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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Where everybody knows your name..."

"But, but I was your friend yesterday!""Yeah, and now you said something we disagree with!"
Everybody has an agenda, loves to feign importance,
likes to imprint on someone, likes to feel better, useful.
In 12 Step, this human essence is enhanced a thousand
fold since the desperate folks need a project and a means
of conjuring self-worth.

Screw the fact that they aren't qualified or committed.
Easier to meddle in someone else's life than fix your own.
(And distraction and deflection is what AA/NA are really
all about.)

Besides, thes self-important loons are all hopped up
on the Jesus Juice;

They don't just believe they're more important than 'non-
believers'; they believe that GOD believes they're more
important than nonbelievers!

First they manufacture a need for themselves, and follow by
manufacturing their own reality to suit themselves. After all,
if you repeat something often enough, it must be true!

AA/NA's 'message of hope' is the equivalent of a southern
church gossip saying "I heard that someone said that there
was something similar to this might have happened." And
then, in typical "Telephone" fashion, that mythical tidbit gets
passed along as if fact and further enhanced along the way
so that more hogwash is built into doctrine to be shared as
if meaningful. (This applies to benefits of the program, statistics,
what supposedly happens to people who leave the program, etc.)

(None of this should distract from the fact that outright, known
lies are also utilized to convince people to go through the motions.)The crux is this; sponsoring's failure is not merely a matter
of bad pairings. "Well, Person A and Person B were just a
bad fit for sponsor/sponsee...keep trying til you find the right

No, it's the entire context of putting yourself in the hands
of an unproven, untrained, unauthorized, cult member who
is asking you to be 'helped' by faith healing...While there is no
empirical proof of having actually helped this person before
you, an avowed alcoholic and pathological liar.

What system of checks and balances is in place to make sure
people's welfare is looked after? None at all.
What method of compensation is there for pain and suffering
endured at their hands? None at all.
What authority is there to file formal complaints for misconduct
and grievances? None at all.

The Build-up of a need to adhere to an inhumanly possible
idealism is not only devastatingly unrealistic, it sets not only
the person doing the attempt up for feelings of failure and
disappointment, but it also allows for the individual who is
goading them on to show that they don't believe they measure
up. (Power Play = Big Ego Boost.)

Once you don't rank a high enough score on individual members'
score cards, they wash their hands of you. Acting as an agent
of not only the Program, but God A-mighty hizzoner hisself,
whom they interpret as being displeased with your lack of progress,
your refusal to listen to 'god,' and obstinance in absorbing
the message of the group.

So now in addition to being an alcoholic trying to stay sober
and deal with your life and daily bullshit, you have to worry
about an omnipotent authority figure passing judgement on
how closely you're adhering to someone else's idea of morality,



Thursday, June 28, 2012

"It Is What It Is, And It Ain't What It Ain't."

Embracing chaos is recognizing the pointlessness of most things,
and the cruel, random savagery of this world. It can scare the
heck out of ya. It can crush the fragile belief systems and illusions
of coping that were long-ago taught to our impressionable young
But in the end, it's a good thing.
Is nihilism depressing, as it gets the villainized rep from so many?
No. It's Realism.
When you can squarely stare life in the eye and see it for what it is,
no pretense, and release the need for sugar coating and avoiding,
you go to a whole new level of contentment. Of strength.
Becoming, in time, unswayed by any and all.
No loss can touch you. No expectations to be dashed.

Let other people misinterpret your actions as cold, heartless, weak, 
unhealthy or what have you.
Let them malign til the cows come home.
No one ever understands anyone, anyway.
Relinquish the need to be understood.
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.'"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"But what had really happened was...."

There's what you see, what I see, what I think you see,
what you think I see, what others think happened, what
others say they think happened, what really happened,
the part we're capable of understanding having really happened,
and so on. No wonder every one's confused!

