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#270513 - 01/09/09 11:06 AM HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
To the reader Towards the end of this post you will find why I titled this HOPE & New Belief Systems.

I was challenged last night by my therapist who got me thinking about my behavior patterns, belief systems and reactions when I take a victim stance

He essentially kicked my butt in the best way I suppose because it has made me examine my belief about my recovery. I acted out sexually after a year plus of abstinence from random hookups.

My history has been seeking anonymous sex as a fix to create the false sense of being valued as in loved, liked or attractive. It always left me with guilt, shame, disgust and emptiness to the point of contemplating suicide. Incest has a way of teaching sex is love and validation. So in my case, this is a result of CSA/incest and years of verbal, emotional and psychological abuse mostly from my father and brother. Most here know the damage that results in feeling shame, secrets and a confused state over trust, intimacy, appropriate sexual behaviors and not belonging coupled with self-loathing.

To my credit and with therapy I began to grow and believe in possibilities for me. I have managed to create a better life through higher education and a sense of worth that I recognize as opposed to seeking validation outside of myself.

Regardless, I still struggle like many survivors with basic social situations and that disconnected feeling of being uneasy around others. So after four years of therapy, education, losing 60 pounds, a successful education with well above average grades and so on, I still think in ways that undermine my progress.

My decision to act out sexually came when I was most vulnerable and reactive to external influences like the holidays,isolation, anger and grief at people and life in general. I cannot find a job in my field which I love because of the funding cuts and this economy. In turn the external forces drove my distorted thinking. I felt abandoned by the one significant support I have... my therapist. In reality, I pretty much jumped ship by not calling him.

As a side note: I am very fortunate to have had the amazing support above and beyond the call of duty since my therapist would check on me after my recent complicated surgery to show some level of support since I have none otherwise. Yeah screwed up I know. I also demonstrated a lot of interpersonal skills and strength without ever really indicating issues. He did back off. It was up to me to reach out and I did not until recently.

Once I got the credentials he has (almost) I now see I was feeling over confident and like a know-it-all because I better understand human behavior and how to help others. HOWEVER, I don't apply it to myself.

I am a good example of self deception. No I might be a master at it. My anger and emotional state coupled with selective use of applying ideas about being allowed, accepting I am in control and knowing better how not to feel like a victim or an abuser...I had anonymous random sex.

(I have to qualify that I have never abused anyone but allowing someone to use me for sexual gratification had left me feeling as I did abuse them). On the other hand I did not want to feel disgust after from the encounter. I believed I handled it well and actually felt as if I accomplished a milestone in healing by not having any reaction other than applauding myself for not feeling like crap or having guilt.

I now see what I did was compartmentalize it, kept it a secret from my therapist until last night and broke our agreement or contract without approaching him, reaching out or asking for an appointment because I was angry at everyone and everything. Today I feel some disappointment for what I call stupidity driven by distorted ideas that he gave up on me when in reality, I sent all the signals I was fine by not asking for support I really needed and could have discussed.

My thinking these past few months has been such that I have felt desperately alone, often hopeless and in control regardless. The fact is I cannot go it alone right now, no matter how much I want to be stronger, more independent and less reliant on him or the therapeutic process that I so strongly believe in. That is more self-deception...we cannot go it alone even when we get an inflated sense of self or over confident. (At least I can't) I know better too and still acted out of fear and anger and old thinking that I would feel better. It just changed form. My desire to take control of my situation in a sense repeated the past because I looked for sex as an outlet to feel better but it just was cloaked in the idea of I am allowed and I can do this and I am in control. I managed to deceive myself.

My therapist equated this to an alcoholic never being able to have one drink. He did say that I could see a shift in my thinking rather than use the term change or growth. I like that term better too. I don't think he said I can't ever have sex, but for now it is not a good idea until I get more life areas stronger and balanced where I feel better and have more than I do not have now in social skills, income, friends and sense of self.

Having said all this, I now want to get to hope. Because I strongly believe we are the masters of our own destiny as adults, different outcomes and preferred lives are possible with changed thinking and new beliefs.

