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The relationship I have with myself.......

Partners, families, children and friends - they all get affected by your drinking.
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silvergirl
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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by silvergirl » 18 Aug 2011 21:14

wotcher gorgeous! sorry to burst your bubble but i'm no convinced any o these threads actually have legs, they're just words on a screen. :lol:

my relationship with me, myself and i is steadily getting better i am pleased to announce. it's weird but i think it's taken a jump lately, since i got sober again, and i am feeding myself very positive messages. i sometimes think i got a tendency to overthink things, and that maybe the answer to life the universe etc is pretty simple. get on with it, today, now, enjoy, relax, just be. i'm liking just being me, at the moment. \:)/

i remember you posting stuff from that blog before, tis a good read. i find it very interesting when he talks about us choosing how people treat us. if you'd told me that two years ago i would have vehemently denied that and told you you were wrong - how can i be responsible for how other people behave?! i'm not, but i am responsible for my reaction to it, and whether i choose to put up with it or not. and by doing so once, do i paint myself into a place in the picture where that is me, by doing so repeatedly i allow the paint to dry and i'm stuck there. blimers! this must be your influence jojo, i'm sure i don't usually speak in such flowery language! :D i guess though, that creating identities is what we're doing as drinkers, and by sobering up we're giving ourselves the opportunity to create a different one, one that we actually want to be, and with whom we can have a good relationship. hard work though.

i'm still out on the understanding history question though, i reckon there's a place for that too, i recently got some stuff of me own out there, and after that i didn't need to, it eased, and i think that just like everything (in my life, anyway) it's perhaps cyclical in nature. and that revisitation of events leading up to what i am now i think is something that i will still focus on but, as with most things, (and in particular tightrope walking), it's a question of balance.

unicorn, i don't know if you've read it but i got a lot out of "a woman in your own right: assertiveness and you" by anne dickson. standing up for ourselves i reckon hinges so much on what we feel we deserve and, like you, i too find it easier to stand up for someone else than for myself.

really am going to have me my early night now!

sgx
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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 18 Aug 2011 23:39

I think the message that we have a lot of responsibility for our own situation is good to know. But I think some people place the slider too far in that direction.

The circumstances you find yourself in play a huge role in where you end up.

For example, the greatest indicator of what income you will achieve in adulthood is what your dad earned. You have no control over what your dad earned.

Taller men are generally paid more than shorter men. Unless you want some kind of horrendous operation you have no control over how tall you are.

If you're in the UK and are black, you're going to find life more difficult than a white person with the same level of education and social background. You can't help what colour you are.

Now, the "it's all down to you" people will say "but these are the challenges you have to face". But if someone has to face 5 challenges where someone without disadvantages only has to face 2 then who's going to have the most energy for the fight and be the one most likely to succeed?

If you put two equally equipped fighters in a boxing ring and one has to face 2 opponents in a row and the other 5, who is going to be more bloodied, bruised and most liable to get knocked out?

So personal responsibility is very important, but I find attempts to dismiss real hardships or disadvantages rather offensive.

Everybody has to overcome things in life but the playing field is SO not level.

The relationship I have with myself is surprisingly positive when you consider that I spend a lot of time thoroughly depressed and anxious and in discomfort. I think I have insight into many of my problems (I've done an awful lot of reading) and knowing that there's limits to what I can reasonably do at times allows me to treat myself with a bit more kindness. But to other people it can seem like I'm not doing anything for long stretches of time. What I'm doing is trying to recover or maintain what health I have (sometimes in inappropriate ways, such as drinking to 'cure' anxiety). It's a tremendous effort to not decline, let alone flourish.

There comes a point if you have multiple issues when trying to keep up with all the things that are wrong with one turns into a game of whack-a-mole. You devote loads of time to trying to solve one thing but in doing so you neglect something else important which then pops up and tries to defeat you, so you switch tactics and then the first thing becomes an issue again; so you divide your time between the two and then a third thing spirals out of control because you haven't paid attention to it. And on it goes.

