Virtue v/s Circumstance


An addict will not change by virtue. Virtue did not get us sober. An addict gets to AA by circumstance, circumstance that ripped our lives to shreds. For most of us, AA was the last house on the block.

Given the gift of desperation, we come in the rooms of AA willing to do what ever it takes to change our lives. Many of us are surprised when we find out that we are to give up the drink forever and that we are not here to learn “how to drink.”

We become willing to find a Higher Power other than our selves.

Our best thinking got us into situations that kept us in slavery to the will of others, including jail, mental institutions, unhealthy situations and just plain juggernaut behavior that was defining our lives.

JUGGERNAUT

We know deep in our guts when we are holding on to some thing or some one that isn’t working. We feel such relief when we finally let go and get honest with ourselves.

The truth is we are imperfect humans and we make mistakes. No one said we have to do this perfectly. The only thing we have to do perfectly is, just not drink or drug.

Many of us have grown up confusing independence with self will.

Many of us chose the path of avoidance, wanting God to take care of all our problems for us, like when we are sleeping or while getting surgery under anesthesia and waking to the surgeon telling us, “You’re healed, we got it all.”

Half measures availed us nothing. We stand at the turning point with complete abandon.

A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days
We built these paper mountains
And sat and watched them burn
I think I found my place
Can’t you feel it growing stronger
Little conquerors

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Now
For the very first time
Don’t you pay no mind
Set me free again
To keep alive a moment at a time
But still inside a whisper to a riot
To sacrifice but knowing to survive
The first to climb another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m praying for a sign
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I’m on my knees
I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I never say goodbye
Forever, whenever, forever, whenever

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough


Give Up What You Love the Most


Step 6 Were  entirely  ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7 Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

For further study, click below:

Drop The Rock A study of Steps 6 and 7

 When we first read the sixth step, we thought “This one is easy. Why hold on to our character defects?”

As we progressed in recovery, we realized this step was pivotal, and not as easy as we thought.

Denial is that part of us that really does not see that we are being dishonest.  We can make bizarre behavior make sense.  Some of our  “character defects” are so ingrained in our personalities that we believe them to be a necessary part of us.  Letting go of our need to change or control others is a difficult behavior to change when, we have very little, or no control over a situation.  Perhaps we developed dishonest behaviors to make order of our lives, or make difficult situations tolerable.

Shame is the belief that we are “broken”, or that something is wrong with us as human beings.  Shame is the core component of addiction.

Addiction is a violent disease that destroys addicts and those who love them.  Addiction tells us we are defective human beings that deserve pain and suffering.

Step 6 can give the suffering alcoholic a step towards relief.

Followed by the 7th step, true humility can be attained.


Whateverism


I got a bad case of the Fuck Its..

Apathy rules!

It’s too hot for Revolution.

Don’t give a shit mutha fuka!

REALLY RED Bored with Apathy

The Third Step Prayer

from page 63 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

God, I offer myself to Thee- 
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!


Symbiosis


Symbiotic relationships simply put, are those with no boundaries. Often found with parent and child, a mother who eats off the child’s plate or goes through their things snooping. There are no boundaries and the child accepts it and feels guilt for having a life, so the cycle continues. Also many symbiotic relationships can morph from romantic bond to a brother and sister relationship or a rescuer and victim relationship or the partners may mother/father each other in a parent and child type of bond. The boundaries are so skewed that the couple cannot function without each other. It comes to mind the image of  the Ouroboros, the snake who eats its own tail, a very ancient symbol which means, that which feeds you kills you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouroboros

However the snake is constantly recreating itself. This is a more hopeful symbol than the images we get from Symbiosis which is constant feeding on each other to survive. It seems death represents change. The death of the bond creates the freedom to re-create.

Many people in symbiotic and co-dependent relationships say that they feel trapped by needy people, but perhaps they are trapped by their own neediness. You never know what’s going on in some one’s home, inside their marriage. Symbiotic and Co-dependent relationships end when one or both partners accept responsibility for their own emotional and physical well-being. Such people are then free to create healthier relationships …perhaps with each other.

From Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places by Jed Diamond

  • Healthy love is fluid and dynamic. Addictive love fears change.
  • Healthy love is gentle and comfortable. Addictive love is combative.
  • Healthy love encourages honesty. Addictive love encourages secrets.
  • Healthy love is unique. There are no ideal lovers. Addictive love is stereotyped.
  • Healthy love creates life and joy. Addictive love creates melodrama and suffering.
  • Healthy love is accepting the partner you have. Addictive love looks for more or better.
  • Healthy love is based on your desire to be with a person. Addictive love is based on need.
  • Healthy love is making yourself happy. Addictive love seeks someone to make you happy.
  • Healthy love develops after you feel safe. Addictive love tries to create bonds to avoid fear.
Secrets kill a relationship. Lack of trust and lack of faith are total deal killers. But many will accept this type of abuse, because they feel so bad about themselves they think they deserve nothing better. The intimacy dies and the two exist in faux existence perhaps living in their past successes and emotional ties which have long past.
Maybe they don’t deserve any better. Maybe they are a couple of losers who should just live with each other in a void and suffer their Karma forever LOL. Karma’s a Bitch. In any case, there is help to be had if the partners seek spiritual or psychological help. Without help and willingness to change and let go, it is doubtful that people who are embedded in these sick relationships have to tools to be honest and change their lives without outside help.
Leap of faith.. it takes fear to be courageous
Personally I believe, Twelve step programs are really good ways to start. As much as I resist Al-Anon, it has helped me tremendously.
I have learned a lot about myself through fucking up, but taking the lesson to the next level is what is in a Fool’s bag.
Note from a Sober Driver contributor:

There are 4 types of symbiosis

Mutualism- involves two species, both benefit

Commensalism- involves two species, one benefits the other is not harmed or helped

Parasitism- involves two species, one benefits the other is harmed

Amensalism- one species is inhibited or completely obliterated and one is unaffected.

For the time being we are going to discuss these types of symbiosis as they pertain to human relationships.

We all strive towards Mutualism. We strive to coexist with others in a manner that is not only enjoyable, but beneficial to both parties and neither party is harmed. Mutualism is also frequently a life long relationship between two species and weather obligate for one species or one is obligate(by necessity), the other facultative(optional). In the relationship both species are obligate, both need each other to survive. In the obligate/facultative relationship the obligate species needs the facultative species to survive, the facultative species does not necessarily need the obligate.

Commensalsim as stated previously, is a relationship between two species where one specie benefits, and the other is not harmed or helped by its presence. The extent by which the one is helped can be extended to things like housing and transportation. This sort of symbiosis in a human relationship is comparable to having a room-mate that pays rent and may or may not clean. Their presences are neither a hindrance or a help.

We are all very familiar with parasitism, one specie is harmed one benefits. A parasite is defined by its host and lifestyle, most parasites are obligate. They can invade your intestines, your blood, your integument, your brains. The harm they can cause can be minimal to severe, based on what body system they attack, and what they are going to take. A parasite can take one blood meal from its host and leave or it can latch on and continue to take blood meals for as long as they or we live. Animals and plants alike are both plagued by parasites and we are constantly as risk of becoming hosts. None of us are able to escape this in our personal dealings with other humans. Recovery  from this sort of symbiotic relationship starts with getting rid of the parasite in question. In order not to be drained of our life or at the very least irritated, we need to acquire some antiparasitic, i.e. some perspective. It is also important to recognize when one is the host in said parasitic relationship, which because of its many variations can be difficult. The best thing is to go with your first instinct, if you feel as though you are being used for someone else’s benefit, it’s surprising how often that little voice in the back of your mind is correct. It does how ever take recognition of self-worth to get out of a relationship that is parasitic. Sadly so few people do.

The most destructive symbiotic relationship is Amensalism. The host is completely drained or inhibited by another specie. The larger stronger specie drains the smaller and weaker specie till it die. When speaking on relationships, the hosts that do not find themselves a way out of parasitic symbiosis become victims of amensalism. The host has been used to the extent that they are weak and unable to sustain its own life. 

These relationships all represent different ways in which we as humans fight for life. 

