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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How I try to get over 'disillusioning behavior' from people in AA, and wherever really..

IMAGE_180, originally uploaded by Irish friend of Bill.

For me, the ? 'answer is in non duality and shadow work. Which are pretty much the same thing anyway. If you really do see that there is only ONE person, as Thich Nhat Hanh so eloquently describes in the poem Call Me By My True Names, you have to reach a point where you see:

"I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving."

Non duality is a TERRIFYING reality to admit to oneself. But it IS the true nature of things. So you, and that offender are one and the same. Intrinsically connected, just like Thich Nhat Hanh describes. What I find REALLY cool, is that AA was 'onto this' in 1935, when it told us to 'look for the similarities not the differences'. It goes much deeper than that, but essentially we have FAR more in common than we want to admit.

Yeah. Regarding the sexual abuse case in the papers, I know NOTHING about this guy. Saw him in meetings AGES ago and that's it really. For all we know he's been out on the piss. My ?(guess) theory is that he was not drinking, and for all we know he may have been going to meetings. There are plenty of sick puppies in meetings!! So that's not such a stretch. Plus this thing happened ? 10 years ago. So he would have been ? 5-7 ? Years sober at the time.
Gawd knows. Its not really important anyway.

Yeah I remember when I first got disillusioned with AA. 93? 94? Can't remember.. Thank GOD for the Buddhist monk that explained that disillusionment happens on EVERY spiritual path. Not just the AA one! Its a very respectable 'rite of passage'. You have to somehow keep your heart open and compassionate despite the few bad apples, and disheartening examples. But you also have to have some kind of compassion for the sick people, like Thich Nhat Hanh does in the poem Call Me By My True Names, or else you will go mad!

What was weird, was that the thing that started me off on this 'dis'ing old timers was one online AA that I found horrifyingly ? Dogmatic and 'authoritative', for want of a better word. Without naming names I wanted people to see how !! dodgy the whole ''preaching' thing is. So there you go. I let AA's piss me off from time to time too. I'm sure they think they are doing the right thing, but I think it sounds a bit mad. I can't help but worry what people newer than me make of it. If they immediately assume this person 'knows' what they are talking about. I like to think I can spot a 'duff' one at 100 paces, but I don't think newer people can.. Whatever. Its none of my business either. But being someone with 20 odd years has really shown me how MEEK and SUBSERVIENT and TRUSTING some newer AA's are with long time sober people. To be honest I find it quite HORRIFYING how trusting some people are. I don't think I was ever like that. Oh well.

But yes. (in MY opinion) I think its VERY, I repeat VERY healthy, to see AA in the LONG term. (5 years and over) as 'spiritual kindergarten'. Step 11 should eclipse AA in spiritual power. Leaving AA as some kind of base camp. Step 11 is where you 'climb'. AA is much more 'grass roots' spirituality. A place to learn, humility, patience, tolerance, and generosity. Helping others. But the 'illuminations' belong to a GOOD (non AA) step 11. (Meaning you look OUTSIDE AA for examples of enlightened activity) I never learned Step 11 from Step 11 meetings, or from other AA members talking about THEIR experience of step 11. I went straight to the horses mouth so to speak. I found some of the most highly respected, world famous enlightenment teachers on my doorstep. There arent that many so they are pretty easy to track down. Plus some choose tp teach all over the world. 'Why speak to the monkey when you can speak to the organ grinder' sort of thing. So I learned about Step 11 in Monasteries, with senior monks and nuns from various religions. Mainly Buddhist. Obviously, thats a very personal preferenece, meaning its a free country and you can practice step 11 any way you wish. But I have to admit that sponsees who do the same, feel EXACTLY the way I do about AA after they meet some (what I call) 'Senior teachers' outside AA. but that's another story really..
I do my 'grass roots' with meetings and newcomers, but I get my direction and strength from step 11. That is what informs my actions, and tells me where to go next.

