Archive for March, 2009

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Why don’t we stop drinking? Others can.

March 27, 2009

“I’ don’t know why I started drinking, I just know that when I drank, I felt better”.

This was the first definition of my drinking problem that made any sense to me.  It was shared by another alcoholic when I was in early sobriety.alcohilic-yuppie1

As alcoholics, we tend to complicate things, including our reasons for drinking.  May I strongly suggest that the detailed reasons are not likely to be today’s business?  Time will reveal to us more and more reasons why/how we got to where we got to.

It wasnt long for me until  more factors revealed themselves as to why I do not stop when I start.

alcoholic-momThese reasons matter less than the fact that we are simply in this position today.  And if we are to ever discover the reasons why we do not stop, we need to first stop and begin to get sane enough to work on our stuff, and stop the damage and pain.

Borrowing someone else’s simple definition is a great place to start.  It was for me.

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Winning at “Loser’s Games”

March 22, 2009

kobe-bryant-on-on-oneI don’t golf against Tiger Woods, and I don’t play one-on-one hoops against Kobe Bryant.  Why?  Because they would be “Losers Games”. 

 

I would have no chance of even coming close.  It would be a waste of my time as far as the competition goes. 

 

 

 

I look at other life circumstances the same way…. including but not limited to:

  • Drinking
  • Drugging
  • Resenting
  • Flirting with women other than my wife
  • Arguing with closed minded people

 

Now have never had a gambling problem, but I will use a quote from the biography of famed gambling mobster, Meyer Lansky.  In the book, his personal doctor was quoted as having asked Meyer Lansky how best to make money at the casino.  To which Meyer replied, “Don’t go in”.  The odds are always stacked in favour of the house. 

So I seek to win Loser’s Games by simply not showing up.

 

I have proven to myself beyond the shadow of a doubt, that if I drink or drug, I will not be able to stop.  So I simply absolutdon’t start.  Instead I pour my energy in to other positive things in my life and life turns out amazingly well.  I don’t even spend time reminiscing to any great degree about drugs or booze.  Now I will give certain accounts of what happened where it is in the context of relating to someone or giving an example of how life has turned around.  But I do not spend any time recollecting the “good old days” of drinking and drugging.

 

 

 

 

grumpy-resentfulI also avoid resenting because that to is a Loser’s Game. 

Not to say I don’t ever resent.  Just that when I find myself resenting, I redirect to a healthier path as quick as possible and then get help with my resentful attitude by talking to someone who understands where I am at.  Such as my AA sponsor or fellow recoveror.  Or…. the person I am resenting!  That one is the boldest step but often the best.

 

 

 

 

In a similar way, I do not flirt with women…. other than my wife.  Now some may say that we are “Married, not buried”.  I disagree.  It is not that we will never notice and attractive woman or enjoy their company.  But lets be really honest, what ulterior motive do we ultimately have when we chat up someone of the opposite sex or play little verbal games with them?

Now we all have our own line of what is appropriate and what isn’t.  I have mine.  I simply feel that if I direct my focus and energy of my need for female interaction to my wife, that I can continually grow and develop my attraction toward her and my relationship with her.

office-flirt2I am also coming from a biased standpoint of someone whose wife ran off with someone who she began “innocently” flirting with while they were both still married.  And now they are married… to each other.  Lets not be naive here.  As much fun as it may be, flirting is where it starts. 

Avoiding flirting does not mean avoiding talking, joking, laughing, and interacting on friendship and collegial levels.  Avoiding flirting means stopping at that line that your inner voice tells you is the threshold into the danger zone.  And if you don’t know an inner voice like that, I suggest getting some help.  Cause chances are your spouse or partner is left wondering about you.

 

And last but certainly not least, I do not engage arguments anymore with people who simply like to argue.  Or people who have already made up their mind about what they believe before the discussion starts.  There is much wisdom in “avoiding foolish debates”, I believe is how it is described.  It is useless, and pointless and frankly a waste of time that could be spent doing something positive in our lives.

I see people posting anti-AA and anti 12-Step posts within AA and 12 Step tags.  They are free to do this but I have no interest in them.  The times I have read them, they are just packaged ignorance from people who have not walked the journey of destruction and recovery that many of us have.  I no longer click their posts.  I no longer argue or debate.  In my experience, largely “Religious” people who don’t seem to be able to handle the fact that others believe differently from themselves.

jesus-crowd-chasingRather than understand where others come from, they appear to simply wish to tell us what we should believe and think in spite of our experiences and conditioning.

As someone who has read the Bible and believes that Jesus Christ is who he said he was, I do not see any connection to how they behave and how Jesus behaved.  If anything, I notice a similarity to how they come across and how the Pharisees in the Bible came across.

Jesus reached people where they were at and related to people where they were at.  The only people he strenuously opposed were the narrow-minded, self-righteous religious leaders of the day. 

I would be surprised if these people posting these warnings about AA have won a single person to their cause.  To them I would say that “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.   And also point out that the Bible describes crowds of people seeking out what Jesus had to say.  People were simply attraced to him and maybe there is something to be learned by this example.

Ciao

Chaz

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Rut – noun: A very long grave.

March 13, 2009

I spent time today with an elderly man who I have known my whole life.  As long as I have known him, he thought a certain way.  Now in his 80’s, no matter how plainly the truth stares him in the face and knocks him on the head, he still thinks the same way.  A rut worn by his patterns of thought.

rutIt is painful to watch.  Painful to listen to.  Sadly, he has practiced ignorance over and over about a particular matter.  Wearing a rut so deep for so long, I do not believe he could change his thinking if he wanted to.  There is evidence to contradict what he believes all around him.  It seems obvious to all of us in his life.  But he goes on believing the way he does.

