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 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.