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, March 22, 2007

SELF OBSESSED: Constant thought of SELF? Or constant thought of OTHERS?

I have yet to meet someone who is very preoccupied with themselves who is radiant or at peace. Or who 'has what I want', basically. I know how easy it is to confuse the (very necessary) self examination that is a VITAL component of the steps, with simply being preoccupied with oneself. Its a sophisticated and elegant balancing act to get it right. Anyway, that's why I've posted this.
The 'measuring stick' of how to get the right balance (with ALL things not just this issue) is the principle of 'Neither repression nor Indulgence"

See old post called Balanced Between Repression & Indulgence

Again, like most things in relation to alcoholism, the MOST powerful spiritual 'medicine' is helping others. As the big book quotes pretty much repeat below. If you want relief from ANY symptom, 'give it away to keep it'.
Anyway, here's the relevant big book quotes:

"OUR VERY LIVES, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our CONSTANT thought of others (as opposed to CONSTANT thought of OURSELVES!!!!) and how we may help meet their needs". **

"If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and SELF-SACRIFICE FOR OTHERS, ** he could NOT survive the CERTAIN trials and low spots ahead".

"When ALL other measure failed, work with another alcoholic WOULD save the day. **

"Practical experience shows that NOTHING will so much insure immunity from drinking as INTENSIVE (as opposed to half-hearted, habitual rhetoric) work with other alcoholics".**

"A kindly act once in a while ISN'T ENOUGH. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be". **

"Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now".**

"the dark past is the greatest possession you have**-the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them."

"The spiritual life is NOT a theory. We HAVE to LIVE it." **

** means insert: (..As opposed to 'professional' feedback, attention, sympathy, 'friendly' advice, 'external validation', positive 'strokes', people telling us what we want to hear, people agreeing with us, people telling us we are right, compliments, ego massaging comments, expecting others to take care of us, simply showing up at meetings, fellowship alone, etc etc..)

If 'your way' doesn't appear to be working very well. Why not try doing what the first hundred members did instead?

You have two choices.
You can either practice 'Constant thought of YOURSELF."
'Constant thought of OTHERS".
What's it to be?
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired Yet?
I'm afraid half measures REALLY do achieve ABSOLUTELY !!!! NOTHING. The first hundred members WERE NOT KIDDING when they wrote that. Funny enough.


Syd said...

We definitely had similar thoughts for today. I wrote those very words, "in order to keep something, you have to give it away". For recovery in Al-Anon, I have to keep the focus on ourselves, otherwise I become absorbed in others and their drama. It is a fine balance between lending a helping hand and being handcuffed.

ArahMan7 said...

I do stray out of my 'designated aa remit'. Thank you for showing me the way.

Sober Steve said...

Wow, must be in the air today. Today I thanked everyone in rehab for being there for me like the others that were here when I got there, and the ones that are left will be there for the newcomer. It doesn't do any good to keep it for yourself, we must give it away. My wife brought my kids there to see me get my mediliion. I finished!!! Thanks I do want what you have.

Hugs and Kisses

Shadow said...

hey! just wanted you to know that when i read your 'about me' this morning, that 'peace of mind is everything', and that 'recovery is common sense' it somehow jumped at me although i've read it before. and i agree with you there. we 'know' so much, we read about it every day, why oh why is it sometimes so hard to apply it i wonder.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Hi Syd.
Nice point. Yeah you guys at Al anon do a dam fine job of examining the conditions under which you engage with others. Well done for that pioneering work!

I actually LOVE the mystery of recovery. I have stopped trying to understand it long ago, All I know, is that some sort of 'magic' happens when I think of others.
I subscribe to the skilful/ unskillful interpretation of everything really. Meaning it is not the 'action' that is 'bad', but the 'way I do it'.
I have a !! Amazing connection with my higher power, and it 'comes to life' in a WONDERFUL and life enhancing way when I truly TRY to help others. So really my motive of helping others is to feel the vitality of my higher powers presence more powerfully. Yeh I know that sounds a bit weird, but that's how it works for me. I am addicted to my higher power!

Ah Bless! You can be comforted by the fact that I have only ever learned these lessons through exasperating and tough experience!! We ALL make LOTS of stupid mistakes. Its no big deal. It just makes us human for gods sakes!

Nice to see you Bro!
Keep up the GOOD work. Give away what you learned in rehab to those that are newer than yourself, and your higher power will take care of the rest..

Hi Shadow:
"If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered LONG ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did NOT save us, NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TRIED.
We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with ALL our might, BUT THE NEEDED POWER WASN'T THERE.
Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, WERE NOT SUFFICIENT: they FAILED UTTERLY." p45

Self Knowledge has NO impact whatsoever on the symptoms of alcoholism I'm afraid! Self will is pretty useless too!

"the lift is broken, please use the STEPS"
Nothing short of a spiritual awakening as a direct result of completing the first 9 steps and thereafter staying in fit spiritual condition will do the trick I'm afraid! There are NO shortcuts!!

Shadow, there is NO mystery to recovery. Its about going to any lengths and helping as many people get sober and stay sober as is humanly possible, whilst at the same time resolving to be at peace, and maintaining awareness of the things that obstruct peace using the aa tools.
Simple but not easy! Just do your lousy best! thats all I do!