I don't want to send a defeatist message here. We've all heard of stories of people beating the odds and one should strive to do that. Unless one is happy where one is, in which case there's no problem, is there?

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by silvergirl » 19 Aug 2011 09:17

ach, never give up jojo. i'd be surprised if ye did at this stage in the game. <:)>

boris, interesting post. the circumstantial examples you cite are purely statistical though, and what's that phrase about three kinds of lies?!

taking as an example the dictum that ones eventual socioeconomic status is defined by paternal income, within my own family there is a huge difference between what the lowest earning sibling and the highest earning sibling earns - i'd say by a factor of 80x or more.

yet, we all had the same father? (or so my mother steadfastly maintains... ;) )

re. disadvantages and accepting your lot. poor coloured children from broken homes face more disadvantages than others. okay. yeah, i'll agree with that. statistically. (i notice you didn't cite the example of the very real "glass ceiling" which women face in many traditionally male dominated careers by the way! we've all got our own unique disadvantages... :lol: ) but does that mean people, anyone, needn't even bother trying because what's the point anyway?! i've got two words which sums up what i think about it: barack obama. what do you think made him able to become the president of the usa? against a fair few odds i reckon. i suspect it was his attitude towards himself.

you say that we have "a lot of" responsibility for our own situation. don't we have total responsibility for ourselves? if not, how much do we have? 80%? and who's got the other 20%? invisible forces which grind us down, our problems and disadvantages and hardships? i think that to abdicate even a percentage of responsibility and maintaining an "i can't... because" attitude is quite defeatist. however, i can understand it. as i said in a previous post, if you'd told me what i know now two years ago, i wouldn't have believed it. i would have been content to stay a bit of a victim (like i used to be if i'm honest), to say "but i can't, because of x, y and z, and it's all too hard, and it's alright for you but it's different for me, and anyway, it's outwith my control". i've done that, i've had that exact thought, i can see how i was. lots of things are outwith my control, yes, in fact, pretty much the only thing within my control is myself, but by taking responsibility for myself, entirely, and all of the shit in my life, by owning it, and facing up to it without fear i can deal with situations that i can't control in the way that i would like. there are bastids out there, but i don't have to let them grind me down. the only thing that's changed is my attitude to myself.

i'm not having a pop at ya boris, and hope you can start to address your multiple issues and attain some resolution. i've no idea what they all are, just as you have no idea what mine are. but, by maintaining our sobriety, which is what we're here for, we both stand a hugely better chance of tackling them i'd say. i think it's a given that most people who come here, to this forum, are not happy with their lot, or they wouldn't be seeking out support from others to change.

all the best,
sgx
Last edited by silvergirl on 20 Aug 2011 07:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Jjjj of Old » 19 Aug 2011 09:37

Joanne, Unicorn, Boris and SG,

I think that this is an excellent idea for a thread, and - as long as we agree that we might sometimes disagree with each other without taking offence - it's one that I hope has legs.

As important as relationships with others are, my relationship with myself is something that I don't think about as much as I should - it's such a fundamental issue, though, given that our relationship with ourselves at any point in time is bound to colour, inform and influence every other relationship we have: with others, with our current situations, and with our pasts.

I was (as so often) inspired by your first post, Jo. So much so that I gave it bags of thought after I went to bed last night, and I nearly got up again to come and post a reply. You'll be glad I didn't: i) it would have been a spectacularly long and unfocussed post; and ii) the sight (or thought) of me sitting at the laptop in Pee-Jays and dressing gown would've been disturbing. However, I might still post - it's all still in my head and has now benefitted (I hope) from being percolated through the filter of my subconscious as I slept.

Anyhow. This is all by way of saying: great thread, so please let's all keep talking!

