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26 Oct 2013

31 years clean : Entering the 4th decade.

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As my last blog said “It’s been a while”.  . . 

. . . getting back into blog stride and acknowledging clean time, both are prey to practice.

Even after all these years one is never sure that another day, another month, another year will log up. It’s not a given, but it is a gift, a gift of recovery from active addiction that can be ‘returned to sender’ at any point, if attention is swayed.

news_20066208058Honouring this day 26th October 1982, my first day of being clean of drugs, alcohol and nicotine, yes giving them all up on the same day ( not always recommended). I walked into a smoky basement room and stayed the course, a day at a time. NA is my home and I try to keep my house clean, as over the NA door it says :

“. . So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear “.

Following any path of observance allows you to stumble, meet rocky roads as well as promised serenity that awareness brings. Through continued viral illness in the 80′s & 90′s I was taught to get priorities in the right place in order to accept reward of what Babaji calls ‘karma yoga’. The ability, facility, and service of work to the higher self.

i_have_nothing_to_fear_smallWorking the steps, working therapy, friendships and risk taking notions like dropping the ego, in my experience, breeds eventual joy. Not just the joy of being clean, for it takes a while to accept that, for joy is not just seeking a new way of life, but living it, and for that time needs time. The spiritual part of the 12 Step programme, or any path that contains space to hand over FEAR, is an exercise in releasing control, expectation and even the concept of reward as end game. The reward, if observed, is always the journey not the destination and the ‘just for today’ approach allows you to look out the window each 24 hours, speed bumping yourself into the ‘living moment’ rather than whining in the back seat :

‘. . . are we there yet?’.

Living in the moment entails, planning but not projection, indulging in clarity and recognising that your head does not always know best, so seeking solice, advice or instruction from others is the best drug drop to muster. However dropping the ego is the REAL DEAL It’s worked for me, most of the time, when I allow time to take its place and the universe to deliver while I remain blindfolded. Trusting the process to the Higher Beings has always ascended me into a safer space, a chair to rest on, without needing to know the answers. All I have done is put recovery first, put one foot in front of the other, trusted the process and didn’t pick up.

Keep it Simple.

Om Namaha Shivaya.

18 Feb 2013

It’s been a while.

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Flog_ItHopefully I’m back with a rhythm. It’s been an interesting calming four months deciding what to do next, when the ego insists you MUST be doing something instead of watching ‘Flog it’ in the afternoon.

I thoroughly enjoy ‘Flog it’ especially when they ask ” what are you going to do with the money? “. The money is usually about 80 quid and they put it toward a cruise or a trip to Australia. I can’t wait for someone to say ” it’s paying my electricity bill because of this bastard government and their free-market chums “. Years ago, during the last recession in the late 80′s ( under the Tories I might add ) I was wandering in Watkins, London’s oldest esoteric bookshop in Cecil Court, off Charing Cross Road where I found a little booklet called ‘Life was never meant to be a struggle’ by Stuart Wilde.

 

It changed my life. Literally. From that point on I refused to struggle and pointed this out to the assistants at Watkins on many future visits, so much so that they amended my mailing list address to ‘I don’t do Struggle’ followed by my name. Later on while researching codependency in the 90′s I came up with another mantra that will solve anyones life crisis and move on. It was FEEL IT, CLAIM IT,>DUMP IT. This too is still used today on my address when they send out recent booklists.

$(KGrHqZ,!ioE-qoIQmBfBP7hj,l)mQ~~_32Serenity in recovery often means giving up the struggle in order to WIN. When you register that struggle serves no purpose, it can dissolve as quickly as it arrived. Scarcity or not enough in any form, is linked to the concept of struggle but handing over struggle, or the requirement to create it, to higher vibrations is not all the work you need to do, physically removing yourself from struggle is the real solution. Many of us have learn’t to struggle through experience, in fact we are very successful at it. By definition it’s impossible to say you have failed. Rather like people who say they have no discipline yet have been disciplined with struggle all their lives. Switch words around. Letting go of people, places and things is like clearing a cupboard that is rammed full with rubbish you think you need. You don’t. So get clearing.