So here is the meat of this post. It goes to our thinking and habits of traditional behaviors and how we have learned to cope. At one time coping behaviors were helpful or gave a false sense of reassurance. Today, I wanted to examine my patterns again. I want to look at my thinking and find creative ways to shift toward a better and preferred life. I reviewed my journal to discover when the slide began for me. I came across an entry which addressed synaptic pathways in our brain based on an NPR guest. It was my reminder and an AH HA moment. This is stuff I know of but failed to apply in my own life. Changing habits!

The article talks about research that indicates old habits and thinking are ingrained pathways in our brain and we repeat them because they are familiar. However, the author states brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.
Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits. In fact, the more new things we try — the more we step outside our comfort zone — the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.
But don’t bother trying to kill off old habits; once those ruts of procedure are worn into the hippocampus, they’re there to stay. Instead, the new habits we deliberately ingrain into ourselves create parallel pathways that can bypass those old roads.

For me; this reminds me there is hope to reprogram if you will... how I think and behave and ultimately feel can be shifted. Perhaps this post will he;p other members and readers in their recovery. It is just an option to consider as we each walk our path on this journey. Here is the link to read the article I partially cited above.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/business/04unbox.html



Thanks for reading and being such a great outlet.

Peace,
Dan


_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#270525 - 01/09/09 12:43 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Danbuff]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
fantastic dan! and thanks so much for sharing with us your awesome moment of zen.

as a supplement i might add that, for myself, for so many years consisted of me trying to reach a benchmark which ultimately when attained would prove once and for all my own self-worth. that was back in the day when i thought my 'recovery' was my responsibility, before i came to realize that mostly, i just needed to stay out of the way.

it was a part of my process that i learned to honor; to go from door to door, following my hope. from farther along the road, i now know it was something wiser than me, my first and dearest lover, the guiding eye of the whole, who was leading me to freedom from the prison of self-construct, even through the treachery of self-deception and self-delusion, following me and saving me from all the potential danger that lie around the next bend.

why me? why did i deserve such parenting? well, it's simply this: i was guaranteed, by my birthright, the finest parenting possible; by the very parent of the earthly parents who spawned my physical manifestation. i thought for so many years that my physical parents were the ultimate influence but now after years of building trust and developing a relationship with my creator parent, i now know who my 'real' parent is. and this parenting of 'me' is a joint effort between us.

within the context of this understanding, i have been able to release my grasp on all previous attempts to make sense of the
mystery of my own life's trajectory path.

to the extent that i do not interfere with the process of my becoming, i am at peace with the knowledge that i am being led to where and who i am supposed to be. i accept 'what happened to me', my csa, cultural shaping influences, for good or for ill, as stepping stones to greater and deeper intimacy with the onion maker itself.

what else is left to hope for when it is once understood, as a series of negotiations, that the journey itself, with all it entails, is the home, the shelter, the promised land that is truly sought?

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#270553 - 01/09/09 05:46 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Sans Logos]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Ron, thanks! You have incredible language skills to make potent statements and create metaphorical imagery. I never heard it put as you just did...

"As stepping stones to greater intimacy with the onion maker itself."

I take that to mean being in touch with the pain that hurts and makes us cry. In other words we have to embrace that, accept, nurture heal and move on. At least that is how I interpret it and it goes to how important it is that we reach out and take the support as we are meant to be in communion with one another and not singular on this earth.

Since I wrote this and disclosed to my therapist, I have caught myself saying out loud what an ass I have been and embarrassed in part to admit how much I need support. On some level I judge myself harshly because I think I am supposed to know better. That is an example of being in the way of my path...like I am in control here. Damn that is hard to surrender to but it is the only way or I am destined to repeat the same mistakes. Therefore today I have also caught my old thinking and focused on creating new pathways again. That is the good part! Indeed I must look toward and follow that hope you mention. Of course knowing it intellectually and living it are miles apart.

How fortunate you are to have had such a caring lover. Somewhere I recently read a study now finds evidence that a partner/boyfriend is actually good versus the popular idea that we must be strong first. Your case seems to validate that. I only wish I could remember where I read that.

Since last nights session, I have been so stressed I actually feel the start of a cold sore. That is one of my signs that I am stressed. Therefore centering and getting support is essential to this process. At least that is how I see it. So as usual, you have been spot on Ron.

In appreciation,
Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#270576 - 01/09/09 08:11 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Danbuff]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Dan and Ron,

For me, I have learned that it is best to keep recovery simple. Not to make it too intellectual or too complex because I have spent way too much time living in my head.
I find alot more healing in living life on life terms then I ever had in intellectualizing.

