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Restored To Sanity? Second Step (Part Two)

(We) came tp believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  (Step two of the twelve steps of AA and Al Anon.)


When i came into Al Anon in 1985, i had no trouble accepting the idea that i was insane.  I never thought to ask for a diagnosis or even a formal definition of insanity.  Intellectually i had, and still have, problems with the concept of insanity* but life had knocked me off my intellectual perch and i could see that my behavior was crazy, producing no results other than alienation and the prospect of a downward slide into desair.  My attempts to pretend that my son did not exist, that i could control my daughter's behavior, and that Dianne's infinite love, patience, and acceptance would keep her with me no matter how badly i behaved were so clearly inept that it would seem  fair to conclude that i had no idea about what was going on or who or what i was.

Fast forward thirty years and i no longer feel that i am acting or thinking like a crazy person.^  I know that  if existence is an illusion, i am so far unable to move beyond that illusion and that is fine for now.  My son does exist within that illusion and he is doing very well considering that he suffers from a disease that affects the mind.  But he is compassionate and mentally alert, for which  i express gratitude every day.  My younger daughter is now a middle aged woman, adept at living in  this world, a successful mother and  lover.  I think Dianne died believing that i  love her, and that i had done the best i could for our relationship, and that she went confidently and happily toward whatever "happens" beyond the illusion of existence.

But now, here i am, starting to "work" the second stept again with no idea how to do that.

One thing that  i  know now that i did not understand thirty years ago is that this must be "heart" work rathen than mind work.   My "unmanageability" however it may manifest itself is not an intellectual problem.  I cannot solve it  by thinking about.  One of the AA slogans i remember from thirty years ago was this:

i tried to  think myself to a new way of  living;
but i finally had to live myself to a new way of thinking.

This means a lot more now than it did then.
Maybe that has to be good enough for a start.

* words like insane and crazy are terms of isolation, and replacing them with medical  terminology only distguises the fact that their main function  is to separate people.  Like all "deviance" what is "sane" in one time, place, culture, society, situation or social class may well be "insane" in another (and vice versa),

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
maadmike
Oct. 1st, 2016 03:36 pm (UTC)
"My son does exist within that illusion and he is doing very well considering that he suffers from a disease that affects the mind. "

Sounds like not too much normal to me... but it is a play of words...
bobby1933
Oct. 1st, 2016 08:41 pm (UTC)
Not a play on words, though perhaps a strange way of stating what i want to say. My son is, i think, an alcohoic. I believe that alcoholism is a disease, one of whose symptoms is the inability to see that it is a disease or a problem of any kink. That is what i mean by "a disease of the mind."

So far as "the illusion" is concerned, that is what i am starting to call whatever it is that most people call "reality." I have come to believe that the intelligence, meaning, and consciousness of the universe must lie beyond what my senses and mind can perceive.
maadmike
Oct. 1st, 2016 11:56 pm (UTC)
"My son is, i think, an alcohoic. I believe that alcoholism is a disease, one of whose symptoms is the inability to see that it is a disease or a problem of any kink. That is what i mean by "a disease of the mind."

Alcoholism is certainly a disease as all what kills us. The interesting thing is that our society is forcing us to drink us at first, like to take drugs or to use a gun and after when we are defeated with this evil, pretending that it is very concerned about our problems and trying to even help us. But of course a society consists of people, some are making money on selling stuff, some on treatment...
As doctors say everybody who regularly drinks alcohol is alcoholic. I can say that it is every third man in Russia. And all these people are working, comunivating, what I am saying that maybe not the alcohol problems of your son make you say about him as you are, but some lack of friendship?
bobby1933
Oct. 2nd, 2016 03:29 am (UTC)
Heavy drinking may be bad for one's health like any overindulgence, but it is not, in itself, alcoholism. Alcoholics do not drink because they like the taste or because their friends are drinking; they drink heavily because they cannot do otherwise.
maadmike
Oct. 2nd, 2016 04:40 am (UTC)
"they like the taste or because their friends are drinking; they drink heavily because they cannot do otherwise."

I can say only my point of view...
How many alcoholics if they will came to a country where they will be bitten for consumption of alcohol at first, will continue to drink? Not many if somebody at all. But in the country where there is cult of drinking they are telling that it is difficult to stop drinking - bullshit!

bobby1933
Oct. 2nd, 2016 05:06 am (UTC)
Well, i think you are wrong on this and perhaps you have been talking to the wrong doctors. You cannot force an alcoholic to stop drinking except by killing him.
maadmike
Oct. 2nd, 2016 12:03 am (UTC)
"I have come to believe that the intelligence, meaning, and consciousness of the universe must lie beyond what my senses and mind can perceive."

As most of the people could perceive, because of this fact we like to communicate if we are not too different or sick, what happens though...
reginaterrae
Oct. 1st, 2016 09:00 pm (UTC)
1 - thank you for that slogan, I don't remember it but willl happily add it to my treasure chest of Al Anon slogans. And will copy it to my journal now to help it bind to my mind. I think you have given it to me just when I need it.

2 - having been certifiably and certifiedly mentally ill myself, I will tell you the definition I find both useful and non-stigmatizing: not merely "deviance", but a deviance that causes real difficulties, whether it's emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, whatever. If I have an imaginary friend who tells me I'm lovable, that the world is essentially benign, and that everything will work out for the best (some might consider my God that imaginary friend), that is not "crazy". If I have an imaginary friend, even if I call him God, who tells me to fire-bomb the post office, that is "crazy". Feeling down, even without an evident cause, isn't crazy. Feeling hopeless, despairing, suicidal, paralyzed by grief, even if my life is objectively in the toilet, is a problem. Being an introvert in a crowd is uncomfortable. Agoraphobia is insanity.

There are other definitions that might conflict with mine, but this one works for me.

Love
R
bobby1933
Oct. 1st, 2016 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think that definition will work for me also.
I guess i could use a little more sanity.
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