My own struggle with a physical chronic illness during the eighties came to an end when I attended a ‘Benefits of Illness’ workshop. Instead of struggling with a dominating physical partner ( as in a relationship ) I was struggling with a dominating virus in the same codependent way. It controlled my life. Once I realised that I had a choice whether to accept struggle as a pain, the pain of struggle left. When people asked me how my health was, I would respond ‘ I am more than my health identity’. This assisted me is seeing that codependency, the attachment of struggle, was at it’s end. Stuart Wilde’s little pamphlet affirmed that ” If it’s easy for me, it’s right for me’ and I have to admit that I have followed this path ever since. As Marianne Williamson said ” when people say you are so lucky, just remind them it’s because you practiced “. Letting go of struggle is not a given, it’s practice. The last 4 months doing very little has been a doddle. Just being, waiting but not wanting. It’s been a breeze.

Check out the link below, start practicing, and start to chuck out the chintz today.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39659258/Stuart-Wilde-Life-Was-Never-Meant-to-Be-a-Struggle

25 Oct 2012

30 years clean today.

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Yes, a milestone day of gratitude and amazement : 30 years clean of drugs. I surrendered, showed the white flag and put down recreational drugs, pills, spliff, abuse of prescribed drugs, alcohol, amyl nitrates and nicotine all on the same day and went cold turkey, trembling, shaking and hardly sleeping for 5 weeks. But I committed to a new way of life. A clean one, a day at a time. I did, I did, I did, but don’t try this at home folks, without support. With support, fellowship & unity, we can and do recover.

Three decades ago today age 35, October 26th 1982, I awoke in my flat, ( later deemed ‘unfit for human habitation’ by the Environmental Health Department ), and realised the junkie game was up on this first clean day. I had been using & drinking for 3 days with the blinds drawn, unwashed and hardly eating, after 14 months of alcohol abstinence sobriety with AA. My 8th relapse in 18 months. I was at the end of a horrendous Human Interferon drug trial, every 48 hours for 3 months, at the Royal Free Hospital in London, to halt chronic active Hepatitis B, which didn’t work and everyone died on the trial except me. From this trial synthetic Interferon was created to treat Hep C in 1988 ( then called non A, non B ) using a tenth of the interferon strength used in 1982.

On October 28th 1982, 2 days clean and washed up, I sat in a Wimpy Bar on the corner of Charing Cross Road with my then AA sponsor, ‘Angry Sue’. She didn’t scold me but spoke in a hushed tone “I think it’s time to look at your drug problem”. She went on ” . . . there is a new fellowship in London, just 2 years old here, with one meeting a day, it’s called Narcotics Anonymous. The next evening I readily went to Hampstead ” Hampstead Heroes” meeting, the following Saturday I went to Chelsea ” Early Risers” opposite the Charter Clinic, one of only 2 rehabs in the UK.

It cost £36,000 for 6 weeks treatment 30 years ago, which I didn’t have, in fact in 1984 I went bankrupt for £38,000 personal debts, so you can see what a mess my life was in. When the booze and gear money ran out toward the end, and I couldn’t work with cirrhosis of the liver, I was using 5 bottles of *Night Nurse* a day to line my stomach, found medical students to make me litre bottles of amyl nitrate to inhale, drank kaolin & morphine mixture daily, blagged scripts from 3 doctors at any one time for Heminervrin Syrup, which you use for 3 days for alcohol withdrawal but I managed to use and abuse daily for 6 months. Even without Class A drugs, in a nutshell, I was truly fucked.

I’ve been clean since my first *NA meeting. I’ve not drank, smoked or used drugs since that white flag day, a few days before. The preamble read out in the meeting was different then, reading ‘ as long as you don’t pick up that first *pill, drink, fix or drug* ‘ so I knew I was ‘home’ when I heard the Ist step about ADDICTION being the issue, not alcohol like in AA. Later it got amended to ‘ as long as you don’t pick up that first *drug* that we use in literature today. Many of us had AA sponsors in those early days, most NA groups just had photocopied literature fro America, such as it was, and a ‘good meeting’ was one where a junkie hadn’t stolen the kettle.

I got clean before the Basic Text was published in 1983, way before fantastic plastic recovery key rings and Green & Gold study material published 1993. Way before ecstasy, wine box inventions and Baileys Irish Cream. Way before SUN Newspaper skag kids, Boy George on smack, George & Elton coming OUT, Perrier Water and coffee in pubs. Way before Celebrity Rehab, Oprah and mainstream self help books.

But Narcotics Anonymous was there and it was free : anyone could attend. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using. I certainly had that. NA kept me clean and everyone that attended smoky church hall basements, community centres, rooms in mental hospitals and * the meeting after the meeting*, I thank you all and bathe in your courage, experience, strength and hope. Major thanks and respect to Jimmie K and the gift of 12 Steps to NA from AA. It is still a day at a time, life on lives terms but what a life enhancing, glorious life I have had.

