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The 12-Step Controversy

I picked up my tools for recovery in various 12-Step fellowships, which are admittedly very controversial. I was reading in “Psychology Today” an article addressing this controversy. Here’s the link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201211/why-the-hostility-toward-the-12-steps I honestly think that I could have picked up some of these life lessons anywhere. Al-Anon doesn’t have a lock on teaching gratitude and acceptance. The 12-Step fellowships just happen to be where I gained some tools to change my attitude and try to live better, which is why I’m happy to be a member. But this is an interesting article, and explains why many people still shy away from 12-Step programs. “Whatever works for you”— that’s my...

“The Wolf You Feed”

Memoir Excerpt: “I am sometimes at odds with my recovery groups about the nature of addiction: is it a disease or a choice? I don’t want to force my views on them. There’s a wonderful Cherokee tale told by a grandfather to his grandchildren: ‘There’s a battle inside all of us between two wolves. One wolf is jealousy, greed, dishonesty, hatred, anger and bitterness. The other wolf is love, generosity, truthfulness, selflessness, and gratitude.’ ‘Who wins the battle, grandfather?’ ‘The wolf you feed.’ Insist that our loved ones are choosing to be addicts, that they want to stick a needle in their arm and live in a gutter, and we feel justified in our anger and our bitterness. Keep feeding those feelings, and they will consume you. I choose to believe that my daughter is wired differently and is prone to addictive disease. That’s no surprise, since four generations in my family have all had addictive disease in varying degrees. For whatever reason we still are unsure of, whatever life stresses beckoned her into that dark place, she became a victim of addiction. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has said: “I’ve studied alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana and more recently obesity. There’s a pattern in compulsion. I’ve never come across a single person that was addicted that wanted to be addicted. Something has happened in their brains that has led to that...

“Surrender To Win”

From Each Day A New Beginning, January 9:  ‘The Chinese say that water is the most powerful element, because it is perfectly nonresistant. It can wear away a rock and sweep all before it.’ —Florence Skovel Shinn “Nonresistance, ironically, may be a posture we struggle with. Nonresistance means surrendering the ego absolutely. For many of us, the ego, particularly disguised as false pride, spurred us on to struggle after struggle. ‘Can’t they see I’m right,’ we moaned, and our resistance only created more of itself. Conversely, flowing with life, ‘bubbling’ with the ripples, giving up our ego, releases us from an energy that heals the situation—that smoothes the negative vibrations in our path. Peace comes to us. We will find serenity each time we willingly humble ourselves.” ‘Resistance is more familiar. Nonresistance means growth and peace. I’ll try for serenity today.’ I wrote in my memoir toward the end: “This is where I was in my recovery as I left San Francisco, at that hard won place I’d fought through years of resistance to find: the end of the battle—acceptance.” That’s what the above reading is all about, I think. Letting go of my desperate need to save Angie from her addiction, and coming to accept that I simply don’t have that power. “I can only love her. And loving is enough. Loving is always enough. That has been my...

Where Do Rainbows End?

Memoir Excerpt: “A parent never gets over losing a child, Carlos. I’ve learned how to be happy and make the most of my life. My recovery Program is strong. But I’ll never stop missing Angie and all her possibilities. Never. When addiction claims our loved ones, we often feel resentful. It feels to us like we had been tagged, even though we had run as hard as we could. It’s taken me a few years to get to a place where I don’t feel angry or gypped anymore. My lot is no better or worse than any other mother’s whose child was struck down by illness. Whether or not she outlives me—as is the law of nature—remains to be seen. In the meantime, I must remember to watch the mountain turn into a big red watermelon, and enjoy the colors of New...

Living In The Moment

From Each Day A New Beginning, 11/17: “Happiness is a gift that accompanies every instance of our lives if we approach each situation with gratitude, knowing that what’s offered to us is special to our particular needs. The experiences we meet day to day are honing our spirit, tempering our hard edges. For these we should offer gratitude. Our wellbeing is the gift. Deciding what will make us happy, in fact, what we must have to be happy, prevents us from grasping the unexpected pleasure of the “chance” events of the moment. When we intently look for what we think we need, we may well be blind to more beneficial opportunities God has chosen for us. Our self-centeredness hinders every breath we take. It prejudices every encounter. It stifles our creative potential. And most of all, it blocks any chance for a spontaneous reaction to the moment. Spontaneity is the breeding ground for creative living. And happiness is the...