It's meant as compliment I'm sure, but there is a line of
commenting that rather irks me; It goes like this:
 "You're so strong--look at what you've been through"
"You're so much stronger than I am.  I couldn't do
what you can," or some variation thereof.
Well, I'm still going through shit, just like everyone else.
Comments like that are an exit strategy, an effort to
forego the responsibility of facing what we are all capable
of facing, within ourselves.
It's choice. All the way, choice...and not at all easy.
I have been in the deepest, darkest depths, consumed by
grief, loneliness, depression, despair...devoured by my
circumstance and a lack of any insight on how to get out
from under.
I have been confused, full of doubt, wavering, aimless,
feeling no sense of worth...the bullshit of life and the attacks
of others threatening to extinguish my fight. I am not invulner-
able, nor dispossessed of a soul. I have felt these things.
Bit by painful bit, learning new ways, realizing my doubt
and despair and fear were learned and could be unlearned.
I made it through. Choosing to believe in myself to make it
I became stronger by choosing to be stronger, and that
started the process of transformation.
That's the message I have; we are not limited to what we
were or the worst we believe about ourselves. We are not
predetermined for weakness. We go where the belief and
commitment lies, and it can start with nothing but a faint and
inconsistent effort...struggling, barely heard, returning again
and again.
If I made it look easy, remember to not be so easily fooled!
I possess nothing that isn't in every one of us;
Nothing is as it seems.
Greatness isn't divined or imparted, it isn't a gift of birth;
it's taken by force. No one can grant it to you but you.
Find your inner strength today. Dare to.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Through a Cracked Lens, Darkly

Most people suffering from addictions have
difficulty with discernment and attachment issues.
And, as always, the form they take is one extreme
or the other.

With Programs or Groups, there is a huge danger
of becoming become obsessed or
singularly focused, blocking out all else (and all
alternate choices.)

Following a regiment and a structure becomes an
onus rather than an aid.There's a big difference between involvement,
socialization, interaction...and its polar opposites,
obsession, dependence, and saturation.

Singularity, balance, and a full life are healthy
choices for a person with addiction issues.

Moderation and sane, easy, flexible parameters
can do far more good than a pattern-filled, rigid,
overly-demanding rigor which keeps expectations


Thursday, June 14, 2012

"It's Miller Time!" The Mindset of Cult Leaders

Substituting one source for another, the very sick and manipulative
narcissist is drawn to vulnerable folks who can be more vulnerable
(both from being an addictive personality, and from the difficulties
experienced coming out of active addiction.)

Narcissists (or sociopaths) are predators who feed off the pain of
others, and enjoy adding to it. Places like 12 Step programs are a
perfect hiding place and breeding ground for such creatures.

Listen to the video and discover some of the warning signs to be on
the lookout for. They're everywhere, but they thrive in an environment
like A.A. and N.A., where the idea of 'questioning' the program
is frowned upon.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Looks Can Be Deceiving...

Business-as-usual; couldn't care less.
Silence and invisibility does not equal consent and acceptance.

Mine is not a lone voice against the evil and abuses prevalent
within the 12 Step circles, and the self-protection of their
anonymity and autonomy that ensures they will keep known
abuses quiet in order to keep what little reputation that remains
from being besmirched.

*Most who have been abused within the Programs will
never attend another meeting. The heart and spirit of what
was supposed to be a helpful and spiritual venture has been
ruined, transformed into a dark experience, with meetings
just a painful reminder of what happened.

*Of those who do continue to attend, they are so completely
embarrassed, humiliated, and self-conscious that they tend
to carry the burden alone, not wanting anyone to know and
further the hurt (in their eyes.) Seeing the perpetrator continue
to abuse newcomers--and yet be held in highest regard by
the group despite the obviousness of their brokenness--
further runs down the hurt person's spirit.

*There are those that, disillusioned, go back to drinking and
drugging, knowing now that this was simply one more falsehood
and unreliable situation. One more group of people who don't
care about their welfare. One last last-chance that failed.
Or maybe just a new hurt and betrayal so deep that their old
standby of chemically medicating seems the only solution still.

These folks know that no one in group would likely believe their
word against the 12 Step 'Super Star' that did them wrong, so
why bother. The world works a very particular way, and some
people tend to get away with everything. Suppressing and trying to
ignore what happened isn't healthy or generally reliable, but it's a
valid choice to these folks.

*Further, there are many who do feel they are alone
with what happened to them, and isolated/fearful/alone is
a bad place for the average addicted person to be. It makes one feel
out on a ledge, and quite separated from the pack. The loyalty to
A.A./N.A. (amongst 'True Believers') is fanatical and frightening,
and the idea of going up against a juggernaut, a behemoth like a
world-wide organization is too much. Especially when your gumption
and spirit are drained and your doubt and discomfort are high.