Makes me stop and ask myself, what ruts are forming in my thinking?  I know I have got out of some of the ruts in recovering from alcohol, drugs, and depression.  But that does not mean that new ruts cannot be formed.  Or that I can’t simply fill one rut by digging another one right beside it. 

Even positive thinking can become a rut if it does not progress with changing circumstances of life.  I have met many who found a new way to think decades ago, then immediately made that thinking into a rut that is not relevant to today’s bizarre and changing world.  They are in an outdated rut.

For this reason, I continually challenge my own thinking as best I can.  Posting on blogs is a major part of it.  Dialogue and debate help limit rut thinking.  I also do my best to listen to those around me.  This can be painful.  But then again, so were changing my thinking patterns that kept me drunk and depressed.  The work was painful, but the result was marvelous.

But I guess we either feel the pain now of filling in our ruts, or feel the pain later of being stuck in one.  I am going to go with the former… as best I can.

 

Ciao

Chaz

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AA Roundups I have known

March 7, 2009

Ok, so I finally went to one. 

After a number of years being in and around AA, I attended my first Roundup.  In fact, I volounteered as an organizer.  It was amazing!

I always figured round-up were for the “really sick mo-fos”.  Well, by that definition, I must be be one of them. 

I thought who could enjoy sitting at meeting after meeting listening to AA talk all day.  So I just shut off my brain and turned on my ears and listened.  Truly it was amazing and I do not have the longest attention span in the world.

I strongly recommend investing a day or weekend in attending a round-up where you have a variety of speakers and some fun and laughs.

It truly is an investment that pays a return. 

Ciao.

Chaz

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Things we suck at

March 4, 2009

Humans suck at forecasting.

Yet, most of us try constantly to forecast circumstances and the behaviour of others. 

Billions of dollars are spent yearly on forcasting the weather and stock market behaviour.  Yet we are always taken by surprise when a sudden change happens and few expected it.

Why?  Because by and large, we suck at forecasting.

In addiction and alcoholism, we talk a lot about expectations to me is just a garden variety forecast.  Since big business and big science with all their money, computers and equipment suck at forecasting weather and stock markets, how is it that we as individuals feel that we can meaningfully set expectations on outcomes of events and behaviours of people around us?  We are continually inaccurate yet continually do it and feel hurt and disappointed when things don’t turn out as expected.

After over 40 years on this planet, I have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot and are not likely to anytime soon.

So what can we do instead? How about just doing our best to be aware that there is a scope of what may happenrather than set narrow, pinpoint expectations?  Then be ready with a bucket-load of acceptance to use to deal with whatever actually arives to us.

I have used this alternative in my recovery and  in virtually every area of my life including but not limited to business, relationships, health and fitness, and even housework.

The result is that I get more done with less stress than at any other time in my life.  Yet somehow, I have not fully shut of my forecast mechanism yet, and I still intuitively set expectations from time to time.

Thank God recovery is about progress not perfection.

Ciao.

 

Chaz

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Emotionally paralyzed

March 1, 2009

Ever been paralyzed by anxiety or depression?  I have.

 

depressed-isolation2

Ever been judged by others when you felt paralyzed? 

 

Did they call you ‘lazy’?   Tell you to ‘shake it off’?  ‘Get over it’?  Snap out of it’?

 

 

 Glad to say, I have gained a lot of ground in this area.  Here is something I read recently….

 

“One of the most destructive aspects of depression is the way it paralyzes your willpower

In the mildest form you may simply procrastinate about doing a few odious chores.  As your lack of motivation depression-alone1intensifies, virtually any activity appear so difficult that you become overwhelmed by the urge to do nothing. 

Because you accomplish very little, you feel worse and worse. 

Not only do you cut yourself off from your normal sources of stimulation and pleasure, but your lack of productivity aggravates your self-hatred, resulting in further isolation and incapacitation.

If you don’t recognize the emotional prison in which you are trapped, this situation can go on for weeks, months, oer even years”.

 

When I read these paragraphs, I was once again reminded I am not alone in these feeling.  The self-blame and feelings of shame for having done this for so long lifted a little more.  It is clearer to me that a big part of why I behaved this way was due to the medical conditions of Depression and Anxiety.

I believe that we are not responsible for our ‘disease’ (s), but we are responsible for our recovery.  This responsibility of course comes only after we are aware that we have a problem.  Same applies to addiction or alcoholism. 

For anyone who can relate, you are not alone.  You are also not without hope.  Understand that your paralyzed behaviour is beyond your willpower because your willpower is paralyzed.   So don’t keep feeling depression-staying-in-bed1bad for being that way and don’t keep trying things alone, get help.

 

I remember the feelings of being alone.  Even when someone you love is laying right beside you.  Because they can’t understand.  They don’t feel the vortex pulling you into depression.  That to me was hell on earth.

The above quote is from a book I am reading called, “Feeling Good”, by Dr. D. Burns.  It has been around forever.  It is simple and it works.  I have no connection with the publisher or author.  I am simply another person overcoming depression and anxiety who is sharing some experience, strength and hope.

Don’t stop until you find some help.  Life gets better.  Mine did with help.  Yours can too.

Ciao.

Chaz