Second Thoughts

Thinking retrospectively about actions such as setting boundaries can cause me to wonder if I did the right thing – most of the time I come up with the same answer – it just takes a while for me to adjust to the idea that I have rights and one of those rights is the expectation that I can treat myself just as well as I treat others.  Being honest and direct takes a little courage sometimes.  Finding the right words is important, I don’t want to offend others, but I do want others to know that I expect others to honor my rights.

In recovery I have found that learning to be assertive is important, that learning to be direct with others is also important, and that I need to search out my feelings after I have worked to set a limit with others.  My feelings are valid, they matter – just as much as the feelings of others.  I can always make amends if I find that my words were not kind or they could have been “nicer.”  I’m still learning what to say and how to say it when it comes to asserting myself.  I’m still learning to stand up for myself, and that what I feel, what I say is just as important as what others say and feel.  I matter too. 💜




10 thoughts on “Second Thoughts

  1. By now you know that I delve into the world of cyberspace available on the World Wide Web and I sometimes get in so deeply that I am awestruck.
    By now you must know that I have an avocation to spread the good news of God’s salvation which in my opinion comes by various means yet ultimately comes to the truth.

    God as I understand him may be experienced only in the incremental instant as understanding is increasingly experienced.

    I came upon a wonderful website which I am beginning to explore by opening other vistas which it displays by suggested links so I enclose it for your rumination this morning.
    🙂 🙂

    Some things are so wonderful as to defy description.

  2. it just takes a while for me to adjust to the idea that I have rights and one of those rights is the expectation that I can treat myself just as well as I treat others,

    this part of your reading connects with some thoughts I had heard before, from a speaker, sometimes we would never treat someone as badly as we treat ourselves, and that we need to learn to forgive ourselves as our hp does.
    Otherwise the sunlight of the spirit cannot come into our God given lives.

  3. The combination of “I am powerless” and “I have a disease” is toxic on so many levels. Originally intended to lessen the stigma of addiction and get insurance to cover treatment, it has turned into a self-entitled victimhood mantra. “I have a disease” has become the go-to phrase for all of my “in recovery” (their words, not mine) friends and are usually used as an excuse to be a truly horrible person to others. The progressive disease theory of addiction is an insult to people with actual diseases like myself. I will spend the rest of my life getting actual treatment in actual doctor’s offices and in hospitals. I do not appreciate having somebody equate their struggles with alcohol or drugs to my genetic disorder for which their is no cure. Is it really possible for a disease to be cunning or baffling or to be doing pushups in the parking lot. They are not entities that can be fought with slogans, meetings, steps, or prayer to an interventionist deity. Most importantly, having an actual disease does not make you qualified to attempt and help or cure others with the same disease; if it were, sponsors would be sued more often for impersonating an actual credentialed professional. The disease model was a successful PR campaign by AA in the US that is not recognized in most of the rest of the world. What a cult-ure this is. Reading posts here I become even more convinced of what a ruse the “spiritual, not religious” slogan really is; but I’m not really surprised desperate, “sick” people believe this…stuff.

  4. Hi Jeri
    Good to hear from you.
    You have made several points so I will attempt to respond to them, based simply on my experience and understanding, in the order in which you have presented them, from a place of good will.
    1. The “Big Book” includes a chapter called The Doctor’s Opinion as well as in Appendix III a section called. The Medical View of AA. They would be worth reading if you are unfamiliar with them. They are available online at which is AA’s website.
    Additionally the American Medical Association does categorise alcoholism as a “primary, chronic disease”.
    I would respectfully disagree with your assertion that ” originally intended to lessen the stigma as a disease and get insurance”. The “disease” concept predates today’s concept of medical insurance by several decades and the low bottom drunks originally making up the AA membership were looking for survival, not social approbation.
    Secondly, I completely agree with your point in line 5 of your post that the classification of alcoholism as a disease is absolutely not an excuse “to be truly horrible to others”. It is not, ever. That is why the program explicitly recognises the damage that alcoholics do to others ( ” the alcoholic is like a tornado roaring through the lives of others”, BB p.82). And we are clear that self centred, narcissistic behaviour is a core aspect of our affliction, BB p.62.
    Since we recognise the damage we have wrought, the Steps get us to recognise such, address our character defects, make amends to those we have hurt and to daily live a life based on our principles of love and tolerance.
    Thirdly, I struggle to see how the clinical classification of a disease is an “insult”. Al Anon deals directly with the unhealthy codependence surrounding alcoholic relationships.
    Fourthly, 75 years of success dealing with a previously hopeless condition shows “having” our disease does qualify us to help the still suffering alcoholic.
    We make no claim that ours is the only solution, nor that it works for all people.
    However there are over two million of us who do have a daily reprieve from our alcoholism, not cured but, for today, safe and secure from our fatal illness.
    At the very least having two million alcoholics not active in their disease on a daily basis is an incredible gift to the rest of society.
    And yes, when ” desperate, sick people believe this stuff” sufficiently many do get better.
    I wish you the best.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts, yet I’m sure you know that:
    a) The Doctor’s Opinion was written in 1930s and by someone who prescribed “belladonna treatment” for his patients.
    b) Respectfully, citing the BB as a resource, almost as a definitive, sacred text, doesn’t really work for me.
    c) Calling alcoholism a disease, seemingly the only one that can be alleviated by divine intervention through a 12-step appeal, is insulting to those who have watched children die of leukemia, as well as other rampant human suffering. Would you suggest the steps as a cure for cancer, too? Shouldn’t faith healing work equally well for all “diseases”? Saying that those who do not respond to this “treatment” are “constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves,” etc., in the How It Works, is also deeply condescending. Ironically, Bill seems to blame the victim of this disease; maybe they weren’t sufficiently “grateful for the gift.”
    d) Good point, though there is ample evidence available that AA has caused more harm than good. These studies are pretty easily found.
    Best to you, too. 🙂
    Here is one current article on some of these issues:


    • Got it
      Read the referenced article…
      If those alternate therapies work then you (or your friends) should use them.
      No argument from me.
      I do know what changed my life, and I would acknowledge there may be other better approaches.
      Glad to hear it.
      Meanwhile I’ll stick with what has worked for me.

  6. Thank Tom and Jeri…..
    Tom, thanks for doing an excellent job at addressing Jeri’s valid issues with some of the hypocrisy that is in AA.
    I’ll try to add..
    Jeri, first of all, I recognize that you must have a disease that has no cure, and since terminal Stage 4 cancer is the disease that has invaded my families life, I’ll take a guess that it could be cancer. My husband was 60, last year when he died from it…lung….he never smoked.
    So, how does a recovering alcoholic deal with this. The BB, in all its stereotypical 1930s-1940s, white christian male, patronizing, “divine” writings. (I didn’t see one example of where Tom alluded to it being a definitive, sacred text) I certainly don’t see it as such.
    What the spirituality of AA has helped me to do, is only ask a higher power for the strength to deal with my challenges, today. Period. As my soul mate was getting weaker as the cancer got stronger, he, too, asked for the strength to beat this ravaging disease. I really doubt the majority of people using the principles of AA look at their drinking as a disease. Maybe a genetic predisposition that processes alcohol in a very different way than others. I’d think alcoholism is more of a mental disorder because the craving that occurs after the first drink has such societal negatives and because my hand put the glass to my mouth, you could say it’s my fault. Just as people blame obese people for becoming diabetic….you think they should have more control over the behavior that gets then that way.
    Jeri, you say your friends that are in AA, and in recovery, are constantly saying,”I have a disease” and using it as a self entitled victim hood excuse. They are not following or doing the spiritual work that are suggestions in the BB. Please don’t judge so many of us that follow the steps and the spirituality in the manner intended, because of very disillusioned people that don’t understand themselves yet what a problem they have.
    There is so much written in the BB that is terrible, a lot of it I can’t read to myself or at a meeting because it is so dated. However, the basic tenets are there. And if followed, becomes a spiritual way of life for understanding and improving many social or negative behaviors.

    1) belladonna was a drug used during that time. If you think treating alcohol problems is set in stone… We’ d have a handle on it. Did you know that they’re actually taking second and third looks at hallucinogens for the treatment of mental disorders, alcoholism among them!! I think that’s awesome. Those drugs are rarely addictive and clinically guided usage can help overcome many debilitating issues. Can’t wait to see where that goes!
    2&3) I think I addressed those, except to say, we don’t pray for a cure, that would be incredibly self serving. Instead we pray for the strength to handle it in healthy ways. My personal belief is that hell is here on earth, and my higher power has nothing to do with biological, viral and psychopathic mutations.
    4) I’ve read and reposted the article you reference. It’s a good article.
    The thing about AA, even if you think it’s cult-like (misinterpretation again!), because there is no pill or surgery or genetic manipulation for alcoholism, it’s a place that’s always there! If you want relief from being sick and tired of being sick and tired, you just find an AA meeting, they’re everywhere!! And if you take what helps you and leave the rest it can be a salvation.

    I hope this has given you more insight on the reality of AA. I am not religious and there are times its presence at meetings really turns me off, but then I just turn it off.
    And whatever disease you are dealing with, I wish you the strength to deal with it without fear or anger. I hope you post again.
    I’m Maggie I’m a spiritually recovering alcoholic and a mum, a Mimi, a sister, a friend, an artist, and I love to laugh!

  7. This has been an awesome discussion and eye opening day for me. I’m grateful to be alive, grateful to be sober, and grateful for the friends I have here on this24!!!

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