If I can change my life around, anyone can.

During early recovery I discovered that I was a drug addict, an alcoholic, a chronic debtor, a codependent, a liar, a cheat, a sex addict and a candidate for change. I took the view that I wanted to live. In 1996 I released incurable chronic active Hepatitis B from my body with no medication, just Spiritual Rebirthing Yogic Breathwork, trust and diligence. I avoid, the best I can, on a daily basis the 4 ‘P’s : Projection, Procrastination, People Pleasing & Perfectionism. Without these defects, we are well on our way.

I thank and bow before my Higher Power, Babaji, Lord of all Masters, who crossed my path of reality in 1988, in grace and gratitude for each extra day on this beloved earth. Om Namaha Shivaya.

“Blessings:
I am no one. I am no thing. The Teachings are known by many. The Teachings form the core of all religions. But few understand. The Teachings are known by all on the High path. I have come to share the Teachings not to talk about this Babaji or that Babaji. To separate Babaji into this Babaji or that Babaji is not Simplicity. This will only lead to separation and despair. It is better to concentrate on Truth, Simplicity, Love and Service than to concentrate on which Babaji belongs to which category. No One cannot be separated. No Thing cannot be categorized. To separate No Thing will only lead to despair. Attach to the Teachings not the Teacher.

Walk on the High Path but follow No One.

Babaji”

*Narcotics Anonymous is one of many ways to remain clean, not the only way, but unlike other ways, service to others in carrying a message of hope, support and recovery, the NA Way, is the one that has worked for me, and before I tried many other options.

12 Oct 2012

Cancer Comedown

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Yesterday I fell asleep 3 times during the day. I thought it was just nana naps or maybe the start of narcolepsy where you nod off in the middle of a conversation or at the wheel. My old friend John, sadly now six feet under, did it years ago. We thought it was the copious amounts of alcohol he drunk, ( who wouldn’t ) but sober driving proved otherwise, on a few scary motorway situations I recall. Even when pissed, we learn’t to decline lifts.

When boozers and chem users reduce or cut out, the body reflects the journey of damage with a hangover or an emotional comedown, the barometer of usage. Well it’s almost 30 years since I travelled that sodden path so my current physical and mental conundrum can’t use this excuse. But recently my body has been bombarded with debilitating chemotherapy, twice a day. Diagnosed on a Monday in early August with first stage skin cancer ( Actinic Keratosis ), I was on chemo the next day with the specialists voice ringing in my ears ” this is going to be hard, deeply unpleasant and you will want to stop it “. Never a truer phrase flung at me, but she did add that it had a 93% success rate. Years ago in early recovery from addiction I heard someone say ” Are you living in the problem or the answer? “ So I went for it. 

The ordeal, well documented on facebook, took it’s toll, and yes, twice I wanted to stop it, once turning up at A&E at 4am, as I had to skin wash, every hour on the hour, even during night time but it proved to be 100% successful. It will take till the end of November for redness to erase, and my eyelids still remain sore, but it’s a result. I now realise that this is the reason, 2 months later, that my body is catching up on sleep, battered with poisonous but effective chemo, in the same way a functioning addict or alcoholic batters the body with drug of choice, without thoughts of physical impact. As I felt so much better after chemo, it never occurred to me that the body needs what it needs, including restful sleep. The past few months has created a backlog of messages, emails and phone calls to respond to about my health, so thank you all so much for the good wishes, I appreciate them all. I hope this blog will update you and ease concerns.

Yes I  now see that I am catching up on sleep. Funny what happens when you put things to paper, so to speak. This is why written work in seminars, workshops and sponsorship Step work WORKS. 

Reading through my last blog ( Longevity takes time – March 29 2012 ) about rebranding, waiting but not wanting, I see a pattern emerge from the written word. The pattern is not about procrastination it’s the pattern of observation. Observation that I am very tired, clunking along on airlines most months giving seminars abroad and it’s time to stop for 6 months. I’ve said many times in my blogs that target led thinking rarely works. Check out how important events in your life have been planned, or *occured* while doing something else. A new job, relationship or opportunity often, turns up. Goals have a place, so does the power of intention, but often the power of doing nothing and spiritually waiting outstrips the ego destination. Marianne Williamson calls it Inspiration v Ambition, so this is my current regime, seeking inspiration in doing very little for 6 months. I have reluctantly postponed the Australian Adelaide seminar in March till god knows when, no European seminars till at least May 2013, including starting work in Sweden. Sorry folks, I need to recover my health and the impact of chemo, so travel will only involve relaxing trips here and there, no leading, no mentoring, no presenting. Time to take a step back on cancer comedown.

