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mikeupnorth
October 16th, 2006, 09:37 AM
I thought I'd have a go at getting today's discussion started. This caught my attention in one of my meditation books. It's about turning a liability into an asset.

"One of the most encouraging facts of life is that your weakness can become your greatest asset. Kites and airplanes rise against the wind. In climbing up a high mountain, we need the stony crags and rough places to aid us in our climb. So your weakness can become an asset if you will face it, examine it, and trace it to its origin. Set it in the very center of your mind. No weakness, such as drinking, ever turned into an asset until it was first fairly faced. Am I making my weakness my greatest asset?"


I can see how the process of recovery might make me a better person in the long run than if I had never gone through the experience at all. I see people who have had such easy lives that they take things for granted, they are spoiled rotten, they consume like there is no tomorrow, and they are selfish in general.

I just wonder -- what kind of person would I have been if I hadn't been an alcoholic?

And I know that we have to go through hard times to learn lessons in life, but having just come from the alcoholic battlefield so recently, I'm not sure I see the benefit just yet. I'm curious to hear what some of you who have more sober time think about this. Do you think that having gone through this experience has made you a better person? Is it an asset? Has what you learned from it helped you cope with other situations in your life?

TracyA
October 16th, 2006, 10:27 AM
I don't know if it's made me a better person. Its made me a different person. It forced me to reach out for help and make some changes in my life that I did NOT want to make. I guess it pushed me out of my comfort zone since I was an isolationist by nature - afraid of everything.

The things that I've come across and tried have stayed with me. The parts of AA that make sense to me, tonglen and lojong practice, the things I've learned in therapy, etc. In that respect it has been an asset, but who knows what would have happened if I'd have never picked up that first drink. I'd still be the child of two alcoholics and have all that baggage, but I wouldn't have a way to deal with it. Maybe I would be one of those people you talked about - people who don't care about anything but how to get the next shiny bauble.

I watch people who don't have drinking problems but have the same sorts of living problems that I (and maybe all human beings) have. I come to appreciate the tools that I have learned through recovery programs when I watch others struggle without any. I can't say that I regret nothing - there are a million things I would change about the childhood my kids had for example, but it does seem that I've gained a lot in the struggle, so far anyway. It's not over yet. ;)

Tracy

Guest
October 16th, 2006, 04:05 PM
what I have gained

Well, one thing--this thing definitely humbled me. Here was something that most people could control with out even trying and I could not no matter how hard I tried. I do think that I have more compassion for people than I used to. It is a work in progress. I have come to learn that everyone has their "stuff" that they must walk through in this life--its different for everyone. Therefore all human beings should be handled gently and with compassion. Even when its the loud, obnoxius, controlling, cold and rich as shit--person. I mean how did they get that way? Their stuff.

I also learned about true unconditional love. I really had no role models in this department growing up. My husband stuck with me through it all, never put me down and was always compassionate and supportive. I asked him the other day why he stayed with me through all that--he said "I love you". Many people have great marriages--I lucked out to get an awesome husband who understands what love and marriage are.

I learned that numbing emotions makes them worse. I learned that running away doesn't work. I am starting to see what goes right in my day--more than what goes wrong. I could always focus on what went wrong and use it as an excuse to drink. But what about everything that went right? For example--I did wake up today (I know someone who didn't), all my body parts seem to functioning well, when I turned on the shower--water came out, the house had electricity, my car started, I got to work safely--those all happened before 8:30a. I call it being grateful and that I am.

Kim

Guest
October 16th, 2006, 06:04 PM
Well now... sit down everyone, make yourselves comfy. [Mike, are you ever going to run out of good questions?]

There is part of me that wishes I'd never been alcoholic, but that is almost the alcoholic talking... cos thats like trying to numb out the feeling.

I sort of think that I"m scared of my own power. I couldnt fulfil my potential if I was numbed and hung over so that allowed me to just stay in my holding pattern. Unfortunately, it was really killing me.. both me and my spirit. The feelings from that dark place were overwhelming and like Kim, I have a partner who has stood by me while I"m facing my demons... but more importantly, I"ve stood by MYSELF (like that inner child stuff that Neil goes on about and I havent let MYSELF DOWN) And what is the biggest demon.. I think its taking responsibility for WHO I AM and WHAT I DO. Out of that comes a person that is me. Because, if I am sober then I do different things.. things with conscious thought and obviously a positive outlook.

Now, why was this choice so hard for me? I think its cos my own power DOES scare me. If I'm conscious I have a responsibility to do whats right for me and for my world (however I define that) and I have to take responsibility for my actions.

I'm only learning what this power is about.. and i'm not fully there. I'm conscious that I'll always have to be wary of drink and always have to remember that its not what is advertised.. its a demon for me.

Anyway, i'm living with my fears of who i am and what i do.. and its not actually that bad. I dont have to save the world, i just have to live consciously and its a better way of life. Like Kim, I'm seeing more of the positives and dealing better with the negatives as they arise.

Being an alcoholic is an essential part of me... if I embrace it and live with it I grow. I must never forget it. I find that people's sharing here has helped me so much in my journey and i hope that my sharing helps others.

I wouldnt have made the cyber friends here that I have if I hadnt been an alcoholic so thats one good thing now isnt it.

take it gently my friends
brigid