Saturday, April 20, 2013

You Will Not Fail

   
     "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. There are those, too, with grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."
- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 58

   
     So trust in God, do the right thing, follow your heart...
   
     And you will not fail.


God, teach me how to properly love and accept myself so that I may better love and accept others and do Your work well...

God, help me to let go of my fear, anger and resentment, that I may embrace Your principles of love, patience, compassion and courage...

God, give me the power and the willingness to do anything it takes to grow spiritually...

God, help me to become more honest...

God, please bring me the opportunity to help others...

God, make me a better person today...

God, keep me close to You today...

God, please help us all to heal ourselves and find our way to You...

God, take our will and make it Your own...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Resentment Inventory Example

     Inventory extracts resentments, fears, and flawed, immoral conduct. It does this by helping us to see situations clearly. When we see things clearly, we become honest with ourselves, and when we become honest, we can forgive ourselves. And then, beautifully, when we forgive ourselves, we can forgive anyone.

     An older post, Resentment Inventory, has gotten a number of hits lately, so after forgetting to ever follow it up with an example, here is some resentment inventory from my original 4th Step years ago.

See also: ResentmentFear Inventory & Sex Inventory. As well, see More InventoryHome Depot Inventory & Professor Masshole

1st Column: Mom  

2nd Column: Thinks I should be medicated.

3rd Column: (Affects my...) Self-Esteem,  Pride/Ambition, Personal/Sex Relations.

4th Column:

*Self-Seeking: I want to be seen as normal and sane.

*Selfish: I want Mom to leave me alone. I'm unable to see that Mom loves me and is just trying to help me.

*Dishonest: I know I am sick, but getting angry and resenting Mom helps me avoid being accountable and taking responsibility for my illness.

*Fear: I fear what Mom and others think of me. I fear facing my depression.

     Once freed from our resentment through the new understanding we've gained, we must let go of our inventory by reading it to someone we confide in, if not someone who has gone through the process. After reading, we can sit quietly to reflect on what we've learned about ourselves, allowing us to let go even deeper. And finally, we can conclude with the recitation of the 7th Step prayer:

     "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p.76

God, please help me to see those things that block me from You and Others...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Intent

     If we are serious about our recovery and about growing, then we don't want to put up any walls, even thin ones, between us and spiritual health/freedom. That means we don't mess with anything. That means we don't take Tylenol PM, Sudafed, or any mood or mind-altering substance whatsoever, regardless of how subtle. That means we don't take prescribed painkillers during or after surgery. Why, knowing that our bodies are permanently damaged, knowing that the allergy we have crosses all lines, and knowing that ANY mood-altering substance will set this allergy off, would we screw with anything? Plus, if we wuss out after getting a tooth pulled or some other nonsense, then we really can't be much of an example to anyone we might help or sponsor now, can we?

     But whatever we do or don't do, the most important thing is intent. Is our intent in taking something to feel good, to feel different? If it is, even to the slightest degree, then it is of ill intent, it is wrong, it is dangerous, and by taking it you have without question relapsed. And remember, lying to ourselves is basically equivalent to relapsing as well, so we must be sure that we truly know our intent. Are we deceiving ourselves, thinking or believing our intent is pure when it may not be? Remembering that we are warped, isn't it better just not to mess with anything at all?

     For the record, you can have surgery without taking narcotics like a baby. I've had an abdominal surgery and a wrist surgery (that included a nerve block procedure) without any pain meds whatsoever. Sure it hurt like hell, but it's possible, and I'm not willing to lose what I have now. We have to ask ourselves, how serious are we about our addiction, our recovery, our spiritual health? How serious are we about about living it, about setting an example for others? How serious are we about our lives, about getting closer to God? Shouldn't we be making choices and living in a way that we would recommend for all others, especially for other suffering addicts? So if we get sober and really want to change, then we will abstain from any and all mood-altering drugs, even during and after surgery.

     To note, for major surgeries, such as my abdominal surgery, it is necessary to be unconscious. However, that procedure is non-narcotic and has no affect on the dopaminergic (reward) system of the brain or central nervous system.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why People In AA Relapse Constantly...