We do not creat new healthier habits by thinking about them. But only when we actually put these new habits into our lives do we they become a part of us.

Most alcoholics don't drink because they can't. Because they can if they so choose too. They have learn that for them it is a much healthier habit not to drink. Which has taken them alot of time and experiences to learn.

Intellectual ideas on abuse issues and recovery are good and all. But recovery takes place when your feet are on the ground and not when our heads are in the air.

I was taught to share my recover in plain language so I could be a help to all.

My intention is not to offend you or to single you out. But to express my feelings on this topic. Sometimes I feel that we spend way too much time trying to impress each other with lofty ideas and words. And not nearly enough just reaching out and supporting others.

Best regards,

Mike

PS-KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#270588 - 01/09/09 08:55 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: michael banks]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Michael,
I appreciate your weighing in and it sounds like you are solidly in your place. I am happy for you and glad your simple and straightforward approach is working for you.

That said, what works for one may not work for another. For me if it were simple, I would not fumble so damned much. Incest adds another layer of the onion so to speak.

While I am no linguist, I enjoy the de>
_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#270647 - 01/10/09 01:18 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Danbuff]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Dan,

Alot of recovery to me is about learning to be a human being and not a human doing if you understand what I am saying.
Who I am is alot more than what I do, done,know or all the other things that I tried to do make myself whole.

Wholeness is being able to be just to stand still and allow myself to be and feel what I am right now. To be ok with that. And not to intellectualize,fantasize or all the other bullshit that I have done in the past to feel better. That a part of me is that hurt little boy from my childhood. That I can own, feel, accept and love him as he is/was and not try to change him or his feelings of what happened so long ago.

I am powerless over the fact that I was victimized by those whom I loved and trusted as a child. Of all the self destructive behaviors that I learned to cope with life as best as I as a result of my abuse.
What I have power over today is to seek out those people and resources. That are necessary for me to come into touch with all the feelings and pain that I have suppressed in order to survive. So that I can let go of all those self-destructive behaviors and replace them with healthier ones.

I was hurt and damaged in relationship with people in my childhood by my parents,teacher and others. I can only truely heal in relationship with people as an adult/survivor with my friends ,fellow survivors, therapists and others.
And not with one or two people but with everybody that I come into contact everyday of my life.

Most of this just happens when we learn to step aside and have faith in our recovery process. We have no real control of when things will happen.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#270659 - 01/10/09 08:29 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: michael banks]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
hi mike, i think we all tend to have 'software' running in the background cueing us to believe that certain ways of showing up, of being, are healthier, more worthy-making than others. but i also think that there is not one size fits all application in play.

one man's ceiling is another man's floor. one's man's 'complex' is another man's 'simplex'. who can determine better than ourselves through the process of self-discovery, or as they call it nowadays 'recovery' [although i am not certain what exactly is being 'recovered', unless it's a state prior to some series of events that caused me to abandon 'covery', resulting in being led on a wild goose chase....]

at any rate, i think bill w had to engage his brain to come up with all the intellectual stuff that he did, to write what he did and to think the way he thought, but that was just him getting out of the way of something much wiser than he himself, and allowing that wisdom to speak through him.

but that was his calling to do so. i know for myself, i don't aspire to be a 'mini' anyone. i don't want to be bill w when i grow up. i want to be fully fleshed out ron. engaging and celebrating all the powers and gifts at my command. my musical talent, my love for words and self-expression. my ability to shape the dynamics of the communities i serve.

for me it takes a willingness to exercise my powers, to take risks in my choice of manner for developing them, and ultimately place them at the service of humanity.

when i chose to live confining my development to the box of the 12 step recovery model, that was very helpful as it gave me a perspective that i otherwise would not have had. at some point however, i needed to leave 'home' and test the waters on my own. whether inside or outside that box, i am a work in progress, and i will never 'arrive'.

so here i am, living quite simply, engaging all the powers and talents at my command, albeit in a rather random fashion, and accepting that i am today exactly where i am supposed to be.

i may not 'appear' to someone's eye to be a perfect model of health and wholeness, but i can tell you this: the underlying current of my life is gratitude and joy. that seems to tell me that in spite of all the ways i may look 'wrong' that i am doing something right. and maybe that is precisely what is being recovered.

joy and self-possession.

a rose never smelled as sweet.

have a great weekend everyone!

ron



_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#270660 - 01/10/09 08:34 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: michael banks]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Mike,
I am beginning to feel as if you are saying it is your way or no way because you appear to be in a place that you are more at ease with. I am not in your place, but I am glad you seem to be there...I really am glad for anyone's success in anything they do and ESPECIALLY healing. I agree it is a process that requires faith. Life does not happen on our terms. I get that.

