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#238794 - 07/18/08 02:35 PM perceptions
blueshift Offline
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Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
I was sitting in the sunshine a while back waiting for a bus and listening to music on my phone's mp3. I had my eyes closed momentarily as I was getting into the music and heard my name called. I opened my eyes and recognized an old friend that I met in NA (back when I still considered use of marijuana to be in and of it's self a problem---buying into the popular mindsets about it). He said "You looked like you were off in your own little world there."
"Yeah, I kind of like it there sometimes." I said.
"Well THAT'S honest." he said.

Just then my bus arrived so I blurted out something about giving him a call sometime. I still haven't done that though, because the exchange made me feel insulted somehow without really knowing quite why, and also because this was not the first time he had made me feel that way.

For the most part, he's a nice guy, but I can't seem to decide whether his condescending attitude toward me is my own projection out of experience based expectation, or if he really is someone who thinks he is graciously lowering himself in the act of interacting with me because I have told him that I have gone back to using marijuana to relieve my chronic depression.

I do know that it's very common for people who are into drug/alcohol recovery to see their recovery in terms of absolute value judgments rather than a personal choice based on personal experience with their own difficulties. I even believe that it's quite common for people in these recovery circles to end up substituting their drug of choice with prideful self-righteousness, and see their interactions with those who still drink or use at all as almost similar to Jesus hanging with the sinners and prostitutes.

Even people who are not into any recovery groups but who themselves abstain from drugs and alcohol often are prone to be subtly or--not so subtly--derisive (usually in the guise of humor)once they learn that someone they know drinks or uses at all.

I also think that this accounts for a lot of those who drink or use wanting to avoid those who don't, which in turn re-enforces the notion of the drinker/user being one who is "in that lifestyle" and "not caring about" anything or anyone that/who isn't.

It's a conundrum for me. I don't want to discriminate against people based on their personal choices (to be abstinent from anything mood altering), but on the other hand, I feel like I'm already a little fed up with people who denigrate me because of my own personal choices.

I tend to keep my marijuana use a secret because I'm sick of being dressed up in peoples minds as some waistoid who sits in front of a TV smoking pot and eating Dorritos all day saying things like "Dude, that's just so like...what was I saying again?"

True I'm not a "high powered" CEO or something, I'm not a "pillar of society" I'm just a regular guy who's had a lot of shit to cope with and considering all I've been through and all that I have that money CAN'T buy, I'm pretty damn successful in my own opinion, so that "you're just a stoner" attitude gets on my nerves pretty fast.

I have this persons # in my phone from a time I met up with him briefly before the incident I just described, and I'm in a spot right now where it would be good for me to reach out to another person, but I'm very hesitant to call him and I can't decide if it's because I'm over-sensitive, or if I should trust my gut which tells me to delete his # off my phone.

Can anyone relate?

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#238810 - 07/18/08 04:30 PM Re: perceptions [Re: blueshift]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
blueshift, yes, i can relate, and your message is very well put. i do have some comments to make about things that jumped out at me. the comments have more to do with my own interpretation of what i read you've written; how your words prompted inquiries i would make of myself, had i myself written the words, and really apply to my own thoughts about the content as if i myself had thought these things. so nothing i say here in response is meant to reflect anything about your thoughts in a negatory manner.

Originally Posted By: blueshift
back when I still considered use of marijuana to be in and of it's self a problem---buying into the popular mindsets about it .........it's very common for people who are into drug/alcohol recovery to see their recovery in terms of absolute value judgments .... I even believe that it's quite common for people in these recovery circles to end up substituting their drug of choice with prideful self-righteousness


i quit drinking and using drugs back in 1985, finally, after being backed into a corner, having been chased for nearly 10 years by the hounds of heaven. i maintained my sobriety date for 23 years and recently terminated that chapter of my life, after very little consideration, because along the way i came to realize, even though being 'clean' reaped many positive benefits, that it was out of less than altruistic motives that i had yielded to the nagging need to purge myself of this character flaw. plain and simple.....the guilt and shame that i felt from the incest and later rape led me to experience the turmoil that drove me to seek solace in anything that would provide it. all the external tangible results of my sober state would point to the fact that it was indeed a good thing to have done, and i applauded myself in my own mind that i had placed myself out of the arena of the common man and into a realm of purer light. this too was all part of my dis-ease----- the recovery dance. in my mind, god and all the world was pleased and i just knew i was finally worthy. that is until the next problem cropped up, then spending, sex, food, over work, relationships, process addictions all became the new alcohol for me. i did come to see myself as being obsessive compulsive, because after all, that's what melodie beatty would label me and john bradshaw and all the rest, so i decided their opinion is what mattered the most. they were after all the experts.