Presently Gunnel Minett is supporting me on what I call EVOLUTIONARY BREATHWORK : Recovery Coaching & Rebirthing for the Internet Age, the next stage of my development. Not sure yet what it involves, except lots of writing, research and spiritual reclamation. Sometimes we need to stand back and look back, instead of racing toward the future, in order to acknowledge self worth and progress. Have you done this recently? Reviewing, reclaiming and recognising?
Coming up in a few weeks I will be 30 years clean of all drugs, including alcohol, & for me, nicotine. Yup it’s a chunk of clean time. People have already been asking ” Are you doing anything to celebrate it ? It’s a milestone “. The answer is I want no fuss, no vast gathering, no trumpets. I shall share the accolade on Facebook and thank the masters of The Universe, Babaji and the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous for continued experience, strength and hope, but no more. I am booked to do a chair at a meeting on the evening of October 26th 2012. That will do me fine. Just another day of gratitude to be absent from active addiction.

28 Mar 2012

Longevity takes time

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Rebirthing could be named rebranding or reviewing. So I’m doing it.

I’m here for 4 days in Byron Bay taking stock in my third week in Australia, as to where I go next in this important year 2012. I walked along the ocean this morning, passing just 3 people during my hour long parade along the tide, while thinking, creating and examining options. Then this afternoon I attended a rebirthing breathwork group session with Alakh Analda, who with her partner Vic are hosting me so well in North Byron.

We were asked what we wanted to focus on during the breath, what was our ‘intention’, and my mind went back to the morning walk.

As well as the end of the Mayan Calendar and it’s forebodings, 2012 is also the year I reach 65 in May, and ‘God willing’, 30 years clean in October – both milestones. As Alakh noted I don’t look 5 years away from 70 but it dawned on me that I am, so some solice and reward for not picking up one mood altering drug, one drink or one ciggie for 3 decades.

As we started group we picked a card from a pack of themes, with eyes closed, and my card was ENDURANCE and Wiki informs me that ENDURANCE holds these qualities :

Endurance (also called SufferanceStaminaResilience, or Durability) is the ability for a human or animal to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue. In humans, it is usually used in aerobic or anaerobic exercise. The definition of ‘long’ varies according to the type of exertion – minutes for high intensity anaerobic exercise, hours or days for low intensity aerobic exercise. Training for endurance can have a negative impact on the ability to exertstrength[1] unless an individual also undertakes resistance training to counteract this effect.

They say you get what you deserve.

Well I laughed at the card, then focussed on the intuitive meaning.

Leaving wiki aside, I wrote down Endurance ( = struggle ) Tenacity ( = determination ) then LONGEVITY ( = security ). Negative thoughts around Endurance reminded me of the battle I had living with chronic Hep B in the 80′s/90′s then finding Rebirthing breathwork in 1988 as solution, Stuart Wilde’s booklet ‘ Life was never meant to be a struggle’, and the concept of Physical Immortality which led me to discovering the Babaji energy in ’88, who remains till this day my Higher Power. Om Namaha Shivaya.

I don’t teach Physical Immortality now, but it was very useful in the late ’80′s when I held a life threatening illness as a lesson in ENDURANCE to stay alive, but I have no interest in living till I am 300 years old but totally dedicated to living in the moment.

Living in the moment takes time to practice. Living without struggle takes courage to change. Many have heard me discuss the three “P‘s” to take you down the road of codependent struggle : Perfectionism, Projection & Procrastination. Wrap that bundle up with People Pleasing and you may as well be using, for they eventually lead to the same path of discontent. Steps 6 & 7 begin the release in my experience.

Getting older brings fresh lessons. I have had to work through the Unconscious Death Urge to unravel survivor guilt, control and needing to know outcomes. If recovery, over the years, was ever an endurance for me, I would never have made it. I discovered that once that 1st step is made, and held, the chore is over. However, tenacity has often been required to pull through bad days but the desire to look back with moist lips has never occurred. I have never been tainted with the need to revisit using, but forced by circumstance and sanity to revisit the recovery path of longevity maintenance.