I go back to my original statements that I believe it begins within our thoughts and beliefs...I even think it is about perceptions. How we interpret everything and sometimes it requires an objective supporter to validate or help us/me do a reality check. I am working on that. I have not learned how to simply be all that well yet. I work on it. The fact remains for whatever reasons, I make lousy choices sometimes, but not always.

Unless and until, I begin to create new habits, thoughts and behaviors, I am doomed to repeat the same painful experiences. That is how I see it and that is my approach. I believe in it. Maybe when I am consistently active in that place, I might learn to trust enough, to just be and feel.

So far my reality has been to get burned or hurt by people I get involved with. That includes the most basic levels of relationships. My uneasiness is deeply rooted in spite of strong desire to be a supportive person with integrity. I am guarded as a result of repeatedly being re-victimized as an adult. There is a history of people minimizing me, blowing me off and outright dishonesty. That is documented and not only my opinion. On the plus side, I have resiliency and that comes from many sources, most of them my therapist, faith,breaks along the way and reading or listening to inspiring people to help me look outside of myself as much as within.

For me, resiliency comes from changing the thought and having faith and the therapeutic process. Yes it gets to be a challenge but right now I need encouragement, understanding and support.

I wish I knew how to get to that place of fully being in the moment and in a consistent way. This is not easy but as I work on the process, I will keep on sharing ideas or possibilities even if they appear intellectual.

Finally, it is ESSENTIAL to consider the present situations anyone deals with in his life areas. Environment, supports, resources like income and so on. They are parts of the whole and for now and as of late, those are not the best for me, but then I look at others and try being grateful. History plays a role and when the mix is CSA damage and current life situations, the road is much more difficult. That can be and often is a major barrier to just being. It is not impossible and I hope we all get there. For now I am there not but maintaining and actively working on that shift.

Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#270664 - 01/10/09 08:58 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Danbuff]
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
dan, sorry i was more confusing than clear [crucify him, crucify him! blush ] i was speaking metaphorically on two counts:

the onion of self, and regarding "my first and dearest lover, the guiding eye of the whole" in both statements the reference implied simply the timeless presence of awareness whose guidance shaped and formed the resulting me, ron, that i am today [or as some folk call 'higher power' or 'god'].

i thought it fantastic how you expanded on the idea as "to mean being in touch with the pain that hurts and makes us cry. In other words we have to embrace that, accept, nurture heal and move on"

precisely! and isn't it funny that until we learn to 'cry' that the growth rarely happens?

funny too, your recounting of the notion that one gains his deepest depth in common life with another, rather than alone. that obviously is supported in the book of genesis, where is states that 'it is not good for one to be alone'.

later on in this thread mike points to this as well when he says:

"I can only truely heal in relationship with people as an adult/survivor with my friends ,fellow survivors, therapists and others. And not with one or two people but with everybody that I come into contact everyday of my life."

yes, we achieve our greatest potential within the i/thou context, but that does not exclusively refer to coupling relationships, but rather, like that onion, the couple relationship will flourish only in the context of broader community as well. in like manner, larger communities must strive to include even broader perspectives than their own, ultimately embracing the entire whole of beingness.

there is a lot of work yet to be done along those lines!

but hope will bring us to it!

have a great weekend!

ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


Top
#270672 - 01/10/09 09:51 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Sans Logos]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Dan, Ron, Mike,

This thread gives me courage for myself. Like you, Dan, I know these things yet I sometimes get so sidetracked it's hard to find my way back where I know I need to be. This discussion couldn't have come at a better time for me. smile

Thanks Guys,

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#270728 - 01/10/09 10:22 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: WalkingSouth]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Ron,

I have not said anything about adhering to any one principle or method in attaining our recovery or individual wholeness.
I am for keeping an open mind on all possible avenues out there.
Today I choose to fill my box with the tools that help me to find healing and recovery. No matter where or whom I recieve such tools. But I also do not want to throw out any tools which may have value in my recovery. Because of ignorance, pride or misguided self knowledge.

