I meet ANYONE, and they say Hi, .... How are you? Ill tell them!!
I'll say something like
Good actually! But I expect to be laid off work in about two weeks and as I'm doing a part time degree in October, I'm TRYING to get a relevant alternative job, so if you know anyone that might need someone?, Let me know!!

See I can say that in 15 to 20seconds, and not sound like a whingeing energy vampire. But it's a REALLY COOL TRICK. Because it means that in 15 seconds they are aware of my most important 'problem to solve'. I need go into no further detail, and I can get on with the business of being of 'maximum helpfulness' in that situation.
I have found this to be an extremely valuable skill and it has opened up VAST resources of help, wisdom and expertise over the years.
Basically its a method of communicating where you need help (to as many people as possible) in a REALLY time efficient manner.
Always communicate the thing at 'the top of the pile' and work your way down. I focus on what is either the most important thing I need to solve, or when I have no pressing problems, anything that is making me feel uncomfortable that day.

I like to think that I can summarize ANYTHING in about 20 seconds. Even the most obscure existential query!!

You see, if you BROADCAST your current 'dilemma' to all and sundry you'll be amazed at what comes back. From the most unexpected places sometimes!
I am SO good at doing this quickly and informally, that I can do it in the queue in sainsburys or in shops with complete strangers. Its a VERY cool trick. In my opinion. I use it mainly in AA I suppose.

More examples...(not mine just to show you)
"Hi ..........., how are you?"
Pretty good actually! Got some self esteem issues on the horizon now that I'm dating a REALLY cool bloke. Getting in touch with my inferiority, if you know what I mean! Oh the joys of dating! Hahaaa

"Hi ..........., how are you?"
Alright thanks, I'm trying to figure out how to use the gym to change my shape. Not easy I can tell you! Got a personal trainer but I've only just started using them and I'm not sure if they're any good.

"Hi ..........., how are you?"
I feel like a whingeing arse today actually! Don't know why, but I've got a grumpy mood today. You know, 'nothings right' sort of thing? So if I start sounding like a grumpy old bag, you have permission to slap me!

"Hi ..........., how are you?"
Alright thanks! Just having what I call 'an attack of the uglies'. I always force myself to get out when I'm feeling like this otherwise I'd be at home weeping uncontrollably under the duvet! Hahahaha Thank god for plastic surgeons eh? One of my yets....Haha

"Hi ..........., how are you?"
Alright thanks! I've been doing a lot of mediation lately and its shaken my faith in what AA has to offer. I've yet to dovetail all my 'new' teachings into the old framework of AA, so for now AA seems like Kack! Apart from that, everything's fine! Hahaa

"Hi ..........., how are you?"
I feel great, but I'm REALLY tired. Either I'm angry with something and I just haven't noticed, or I need to eat a pile of shredded carrot! Hahaha.That's my food trick for getting more energy you see.(as they look bewildered).

Etc etc

One off or Specialist/Sexual queries? Email a therapist!

Relate £22.50
Philip Hodson £47
Anna Raeburn. Free

Personally I have GREAT faith in spiritual principles as a solution to ALL my life problems. My AA programme has stood me in GREAT stead over the years and served as the FINEST introduction one could possibly ask for to life's very steep and unremitting learning curve!! Basically the spiritual 'apprenticeship' of the steps is a template you will use, again and again, in an informal way after step 9, to grow as a human being.
For instance, I am currently in the process of learning things about my life (at 18 years sober) which almost exactly mirror the learning curve I experienced with my sponsor in the early years of my recovery. Except this time its LIFE, not 'the steps' that I am 'doing'. I have the same issues of learning to trust, doubt in my ability to learn, and lack of faith as I had when I first joined AA. AA has taught me to show up, and do the next right thing, and go to any lengths, every day in order to get better in another area of my life. I am SO grateful for having had the experience of the steps 'in the bank' because otherwise I would find the messy business of growth confusing and overwhelming. I feel like I 'earned my stripes' in AA and now can understand 'the lay of the land' because of the journey I took from steps 1 to 9.
What I'm saying is that the highest, most sophisticated teachings I have stumbled across AFTER doing the first nine steps are ALWAYS a reflection in part in the process I went through with my sponsor on the journey from steps 1 to 9. What I mean is that the dynamic I experienced in the throes of the steps are repeated afterwards in the process of growing up. My first experience of these 'battles' was with the steps, but now they are familiar road signs on my journey of growth.
So it is in this spirit that I suggest the OPTION of having another source of referral or feedback.
So do not think that I consider 'professional feedback to be some sort of 'graduation' after step 9. Better than the steps or something. I don't. It is my opinion that spiritual principle are MUCH more powerful than ANY therapy. I'm just saying this can be used as a back up resource, or something to get specialist information.
For example. If I wanted to know what type of therapist to seek out for a sexually abused niece in Wales, who is 15, lets say. I would ask Philip Hodson. Because that is specialist information that I do not know.
Also sometimes these professionals are better at explaining how to practice (what I call spiritual principles) in relation to some other matter. So they are something you can avail yourself of, should you want additional feedback.
Personally, I find that just having the option of that feedback is a comfort in itself. More than the need to actually use it. Meaning its a comfort just knowing that it's there, even if you never actually use it. Its a psychological trick to make you feel safe, when you are experiencing doubt, more than anything.