Best wishes to all,
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by renasci » 19 Aug 2011 10:31

Wow, there are some brilliant posts here. You've really got people thinking Joanne - and so much to think about!
Responsibility for our own happiness is an interesting topic too. I was thinking - what about a torture victim screaming in pain - would you tell them that they couldn't blame other people for their unhappiness - that they should change the attitude towards their pain - that they should just accept their lot? What about an abused child, ok perhaps they grow up to become lucky enough to have the resources for self improvement, but surely its not going to happen in an instant. They aren't going to go from an abused angry frightened child to a suddenly mature balanced happy person. There has to be something they go through to get there surely. Is it their fault that they have been made unhappy as children? At what point does their own happiness become their own responsibility - when they turn 18?
I've used some extreme examples here.
But perhaps we're all on a journey from being frightened (though not necessarily abused) children to confident caring grown ups and at different stages on it. Its an aim that we're forever going towards but never really get there. Is it possible to perfect and to be human?
I'm sure I've missed many of the very many points that have been raised here - but they all need such a lot of thinking about :?

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 19 Aug 2011 11:35

Oh Joanne, I'm sorry you took exception to my post. <:)>

It wasn't you I found to be saying something that (a small part of which) I found offensive. The post I was referring to was the one where you quoted a blog entry, so it was the blog entry I was taking issue with (or, since the blog entry seemed to be based on the work of another author, then I was taking issue with that author). Not you.

Now, if you totally 100% believe that the blog entry was 100% flawless then I guess I am, by extension, taking issue with you. But again, that's fine. We don't have to agree with each other all the time to remain supportive to each other with the challenge that brings us to Bright Eye.

Let me explain a bit more about why I draw my conclusion that personal responsibility as the be all and end all can lead to unfair outcomes and may be damaging for someone's esteem.

I've had quite a few different office jobs over the years, generally working in small teams. When I'm new to a job everything goes along normally and social conversation revolves around surface things. But as people get to know me better they relax around me and on a number of occasions someone finally comes out with a racist joke. I should point out that I'm white. I have sometimes challenged the person at that point, but sometimes I'm not assertive and I just smile weakly. This is sometimes taken as a sign I'm "on board" and they may then later just say something about a colleague that is flat-out racist.

None of these people struck me as a stereotypically racist. So the conclusion I draw is that low-level racism is alive and well.

So let's now look at a black person trying to get a job. Is it fair of us to tell him "you are 100% responsible for the situation you find yourself in"? If he complains that he is finding it hard to get a job are we to say "well, that's COMPLETELY down to you"?

For sure, if a black person spends all day ruminating that racism means he won't find work and stops applying for anything, believing the situation to be hopeless, then he won't get work.

But I don't think it's justice to lay everything on a person's shoulders. We do not operate in a self-sustaining bubble. There are inequalities, injustices, prejudice. We can say that people feeling the effects of those can take ownership / responsibility for those and form or join some kind of rights movement and that would certainly be more positive than just staying at home feeling hard done by. But it still seems to me that one requires resources to be that proactive. You still need to put food on the table as you try to tackle those evils.

Give me a kicking if I'm wrong but it seems to me that most activists we know of, that we remember, were middle class to begin with. They could support themselves whilst fighting for change.

If we drop 100% of responsibility on the individual where is the impetus for political change? Are you seriously going to argue that politics has now done all it can and all that's really left is for the individual man and woman to attend to themselves and their family? That there's nothing left to fight for because it's now all a matter of one's own actions? Are you comfortable saying "it's ALL you, it's NOTHING to do with your social environment" ? It sounds a lot like Thatcher's "there is no such thing as society".

Anyhow, this has rather gone off the topic of the relationship one has with oneself, so I apologise for that. It's a good topic so I'd encourage people to return to it.

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Jjjj of Old » 19 Aug 2011 13:31

... it's ok, SB - the rest of your post was so utterly brilliant that I can't possibly do anything but... (::) !

I want to add more, 'cos this is a great conversation - making me think - but the sun is sort of half-out at the minute, so (because this is Scooty-land) I must away myself and get the lawn trimmed while I have half a chance!

Love to all <:)>
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by renasci » 19 Aug 2011 14:01

The torture victim or the abused child are not likely to be feeling happiness, but perhaps they can recover, in time, learn to love again, learn to enjoy, to appreciate the good things that are there for them?

yes SB, thats what I was saying (I think) only expanding it to all of us. Its like everyone is in a kind of recovery from various past experiences. Blame is pointless and gets us nowhere. Other people may cause us pain, but its pointless blaming them or judging them, we just have to cope with getting over our own negative feelings.

