The check doesn’t arrive.
You don’t get the job.
You get laid off.
Your spouse doesn’t call.
The car breaks down.
The bus is late.
You end up waiting over an hour for your appointment with the doctor.
Your favorite candidate loses.
You discover your favorite soft drink is bad for you.
The list of disappointments can, if we focus on them, go on and on. And for those of us in recovery, failing to understand that disappointment is just part of life, can be deadly.
If you look at that list again, you’ll see that every instance of disappointment is also a result of expectation. We expect the check to arrive and the car to work and our spouse to call. Often those are reasonable expectations, or so it seems.
The definitions of the word, expectation, has to do with waiting for or anticipating something to happen. It’s a looking to the future. [click to continue…]
Over at TheFix columnist Susan Cheever has an article titled AA Remains Deep in Denial About Anonymity. It’s worth a read I think because she examines why anonymity breaks can be a good thing.
Obviously, I agree with her. I published Powerfully Recovered! under my full name after much pacing because I didn’t want to hide my challenge to the fellowship behind the 11th Tradition. I’ve written about it in the book and here.
Tradition 11 reads:
Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
As Cheever says: “But people love rules, and many have grown to hold AA to a sacred standard.”
I’m not sure the sacred requires rules actually.
That sense of holding our 12 Step Programs to a sacred standard often results in people wanting more rules, more, perhaps, control.
We see the desire for regulation in the story of Rule 62
. And it happens today. [click to continue…]
Last week I wrote about my personal definition of recovery. Today I was poking around and found two semi-official defintions over on Buddy T’s site at About.com in a post called Working Definition of Recovery Developed.
SAMHSA & Betty Ford
According to the post the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) spent over a year developing a working definition of recovery.
It’s not a simple definition and the title of the page is SAMHSA’s Working Definition of Recovery from Mental Disorders and/or Substance Use Disorders sort of prepared me. That’s a mouthful!
Buddy T. managed to find the paragraph that provides an overview. It’s:
A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
If you want to read the whole definition you’ll find it here.
Buddy then compares it to the Betty Ford definition of recovery which includes:
A voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.
All these words make my head swim.
Frankly this makes me uneasy
Neither definition makes abstaining a bottom line, although Ford does include sobriety which might be taken as one. But both definitions make me uneasy.
[click to continue…]
We talk about 12 Step Recovery, but rarely discuss what that actually might mean. Here’s my take on it at the moment:
Letting go of the addiction
First of all it means stopping the addictive substance or behavior.
That’s most obvious when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. Every day I don’t drink or use drugs (and nicotine for me) I know my basic recovery is intact.
With programs that address behaviors it’s sometimes not so clear. True, gamblers know if they’ve gambled or not, but it gets a bit trickier with programs that address things we have to do like eating and using money. There it’s not a matter of completely giving something up, but of using something in a truly healthy way. For example in Debtors Anonymous, my goal is to not take on any unsecured debt; in Underearners Anonymous it’s not to underearn – talk about a personal decision!
But wait! There’s more!
Most of us who have had successful recovery for any length of time report that there’s more to it. It starts with the letting go of the addicition, but the Book promises and the Steps deliver much more.
As I mentioned in Returning Fully To Life, there are the promises
on pages 83 and 84 of the Big Book. There’s also the serenity we talk about in the Serenity Prayer
. [click to continue…]