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.





  1. […] Original post by Chaz’ brief thoughts on life and recovery… […]

  2. Another excellent post. Dead on in every way. I’m amazed sometimes that we as adults have to remind ourselves of these things, which should be a given. But they’re not. Oh God they’re not!!! If this is all part of a spiritual influence, as you suggest, Satan is one seriously powerful dude.

  3. Well TV…. if self-deception and temptations were not commonplace amongst us all, there would not be so much written about both in the Bible. Nor would there be help needed by so many of us to untangle the messes we get ourselves into when we follow our self-deceived beliefs and temptations.

    On one hand it seems simple. But it is clear that both of us having known better about something made choices to play these losing games.

    I think we can be grateful to both have the opportunity to stay in the game of life and have another chance to choose more wisely. Maybe it had to happen to get us to this point?



  4. Well said Dr. Chaz, though I flirt without even realizing it (“so my wife tells me,” or is it “so I tell my wife”? 🙂

    But, yeah, great mentality to have. Win by not playing. I may use this at my meeting tonight.

    I use to wonder how people who I admired got so much done until I realized, they don’t waste time. That’s when it hit me years ago. I even came up with a quote that I use as a silent affirmation. “Time is my God. Wasting him is blasphemous.

    Again, good read. Thanks for taking the time to write this out, instead of playing Kobe in a game of horse 😉

  5. Wade… good point…productive people do productive things… and productive things only. Not that they don’t recreate or have hobbies…. which are both therapeutic for getting other things done.

    I read a great book recently be Dale Carnegie… “How to stop worrying and start living”. In it, he quoted Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in WW2 and then President of the United States.

    Dwight said, “I don’t waste my time on people I don’t like”. The context was that he does not stew over dislikable people or the way they treated him. Nor did he waste time arguing with them or getting back at them. He just moved on and refused to pay them any time or energy.

    This makes lots of sense to me. Just stay in the zone of what is really important and leave everthing else alone.

    This way we are getting out of life what really counts.

    And ya…. Horse with Kobe would be a waste of my time if my goal was to win.



  6. haha, I’m not so sure about the accuracy of your blog’s title. “Brief thoughts on life & recovery…”

    Since when is 5+ paragraphs “brief“? 😉

  7. Maybe it was just wishful thinking?

  8. “Don’t go in.”

    So simple, isn’t it?

    Love it!

  9. I don’t think there is “innocent” flirting, I think there is just flirting. I flirt when I don’t get the attention from my man. When he is “too tired” or “too stressed”, weeks go by and nothing! Women want to be felt wanted, desired, it’s in our DNA, and when your significant other doesn’t provide it, we go looking for it elsewhere. It may sound selfish, but I know many of my girlfrineds feel the same way.

  10. grllooking…

    Do as you wish. I am just saying that for me, I have experienced that flirting with others while in a relationship is a losing game. I have seen this over and over again. Sure, there is fun in it. Sure lots of people do it. The same can be said for driving too fast.

    I am not judging anyone who does flirt, I am just saying I choose not to. I would rather pour my energies into building my relationship than doing things that will eventually harm it.

    If we are not getting what we feel we want out of our relationships, there are lots of options to find ways to resolve problems.

    It really depends what you want in a relationship. I want an exciting and fulfilling commitment for life. Full of fun and passion. To me, the only comes from a lot of directed effort being poured into things that build the relationship. Not strain it or hurt it.

    Instead of noticing other women, I continually find ways to notice new and exciting things about my wife. She is tall, slender and gorgeous and gets more that way to me with the more effort I put into loving her and building intimacy.

    If I were to divert my attention to other women through flirting, I would be undermining what I really want and what she really derserves. And if I give her what she wants and dererves… it is amazing how I end up getting what I ultimately want without even having to ask.

    By and large in our culture, relationships are a disaster. More than 50% of marriages fail. I want to be the exception. I believe it is possible but to do so, I must be willing to do extreme things. To do what it takes to be infatuated with my wife forever. I know people who live this way. And none of them flirt.

    So… again…. no judgement, no argument, just saying I know what I want and believe certain things are required to get me there. Flirting ain’t one of them.



  11. Hi Chaz

    It’s great to hear your view on things. I agree totally with everything you have said and your responses. You appear to be a very matured individual. I believe you have learned through much experience which included much sufferings, as I have in life,and by God’s grace have come to an understanding and wisdom on many things.

    I too have learned to walk the straight and narrow which results in unbelievable blessings. However, there was a time in much of my life in which I was a fool and very ignorant but again God’s mercy and grace patiently drew me out of my foolish ways into a better and more fulfilling life.

    I have also come to the conclusion that, regardless of how much we want to prevent our loved ones from learning through suffering, it can’t be done. I heard a great example from a preacher who stated this, which really opened up an understanding that I had never had before. He said that in the scriptures when Jesus said ” No man comes unto Me unless My Father in heaven draws him”. The true meaning of the word draw is drags. So it really says, unless My Father in heaven DRAGSSSSSS him.

    I know I had to be dragged and from my observation in life thus far, I don’t know anyone else who has come unto Jesus without being dragged. We fought with all our might to live our own way as others are doing now. So we must learn to be about our Father’s business and let Him do the work of convicting others and dragging them out of their hell hole into the light.

    • Hey Clarence…. thanks for stopping by.

      Ya… I often wonder if we are sometimes trying to “help God out”. Meaning, acting on our good ideas rather than listening for direction. God informs us that obedience is preferred to sacrifice. This suggests to me that it is more important for us to find and follow God’s will than it is to make sacrifices for him of our own design and volition.

      I suppose it is a fine line that we often cannot see.

      In terms of helping others, I agree that we often have to just let them be dragged around. I know I went through that and I honestly do not know what else would have woken me up to my own powerlessness. I was clining to my own self-reliance and my self-reliance was dragging me all over the place yet getting me nowhere.

      But only by being beaten by the futility and pain of it all did I ever let go and let God. And even having some enlightenment in this area, I am still tempted to take back what I surrendered to God. In fact, I have discovered surrender to be a continual and progressive process. We learn with practice how to surrender more and more. Just like we learned with practice how to be more and more self-reliant.

      Thanks for the reply.

      Will look for you on the boards.



      • Hey Chaz,

        You are welcome. Thanks for your reply. I am enjoying the input from the others who have replied to you. It is very encouraging.
        Keep up the good work.

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