The Struggle of True Love

My mom once said to me, “Love is a series of Tiny Surrenders.”

I totally get that now. Letting go of one’s child allowing them to grow up and make mistakes and fall and look stupid and be uncomfortable…Wow!!

Hat’s off to you parents for this really hard job.

And for those of us who love our pets so much, we put clothes on them, humanize them and worry about them to the point of, “Huh?

Allowing our animals to be the beautiful animals they were meant to be can be a struggle, finding true love beyond trying to make them human can be a lot of work for some of us.

Our families, a special kind of love. No, we didn’t get to choose them, but if we are lucky we will like each other and get to have a bond that is incredibly special. Hopefully, we respect and truly love each other and can rely on our family always being there. Sometimes this can be a struggle. Sometimes a true miracle will occur.

Friendships, we get to chose, and friends come and go, but the ones that stay no matter any disagreement and personality issues, whom we can trust with our secrets and tell all our problems to. This love is beyond words, how friends have pulled us from the depths of despair. Much like the bond of our AA friendships and family. This is such a special love, truly being present for each other, because we choose to be.

And romantic love? Who really gets this any way? Is it mostly a chemical thing when two people click on all levels of mind, body, heart and spirit…way more complex than any other relationship?  Sometimes it’s just not meant to be and we try to force this and make a relationship happen or make some one love us, or miss someone that our hearts hurt beyond human forbearance. But what is truth?

Addiction keeps us from truth, much less love. We are only interested in what we want when we want it. We use control and guilt and shame and sneaky ways to get it, like a drink for an alcoholic. People left in our wake may not be able to handle our behavior.

True love hides from force. True love can leap from tall buildings in a single bound and needs to be free.

That old saying, “If you love something let it go (in AA, we say no half measures) and if it comes back to you, it was yours all along”

Really says it all.

If you, or someone you know, is battling to shed their cocoon, keep in mind, true love may require that you allow them to struggle for a season, to gain strength to become that beautiful butterfly.

Iron Butterfly

Ina Gadda Da Vida 1968

Contempt Prior to Investigation

When I first came to AA I went into the meeting room and I thought, “I dont have any thing in common with these people.”

Every one was so happy and I felt so bad!

I just couldn’t see what I could have in common.

Contempt Prior to Investigation

This principle can be applied to everything from the most mundane to the most serious of issues.

This quote appeared in the AA big book in the first edition as a header for a story entitled “An Artist’s Case”.

The story was later omitted, but the quote stayed.

It is a wonderful reminder to not take anyone’s word for things just because they say so or otherwise.

To me this says, “Do not judge a book by its cover.”
Why is it that most people have preconceived ideas about almost everything they do not have prior experience with?

A closed mind is an impediment to learning, self-improvement or actualization.

If only closed mouths came with closed minds.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – the principle is “contempt prior to investigation.” – Herbert Spencer

Please Judge

Roky Erikson

Dry Drunks

Some try to manage their drinking without any help other than to just stop drinking. Sometimes, what caused us to drink excessively in the first place is still looming in our lives. Nothing is resolved. None of us say that AA is the only solution to sane living, but it really does help to have another alcoholic to talk to.

What is a dry drunk?

Some people who do not manage the reasons they drank to begin with, will still maintain the same behavior as when they were drinking. Anger, control issues, anxiety and depression are sure signs that the dry alcoholic may need some help getting to the root of their drinking problem. Trying to control every one and every thing is an illusion we can not afford as recovering alcoholics. We find that the world goes on just fine with out our micro-managing.

“Unfortunately when many former drinkers go through the grieving process over the loss of their old friend, the bottle, some never get past the anger stage.It is a very real loss. The drink has been their friend for many years and one they could count on. When the whole world turned against them, the bottle never let them down. It was always there ready for the good times, the celebrations, the parties, as well as the sad, mad, and lonely times, too. 

Finally their old friend let them down… they got in trouble with the law, lost a job or career, almost lost their family, or the doctors told them they had to stop drinking… whatever the reason, the circumstances of their life brought them to the point where they made a decision to say “so long” to the bottle.

Whether they realized it or not, they began the stages of grieving — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — the same stages most people go through when they have a great loss in their lives or have been told they have a terminal illness.”