after i got 'clean and sober', my life became a new prison with acceptable bars. having for today repurposed the use of alcohol and a toke every now and then, there is a new relationship that is not based on a need to escape from the tensions pressures and anxieties that are associated with the complexities that accompany having been sexually abused. did suspending the use of these substances for a period make me a healthier person or just a severely repressed person? i do know this, that my liver is in better shape 23 years later than it would have been had i tried to recover while still using at the rate i had been using for 15 years prior to quitting. and i guess my brain is too. i don't think i would have fared as well in education had i continued to use those substances at the same volume. and while the whole pressure i put on myself to get that education was an attempt once again to prove my worth, it did not get buy me a ticket into the white collar world, but that is not the realm where i was intended to serve. like you, i have done well with the resources i had been given, and the mountains that had been placed in my path.

Originally Posted By: blueshift
the exchange made me feel insulted somehow without really knowing quite why, and also because this was not the first time he had made me feel that way.


i zeroed in on 'made me feel'; i am not certain if because i have some old tape playing in the back of my mind, or just because this signals red flag thinking; the question arises: how does someone 'make me feel' anything? isn't a feeling 'as a response to' really a connection linked to the memory of an occurance that took place in the past, which then, upon recall, transfers its energy into the present causing one to reexperience it as a new victimizing event? does that make sense? that he did not 'make you feel' something, but would it not be more accurate to say 'an event occured which initiated a feeling response in you'. maybe its semantics, but i do this to myself all the time, trying to separate myself from the lie of the chains of emotional investment. maybe there is still some residual guilt lurking in the shadows in terms of its connection to issues of self esteem and owning your own power to decide what is proper and fitting for you. just a thought, not a judgement...... am i nuts or what?

Originally Posted By: blueshift
I can't seem to decide whether his condescending attitude toward me is my own projection out of experience based expectation, or if he really is someone who thinks he is graciously lowering himself in the act of interacting with me


again this seems like skating on thin ice, by trying to second guess his intentions without first giving him the opportunity to verify your conclusion. i often encounter myself slipping into this type of thinking when something in me feels a need to justify my own position. when it all comes down to it, does it even matter what 'he thinks' of you? doesn't what you think of you ultimately matter the most? i apologize is that seems overly simple

Originally Posted By: blueshift
I'm sick of being dressed up in peoples minds......I'm not a "high powered" CEO or something, I'm not a "pillar of society" I'm just a regular guy who's had a lot of shit to cope with and considering all I've been through and all that I have that money CAN'T buy, I'm pretty damn successful in my own opinion


yea, i spent a lot of my life measuring myself against everyone else's and finally decided to retire from the race i had created in my own mind. in retrospect i realize that what i was doing was fabricating a path for my life that was forged 'in counterpoint to' an idea that balanced on the fulcrum of the dualistic model of worthy/unworthy, value/non-value.

thanks for the opportunity to think out loud about these things, and to you for being vulnerable enough to share your deep thoughts without fear of being misconceived. that takes real courage around here!

lemm know what you think?

your bother in recovery, [oops idid it again!]

ron
[good gawd that's a lota words, sorry for writing small book.....]

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#239113 - 07/20/08 01:39 AM Re: perceptions [Re: Sans Logos]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Blueshift,
That is one of the things that I am trying to overcome.
Placing so much importance on what other people think about the choices that I make for myself and my life.
For alot of people in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse it is a life or death struggle. And for them it is a a very black and white issue. They may come off as very self rightous but usually they are just trying to protect their soberity.
When I first got sober I had to give up my relationship with the people in my life with whom I had drank and used with.
To stay sober and clean I had to I steer clear of anyone or any place where there was drinking or druging.
Today I have almost twenty years of soberity and I have family and friends who drink and I have no problem with them doing so.
As for people who choose to use drugs. I choose not to associate with them because drugs are illegal.(not judging them just a fact)
I have learned that when I start focusing on others and what problems that they have. Is a indicator that something is going inside of myself and I am projecting it onto them.
mike






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To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
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"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

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#239134 - 07/20/08 08:36 AM Re: perceptions [Re: michael banks]
CDavid Offline


Registered: 07/05/08
Posts: 184
I was helping my son-in-law with his house one day. In the process we had to move a bunch of stuff. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I was there, he asked me if I would help him...show him how to do something. It was in the garage and it involved uncovering his "pot paraphernalia."

