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To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor. In order to uncover his true visage, he must shatter his own substance with heavy blows of his hammer. - Alexis Carrel

I recently began going to AA meetings. Revealing is healing, and I finally admitted that the person I am now needs to metaphorically die so that a better me can come to fruition. 

I have no power at all over people, places and things, and if I ever for a moment mistakenly believe that I do, and act as if I do, pain is on its way.

One of the harsh truths about people and life is that we are constantly writing ourselves off because of people who have yet to step in our shoes. It's understandable but mistaken; because, after all, the many people who critique a painting have never even held a brush. 

At the end of the day, haters will see you walk on water and say it’s because you can’t swim. Accept that no one's opinion is worth a fuck and move on. It is your life and your recovery path.

In AA, instead of unhealthily fixating on what others think about us, we follow these 12 simple rules for serenity:

1. If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.

2. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

3. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

4. We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.

5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

8. Self-seeking will slip away.

9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.

10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.

11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.

12. We will suddenly realize that a HP (higher power) is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

We then end off each meeting by saying "Grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

In conjunction with the AA meeting, I'm reading Russel Brand's book, "Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions."

Lessons Learned On: Being A Bit Fucked

Towards the end of my first discussion with my sponsor, he told me:

"What I want you to get from this is that you are truly powerless over your addictions. I know you know you are. I want you to get a deeper understanding. Also, apply the principle of willingness. Be willing to do the work or it won't happen."

Where relapses in the past ended with nonchalance, they now end in heavy tears and grunts born out of frustration. The truth of the matter is that as an addict, I, you, and others cannot do it on our own. If we could, we wouldn't be called addicts in the first place. Self-will isn't enough.

I'm writing this post fresh after a hard cry that followed a relapse; I want you to know that what does help are the three yes'

  • Yes, I'm a bit fucked.
  • Yes, I see that I can improve.
  • Yes, I do need help and I will accept that help.

As I'm writing this, I realize the irony in something: addicts work hard to become addicted and stay addicted to their vice. It makes being themselves more tolerable. But if we put as much work into sobriety as we do in finding clever ways to get our next fix, recovery would be even more powerful.

* * * * *

You admitted you're a bit fucked. So, what's fucking you?

A man without a cause will have no effect on the world around him.

This is an important step in the beginning stages of recovery. Writing your resentments, your vice/addiction, and the reasons you told yourself you would get sober, yet it didn't happen. Why? How? When did you decide to make the choice to go clean?

Do you want to become sober? Why, and what would that look like? What does serenity mean to you, aside from "being sober?" Explain yourself in as much detail as possible.

I found that assignment to be harder than shoving a bottle up my ass and grabbing it from the other end.

Moving on...

Correlation without causation: that's when two things seem to be related, but aren't. You have two data-points: ice cream sales and drownings. You notice that as ice cream sales increase, so do drownings. You could assume ice cream makes people drown, (which would be ridiculous) or you could just look at your calendar or look through the windows and realize it's summer.

So, at first, the two facts look related. Logic, however, tells you that they're not.

But there's a third factor; that they indeed are related, just not in the way you first thought.

So much of the time people who are addicted to alcohol make the same connection. As soon as they drink, their lives become better for it at the moment, but it makes their lives miserable in the long run.

"I'll quit alcohol." Says Jae. He quits alcohol and finds that the pain he feels is paralyzing, so he chooses pills, porn, spending money, etc. The cycle continues.

It doesn't necessarily matter what you're addicted to. It's truly about finding a way to stop the behavior as a whole. It's about looking at what you're trying to cover up about your life. Dig deep. What is it about your life that you crave the wildly dangerous side of things?

Do people "grow out of their addiction?"

I have heard the term before, but 'grow out of it' is the wrong choice of words. If you can grow out of it, were you really addicted? Not at all. It's not something passive, addiction requires continuous effort on your part. It's not a phase in your life, like the time you thought you were gay, or the time you really wanted to be an astronaut as a child. Addiction ruins lives and leads to a plethora of problems like suicidal depression, loss of self-control, financial and relationship losses, among other things. You may be able to "grow out of it" by experiencing the pain of the addictions and forming pathways in your brain that don't hit that easy reward of dopamine and your behavior changes. It is through daily work that your life changes, even after you've stopped the addictive behavior.

At the end of the day, folks, it's easy to give in to comfort, and our urges; but what's helping me is attending AA meetings twice a day, working with my sponsor with brutal honesty, and realizing that there's life beyond the scope of the pages in my book of addictions. AA's changing my life for the better, and I have only recently begun going. That means something. It's very structured, of course, and there are a lot of rules that prevent me from doing actions that might lead me down the path to acting on impulses, even if that action at its core has nothing to do with my addiction.

“In a sense, we re-write our past. We change our narrative. We reprogram ourselves. There is no objective history, this we know, only stories. Our character is the result of this story we tell ourselves about ourselves, and the process of inventorying breaks down the hidden and destructive personal grammar that we have unwittingly allowed to govern our behaviour.”

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