I’m not a big fan of counting time; be that hours, days, months, years sober or Birthdays for
that matter!!!!! That being said, I’ve also discussed at length that it IS important to take a look at where we’ve been, where we’re at and where the Hell we’re going. So with the arbitrary passing of my
52nd birthday next week I thought I’d do snapshot of just that.
It’s been just a little over 2 years since I took a hiatus from Corporate America and started the “Freedom to Recover” project. The results? Inconclusive-haha. The intent was and continues to be to make a difference, to help others, to share what took many years of suffering on my part to hopefully help others come to that place of peace and happiness where I now reside, in hopefully a lot less time.
It’s been an exciting and busy 6 months since I quietly plopped the book into the Amazon machine containing millions of titles. There was no red carpet rollout and the only announcement was to my
handful of Facebook friends. Other than that, there was a little local advertising, a press release, flyers, and getting involved in forums on various recovery websites. In a word, very low key and grass roots to say the least. To use a term common back in my days as an account rep for a plethora of different industries, I’ve had to “pound the pavement” and knock on a lot of doors to try and get the message of “Freedom” out. It would appear that all the hours and hard work are starting to bring results. The e-mails and reviews are starting to come in and for the most part, they have been extremely positive, encouraging and leave me feeling that all was not done in vain. In fact, evidence would appear to show that I’ve already helped quite a few folks. Along with the positive feedback, some folks have asked a few recurring questions which I will address here and is the main point of this blog entry. The two that come to mind are
1-What exactly is your “program” of recovery and 2-What is your philosophy on recovery.
I’ll begin to answer those questions by quoting a paragraph from the introduction to the book and then expand on it a bit.
“You will find no cookie cutter program with cozy little steps here. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Borrowing from basic psychology, eastern philosophy, existentialism, life experience, logic and common sense, I will propose ideas that will enable you to re-create your reality and live a life of unlimited potential. I will ask you to question the questions and to find your own answers.”
So right in there is the answer to question #1. There is NO program. Some have suggested that I start a new “group meeting” much like AA, SMART, Rational Recovery, etc…where folks get together and study and implement the ideas within the book. NOT HAPPENING! The idea is to re-create YOUR reality based on your beliefs, needs, ambitions, and capabilities. Group support is fine and helpful for many but it can then easily turn into “group think” which can be limiting, static and downright dangerous.
So that brings us to question #2; to which I respond that it isn’t really just a philosophy on recovery/addiction but really a philosophy on life. When my fiancé, Jill, read the book for the first
time, she observed that; “You know, the ideas and thoughts in the 2nd half really can be applied to anyone facing the everyday challenges of life.” I think that’s true but for those trying to overcome addiction/alcoholism, their handling of life really needs a tweak to say the least.
So my philosophy I guess really does start with my belief that due to our ability to make choices and decisions (freewill), that we do indeed have the “power” to greatly effect and determine the quality of our lives. There are those that believe that everything is predetermined and that regardless of our efforts,
what’s going to happen is going to happen anyway, that freewill does not exist. If that were the case, then why bother making any decisions. Just let it happen because it will anyway. We are mere pawns in the glob of the universe. You can live your life that way if you want but I prefer to think that the actions that
I CHOOSE to take do indeed have an influence on the outcomes that come my way.
So I guess to a certain extent my take is an existential one. Existentialism, like any overall philosophy or ways of looking at things, has many interpretations and definitions. But to try and keep it general, the most basic and cited definition is that; the world is essentially, in and of itself, meaningless and that it is up to us as individuals to create meaning, to make sense of it all. I agree wholeheartedly with the ladder but not the
former. I don’t agree at all that the world is meaningless! We (humans) are a species of intelligence, aspirations, dreams, hope and love. Science hates those words because they can’t really be readily measured in a graduated cylinder or scale. We are a communal species that thrives when we interact with one another and most importantly, when we try to improve the lives of those around us and the world in which we live. That’s kind of where my quote at the beginning of the book, “Altruistic and empathetic intent, follow by intuitive and thoughtful action equals an authentic and meaningful life”, came from. Yes you can live as an island and there are some who are OK with and prefer that. Most addicts/alcoholics end up living that way but usually not out of choice. I, personally, don’t think that’s the way we were meant to exist. Again, just my opinion, like everything else that I think, feel and write.
So, continuing on my belief that WE create our OWN realities and have both the power and responsibility to do so, the question becomes that if we adapt that mindset, when do we do this creating? That’s where the Eastern philosophies, Buddhist and Taoist type ideas come into play. When? Well now, in the present. You’ve probably read my take on the past, its significance and how I believe we should both view and use it. Meanwhile, the future is largely based on what we do now to effect it. Where I differ from some schools of thought is that I believe that being present or in the moment also has to be accompanied by intent. Personally, I’m not that great at doing the “Ohmmm”, sit and quiet the mind and meditate thing for hours and days on end. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the usefulness and purpose of quieting the mind and it is important. But here’s where the ying and yang of life come in. In order to create your reality you have to be present with intent. You have to have a clue as to what you want to do and then do it….nowishly….. That being said, it is also good to view what you are doing with a kind of detachment from the outside looking in.
There’s much more to my ideas on how to live well and evolve and includes ways to improve our thinking and listening skills, how to control the internal dialog in our minds, accepting the world as it is but effecting beneficial change to the degree that we can and should, the roles of intuition, selflessness, etc…….
But at the core of all of it is my belief that we really do have the ability, responsibility and joy of making of life what we decide to make of it. That life happens right here, right now and it’s up to us to determine if that’s a good experience or not. So if you combine those two underlying beliefs, you get a gist of my “philosophy” on life and I choose to call it, for the moment
At the end of the day, they’re just words, the meaning of which, are open to interpretation.Much like life :-)
As for me as I approach another year gone by, I’m still trying to mend some broken fences from my past days of dependency. The results there? Also inconclusive. Successful on some fronts and not so much
on others. That too folks, is life.
Enjoy the ride,