By the way doubt is not a sign that something is wrong. It is a natural part of any spiritual path. Part of the business of becoming a 'spiritual warrior' for want of a better term is learning how to 'show up for life' and keep on keeping on despite being pulled this way and that by the energy of doubt. Doubt is a lesson in faith and going to any lengths in my opinion. I like to think that I can 'do' doubt, after 18yrs of practice!! It still feels really uncomfortable though!!
But if your sponsor insists that the only way to get well is to give them all your money and let them sleep with your (very cute) husband, then doubt in that instance is a very healthy sign that something is terribly wrong!!
As in ALL things, there is an exception to EVERY 'rule'.
Hahaaa. Good old doubt. One could write a whole chapter on it but I can't be bothered so I won't.

Relate web site says...
Relate webpage
Email a Counsellor lets you consult a Relate Counsellor online
All replies are written personally for you, and we aim to send a reply within 4 working days.
It costs just £22.50 to Email a Counsellor and get a personal reply. Each follow-on email and reply also costs £22.50.

Phillip Hodson website says...
Philip Hodson Webpage
Cheques should be sent in advance to PO BOX 29742 LONDON NW3 1FF. replies are usually sent within 48 hours.
Subjects are not limited but may include anything to do with love, sex, marriage, relationships, emotions, bereavement, divorce, dating, gender identity, sexual orientation, transvestism, difficulties with attachment/detachment, childhood/teenage, managing adolescents, parenting in general, time management issues, phobias, eating disorders, panic attacks, depression, borderline personality difficulties, erectile disorder, female orgasmic dysfunction, ejaculation problems and loss of libido.

Mild Space Clearing

This will improve the 'atmosphere' of your living space.
Basically it 'raises the vibration' slightly. Not much, but its better then nothing.
If you do one of these every day the effect does build up.

One of the BEST space clearing things you can do for ANY space is to be pray and meditate in it. Either that or do helpful/ unselfish actions in the space. Just be a nice human being in that space, and the space will feel better eventually.

There may be a residual 'bad vibe' where you live, IF you lived there while you were drinking. You can either move or do a bit of space clearing and generate some good karma in that space.

Incense. Daily. (See two posts ago about Chamomile and Vetiver)
Oil burners. Daily. 2/3 drops Lavender and 2/3 drops Vetiver is a good combo for general home use.

burnt on charcoal. Frankincense is nice. Not very often because its very sooty.
White Sage. Once in a blue moon or when you first move in somewhere as its a bit of a pain and gets ash everywhere.
You need a decent feather to use the white sage with. You can get one from Wilde Ones on the Kings Road.

Disclaimer: Please be careful with candles!!! Or anything lit!! Please use your commons sense here, because you snooze you lose!

HIV is a heterosexual issue I'm afraid

And much easier to catch if you are female.

I'm afraid the BAD news is that there is MORE std's around than EVER before. The problem is out of control. London is the HIV/STD capital of the UK. Bisexual men and more sexual freedoms generally means there is a BIG crossover of HIV to the heterosexual community. Lesbians have a better deal on the STD front as they score much lower, but deciding to be lesbian is a bit of of a drastic step to take to avoid STD's!!

Family planning and STDs are completely separate issues. Use condoms in addition to your family planning precautions if you are not 100% sure of the reliability of your partner.
HIV is not just for gays and drug users! Its fair game for the heterosexuals nowadays!! And MUCH easier for women to catch!

Educate yourself on STD's
Get screened some where like this. Check for everything. Including HIV.
HIV takes 3 months to show up in the bloodstream.
Learn about the viral infections like warts, and herpes. You can catch them even when you use a condom, and even when there is very little visible evidence of infection in the partner.

So basically, the days of screwing around are numbered I'm afraid. TIMES HAVE CHANGED. The possible consequences of not paying attention to this area of your life are significantly more life threatening than they were five or ten years ago. Really.
And don't think that just because you aren't 'screwing around' means you are at any less of a risk. You only need to pick ONE sexual partner to get infected. One bad decision, and you put yourself in danger of contracting HIV.
So if you haven't been tested for HIV, do.
But if you have had a recent sexual partner, you will have to wait 3 months before you'll know. That's assuming that during the three month period your partner hasn't had sex with someone else. In which case you'll have to wait ANOTHER three months.
Complicated isn't it? The rules have changed a lot recently. Infection rates and drunken blackout sexual behavior is on the increase.

It presents a VERY good case for why a person who may drink but NEVER gets drunk AND has strength of character is now a VERY DESIRABLE feature in a future partner.
Ask your partner to get screened if they haven't been screened since their last sexual partner. Ask them to show you the letter showing the results of their tests, or you can come with them to the clinic when they get their results.
Don't just think they must be fine because they have no visible symptoms and they 'appear' to be in good health, or they seem like a 'nice' person.