For me meetings are like being an auxiliary nurse. Real basic stuff, but hard work nonetheless. Its like a basic workout. A sort of once over. Like brushing my teeth every day. And the step 11 stuff. Well that's like SUPER-advanced yoga classes, or attending a lecture by the finest professor on the subject, that makes the most complex esoteric truth seem like common sense. In aa, I feel as though I am mopping up blood and vomit. Dirty work, but good for me, and thankfully does bring me closer to my higher power if I do it in the right spirit. Reminds me of when Gandhi insisted on the regular practice of cleaning the latrines as a way of maintaining humility. AA (for me) is the 'dirty work', but it gives me a great deal of pleasure when I do it right. And step 11 refines and pushes me in ways that AA meetings never could.
Whatever. That's just what I think.


Syd said...

I am glad to have found some good people in my program. They provide a lot of wisdom, especially my sponsor.

Shadow said...

you know, whatever programme you are in, and it works for you, do it. not everyone finds the same results in the same things.

that also does not give you the right to critise another programme. there are bad seeds in everything. and one bad seed doesn't automatically make the whole organisation bad.

life happens...

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johno said...

A REALLY helpful post. God love ya !

Gooey Munster said...

Thank GOD for the Buddhist monk that explained that disillusionment happens on EVERY spiritual path. Not just the AA one!

I see some people live in the rooms of AA and I fear "is that what I have to do to get it?" What about life? Well I am in "kindergarden" again :) I hope to graduate to higher levels.

This is a wondeful insightful post. Right now I am in AA of course but have recently begun to seek some spiritual outlooks.

I appreciate your thoughts you wrote here. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

WOW--I am impressed...The great enlightened one is obviously not as "enlightened" so much as delusional.
Quote "Reminds me of when Gandhi insisted on the regular practice of cleaning the latrines as a way of maintaining humility. AA (for me) is the 'dirty work', but it gives me a great deal of pleasure when I do it right."
You self-righteous phony...I am not fooled by you. Try taking another look at pages 64-71 and following the directions there for step 4. (If you think you know the meanings of the words, try looking them up in the 1913 webster's dictionary (online) and you may find something very valuable.)You can probably find someone with less time than you that can help you, but your ego won't let you ask!
You are soooo spiritual that you think spending a little time in/around AA is "Dirty work?". YOU ARE NOT NEARLY AS SPIRITUAL AS YOU THINK....Ah yes, I believe the correct term is delusional--unable to differentiate the true from the false.
Well, when the AA toilet flushes you out, you had better hope that one of us "turds" with a real answer is there to help you, or you will probably end up the way most of the poor guys you have pushed out of AA have ended up- hopeless again, drunk, and dying. So sad that after 20 years, you pass out so much poison for the new person to swallow, but no real answer.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Well the GOOD news is that I am in reality a very understanding and forgiving sort, so I am more than willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am working from the assumption that you don't really know me, read a few really unrelated items, jumped to a conclusion, perhaps had a bad day yesterday, problems at work and what have you, and I just caught you having an off moment. It happens!! We all get it wrong, and we ALL f*ck up from time to time. And this could be where you have made a genuine error of judgment, and gone about this all wrong. Gawd knows. Im not you so I have NO idea.

The other thing is that I have an uncanny knack of getting along with most people (well as much as you can with some people) so it may very well be the case that if we bumped into each other in a meeting we would get on like a house on fire. Who knows?

But anyway, here's the 'not so good news' about what you said..

Firstly, your angry tone and attacking comments immediately identify you as a member who (for whatever reason) has a weak grasp of resentment. If this is so, then many other insights are unavailable to you, due to the severity of resentment. It is the number one offender. Literally. It is the thing alcoholics can LEAST afford to have. They literally put their LIVES at risk by choosing to have anger, and secondly act out on that anger in the form of an attacking comment such as this.