Anyway, I think we're pretty much in agreement :?

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by lightinsight » 19 Aug 2011 14:33

Interesting thread and it has really got me thinking. I believe we all have two stories: the one we're born with and the one we create for ourselves. I'm interested to see where this goes and may contribute some more later on.
Last edited by lightinsight on 26 Aug 2011 00:12, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by enoughisenough » 19 Aug 2011 16:04

Fantastic and revealing posts - brilliant thread. I have just had the pleasure of spending many hours sitting on the motorway in traffic jams and actually it was a pleasure for a number of reasons - I am only recently back driving after being stuck in the house after a knee op, the sun was shining and my new car has air con :lol: and I was listening to a debate on the radio about assisted suicide. This was fasicinating as it was about the current case of "Martin" who after a stem cell stroke 3 years ago never leaves his bed in a converted garage,he is paralysed and can only speak with the aid of a computer and thinks everything in his life is shit and therefore wants to kill himself, his wife understands his wishes but wants not to take the responsibility for this. At the beginning of the debate I tended to agree with him.Various other particpants with severe disability - although they could actually talk - entered the debate, and their attitude was that they made the most of the life they had been dealt ( one young woman who could do nothing for herself still found that by spending time with severely disabled kids gave her enough purpose to get through the agony of her days, whereas for 10 years she had gone to bed every night hoping to not wake up in the morning and so on. Apart from making me extremely emotional ( which was Ok as stationary) it reminded me of the book - Victor Frankl - Mans search for meaning , such a life changing book for me and could benefit anyone suffering from depression. It shows what the body can do if the "self" wills and wants it to, how it can endure the most extreme anguish if one has a purpose and love ( whatever who or that may be for) in life. It seems like Martin has decided that he will stay in his room even though he can leave it and could get out and about in his chair - and this is his choice. It is a very emotive subject of course but it does make me think it is about our attitude ( as been more eloquently put in the posts above) and not dictated by an outside force.

Although I too read a lot a prefer sometimes to listen to anecdotal tales and ponder - its good for connecting x
Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wiser and am changing myself ~ Rumi

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by renasci » 19 Aug 2011 19:00

Hi EisE just been reading about Victor Frankl - Mans search for meaning book. It looks very interesting, and worth a read...

*edit* just ordered it

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by enoughisenough » 19 Aug 2011 19:35

That is great Renasci, let me know what you think when you have read it - Eie x
Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wiser and am changing myself ~ Rumi

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 19 Aug 2011 21:51

I agree with what you say. You appear to be arguing against a point that nobody's actually made, though.

In my earlier post I made it clear that people do have responsibility for the way their lives turn out. My reaction, though, was against the idea that we are 100% responsible. The balance will be different for different people. 50/50, 60/40, 30/70, whatever.

What I'm against is taking a militant stance that is 100% one way or the other for everyone. I felt the blog post you quoted was a 100% job and therefore I felt that was a flaw.

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Jjjj of Old » 19 Aug 2011 23:35

Yes, I agree, Boris: the balance will be different for each individual, in terms of how they can influence their whole life. However, within that whole life there are component areas: things we can change, as well as the things we can't. (I know you aren't arguing any differently to that, by the way. I'm just thinking aloud...)

I can't, for instance, improve through any effort of will-power alone the employment situation here in this neck of the woods, thereby creating more jobs I can apply for. It's a shame, but it's just one of those things - so I'm better off accepting that the situation is beyond my control, and pursuing whatever alternatives exist. Better to do this than to become embittered about it all, I think. (I'm using a personal example here, and in no way comparing it to the previously-mentioned extreme scenarios, such as a person being held under torture.)

However, as far as alcohol goes, I certainly do have a choice. It was a very hard choice to make at first (not just regarding the process of stopping, but also in learning, or acknowledging, why I had to stop).

