August 29 – Happiness ?

August 29 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884– 1962)

“Authentic values may be a mystery to addicts, especially for those with a history of trauma. We have acted as if, people-pleased, hidden our feelings and reacted to life so much that we often don’t know what we really stand for. It is worth exploring and may require assistance. The Twelve Steps or therapy can work for us, but as we’ve read today, why we do them matters.

“Is recovery a value or a status symbol for me? What do I value more than getting happy?” – Joe C.

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August 28 – Stinking Thinking

August 28 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

“People genuinely happy in their choices seem less often tempted to force them on other people than those who feel martyred and broken by their lives.” – Jane Rule (1931– 2007)

“I suck, but that guy sucks more!” – Joe C.

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August 27 – “Hitting Bottom”?

August 27 – One of my observation days about the idea of “hitting bottom”. The term probably originated in AA and the earliest instance I’m aware of it being documented was in the 12×12 book, published in 1952. I conclude it applies to any problem one becomes aware of *in* him/herself.

Alcohol being my drug of choice and none of the other “drugs” being an issue (although in the past I’ve been cross-addicted), my primary internal mystery is “How do I know if I’ve hit my alcohol bottom?”

In the past when I relapsed, it was because of my emotions overpowering my survival instinct and logic; that is, I see the three main systems of the human brain to be the hindbrain (survival instinct), midbrain (emotions), and forebrain (logic). My emotions haven’t told me to drink for a long time; but if they do, I won’t drink as long as my hindbrain and forebrain outvote my midbrain.

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The Alcoholic-Addict-Whatever Elevator (25 “Floors”)

The Alcoholic-Addict-Whatever Elevator
Floor 25 – A liking to the effects of alcohol leading to preoccupation.
24 – An increased tolerance.
23 – An ability and desire to drink to excess.
22 – Little appearances of being drunk despite excessive amounts to drink.
21 – Sneaking drinks; drinking alone.
20 – Guilty feelings about drinking.
19 – Irritation with those who criticize or restrict ability to drink.
18 – The beginnings of memory blanks.
17 – Rationalization and denial, to oneself and to others, of any problem with alcohol.
16 – Daily drinking.
15 – Loss of control (drinking more than intended and at times and places where not intended).
14 – A need to drink to feel “normal”.
13 – Increased feelings of shame and remorse.
12 – Binge drinking (excessive drinking for prolonged periods of time).
11 – Legal problems (DUI, public intoxication, etc.)
10 – Hospitalizations.
9 – Depression and suicidal thoughts.
8 – Withdrawal symptoms.
7 – Along with a continuation of the behaviors and symptoms described above in the early and middles stages, the late stages of alcoholism are marked more than anything by the physical symptoms.
6 – Decreasing tolerance; drunkenness with lesser amounts of alcohol.
5 – Organic brain changes, leading to impaired concentration and judgment, memory loss, and ethical deterioration.
4 – Alcohol-related liver disease.
3 – Alcohol-related heart disease, cancers, and other diseases.
2 – Malnutrition
1 – Severe symptoms of withdrawal (delirium tremens or DTs).
Basement – Death
(Adapted from http://www.new-life-in-recovery.com/stages_of_alcoholism.html)

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August 26 – Happiness

August 26 from Daily Reflections by AA World Services Inc.:

GIVING IT AWAY

Though they knew they must help other alcoholics if they would remain sober, that motive became secondary. It was transcended by the happiness they found in giving themselves for others.

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 159

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August 25 – Acclimation

August 25 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

“The Buddha preached a doctrine which demands an in-depth analysis of Suffering and its causes as a means of bringing about Suffering’s end and, therefore, of ushering in a new and lasting peace, tranquility and insightfulness.” Jan Willis (born 1948)

“Our egos write us shopping lists of what we deserve and how we expect others should respond to us. Life doesn’t follow our bidding. The universe unfolds without concern for us.” – Joe C.

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August 24 – The Need to Struggle

August 24 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

“We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. It also does us good because it helps us to do other things better. It gives a man or woman the chance to bring out power that might otherwise remain locked away inside. The urge to struggle lies latent in everyone.” – Sir Roger Bannister (born 1929)

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August 23 – Hurt the Ones We Love the Most ?

August 23 from Daily Reflections by AA World Services Inc.:

BRINGING THE MESSAGE HOME

Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group?

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, pp.111-12

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August 22 & 21 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

August 22 & 21 from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life by Joe C.

August 22 – “No matter how Lovesick a woman is, she shouldn’t take the first pill that comes along.” – Joyce Brothers (born 1927)

“The escape artist meets the quick fix— this may have been our history, but are we condemned to continually repeat it? In early AA days a distinction was made between sober and dry. Dry is like the Lovesick one, white-knuckling it to stay away from “the pill.” Sober is the Lovesick becoming Love-healthy and not needing another’s approval to feel worthy.” – Joe C.

August 21 – “I don’t see ultimate reality as God’s kingdom. That language is exactly what stops some would-be recoverers flat in their tracks. It’s not that they’re unwilling. But the God stuff they hear in meetings creates an aversion to the whole idea of 12-Step recovery.” – The 12-Step Buddhist by Darren Littlejohn

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August 21 – A First Morning Thought

August 21 observation by me:

When I opened my eyes to daylight this morning, which is always how I wake up at my present age, all my life losses since my 2010 alcohol relapse were heavy on my mind. That means I started off my day with the correct thoughts for me.

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