The fact you posted shows in this way you are short of 'restraint of tongue and pen'. Meaning you lack impulse control. You are probably quite fiery, and volatile. Quick to anger. Emotionally unstable basically. My instinct is that 'righteous principles' such as aa, provide a fertile (and seemingly legitimate) opportunity for you to express this anger of yours.
Im afraid the bad new is, that ALL anger is highly suspect. So you condemn yourself by broadcasting your deeply felt anger, your feelings of being persecuted by me (a complete stranger), and your desire to speak in a cruel and unnecessary fashion in order to make, (what may be) a reasonable point.

What I mean is
"What you ARE shouts so loudly, I can't hear what you're saying'

So your tone, social skills, anger, persecution complex, lack of consideration and impulse control utterly undermine the insight of your position.

As it happens I am always interested new ideas, so I LIKE examining ways in which the ego hides in places I haven't noticed yet, so you hit upon something that does actually interest me.

But because you are so clearly coming from a place of anger, I am in no hurry to engage you on this subject, as your disinherited attitude toward expressin of anger toward people such as myself, might very well mean that I am exposing myself to quite toxic anger. I see no point in that really. I choose to avoid those that are a bit out of control when they are 'hot' with emotion, and if I REALLY want to, I re engage them when they have cooled down. But only if they STAY cooled down. Slanging matches don't interest me. Not even 'heated' debates. Nothing with resentment in basically.

So. I have a feeling we may never get round to a proper conversation.

But in the meantime I do hope that you find a way of getting on top of that anger, as your life, cannot benefit at all from you being that way. I meet so many in AA that are like this, and I confess I feel sorry for them. I KNOW how HORRIBLE it is to be caught up in anger a LOT.I've been there!

"Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us,
they, like ourselves, were sick too.

We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience
that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.

When a person offended we said to ourselves,
"This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him?
God save me from being angry.
Thy will be done."
(From the bib book, quoted on my older post called Resentment)

So here are some of my old posts which might help. They are all listed under the label ANGER, on the right hand side.

Avoiding angry people and Impulse Control
Titles of older posts about Anger are:
Boundaries: Avoiding even SLIGHTLY crazy people
"Never wrestle with a pig: You both get all dirty, and the pig likes it."
Hatred and Delusion don't 'go away' as such. They just stop being an (alarming) BIG ! DEAL
Harmful Speech: Communicating problems (in order to seek help) WITHOUT Ranting or Dumping
WALK AWAY! Unless you have a heart of STONE, (or are completely NUMB), cruel words will ALWAYS hurt
Am I a FREAK or C**P at my AA programme if DIFFICULT people make me angry? NO.
Impulse Control: Restraint of tongue and pen: Harmful speech
EVERY time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with US
Dry but not Recovered? COMPLETELY give yourself..
Is being DIS-EASED 'normal' in recovery?
What is the source of ALL Spiritual Disease?

Oh yeah, but anger aside, the conclusion you have drawn that
I am attacking you
I am attacking AA
I am deterring people from going to AA
It is an egoic remark to perceive AA service as 'dirty work'

Are all wrong.
I would class what Mother theresa did as dirty work. It was messy front line stuff, involving human waste, dead and dying.
That does not make it an ignoble act surely?

If you read any of my posts on service work, you will see the incredibly high esteem I hold it in. perhaps then you will understand where I am coming from better.

Whatever. The best way to get a better picture of what I mean is to read the blog. Read the ones on step 12 - service, and the ones on anger. I think then you will realize we have a great deal more in common than you first realized!
On the other hand we may very well just have COMPLETELY differ rent interpretations of what it means to adhere to AA principle, which is fine too. I am in no hurry to make the entire population of AA agree with my perspective.

Lastly is is NEVER necessary to take an ADVERSARIAL stance on ANY issue. EVER. Even when in physical battle. I happen to know a boxer (a very good one) who said that if he wanted to WIN a fight, he could not afford to get angry. Was very interesting as it happens.
If you have such unequivocal views that you feel the need to share why not set up your own blog? With a coffee pot and a resentment? Why not/ it might help you get this out of your system.

Oh yeah, and I should be studying , not writing this!!!!
So I HAVE to go!! !!!!!