Holly Go Lightly  and the Broke Offs

Clean in Two 2008


Omnipotence


We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 133

Grateful for sobriety and the great life we have sober, for friends and laughter, parties, family, that we step out of our comfort zones and go to AA meetings when we don’t want to, that we don’t make excuses as much as we used to, for health and that we love really big and open without fear and knowledge that we will always land on our feet with our Higher Power. For miracles and signs and faith and trust. For people in our lives we trust with all we are. For this incredible 94 degree weather and the beauty of the south and the warm hearts down here, for time off and MUSIC and fab musicians and real fun. For the honesty, authenticity, open-ness and willingness of the spirit. That we are not hanging on to the dead situations that don’t work. That we allow others to be who they are and we allow ourselves to be who we are, beautiful and imperfect. That we don’t need other people to make us whole or to be cool or to take care of us. That we are independent and strong and this gives us the ability to be counted on. That we don’t have to show off, pretend and fantasize, save face or live a life unfulfilled. For loving and being loved. That we accept life on life’s terms.

Obsession lifted. No more hangovers.

Sobriety and facing the truth has given us freedom and self-respect and above all self-love.

So Much in our lives to be grateful for. Even though we go through a hard time and have to face truths and losses, we can still be happy, joyous and free. It’s weird that way. Figure that.

Thanks,
       mean it…
Elvis Costello Burt Bacharach
God Give Me Strength

Love Reckons by Itself


A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning’s greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications. Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.  

Maya Angelou

So many people drink over loss.

Country singers cry in their beer. Rockers commit suicide. Financiers jump off buildings. Suburban housewives run over their husbands and burn their clothes. Limitless suffering inflicted.

Is all this drama about love? about success? about life?

NOTHING is worth all that crazy drama.

We choose to close the door on the insanity. Our serenity is worth more than anything.

When it’s over, it’s over.

Acceptance.

Love, friendships, parents, family, business partners leave, lose a business, a job, your haircut sucks, death whatever…

Bless all whose lives have crossed our paths and let them go….

…like spit on a griddle…

Love reckons by itself -- alone -- "As large as I" -- 
relate the Sun To One who never felt it blaze -- 
Itself is all the like it has --Emily Dickinson

Leonard Cohen

Love Itself

The light came through the window,
Straight from the sun above,
And so inside my little room
There plunged the rays of Love.

In streams of light I clearly saw
The dust you seldom see,
Out of which the Nameless makes
A Name for one like me.

I’ll try to say a little more
Love went on and on
Until it reached an open door
Then Love Itself
Love Itself was gone.

All busy in the sunlight
The flecks did float and dance,
And I was tumbled up with them
In formless circumstance.

I’ll try to say a little more
Love went on and on
Until it reached an open door
Then Love Itself
Love Itself was gone.

Then I came back from where I’d been.
My room, it looked the same
But there was nothing left between
The Nameless and the Name.


IF Only


Loss is an amazing lesson we all have to face. It sucks. it’s painful and we can stay angry and unhappy for years. Every day we have losses, some small, some enormous. We don’t get what we want and we feel like there was something we coulda’ shoulda’ done to change the outcome..

We think, “If only, I had done something different, I coulda changed the way things turned out. If I  had been smarter or thinner or had more money or shown up on time, worn something different or just hadn’t driven down that street today. If only I were better looking or healthier, maybe things would have turned out differently.”

We stay mad at ourselves and those who didn’t give us what we want.

Again with the acceptance. The only thing we can do is accept our losses and move on.

Nothing we change on the outside will change what is damaged and lost. It’s an inside job. Letting go and moving on out of fantasy of what we want and getting what we need is the only way to get out of the pain of loss.

Some of us are willing to accept that nagging feeling that some thing isn’t quite right We believe in our own lie to ourself and discount what we know we need to change. We have so much fear of letting go and trusting our Higher Power. Sadly, many of us settle.

So, maybe loss isn’t as bad as accepting a life sentence of not getting our needs met.

I don’t want to say “if Only” at the end of my life….

Sonic Youth

From Rather Ripped

Jams Run Free 2008

Blasted earth
All immersed
Gold in cave
The blondes come first

I love the way you move
I hope it’s not
too late for me
it’s too good on the sea
where the light is green,
where the light is green

Jagged brain
Slow refrain
We love the jams,
and jams run free

I love the way you move
I hope it’s not
too late for me
it’s too good on the sea
where the light is green,
where the light is green

Jagged brain
Slow refrain