Archive for September, 2009

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And you may ask yourself-well…how did I get here?

September 20, 2009

david byrne talking heads once in a lifetimeHow’d we end up so messed up that we drank and basically went nuts?  I have often wondered.

How many futile thought patterns and attitudes have we learned from literature and entertainment?  How much did we glean from watching movies, television, reading books, and listening to music and end up training ourselves through sheer repetition and familiarity painful and toxic thought habits like:

vengeance?

self-pity?

expectations of love relationships?

These few things alone are enough to drive anyone to drink or drug.  Remember the old Charles Bronson movie series, Death Wish?  Where the main character played by Bronson becomes a vigilante and seeks out and kills those who wronged him?  Or what about the age-old tale of the Count of Monte Cristo?  Or the 1990’s movie series, Die Hard? What about all the old Clint Eastwood cowboy movies where he exacts vengeance and kills the whole town?

Did all of these and many, many more through suggestion, repetition, and familiarity not teach us to be vengeful?  Did these kinds of experiences and conditioning not suggest to us that violence was a viable alternative?  How deeply did these messages get programmed into our subconscious?

Then when we suffered injustices, people were surprised at our level of anger and perhaps our threats or violent retaliations?

What about how we reacted when we got our heart broken… and fell into deep self-pity?  Were we not just living out what so much popular music programmed into us? 

I remember the old Chicago song when I was a kid… “If you leave me now, you’ll take away the biggest part of me”.  And I ended up buying into stuff like this when my wife left and ended up a self-pitying disaster.  Now surely there would have been pain regardless, but somehow my thinking made it into something far more complex and painful than it actually was.

Or what about the fait de compli of all self-pitying, unrealistic expectation love songs of all time?  Michael Bolton’s “How am I supposed to live without you”?  Oh please!  With expectations like this programmed into our psyche… no wonder we went nuts, drank, drugged, and fell for the self-pity gig to the degree we did.  Depression and misery were just waiting for us.  And these are only 2 songs!  Am sure literally thousands more affected us and set us up for failure.

How did we get here?  Well… from what I see…. we programmed a lot of crap into our thinking.  “Entertainment” had a lot to do with it.

Glad to say, am programming much of it out and better stuff in.  Life is amazing today.  I am wiser in my choice of things I let permeate my thinking.

Ciao.

Chaz

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Self Deception

September 14, 2009

I am amazed at how often challenges and pain derive from self-deception.  Beliefs about self, others, and life that turn out to be incorrect.  Believing errors, overstatements, understatements and lies.

It is often said that “truth sets us free”.  Why?  Is it because if we believe untruths that we stay stuck, bound, imprisoned to whatever dysfunction the untruth brings?

Alcoholism is a great example.  The untruth is that drinking will solve our problems.  The more we tend to believe this, the more damage we do and the deeper in we get.  At least for those of us who are prone to alcoholism.

What about other matters such as pride?  Believing we are something we are not… more capable than we actually are… tougher than we actually are… more clever than we actually are.  Do these deceived beliefs not keep us stuck in problems?  Are the opposites also not equalling imprisoning… believing we are less than we actually are?

If we are not dealing with truth, we are not on the pathway to the way out.  We remain in harms way.  We remain in pain.  Others remain in pain.

Today, I am grateful that people and circumstances shook me to begin to wake me from so many of my self-deceptions.  It is a long process to which I do not believe there is a clear end.  But the journey is amazing.  The unfolding and opening up of life are amazing.

I am glad to know what I am and what I am not.  What I am capable of, and what I am not.  Then living in those truths.  Discovering the truths may be painful, but the result is worth it. 

To me, the processes of shedding self-deception and moving toward living in truths are what recovery is about.

Ciao.

Chaz.

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The Starter Marriage?

September 7, 2009

Is this the new way for marriage relationships?  To start with one that will in all probability fail? Do we have to get one out of our system starter marriagebefore we are ready to have one that lasts?

It blows me away that so many of us in this day and age are on our second marriages. Some third, fourth and beyond.

I never thought I would be at a point where I would ask the question of whether our society and culture have created the environment where we statistically are more likely to have a starter marriage before we get into one that functions more effectively and happily.

Could it be because the barriers to exit a marriage are diminishing and have been over the past 50 years? Where when the going gets tough, many just go?

I never imagined in my wildest dreams the demise of my first marriage.  We had been together since we were teenagers. We had kids together.  People called us the perfect couple. When she packed it in, I took it very hard. Depression, booze and drugs are where I went.

Yet here I am remarried and happier than ever!  It seems so much more real and genuine. More mature. I trust it more than my first marriage. I honestly believe I am a better husband to my wife than I was to my ex.  My wife often states that she got the better deal because my ex got the “Pre-recovery Chaz”, even though I was not active in my alcoholism for much of my first marriage and the drugs had not started until after divorce. 

My wife says gleefully that she gets the “New, improved version”, and humbly, I have to agree.  I look at who I was in my first marriage… moody… anxious… argumentative… arrogant… depressed… fearful.  Not that I am beyond any of these things now, but at the very least, I have an awareness of them.  And I can offer a more aware and recovering person to my wife that my ex never had the pleasure of.

I am almost convinced that it took the pain of divorce and betrayal for me to crash hard enough to wake me up to any meaningful level of self-awareness such that recovery could even be possible.  Prior to being smashed emotionally, relationally, and financially, I always shielded myself in self-reliance…. which was an outworking of fear and selfishness.

So I have not yet come to any conclusions as to “why” all this happened.  I am just glad it did.  Life is so much better today.  So much more real.  So much less anxious.  I have nothing to prove and nothing to hide, but tons to do and I can now finally do it all without a ton of weight on my shoulders.  And best of all, I have an amazing wife to share it with and walk the journey together with.

I regret that I hurt my ex so much that she felt she had to turn to someone else.  I have some responsibility to take in this.  I regret that my kids went through this high-conflict divorce and saw their super-dad become a depressed, raging alcoholic and drug addict.

Yet I find the result to be the most amazing place.  And I don’t know how I could have shaken off the futile thinking patterns and hurtful behaviour patterns without going through a failed first marriage.

I am just so glad and grateful to offer my wife something and someone I could never offer anyone before.  The starter marriage, if we can call it that, served a purpose.  As they have for so many people I know. Is this the direction our marriage culture is going? 

Ciao.

Chaz