*Many, especially those who have previously been abused or
targeted, blame themselves. Prior victims give off a signal that
sets them up as ripe for the picking in the first place, and predators
spot that like sharks drawn to blood in the water. The repetitiveness
of abuse makes some survivors feel like they have no people skills,
like things will never change, and like there must be something
flawed within them to keep making this happen.

(While of course nothing could be further from the truth; the
sociopaths who get high off of manipulating and hurting others are
the ones who are in the wrong.)

*There are those who become depressive and despairing over
the turn of events, and begin a psychological and emotional tailspin.
They may not even relate their condition to the events, if they are in
denial. Often times, predators are so incredibly devastating and
charming that they can keep a target confused and self-flagellating
without ever realizing the extent of what was done to them.

* And, of course, there are those who reach their wit's end, finding
suicide the only option. At the end of my dreadful experience with
A.A. psychos, in the midst of deep clinical depression, my tormentor
e-mailed me notes attempting to push me over the edge, promoting
suicide as a legitimate and useful option for me.

So, don't get it twisted. Just because you don't see and hear major
throngs of protesters walking the streets outside of a meeting, it
doesn't mean there aren't problems aplenty.

Of course, you have to be open to seeing them, willing to look for them,
and honest about finding them. And 12 Step groups are pretty big on
blind adherence and self-protection. 'Acceptable losses' and all that.

Only they aren't acceptable, are they?


Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Queer Notion

There have always been a Disproportionately higher  number of gays, lesbians,
bi, and questioning people who are dealing with alcohol and drug dependence.

Many couldn't face being their true selves, and when their feelings/desires/identity
started to emerge, alcohol/drugs are one of the ways they medicated and escaped.

Becoming sober leads to a  need to face ourselves, to be in a safe place where
people are allowed to be their true selves, free of religious restrictions and others'
'moral' (i.e., subjective and ego-based) denouncements.

Facing those kinds of critical prejudices while in such a vulnerable stage of
actualization is devastating.

It's a time for integrating all the disparate parts of self into one healthy
more need to need to feel ashamed of being exactly who you are;
that's the integrated, healthy, secure, sober, recovering self emerging.

Not someone who is told to 'please' keep their emotional, psychological, sexual,
human self under wraps, because their real life is 'an outside issue.'

Shaming and suppression have no place in recovery. Support groups need to
be as integrated and whole as the people they purport to exist for.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

P!nk - "Sober"

I really appreciate the poignancy of the personal nature of Pink as
she has shared very intimately--and publicly--her relationship with
self-medicating, destructive relations, emotional upheavals, and
more over the years.

This song particularly captures that sense of despair when you're on
that precipice between knowing you have to do something and not
knowing what to do. The pain and questioning are beautifully displayed,
as always.

If you think you're alone in being tortured by mixed feelings and dual
natures; you're not.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Creating Our Niche

"You are getting weak....and need a special friend..."
In all humans, there is a need to belong, a
need to be deemed worthwhile, a need to
be acknowledged , and a need to be needed.

Like most things, though, addictive personality
folks like myself have an increased sense of all
those desires.

It's part of the deep, dark, incessant desire of
an be Needed.

There is a sense of that emptiness in us that
cannot be filled unless we are enmeshed with
another person, a project, an all-consuming job,
a deeply-held belief system.

We need validation and acceptance more than most.
(And for some of us, learning that it can only
come from within takes a lifetime!)

But in order to be needed, neediness must first
exist in others. It must be found, isolated, enhanced,
cultivated, ensured, or manufactured, if need be.
(If you haven't learned to be complete,
 devoid of artificial means.)

If we don't maintain healthy connection to our own
value through self-validation or involvement in a variety
of community or world interests, we can become
obsessive or even fanatical about connection to some
specific thing or person.

Dependent on them, or it, for our sustenance, even
as we deny such a reality. Just like when the drugs
and alcohol had their hold.

People who would create a seeming 'need' for their
services in the minds of the very people they're
purportedly 'helping,' are only catering to their own needs.

The image maintained may be one of helpful compassion
and charity, but they're massaging their own egos and deep-
seated fears and disconnectedness by building themselves
up as a messenger or benefactor of the highest order.

If someone makes a living out of painting themselves as
a generous, well-meaning soul merely visiting sympathies
and salvation on weary world-travelers, be afraid.