One of my early Rebirthing affirmations was ” I no longer need struggle in order to survive “. Eventually it came true. My latest one is ” I am always wanted and loved at any age “. Get to 65 and images of immobility, mental health and living in the world of lack endure the memory. As many have witnessed I don’t fall into these images of age, as I swan around the world carrying my own luggage. But reality bites hard when detail is done, when travel outside of Europe is always risky, as I am ‘uninsurable’ for liver disease and heart conditions. I thought this this morning, as I got some angina pain walking the beach. Babaji can only protect me so far, the footwork needs to be done by me, so it’s only one long haul trip a year from now on, and Australia has booked me again for next year, so other continents will have to wait.

The rebranding of my present life means staying more in London until next year, to rest, relax and review where I go next. While I’m deciding, I will be in Marrakech again next month and Sweden in May so if this is ENDURANCE, I can handle it, or should I say the Masters of the Universe are handling where I go to next. I sit back and wait. There is no deeper spiritual lesson to endure. No worries.

http://rebirthyourlife.me/   http://www.babaji.net/

4 Jan 2012

Dip-In Therapy

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One of the dysfunctional drawbacks of the new technology is the habit of scanning not reading, texting not calling and dipping instead of committing.

The quick fix generation demands twitter like answers when a paragraph takes time to yawn. When it comes to therapy, healing or transition it’s not so ‘how much?’ but . . . ‘how long?’ The result of the ‘money rich, time poor’ society we have created.

Commitment in itself has become a dirty word.

Commit to a lifelong relationship and people coo codependent, behind backs. Commit to a 3 year training and the response is ‘why bother’ when we don’t know what’s going to happen next week, let alone next year. As we herald in 2012, the year of imminent collapse in some predictive quarters, and certainly financial collapse already here, the much written about *celestial speedup* ( unless you scanned ), is about to test seat belts on a rocky ride into an uncertain world future. I have to say that if I’d known it would take me 14 years of therapy, counselling, trust, faith and nut case therapies to sero-convert a life threatening virus that was killing me, I doubt whether I would have even started, so the lesson learn’t is : it’s best NOT to know, or the ego will kill you stone dead.

But I DID lose incurable chronic-active Hepatitis B Virus, with Rebirthing Breathwork after 14 years of constant personal development, because I committed myself to the process of staying alive, no matter what. How many of you do that? Most people are carrying round a body from pillar to post, deeply unsatisfied with what life offers while leaving their arse on the sofa of procrastination, blaming and complaining. Then only the ego – the king of fear – smiles back. Not a good look in attracting change, emotional prosperity and gratitude, as any Coach will tell you.

Who would have guessed that the reason I have been invited to share my work around the world these past decades is through troubles overcome, not through good times, theory or philosophy, but via pragmatic application, spiritual guidance and karma yoga. The idea of quick fix, dip-in therapy never occurred to me in the way that people nowadays expect results. When I began to attend 12 Step Programme meetings in 1982 I did 5 a week for 3 years, then 3 a week for 5 years, just to get a handle on living clean & sober, not how to find a new relationship, career or friendship circle. It was hard work. Even in my 30th year of recovery it can be testing. How people think that club guest list – coffee shop recovery is enough to stay clean is beyond my experience. Without sponsorship and outside professional help, it’s gonna be a tough road and those unwilling to walk it by other means, often return to previous tracks and companions, and without commitment the relationship of mind, body and spirit is fractured.

People think, in early daze, that dipping into a meeting twice a week will encourage and manifest recovery. It doesn’t, it only encourages what most addicts delve daily into – getting away with it. Having short term therapy like CBT is hugely successful for many and their first expose into someone offering direction and listening to them without judgement, but if work is not followed up you may as well stay on the profiterole diet and stay fat.

Try to observe personal development as a pension that you pay into and it pays out long term. I’ve spent thousands over the years, instead of having holidays, as well as weekends on trainings that consumed my social life, and now I can’t fit all the holidays in. It’s HOW IT WORKS. Happiness has nothing to do with money, possession or partners but everything to do with soul. Why demand passion from life when you can’t commit to trusting a passionette process of discovery. Why wait for a drama to wake you up? You could wake up NOW, this month, today, this minute.

So don’t scan it. Read it. Study it. Attend it. Do it.

For as long as it takes.

 

16 Dec 2011

My New Best Friend

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It’s been a while since my last post. Almost 6 months. When people go missing in rooms of recovery, we suspect the worse – using or shagging a newcomer. However in my case, I was simply too busy to be bothered on the one hand and couldn’t be arsed on the other.

My new best friend was indifference. 