     ...besides the fact that many people in AA aren't really alcoholics.

     First of all, our most common error as addicts and alcoholics is to focus on drugs and alcohol. That's not really our problem. It's not about drugs and alcohol. It's not about AA or the even Steps, though AA is nothing without the Steps. The Steps are simply a way to get to God. They are simply tools to be used, spiritual actions to be taken to establish a relationship with God and improve our conscious contact with Him. And if our problem is a spiritual one, then so must be our solution.

     But back to the question - why do people in AA (meeting-makers) relapse so much? For one, meeting-makers only make meetings, and of course, meetings contain about .01% of the power needed to actually fix a broken, shattered, warped, lunatic alcoholic.

     More to the point, meeting makers relapse because the alcoholic who is only sober on a physical basis is subject to suddenly and randomly experience the mental obsession, and once this occurs, nothing can stop him from drinking or using. He has no will. He has no power of choice. He will relapse at any point in time for no reason at all. He is insane. Meetings can't make an insane person sane. Only God can do that.

     The so-called alcoholic who only goes to meetings and can stay sober is not an alcoholic - he has not lost the power of choice, he is not powerless. And finally, the so-called alcoholic who doesn't need to rely on the Power of God is either not a real alcoholic or perhaps he continues to suffer from anger and misery, as he is still operating on, or trying to navigate life based on self-will alone, and that is a lonely place to be.

     Finally, people in AA, as well as every other conventional, secular treatment method relapse constantly because they're not repairing themselves morally and spiritually, so when they walk out of their meeting and someone cuts them off, they become unhinged and fly into an uncontrolled rage, are then left spiritually destitute, and as guilt and shame gnaw and eat away, a switch goes off and they relapse. If we wrong somebody and do not make it right, we will inevitably relapse at some point, probably soon after, if we are real alcoholics or addicts.

     The hoards of meeting-making club members are giving AA a terrible reputation in terms of being able to secure long-term sobriety, not to mention sanity, freedom and peace of mind. If we went to AA to actually work on ourselves spiritually and take Steps instead of going for group therapy or because we are socially inept and have no friends, we'd all recover.

(Also see, Recovery Not A Function Of Time & AA Has Lost Its Way on how AA has become watered down etc.)

God, teach me to embrace and live by Your principles of faith, trust, humility, honesty, courage, strength, patience, tolerance, love, and personal responsibility...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Broken Mind

     "Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than his body." - Alcoholics Anonymous, p.23

     So true, it hurts. Perhaps what hurts even more is that our brilliant, saintly, heroic, divinely ordained, perhaps even angelic doctors and psychiatrists (forget about social workers and addiction specialists) don't believe this or understand it in the slightest. They believe addiction to be a purely physiological condition, a bio-chemical imbalance. Needless to say, that is absolutely correct, in that the brain of an addict is a changed brain neuro-chemically. But what they aren't telling you, or rather, what they can't tell you is why an addict who has been sober for months or even years, whose brain chemistry has returned to normal, suddenly relapses? They cannot tell you this because it somehow desecrates their belief system, that things we cannot see or prove do not exist.

     But how naive and obtuse it is not to understand that wrong and immoral behavior can also produce changes to the brain, or rather to the mind. In fact, the disgustingly selfish and destructive behaviors of addicts do just that, warp his or her brain to the point of insanity. When you have a brain that is insane, or that is subject to go insane at any moment, no amount of physical sobriety or freedom from the physical condition of substance dependency is going to do or prevent anything.

     If we didn't have broken minds, we could simply get sober and remain that way. But unfortunately for us and for all of you, that's just not the case. The mind of an addict is a cauldron of lunacy. Here is a mind that may very well react normally to many parts of life, yet when it comes to drugs or alcohol, suddenly you are no longer dealing with something that responds to ration or reason. So until we fix our broken minds, there is no hope whatsoever that any true alcoholic or addict can stay sober.