And then recognize that you can save your own liberated self.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Consistency & Double Standards

People in A.A. and Al-Anon in particular like to
point to a theory prescribed in the Big Book as
'other people's opinions being none of their business.'
In other words; Mind Your Own Business.

(A little contradictory, given that the whole purpose
of the organization has become to insert themselves
wholly into other people's business. But, seeing as how
the Big Book never advocated or even mentioned
having sponsors, no actual conflict there.)

Nonetheless, this ideal of 'not interfering' is used to
overlook (and be complicit about) abuses that occur
within the program. In fact, abuses that are promoted by
the very structure and dynamic of such a program.

Members can see evil being done by a predator and
simply cover their eyes, ears, and mouth. Look the
other way and avoid responsibility because the Doctrine
of Bill Wilson told them to.

Done. Justified. Verily, as if the Lord Hizzonor himself
had decreed it.

So predators get a free pass and victims get no help.

So I got to thinking how that "M.M.O.B." standard
would play for these folks in the real world, all things being
equal. (And, 12 Step definitely being detached from the
real world.)

If they hear someone in an alley being raped, they will
mind their business and not call for help or intervene?

If their neighbors house catches fire, will they just turn
over and go back to sleep?

See a store being robbed while they're driving and just
ignore it and turn up the radio?

Or is this just more ill-conceived self-deceiving contradictory
craziness from the minds of dry drunks, designed to further
falsely promote the sense of righteousness and infallibility of
the vaunted Program? To ensure that the predators who run
the joint continue to get away with every dark deed, and play
off the silence as 'spirituality?'

As if.


Time After Time

One of the main components of addiction is relapse.
Everyone from counselors to doctors to clinic heads
will tell you it is the mere reality; it is a normal part
of the whole.

Relapse doesn't necessitate failure in the long term,
but on the shaky road to becoming better, one can

make several backwards movements.

(In the time between August of 2010 until my new
sobriety date of January 20th, 2011, I tried and caved
in my efforts to regain sobriety on multiple occasions.
Simply put, I didn't give up on myself simply because
I didn't adhere to the standards I had set. I just started

(Prior to having relapsed that time, I had had over ten-
and-a-half years of sobriety which I departed from
in 2007. It wasn't wasted time; either sober or lapsed.
Just like hardships in life, we gain something from all.)

on black-and-white 'success' and consistent, total
abstinence, the weight to perform and maintain what
others (seem to be/ purportedly) are doing is an extra
burden. A sense of failure can fearfully threaten the
connection we feel to the group.

The eyes tend to be so much 'on the prize,' with
rewards given for abstinence-- not efforts or growth
free from that lofty goal--that the idea of sobriety
becomes very cut-and-dried, when it, like life, is
anything but.

(Side note for the Haterz; I haven't relapsed, and would
have no trouble mentioning it if I had. I am addressing this
because I know how intimidating the idea of 'keeping
track' or 'starting over' can be when there is such demand
for 'complete' * abstinence and longevity in program.)

There needs to be much more flexibility and compassion.
When people do fall off the wagon or have a set-back,
there's such a condescending loss of faith and interest that
so obviously falls over members of support groups. (Of course,
the prevailing sentiment that "If you really work the program,
you can do it with ease," "You only fail if you don't want it bad
enough," and of course "If you leave AA/NA you will relapse
and you won't make it back" are in the back of everyone's
mind after having heard those ridiculous lies repeatedly.

Viewing--and promoting-- relapse as some monstrous, evil,
dreaded, unforgivable thing that looms over head actually
gives it more power psychologically than it deserves. Self-
fulfilling prophecy even. After all, if an organization based on
defeating something no longer has something to defeat, it
becomes extinct. Providing a Bogeyman provides rationale
for one's own existence.

It's not always forward motion; we dance to and fro and back
again. There's a flow and balance in all things. Cutting ourself a
break and remaining dedicated to our goals without harsh
expectations is a healthier take.

Sobriety is a lifestyle, but it is a part of a whole; there is
room in the process for relapse and lessons. It's not the Falling;
it's the not getting back up. Be kind to yourself.


* (Everyone certainly has their own perspective on this,
with other members of 12 Step deciding for people what their
'commitment' or 'seriousness level' is based on what their own
personal beliefs are. Deciding for others that no chemicals
extends to psychiatric meds, pain meds, and so forth.) Find
your own compass in these matters too.