I did it because I had to - and also because I could. Stopping drinking didn't solve every problem in my life: I can't change everything that affects me, I agree. However, it was an area of my life that was rotten, loathsome and deleterious but that could be changed. It was also an area that had trapped me in both physically and psychologically addictions: addictive thoughts that conned me for a long time into thinking that things could never change. I could change my drinking behaviour, though - but I count myself lucky that I finally saw that this was possible. Sometimes, I look back and find it incomprehensible that I was at least (and at last) able to peer through that thick, heavy haze of dependency and see that there was a life beyond it: a life that I could grab if I was quick and strong enough. Strong enough to seek help, at any rate. I couldn't have done it alone.

This is a bit of a ramble, sorry! Next point...

I went back to your first post, Jo, and it struck me that I could describe my own upbringing in exactly the same terms. Although, I'd probably be a bit more upbeat about my childhood and describe it more readily - and possibly more naively, gullibly - in more glowing terms.

But to do that only makes me even more baffled as to how and why I ever ended up with a drink problem - a collosal thirst for getting absolutely sh*tfaced as often as possible. If my childhood was so happy, what changed? On whom can I pin the blame for that?

Hm... well, Dad used to allow me a half-pint of beer now and again from an early-ish age. Maybe it was his fault? But, the truth is that he's not a big drinker: not a bad example in that sense. Besides, if he hadn't given me those beers, I might just as easily be berating him for not encouraging a sensible, moderated approach to drinking by making it seem like a taboo that I wanted to break?

So perhaps it was to do with growing up in a small village where everyone knew everybody else's business and the pub was the social focal point, and there was a heavy drinking culture? Well, that doesn't sound too likely either. I do, it's true, have a self-destructive reflex, but if everyone knows everybody else's business, getting plastered in the village pub isn't a great idea, because word soon spreads. And it did. And I'm a shy kind of guy: being the butt of gossip's the kind of thing I hate most. But that didn't stop me.

Hm, so then you (oops, I mean: I) get down to the nitty-gritty of the one or two "traumatic" situations on which one might hang one's blame. These, possibly, weren't my fault, and have affected me in lots of ways ever since.

But, ultimately, (and this is a waffle based entirely on my own experience - I totally accept that others suffer far worse trauma than I have, trauma that needs to be handled in an ongoing way, with professional guidance), there isn't anything I can do to change the past, so there doesn't seem a great deal of point in obsessing about it to the point where it endangers both the present and the future. In one sense, it's almost immaterial who "caused" my drink problem: my genes, myself or others. I've had to deal with a drink problem, that's for sure; but dealing with it is of more practical consequence than working out who caused it in the first place. Or at least, of more use than obsessing bitterly over who or what caused it. And if it was caused by someone else, feeling embittered about it will only mean they've messed me up twice: firstly in "causing" me to drink too much, and secondly in poisoning my thoughts, my present chances of happiness.

It's ok (and good) to examine the past, and I have learned to analyse and process it through various means other than drinking to excess. Studying the past can help us refrain from making the same mistakes; it can help us understand the present and assist us in "moving on" from certain issues. But it's only beneficial so long as we don't allow it to impede us any longer: in blackening our thoughts and - in so doing - adversely colouring the present. I could take any of the "major" issues I've had in my life and try to figure out the percentage balance: was it 10% my fault, 90% someone else's? And was it that which kickstarted my boozing? But - unless I want to do something with that statistic (say, sue the person who was 90% to blame) - it doesn't really help me in any way, does it? Doesn't change anything for the better, necessarily?

I could change my drinking, and I did. I can't change aspects of the past. But - crucially, I think - the past can still change me, and not in a helpful way, if I don't handle it correctly. And one way to ensure I handle the past correctly, is by being observant of the relationship I have with myself in the present: we used to hate each other, me and I, but now we get along pretty fine, most of the time. And there's a reason for this: we take a little bit more care of each other nowadays, and try and check on how one another feels a little more often; we talk to one another, rather than thinking, night after night: "F* this, I'm away down the offie so I can get too trollied to talk to you."

Lawks a-mercy, I really have waffled, haven't I? Plus, I've just admitted to talking to myself on a regular basis!