     And this is why it is so crucial to actually WORK on ourselves morally and spiritually. Only through such work, through such expulsion of various forms of internal poison, may we bring ourselves back to sanity. To be accurate, the work we do isn't actually what restores us to sanity, but rather, it allows us to be cleaned out enough to make contact with GOD and He is the One who restores our brains, sometimes instantly, back to sanity. God can and will fix our bio-chemical imbalances, so long as we get off our lazy asses, walk through some pain, and do some work (i.e take some right action).

12 & 12 - Step Four - Analysis/Insight
12 & 12 - Step Eight - Analysis/Insight ;)

God, please give me the power and the willingness to always keep my mind in tact...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grandiosity

     During my annoyingly manic, painfully self-seeking, falling-down-drunk, living in Boston phase, I used to dress up in a Brooks Brothers suit and custom Italian loafers and saunter around Back Bay pretending to be some ultra-rich, ultra successful, corporate wheeler and dealer who just didn't have the time to spend all the money he was making, and certainly didn't have the time to care. Special note to alcoholics and addicts, especially those of you who are in one of your manic, show-off phases:

     Nobody cares about what you're doing. Nobody cares about how you look. Nobody cares about your feelings. And everything that you think is just so important, well, um, nope... it isn't. You are not special and you don't suffer any more than anybody else. 

     Addicts who are still having fun with it and don't look totally emaciated and run over yet often exhibit this sort of grandiosity. If you've ever known a narcissist, than you know how brutally annoying it can be. I consider myself rather fortunate to be frequently swarmed by a narcissist, as they are a great teacher of mine. And I hate to say it, but narcissists are often psychopaths, and since addicts are neck-deep in grandiosity, we should probably look at that in more depth, if only to serve as a warning...

     Narcissists think they are the most amazing things in all of creation. They wholeheartedly believe they are perhaps the most talented geniuses who are surely destined for fame and glory... even if the stuff they are producing is utter garbage, as it often is.

     Narcissists will love you or hate you, idolize you or demonize you, charm you or abuse the shit out of you, simply to get what they want. They will stop at nothing, like various types of prostitutes, to obtain false, external power. They are so shattered as a human and as a spirit that everything they say when hurt is pure projection. If you step on the toes of a narcissist, watch out, for you are now in the presence of a psychopath. You have just incurred the wrath of a sadistic monster who will stop at nothing to tear you to shreds.

     After a narcissist thoroughly abuses and thrashes you, they won't look back for a split second. They feel full and uplifted inside if they have successfully and profoundly hurt you. They have no real feelings whatsoever for anybody else. All they care about in this world are themselves, only seeing the world through their twisted, pathologically self-centered lens. Everything is an extension of the narcissist, the world begins and ends with them, and thus anything and everything is to be used solely as a tool to get what they want. They are 100% convinced that their lives, feelings, thoughts, and ambitions are far more important than anybody else's.

     They are the most dangerous people in the world to mess with, so if you can, avoid them like the plague. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to avoid the plans, schemes and designs of these narcissistic psychopaths, as they surround us in large numbers. In fact, many of them run the country, the central banks, the IMF, the CFR, the BIS etc.

(See Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Psychopathology.)

     As far as manic addicts are concerned, our grandiosity may not go quite this far, but this is why we MUST take Steps. Getting sober surely isn't enough when we have a mountain of filth to clean out from within. Sober addicts are extremely sick individuals, and we owe it to ourselves, our spouses, our families, our friends, and to the good of the world to do endless work on ourselves in an effort to rid us from our embarrassing selves... our false selves.

     Recently, a seething pile of AA goers, especially atheist AA goers (if there is such a thing), gave me endless crap about addressing the moral aspect of our sickness. But really, after hurting others for so long and being so selfish, isn't it time we take off the diapers and stop using AA to complain about how hard it is to be an alcoholic and how hard it is to stay sober, and how nobody knows how we feel, and wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh, wanh...

     Isn't it time we get over ourselves?

God, please rid me of the filth and poison of narcissism and grandiosity...