A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own

Such a shame to see her lost. Her pain and self-destruction
were so public, but I guess no one got through to her.
Or maybe no one tried.

So many artists take the 'underground' life of
drinking and drugs and misery as an 'unavoidable'
component of living a soulful life of being in touch
with feelings and pain.
I wish it were otherwise.

Thanks for the beautiful music, Amy. For
sharing so personally all your pain and experience.

I hope you have found peace.


Friday, July 22, 2011


The theme of the last few weeks for me has seemed to
be that even under the pretense of vast differences, it's
the commonalities that really shine.

Your armor may differ from my armor.

My issues may manifest in a different
way from your issues.

My fears may show in different ways from yours.

All of the specifics and particulars may indeed appear
quite divergent. But behind that distraction is the real
deal; shattered, struggling, hurting, imperfect people
trying their best to figure out what the hell to do next.

Who cares what answer another comes to if it works
for them? Why on earth would we all come to the same
conclusion? And if something works for me but isn't
understood or valued by another, who cares?

As always, it's easy to find compassion for ourselves,
even as we comprehend the utter trainwreck we are. We
are nonetheless familiar with our own junk.

But other people, with their eccentricities, refusal to listen
to our 'brilliance,' and their real-world rough edges...
well, respect gets lost in the mix somehow.

Instead of looking for understanding regarding intricacies
of each person...instead of taking things apart and seeking
an Answer or the end of the day I just
have to be kind. Be compassionate. Be understanding.
Whether the same is returned to me or not.

It seems simplicity itself. But in the face of stridency,
disagreement, insults, the unfamiliar, and stress, well...
I can tend to take anything as an attack. But thinking it
doesn't make it so.

Today I want to remember the common theme of
struggle and pain, and not be distracted by the
illusory importance of difference.

Another thought I once heard that resonated greatly;
"Those who seem the least 'deserving' of kindness
and compassion are those who need it the most."
I've been that person. Why can't I remember that
look? Why can't I hold fast to looking past the gruff
exterior to do what's needed?


Acts of Kindness

July 21

Acts of Kindness

Small acts of kindness allow me to touch souls with another person - to reach out over the great divide and brush for a moment the hand and heart of another. An act of kindness is never wasted. It benefits the giver as much or more than the receiver. Anyone who gives with the heart strengthens that muscle within themselves; it is the aerobic training of the spirit. I will not expect soul to just enter my life by chance. I will prepare myself, clean the vehicle that is me, resolve conflicts that tie my mind up and drain my energy. When I am less self-centered, I am able to take the person-hood of another into consideration.
I enjoy being kind for kindness' sake.
And this more human love (which will consummate itself infinitely, thoughtfully and gently, and well and clearly in binding and loosing) will be something like that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love which consists in the mutual guarding, bordering and saluting of two solitudes.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
from the Daily Reflection from the In The Rooms website

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have been trying a bit of a new tactic this last week or so,
involving sort of a 'fast-food' meditation and focus technique.
I reduce everything to brass tax, most urgent need, and just
do what I can moving forward...while remaining conscious
of the need for flexibility and flow.

As a result, the inordinate details that normally flood my
OCD brain are less evident (and I dismiss them adamantly
when they assert themselves) and I have been less stressed.

Less stressed, even as the reality of illness, pain,
joblessness, imminent homelessness, uncertainty,
poverty, being a small cog (circumstantially,) and
deteriorating world conditions loom large. I am
focused on being at peace, not letting the specifics
bog me down.

I am learning emotional detachment from the negative,
and that it has a place in things. Without becoming
numb or isolating. That's crucial for me.

No. Big. Deals.

And I have continued to do what I can and take steps
to take care of business. Encouraging myself, being my own
best friend, no longer expecting things of other people,
realizing my strength in the midst of any situation...these
have all given me a better sense of accomplishment
at the end of the day. I am more realistic about my needs,
wants, and goals.

As I worry less about meeting expectations (either mine
or others,) I am finding more freedom to get through the
day, and, (perhaps not surprisingly) a greater peace.
I end up getting done what needs to get done.

I am powerful. But I don't need to be caught up in hardly
any of what I worry about. I relinquish the world's shame
and demands of me. I will attend to my own needs this day.
I will do what I can for another. That is a powerful thing.

And the more I focus on doing for myself, the less I
ever even consider the possibility of drink or drug. My
mind is filled with other cares, my body knows what is
good for it, my spirit wants strength and freedom.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Moving On

Okay.....deep breath.

I'm not going to do any more anti-AA posts on
here. I still maintain my perspective on the problems
of the group and the dangers it poses, but I have made those clear.

Here on this blog is my experience within the group for all to see.
Others who feel the sting of surviving the group (and
not having found support) can realize they are not alone.
They can find out about alternatives.
They can gain strength knowing their discomfort is not unfounded.

Newcomers can be forewarned and forearmed,
and less naive about what is presented to them about the group,
its people, and its purpose.

But I will not be devoting any more time and energy,
nor will I dwell on the pain experienced there.
I have to be willing to release it and move on.

My own personal bitterness with the
experience cannot be clung to; cannot remain
a status quo. Even those that wronged me the most
(or, in their likely opinion, 'those I perceive have
wronged me the most') are, by virtue of their
deep-seated need, just other hurting people
trying to keep afloat.

I struggle every day to look past our differences and
acknowledge their humanity and need, despite
the depth of discord.

It has been hard for me to let go of the anger and frustration
of seeing what seems to be intentional cruelty,
self-preservation, and deep denial of responsibility.
But others' actions are not for me to edit, even as they
may try to edit mine.

I don't want to be responsible for causing anyone else pain,
even while preventing them from hurting others.

For the record; as angry as I've been,
I still meditate every day that those I
am hurt by will be well, cared for,
contented, and find all they need.

There's so much more.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The following are excerpts from an excellent site
( with information on how to
spot an individual with a tendency to bully, as well
as an organization with a bent towards bullying
(a prime example of how the already-toxic AA
can be further corrupted by virtue of an especially
bad apple in the barrel.)

Those that are loudest and unflinching have far more
impact and influence than those that are kind and loving.

Note how the aspects relate to the specific problems
of AA and what it seeks to do to people who attend.

Characteristics of an individual who bullies:

·  is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control
everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe; for
example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting
to restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking
knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial
personality disorder in their presence -- but aggressively
maintains the right to talk (usually unknowledgeably) about
anything they choose. Serial bullies despise anyone who enables
others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity
·  displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously
refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achieve-
ments, or their existence
·  is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit
anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account
·  gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled
to when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of
others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression

Most organisations have a serial bully. It never ceases
to amaze me how one person's divisive, disordered,
dysfunctional behaviour can permeate the entire
organisation like a cancer." Tim Field

There are dynamics related to the art of bullying and
how it effects any group 'normal' behavior. The author
promotes that targets of workplace bullying are not a
random selection, but rather specifically chosen individuals
who refuse the 'company' norms (the unique and
unconscious rules of a work system.)
"Abusive work systems often mimic dysfunctional families,
and employees adopt similar behaviors at work that they
maintained in their own families. If their personal behavior
patterns are far different from the norms," Hare says, "then
these are the people that get picked on the most. The people
who have their own ideas and speak out, they can be pretty
severely abused."