Flatlining recovery or hitting shrugged shoulders is a blessing in itself, for ‘living your vision, living your dream’ all the time is exhausting and nor was it ever meant to be the norm. For those addicted to excitement, romance or plain old fashioned drama, recovery can appear to be a let down if living on the edge threw up motivation in the past. I once led a seminar in Milan on Motivational Coaching and told a staring crowd that I hadn’t been motivated in 6 weeks, but I managed to get here. The point of that memory is to remind me that we are not machines who churn out relentless.

I’m no Barbara Cartland. Barbara bashed out so many novels that she out-sold only 2 writers ahead of her – Shakespeare and Agatha Christie. There was no room for indifference in Bab’s world, pumping out the next trashy romantic dictum was the point of getting up in the morning. Good luck to her bulldog spirit.

In truth I have been travelling overseas every month this year and blogging got left on the back burner. Simple as that. Now sitting in December Canary Island sun I’m trying to get back on track before my next seminar jaunt to Morocco in January, breeds more lack of blog management. Living in a target led society supports competitive thinking, fear based projections and anxiety, especially during these troubled times of financial indifference. WE ARE ALL DOOMED, the media sprays forth, no point in even budgeting, the world will collapse anyway. It’s difficult to know who to believe.

In the present I believe that we are powerless over world currencies but have all power over our purses. So indifference toward spending can be a friend that stabs you in a backlash, especially during Christmas and New Year, when clarity can fly out the window. I am heartened that many now have a spending speed bump over gifting. Many families say 20 quid is the limit, so regular bills can be paid as well without fear of debt. Common sense prevails.

My new best friend, apathy, is not as depressing as it sounds, in fact it’s quite liberating. My urban younger readers familiar with ‘wotever’ and ‘meh’ will understand that the world can be overwhelming at times so “meh” seems spot on. I think apathy is underrated. Look where competitive materialism has got us : the opposite to excitement, passion, motivation and concern. There must be another way of living and surviving. To throw things up in the air and say “wotever’ is in itself a spiritual task. “I have no idea what’s going on, please sort it” is a Step 3 request in my book.

In order to make sense of living we need to embrace the fear of death in order to breed aliveness and the same goes for embracing indifference as a new best friend. This too shall pass, as quickly as spring follows winter. Periods of apathy, indifference and depression are natural phases of human development not shame based emotions. The sense of shame is often a parental projection, many feel apathetic when they really need a rest. I suggest you take it like I did and greet the next series of dawns with delight. Enjoy your duvet time, it will pass. Energy, inspiration and desire will arrive like the first cuckoo – when it’s ready.

I say this with plenty of experience, now in my 30th year of recovery from active addiction, so if I can survive apathy and greet it as a friend – so can you.

 

21 Jun 2011

Promises, Promises . . .

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In the 1960′s Burt Bacharach wrote the music and lyrics for Tony Awarded musical Promises, Promises on Broadway and the world was soon humming to the global pop classic " I’m never gonna fall in love again" - What do you get when you fall in love / You only get lies and pain and sorrow / so for at least until tomorrow / I’ll never fall in love again.
 
Serial romantics will recall, re-call, as past flings flash by like luggage on a carousel of the mind. Picking yourself up and trying again regardless, is seen as brave by the majority and stupid by the minority. Promising never to fall in love again in the same way is soon forgotten. Codependency is the core of all addictions including love, romance and sex addictions and all are fueled by broken promises, high expectations, perfectionism and lack of logic. When Marianne Williamson said " the problem is NOT that I attract dysfunctional men into my life, the problem is that I give them my telephone number " highlights the power of addiction versus common sense and knowledge, when it comes to ‘acting out’ in the moment. The majority would consider endless tales of emotional relationship drama as normal, while the minority would be up for inspection, checking out the emotional highway code and slowing down at a speed-bump instead of going hell for leather over it. Only by slowing down a habit can you exercise authority over it.
 
Susan Cheever in her book – DESIRE / Where Sex Meets Addiction – offers insight on why we set ourselves up for failure, returning time and time again to the base line of rejection & disappointment :
 
"With human beings, how can we distinguish between passion and addiction? One primary characteristic of addiction is always a broken promise, whether it’s a promise made to yourself or to another person. Addicts are people who promise not to do something again and again and inevitably find that they have done it anyway. The most recognised symptoms of addiction is that it causes us to do things we wish we didn’t do. The addiction sweeps away all inhibitions, all good intentions, everything but need. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t, we say. This can begin in a way that seems completely harmless. Some addictions lead to ruined lives and others lead to lost sleep and some extra credit card debt, but the mechanics of the addiction are the same. Addiction is not weakness, it is helplessness. Addiction is not a lack of willpower, it is a powerlessness over the substance or behavior in question.
 