Anyway, I don't know that I have a conclusion, and even if I did it would probably mean something only to me.

But I'll post anyway, 'cos it's good to talk - even if only to one's self, hee hee. I shall continue to think about all this, and see if I can't think of anything more sensible (and shorter) to say on the subject!

Apologies for waffling!
Mark
"Addiction doesn’t go away when we stop drinking." ~ Tai

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 20 Aug 2011 00:38

Good post Mr Jones.

Talking to yourself can be beneficial, I was reading Overcoming Depression today and it says that it's good to have an image of a compassionate person in your mind and that you can talk to the person out loud if you feel it will help.

You can have the person be like an imaginary parent or choose for them to be more like a friend. Or you can eschew humans all together and imagine it to be a big protective tree.

I think I'm going to have the Dalai Lama. ;)

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by enoughisenough » 20 Aug 2011 11:19

I think your posts are stunning Jo with the spotty pants ( we havent "spoken" before so hello) and I think that something I read many years ago sorry (I cant remember who so cannot credit it) sums up how attitude and responsibility for our self and our lives in relation to everything us is down to us. Paraphased:

There were two brothers - The first brother was a violent alcholic who had nothing,he had lost his job and family through his drinking and violence. The other was a successful business man with a nice house, a loving family and led a very happy life and he did not drink.

Both brothers were asked why they believed there lives had turned out the way they had. Both replied, my father was a violent abusive drunk....

This is written very it was much better in the original but it is a true story and the only thing that was different was the reaction of the brothers to their childhood.

Eie .
Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wiser and am changing myself ~ Rumi

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 20 Aug 2011 13:02

joanne. wrote:I read through the blog again and again and I am not too sure where he says much about 100% anything or it being black and white.
From the blog post:
You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it.
That's rather black and white to me.

If a truck skews off the road behind me, hits me on the pavement, and leaves me paralysed, I'm responsible now?

I'm responsible for how I then go on to deal with it, cope with it, respond to friends and family now that I'm unable to move. But I am not responsible for ending up paralysed, am I?

In this discussion, because of course we're on an alcohol forum, I think people reckon I am saying "...and since I may end up paralysed in such a situation I therefore conclude I do not have to take responsibility for my drinking either." But that's not what I'm saying at all. If I believed that I wouldn't be here and ten days sober (with longer periods of abstinence in my past).

Anyway, I have stated my position a number of times now which is, in summary: I don't think it's right to pretend that every person is master of their destiny. The world is too full of random stuff, incidents, others, illness, natural disaster, crime, corruption.

If we're entirely responsible for our lives then why do we have charities? The people getting the donated money are, apparently, entirely responsible for their plight. So sod 'em, then, eh? That third world kid should be showing some responsibility, dammit.

So, in finality - I promise not to post again on this subject - I think messages about responsibility need to be nuanced and take a wider view of all life entails, rather than confronting us with simple, somewhat appealing, but ultimately deeply flawed messages. Responsibility is of grave importance and needs to be used wisely and learned. But you could be the most naturally responsible person in the world and still end up in deep doo doo. And if Mr Universally Responsible finds himself in the deep doo doo I'd like to think someone will help him out, not give him a lecture he doesn't deserve.

Peace.

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by powellct » 20 Aug 2011 13:05

Umm, I haven't read the posts in any depth, sorry (I have the attention span of a small gnat now I'm dry), so excuse me if I've completely missed the point....

Excuses I used to justify drink:
My wifes menopause
My teenage stepdaughter
My business has no work
My business has too much work

Now, all of those at the time were really valid excuses :? . Now I take responsibilty for my actions and just face them another way - they're all still there (except the stepdaughter has grown up a bit more and isn't such a pain in the @rse), I just deal with them differently.
So, same problems, but no drink (which is the biggest problem of all)
I suppose what I'm trying to say is "I like me now" - I posted on another thread that life can be shite whether you're drinking or not, but it get whole lot worse when you're p*ssed. I just look at things differently now.