The look on his face was so funny...like he was an eight year old and we had just stumbled on his Playboys. He actually turned several shades of red.

I didn't say anything because, you know...he is a good husband and a great father. I choose to not drink, but that is not necessarily the choice everyone makes. It makes some people uncomfortable to be around people that have made that choice. As though I would judge them, based solely on that decision that I make for myself.

When we go out to eat, my girls and their husbands all have drinks. I suspect even more than they might have otherwise because they know I am buying, but...it took us a while to get there...because initially they thought, that it would make me uncomfortable, or, that I would judge them simply because they had drinks.

True, the people we know that do drink, do not feel comfortable inviting us to ocassions where the whole point is to get drunk, when I quit drinking...that was one of the hardest things to transition through, still going to the bar, playing pool, things like that. I would order a Diet Pepsi. So many of the guys there, friends or not, imagined it was a judgment. Some actually got angry...and the more they drank, the more likely they were to share the fact that they thought, I thought, I was better than everyone else. No, it was just the right choice for me. So, I quit going.

But, really, it is not unlike when we had the girls. The friends we had that did not have kids were not as likely to invite us to events, because they had no kids...we transitioned to spending more time with couples that had kids.

But, the whole point was...because I am easily distracted...that after that experience in the garage, with my son-in-law...where I made no judgment about it...it seemed like he was more at ease aroud me. Which, you know, I really enjoy.


:-)


CD


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#239172 - 07/20/08 01:48 PM Re: perceptions [Re: CDavid]
blueshift Offline
Guest

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
Thankyou, guys, for turning what was already a meaningful discourse with myself into a totally profound experience of shared ideas and perspectives! There really is a lot of valuable reflection here for me to contemplate.

Something I didn't include in my story that somehow seems relevant now is the song that I was listening to when my old acquaintance brought me out of my mp3 rapture. It was "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith.

"Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key"

A lot of good lyrics speak differently to different people.
Right now, not by my own choice but by lack of supply, it has been a couple weeks since I've been on my beautiful throne where I can be above my hurt and detached from the struggling world around me.

For me, subjectively, as I think about the song, it tells me that, however pretty one perspective may be, it isn't the truth because it is only one perspective. A convenient analogy here might be my two experiences I recently had of Portland Oregon:

The first was a virtual flyby high above the city via "Google Earth". I love using the controls in that program to make myself feel like I'm flying really fast over places I've never been and see the lay of the land. From that perspective, Portland is a big cluster of shapes with a big blue streak running through it.

Then I got on a physical train and actually went to Portland. I wasn't able to fly now and see the larger picture of the city as from above, but down there on the lowly ground, what before had been just a cluster of shapes was now a vivid experience of unique buildings and streets with interesting people walking around.

My THC throne can offer me the perspective of the "larger picture" so to speak. It lets me see the relative smallness of my little existence on this little patch of ground I mill around on and gives me a sense of the grander scale of reality.

But coming down off that throne and being in a place where I can see the details, even if it means often feeling small and helpless and crying a lot, I see other aspects of things that are less apparent when I'm high.

I can see, for instance that as I speak about other peoples attitudes of superiority, I also am hiding behind my own "eminence front". (Now I'm quoting "The Who" lol---sorry, I just seem to relate to everything through music sometimes.) \:\)

I think there can be value in getting high, and there can also be value in "leaving your body alone" for a while too. But of course different things are good for different people and getting high certainly isn't for everyone.

The main thrust of my thoughts here though is that it's all too easy to limit our experience of life by putting value judgments on what can show us other perspectives and in the three dimensional world you can't really tell what something looks like just by seeing it from one angle. You need to see it from above, from below, and from every other angle you can manage to see it from.

Truth may be not just three dimensional but maybe four or five dimensional, and if patterns of avoidance or prejudice keep us stuck seeing from only one angle of vision, we may never find our way home.





Edited by blueshift (07/20/08 02:06 PM)
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