It is this broken promise that causes everything about addiction in our society, from the proliferation of drug rehabs to the high divorce rate. Weddings are often ceremonies built around one of the most public and important promises many of us will make in our lifetimes. Some addictive substances are more benign than others. I sometimes stay up until two or three in the morning reading a book when I have to be up by seven. I want to stop and sleep because without enough sleep my day doesn’t go well.  At the end of each chapter I promise myself that I will only read one more. The seriousness of the promise that is broken may be one way to define an addiction. When I promise myself to stop reading at midnight, I know that I don’t really mean it."
 
This plausible  suggestion that we numb ourselves with failure by promises, be it a marriage vow, a diet or adhering to ridiculous government ‘units’ of drinking is recognition that addiction in any form is about punishment. Self scolding is more widespread than crack and far more damaging long term. Learning to forgive yourself for overstepping the mark is a turning point in self examination. Learning to live "in the moment" is the cry of knee deep high spiritual tomes on airport bookshelves, but learning not to over-achieve, over-plan and over-promise is a lesson less taught. Because we refuse to establish our perfection "in the moment" we strive to improve who we think we are. Loving yourself is not self indulgent, it’s a daily duty of honouring the perfection inside we refuse to view.
 
Recall all the times as a child that you "must promise to be good" or Santa wont come with presents. That memory, that resonance still rings loud and clear in many ears. Does it really do any harm to spend an extra hour reading in bed or still on the net @3am? Will this path lead to a crackhouse? Unlikely, but balanced living and thinking is a question of PRACTICE and if you practice edging to your ego, thinking you will get away with it one more time, be warned that the dividing line between heavy usage of chems and chronic addiction is thin, as example. Best if you practice dropping promises and see where you end up. If you don’t need to be awake by seven, then no harm done, but 3 days out of 7 with 4 hours sleep will eventually create a pattern and it’s subconscious patterning that rule our lives. The pattern of punishment.
 
Todays suggestion is to check out where you batter yourself with promises, write them down, see how ridiculous the whole game is and set fire to them. Then learn to accept that promising is just another pair of stocks to put your head in . . .
 
. . . but I can’t promise that any of this will work.
 
 
 

5 May 2011

Codependency as Addiction

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" The word codependency refers to a constellation of emotions, beliefs, and behaviours based on the individuals feelings of shame, low self-worth, and fear of intimacy. If you believe that your happiness is in some way dependent upon the outside world, you will try to control others and your environment. In the end, control becomes a slippery friend. Ironically, once you are addicted to someone or something, you spend much time trying to control the addiction itself. Addiction and the need to control are tandem partners in making peace of mind impossible.
 

When you are trying to control another person, intimacy is impossible. "

 - Lee Jampolsky 

In a few days time I will leave Marrakech for Casablanca to lead a weekend Rebirthing training on Addictions & Codependency. It all sounds very glam but the financial and business capital of Morocco hides the secret desires of any major city including addictive behaviours. In Rabat, the nations capital, glue sniffing among the young and alcohol among the adults, rank high as escape routes. Focusing on what angle to take in a country where no official figures exist on such things, where Muslims, Berbers and Arabs are deemed to abstain from alcohol by religion, I turned to Lee Jampolsky’s book ‘Healing The Addictive Mind’ for inspiration.
 
His writings are based on teachings from A Course In Miracles ( ACIM ). He writes " I believe that most of us, to some degree, have pockets of addiction in our lives. The extent to which we are stuck in our addictive patterns is the extent to which we inhibit our potential to love. If you have become tired of attempting to find hiding places from the world, long for relief from running faster on the treadmill. or realise that more does not equal happier, then this book is for you ". Although published over 20 years ago, it’s content still bares testimony that most of us still rely upon the ego to guide us into a supposed heavenly place with the addictive mind as companion.
 
Releasing the irrational demands of the ego for saner love based thinking, in my experience, is the key to daily happiness and contentment. Check the content of one against the other and see where you sit today.
 
_________________________________________
 

IRRATIONAL BELIEFS OF THE EGO v SANE BELIEFS OF LOVE-BASED THINKING

1. My self-esteem is dependent upon my being approved of by everybody.

SBOLBT - My self-esteem is not based upon pleasing others

2. If I am to consider myself worthwhile, I must always achieve, win and succeed.

SBOLBT – I am complete, full of love, and worthwhile this very instant.