Col
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Boris Bike
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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Boris Bike » 20 Aug 2011 13:30

joanne. wrote:I read through the blog again and again and I am not too sure where he says much about 100% anything or it being black and white.
From the blog post:
You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it.
That's rather black and white to me.

If a truck skews off the road behind me, hits me on the pavement, and leaves me paralysed, I'm responsible now?

I'm responsible for how I then go on to deal with it, cope with it, respond to friends and family now that I'm unable to move. But I am not responsible for ending up paralysed, am I?

In this discussion, because of course we're on an alcohol forum, I think people reckon I am saying "...and since I may end up paralysed in such a situation I therefore conclude I do not have to take responsibility for my drinking either." But that's not what I'm saying at all. If I believed that I wouldn't be here and ten days sober (with longer periods of abstinence in my past).

Anyway, I have stated my position a number of times now which is, in summary: I don't think it's right to pretend that every person is master of their destiny. The world is too full of random stuff, incidents, others, illness, natural disaster, crime, corruption.

If we're entirely responsible for our lives then why do we have charities? The people getting the donated money are, apparently, entirely responsible for their plight. So sod 'em, then, eh? That third world kid should be showing some responsibility, dammit.

So, in finality - I promise not to post again on this subject - I think messages about responsibility need to be nuanced and take a wider view of all life entails, rather than confronting us with simple, somewhat appealing, but ultimately deeply flawed messages. Responsibility is of grave importance and needs to be used wisely and learned. But you could be the most naturally responsible person in the world and still end up in deep doo doo. And if Mr Universally Responsible finds himself in the deep doo doo I'd like to think someone will help him out, not give him a lecture he doesn't deserve.

Peace.

PS: Note that responsibility is a moveable feast. I smoke. My pack of cigs says "SMOKING KILLS". If I get cancer due to my smoking, I am responsible. Nobody else is responsible for that. But I could have made the same choice to smoke in the year 1910 and the situation becomes arguable. We didn't know about the effects of smoking back then. So I would have smoked in ignorance as to the health consequences. The responsibility, if I got lung cancer back then, would not lie with me... or so at least I think such can be argued.

In some countries the health message about cigarettes is still not widely dispersed, that's why advertising and fight for market share is very extreme in poorer countries now. In order to be able to take responsibility properly, we must first have access to the facts. I have the internet and I'm literate, which means I can exercise responsibility in a way that the less fortunate cannot. For that reason some people - depending on what the issue is - are actually unable to be as responsible as I have the potential to be.

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Re: The relationship I have with myself.......

Post by Enfin » 20 Aug 2011 16:03

Wow !. Just read through the whole thread, but a little scared to say anything.
I absolutely see everyone's point of view. It's a real journey isn't it.

Nelson Mandela was mentioned, he's my hero, see my signature. I'm posting a part of his speech here below as it's so very inspirational to me.

The key phrase for me is: "It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us"

We all, black or white, disabled, abused, mentally ill, alcoholic or otherwise are born with the human spirit of resilience, hope and courage. If not, our species would never have survived.

There is a huge discrepancy of justice in this world that God does not seem to interfere with. I'm not particularly religious just accepting of this very fact. Life is not fair. Full stop. We can only do our best with what cards we've been dealt and there is no comparison of one life to anothers. That would be centre of the world thinking.

True relationship with oneself begins with absolute humility. There is blame for certain of our circumstances and injustice for sure, some of which are inpardonnable. But for other things exists forgiveness. From that space we can move forward towards loving ourselves into a safe place. Sometimes it takes time and we need to give ourselves that space.

It's not easy for anyone, on this site or anywhere else to embrace their very fear of life and it does not necessarily need to be justified by any means. Too much anaylsis just leaves you in circles. It is how it is. We need not look at our belly buttons forever.

The return to our true selves begins with honesty and acceptance and just getting up tomorrow eating breakfast going about your day and smiling to a stranger. Simple.
Trying to figure out how we all got here could be an ongoing conversation for the rest of our lives, but we each know we've got time to make up for. I certainly do.

So here now listen to Nelson again please :

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. ( Nelson Mandela )

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