Gil Scott Heron

The Bottle 1974

that black boy over there, runnin’ scared
his ol’ man’s in a bottle.
He done quit his 9 to 5 to drink full time
so now he’s livin’ in the bottle.
See that Black boy over there, runnin’ scared
his ol’ man got a problem
Pawned off damn near everything, his ol’
woman’s weddin’ ring for a bottle.
And don’t you think it’s a crime
when time after time, people in the bottle.

See that sista, sho wuz fine before she
started drinkin’ wine
from the bottle.
Said her ol’ man committed a crime
and he’s doin’ time,
so now she’s in the bottle.
She’s out there on the avenue, all by herself
sho’ needs help from the bottle.
Preacherman tried to help her out,
she cussed him out and hit him in the head with a bottle.
And don’t you think it’s a crime
when time after time, people in the bottle.

See that gent in the wrinkled suit
he done damn near blown his cool
to the bottle
He wuz a doctor helpin’ young girls along
if they wuzn’t too far gone to have problems.
But defenders of the dollar eagle
Said “What you doin’, Doc, it ain’t legal,”
and now he’s in the bottle.
Now we watch him everyday tryin’ to
chase the pigeons away
from the bottle.
And don’t you think it’s a crime
when time after time, people in the bottle.

Alley Cat

Crazy Luck to have been born with a musician for a father. My father’s birthday was this month. He would have been 85.

I grew up with music filling my life. I was playing drums as a two-year old on stage with my dad.

I began piano at age 5 and learned to play really fun songs like Alley cat, written by Bent Fabric. My piano teacher taught me classics, but my Dad’s best friend taught me all the cool songs like Alley cat. He owned a supper club/piano bar. As a child, I spent a lot of time doing dinner and music with them.

My dad’s best friend and my dad were periodically getting checked into the VA hospital for treatment of alcoholism and once my dad’s best friend hit a hole in one on the golf course there. He never told any one about his grand accomplishment, except close friends and family, because he was ashamed that he was there for recovery from alcoholism.

Now, times have changed and recovery from addiction is a welcomed supported path, but back then alcoholics were only thought of as people in the gutter, not people who may have lived in affluent households. Shame keeps people sick.

My dad’s best friend died very young from complications of alcoholism, as did my father.

RIP my dear kindred spirits and thank you for the music…

Alley Cat

Bent Fabric

He goes on the prowl each night Like an alley cat Looking for some new delight Like an alley cat She can’t trust him out of sight There’s no doubt of that He just don’t know wrong from right Like an alley cat He meets them And loves them And leaves them Like that Catsanova does That’s no way to treat a pal She should tell him Scat! Aren’t you sorry for that gal And her alley cat? He meets them And loves them And leaves them Like that Catsanova does He don’t know what faithful means There’s no doubt of that He’s too busy makin’ scenes Like an alley cat And that’s the sad, sad tale of a lonesome quail And her alley cat.

Truth or Consequences

Remember that TV game, Truth or Consequences?
I used to watch that as a kid and really didn’t get the title.
This really sucks, but so true for many of us.
Many of us want grace without justice, but we need to face the consequences.
We’ve hurt people, we’ve failed to really, honestly apologize and failed to make amends and failed to change our actions.
And the irony is that we ourselves remain prisoners of our actions.
Are you damaging yourself? your integrity?
Can someone can be set free just with a few words of truth.
Do you need to own the wreckage you left behind.
What are the consequences if we quit going to meetings?
If we over indulge?
If we don’t take care of ourselves our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our spirits?
If we lie our asses off?
Truth and honesty are the core principles of AA.
First we have to be honest with ourselves,
then we have to muster the courage to be honest with others.

Usually that gut feeling is a good indicator for the right thing to do.

Facing the consequences of our actions…

It’s simple, but takes courage and eyes wide open.

Life goes by so fast…

Courage does not come in a bottle or a pill.

Our Higher Power has everything we need to succeed.