3. Other people are to blame for things that go wrong in my life.

SBOLBT – Healing my life begins in my own mind.

4. I should always worry if things are not exactly how I think that they should be.

SBOLBT – If I desire change I must first look to my mind.

5. I should always dwell on the possibility of the past repeating itself

SBOLBT – The past is past. The future is the future. The present is the present.

6. Stuffing down my feelings makes my life safe and happy.

SBOLBT – Opening my heart to love makes my life full and happy

7. I am weak and need to be dependent on someone or something.

SBOLBT – Through sharing who I am with others, I come to know who I am. I lack nothing to begin this today.

8. I should become upset about, and preoccupy myself with, other’s problems.

SBOLBT – Fixing YOU will not fix ME.

9. My way of seeing the world is the right way

SBOLBT – Love and forgiveness will show me the way to serenity

10. I am limited in what I do

SBOLBT - I am limitless

 

18 Mar 2011

Mind, Body & Wallet

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It’s ages since I’ve been to a Mind, Body, Spirit Exhibition but I always referred to them as Mind Body & Wallet. Not because they are full of hypnotic selling techniques – they are not – but purely because I couldn’t be trusted to leave the building without buying anything. One of the mysteries of recovery was to discover that one of my past traits was to lash out on the lash with a full wallet, and spontaneously make money disappear. Very Tommy Cooper. Just like that. 
 
This ended up with me in the bankruptcy court in ’84 with debts of £38,000 and assets of £3 in a Post Office Savings Account, which sent a snigger round the court. The judge was not as amused as the public gallery, as I was forced to agree with m’lud that ‘ I had indeed led an extravagant and irresponsible lifestyle’. Shamefully, it all ended up in the local paper, but the Bond Street Gym I was attending at the time read the report, and awarded me a free years membership for giving them such a laugh. It was the £3 that did it.
 
Since that time I have become more conscious over money rather than insisting that I must have dropped it, lost it or had it stolen. These were the excuses I gave myself when I was bang at it, losing the plot. But not now. Now I manage my affairs like granny did with a cocoa tin. One bank account for saving, another for holidays, this one for Direct Debit, another for what I call ‘funeral" account.
 
I even have a ‘Millionaires Account ". In the Loving Relationship Training (LRT) we were encouraged to feel what it’s like to be a Millionaire. This means saving money and then giving it away – in the street. The look on peoples faces when you stop them in the street and give them a fiver! Programmes like ‘The Secret Millionaire" offer an opportunity to give away money to people who deserve, but you don’t need 30 grand surplus to do it, two hundred quid a year will suffice. There were many times in my recovery when I’ve been surprised by the magic of surrender after action is taken, when money, a gift or opportunity, arrives from nowhere. When you think you have exhausted all avenues to finance survival, up pops the solution. Just like that.
 
Money & spirituality are an odd couple, but as I have always said in times of despair "there is nothing more healing than a cheque". Forget all those self help books and tapes I sucked up like a hoover at Mind, Body Spirit Festivals that I thought would fix me, it was a cheque that brought joy to my face, not mystical teachings. This has been somewhat reversed as I have gotten older but I still respect the value of paying for healing. The thousands I have invested on myself with books, retreats, practitioners and therapists have more than paid off and I really can’t understand why people moan at the cost of it all when they don’t bother to count the cost of lost mobile phones, dignity and credit card concussion after a night out getting wasted. Spending money on yourself for yourself is an act of love, not selfishness. If couples spent just 6 months in couples counselling before marriage or civil union, the divorce courts would be less jammed. Aside from this, spending on average £15,000 on one ‘special day’ to show your love to family and friends, seems ludicrous when 6 months after marriage many couples can barely show love for each other, when romance dies and bills have to be paid.
 
Kids growing up where the wallet is king but Dad is unavailable for emotional attention, is now commonplace in a work focused society, and as the Wife Swop, Secret Millionaire TV genre illustrates, money isn’t everything. Money from magical sources illuminated my recovery and kept my faith but it was unconditional love and support from others that carried me through dark times of financial scarcity. When I was willing to COMMIT myself to something, be it a personal growth training, coaching or recovery itself, money has always arrived, and on time. And that, I think – IS magic.
 
Trust, consciousness and spiritual growth is the new currency of survival and my wallet is stuffed. When you consider how much you spend on getting out of it compared to getting back on track, you may finally come out of the coma of unconsciousness and start serving yourself, not your ego.