I only want to be the man that God created me to be. To be whole and comfortable in my own skin. To be free to be me and no one else.

I choose not to discount or marginalizing anyone or any groups ideas or methods of living or recovery. Especialy those who's methods have withstood the passage of time and helped untold number of people.(AA,religion etc...

I am neither a religious or AA zealot.
I just use that which works for me.

Dan,

I wish you the best on your journey of recovery.Rememember it is a process of learning to be and not a process of doing.

Hope I did not offend you, that was not my intent.

Mike

_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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#270769 - 01/11/09 07:49 AM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: michael banks]
Danbuff Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 249
Loc: NY state
Mike ,
I did not think you had any intent to offend. We are all in different places but hopefully on the way to recovery while supporting each other.I appreciate your acknowledgment as well as your comments and insights. Yes I had a reaction to your post but at the same time hold firm to my belief that change starts in the head. Our bodies respond to the internal thought one way or another.

It is equally true that perceptions influence us too.I perceived your comments to imply the intellectual process as pointless, as if thinking is useless and only doing "it" (the action) matter. Yes thinking and doing are very different but you don't do anything until you have the thought. Any plan begins with the thought.

I quote you below:
"Intellectual ideas on abuse issues and recovery are good and all. But recovery takes place when your feet are on the ground and not when our heads are in the air."

It seems better to have your head in the air to take in alternative ideas beyond our distorted self. Otherwise we may as well have heads in the sand.

When we/I spend time inside our heads on the past of course it becomes a trap and counterproductive. But time spent on alternative healthy thoughts aimed at change the improvement begins. Therefore, change the thought, change the thought, change the thought.

Anyway, I can't say more. I feel like I am going in circles. I am okay. I wish you continued healing too Mike.

Peace,
Dan

_________________________
When you stumble, make it part of the dance.

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#270904 - 01/11/09 11:28 PM Re: HOPE & New belief systems POSSIBLE TRIGGERS [Re: Danbuff]
michael banks Offline


Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca
Dan,

I don't think that the intellectual process is pointless. But I am very careful not to allow myself to get caught up in the fine print of the healing process. Because if we are not careful we tend to get caught thinking about recovery and delay actually applying it to our lives.

As you may already know. I am 12 stepper from AA. Next thursday the 15 I will have been sober for 20 yrs.
The very first thing I was taught was to immediating start working the program of AA. Which is learning to apply the 12 steps to your life. Always in the meeting I attended the new members were called upon to introduce themselves. Mainly for three reasons:
1. To get that person open up and share.
2. To allow the other members to get to know their name and some of their history.
3.To make the newcomer feel welcomed to and part of the group.

At the beginning of every meeting we went around the room introducing ourselves to as many people as possible.
To get us out of the fear of not knowing strangers and to make others feel welcomed.

The intellectual ideas behind the 12 steps are important but the practical application of the steps into our lives are even more so.
There is a saying that the most important person in the room is the newcomer. Because we learned that it is very important to help others so as to keep us from dwelling on our own problems.
You also learn that we all have simmilar problems and we are not as unique as we feel we are.

If you address and change the behavior. You thought pattern will soon follow.
You do not think yourself into fitness for a marathon do you. You go out on the road and run,run,run.

Now maybe you understand better my point of view.

Your therapist's comment about alcoholics and never drinking again is what orginally triggered my response to you. It offended me and I think it is an extremely ignorant statement.

sex is a basic and fundamental need in our lives. Which is nessecary for healthy relationships and procreation of our specis.
Alcohol is a substance which is not a necessary item for humans to consume. There is nothing wrong in drinking if you so choose.
But I for one have found it to be alot more benefical when I abstain from using this substance. I am not saying that this should apply to everybody. But for alot of people it is the best way.

Another thing that I am learning in my recovery is not to base my self-perception or self-worth on external things such as Job,income,education,length of soberity etc... But the good qualities that are inherent in me as a human being. I want to judge myself and have others judge me on the content of my character not on the external things in my life.

Thank You for this post it has been every enlightening for me.

Mike






_________________________
To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

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