Destroy Everything You Touch

Ladytron 2010

Destroy everything you touch today
Destroy me this way
Anything that may desert you
So it cannot hurt you

You only have to look behind you
At who’s undermined you
Destroy everything you touch today
Destroy me this way

Everything you touch you don’t feel
Do not know what you steal
Shakes your hand
Takes you
Walks you out of the sun

What you touch you don’t feel
Do not know what you steal
Destroy everything you touch today
Please destroy me this way

Destroy everything you touch today
Destroy me this way
Anything that may delay you
Might just save you

You only have to look behind you
At who’s underlined you
Destroy everything you touch today
Destroy me this way

Are You Terminally Unique?

Are you exotic?

Are you special?

Are your problems of the nature that no one can ever understand?

When you were born did they break the mold?

Are you sure no one understands you and your specialness?

“These people are nothing like me, I never went to jail, lost my job or lived under a bridge. I have nothing in common with any one in AA.

These people are nothing like me, they’ve never been to jail, lost a job or lived under a bridge. How can they understand my unique problems? “

Terminal uniqueness has its roots in addictive thinking. It is the voice that keeps us drinking or using or addicted to whatever sure that no one understands us. It’s a voice that protects the addiction, a voice that is denial.

If you want to stop drinking and have attended AA, but feel like no one understands you, go to another 12 step meeting and if you don’t like it, go to another and another. It may not be for you, but keep an open mind and you may see that the people at meetings are a lot more like you than you thought.

We are all unique in our make up, but we are alike in addiction, if we can find the common ground.
How About Orange?

The Pretenders

Brass in Pocket 1979

Alcoholism is a Disease

So much controversy about this topic. I am sure that in my personal journey, I inherited this disease.

I had an opportunity of choice at one point to quit and I took it. I was young, 35 years old, but I knew I was done.

Call it dumb luck whatever, but I was just to tired of living in fear and confusion and I realized I had a choice.

Choice is what it is all about. We are not amoebas. As humans, we have the power of choice.

I don’t believe in beating people up for whatever they choose. We are all so different and this is why AA is not for every one.  Some times getting a new addiction or continuing to drink may be your path or controlled drinking or getting sober on our own without support …whatevah..

Theory is: If we were angels we would have to do the will of God, but since we are down here in this mess of a world we get to choose.

This goes for any addiction we may have…

Just sayin’

The AMA believes it is important for professionals and laymen alike to recognize that alcoholism is in and of itself a disabling and handicapping condition. The AMA endorses the proposition that drug dependencies, including alcoholism, are diseases and that treatment is a legitimate part of medical practice, and  encourages physicians, other health professionals, medical and other health related organizations, and government and other policymakers to become more well informed about drug dependencies, and to base their policies and activities on the recognition that drug dependencies and alcoholism are, in fact, diseases.

How much is “too much”? 

Drinking becomes too much when it causes or elevates the risk for alcohol-related problems or complicates the management of other health problems. According to epidemiologic research, men who drink more than 4 standard drinks in a day (or more than 14 per week) and women who drink more than 3 in a day (or more than 7 per week) are at increased risk for alcohol-related problems.

Individual responses to alcohol vary, however. Drinking at lower levels may be problematic depending on many factors, such as age, coexisting conditions, and use of medication. Because it isn’t known whether any amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, the Surgeon General urges abstinence for women who are or may become pregnant.

The CAGE questionnaire, named for its four questions, is one such example that may be used to screen patients quickly in a doctor’s office.

Two “yes” responses indicate that the respondent should be investigated further. The questionnaire asks the following questions:

  1. Have you ever felt you needed to cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt guilty about drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning  to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover
Tests are sometimes used for the detection of alcohol dependence, such as the Alcohol Dependence Data Questionnaire, which is a more sensitive diagnostic test than the CAGE questionnaire. It helps distinguish a diagnosis of alcohol dependence from one of heavy alcohol use. The Michigan Alcohol Screening Test (MAST) is a screening tool for alcoholism widely used by courts to determine the appropriate sentencing for people convicted of alcohol-related offenses,driving under the influence being the most common. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), a screening questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization, is unique in that it has been validated in six countries and is used internationally. Like the CAGE questionnaire, it uses a simple set of questions – a high score earning a deeper investigation.The Paddington Alcohol Test (PAT) was designed to screen for alcohol related problems amongst those attending Accident and Emergency departments.

Not Afraid

Eminem 2010