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Old 05-19-2013, 08:46 AM
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New Challenges

Even after years of sobriety I still find that what I term my “personality characteristics” persist and that I must be aware of them and cope with some of the stuff they put in my way. Even though AA has helped me tremendously, even saved my life, I’ve always had difficulty with the idea that sobriety comes only when one’s “character defects” are “removed” by resort to a “higher power” and working the steps.
I’ve realized this recently when another issue has arisen in my health picture. The possibility that I may have developed prostate cancer. Due to my primary care physician’s having found what he terms a “nodule”, he has referred me to a urologist with a probability that the latter will perform a biopsy and perhaps more tests.
I’m naturally obsessive-compulsive and want things to move quickly. I’m easily frustrated by the bureaucracy of the modern world, by a perceived indifference of heavily scheduled “providers”, putting one on “hold”, saying “your call is important to us” and playing music to "sooth" you, then sometimes hanging up and making it necessary to go through the whole process again. Or perhaps saying that they have an appointment available- maybe in two months and asking you to fill out all sorts of forms in the meantime.
So all of this sometimes causes my “addictive voice” to wake up in its cage down there my midbrain and say, “Why can’t they hurry it up? I want what I want right now!” “Spoon banging” I’ve heard it called.
I don’t really have any craving to drink. But I still have this “personality characteristic”. I still have the “beast” caged down there in my midbrain. And it doesn’t seem to me that any confessing, praying or relying on my “higher power” is going to make it any different. I just have to be aware of the person I am and will always be and focus on simmering down, smelling the flowers of spring, looking at the blue sky, petting the dog, be thankful for what I have and hope for courage and patience to deal with whatever may come down the line.

W.
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Old 05-19-2013, 04:05 PM
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I think it's pretty natural to want answers when you're worried about a health problem, Bill.

It would be nice if we were all beatific Gandhi types, but that might get a bit boring too

I'm not a saint, but I am sober and I think I do a bit of good in my life. I try to improve but I also like myself warts and all.

That seems a reasonable sort of perspective to me

Hope you get some of those answers, and some good news with it, really soon

D
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
I think it's pretty natural to want answers when you're worried about a health problem, Bill.

It would be nice if we were all beatific Gandhi types, but that might get a bit boring too

I'm not a saint, but I am sober and I think I do a bit of good in my life. I try to improve but I also like myself warts and all.

That seems a reasonable sort of perspective to me

Hope you get some of those answers, and some good news with it, really soon

D
You sure "do a lot of good in your life" Dee! And you're a very level headed fellow. The bottom line for me (maybe a pun since it's prostate we're talking about!) is that I'd just as well not die a painful death, particularly since, being a recovering alcoholic, I'm not easy to medicate for pain. So I told my doctor that I'd just as well check out with a massive heart attack or stroke in the middle of the night and he reached in his desk drawer and gave me a gift certificate for Dr. Kervorkian (good for one visit). I seem to have mislaid it somewhere. As for the prostate, I'll go for the biopsy but, beyond that I don't think I'll consent to any "heroic measures"! Poor Kervorkian! He's the butt of many a good joke, like the fellow who called him in the middle of the night and Kervorkian said, "Take two aspirin and we'll kill you in the morning!"

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Old 05-19-2013, 06:02 PM
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I have a friend who lives in this complex with me - he's in his 70s and has a 'bum ticker'...he has prostate cancer but it's very slow growing - the Dr says it may take 10 or 15 years to become a real problem.

He says he likes those odds

D

Last edited by Dee74; 05-19-2013 at 06:43 PM. Reason: lives not loves LOL
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:39 PM
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painter you crack me up....gift certificate :rotfxko
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:57 PM
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Bill,
I believe that prostate cancer is quite treatable, and slowly growing, and possibly not the frightening thing that it was once thought to be.

I am sorry you have this additional worry. I too wish I could change the things that give me the hardest time, about my personality.

I know it is frustrating to have to wait. Is that obsessive/compulsive? guess I have that too...

much love, good wishes on all results, and try to pet the dog lots. maybe some more pictures of your dogs. I really love seeing them. You really do love the good things in life.

hugs
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:19 PM
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I am sorry to hear of your health problem

You are aware of the "you" part of the issue and the "them" part. Your explanation for their behaviour is implied lack of care and concern- rather than them being busy or some other explanation.

I have an issue with relying on others- i am basically a bit paranoid, so i know we can get in the way of ourselves.

Just my 2c worth.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by instant View Post
I am sorry to hear of your health problem

You are aware of the "you" part of the issue and the "them" part. Your explanation for their behaviour is implied lack of care and concern- rather than them being busy or some other explanation.

I have an issue with relying on others- i am basically a bit paranoid, so i know we can get in the way of ourselves.

Just my 2c worth.
Good observation, Instant. The "them" part is the dark side of the moon, i.e. largely unknowable and ripe for misinterpretation, particularly for someone, like me, with a tendency towards depression and inclined to take things personally, in other words a thin skin. Not really paranoid, but over sensitive, hard to take criticism. These, and more, are all personality traits. AA has helped me to cope with them but they're still there- you better believe it! One thing is certain. I wouldn't have a chance of coping if I picked up a drink.
What sobriety does is give me a fighting chance and increasing the odds of survival.

W.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:54 PM
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Even though AA has helped me tremendously, even saved my life, I’ve always had difficulty with the idea that sobriety comes only when one’s “character defects” are “removed” by resort to a “higher power” and working the steps.

W,
thanks for posting about ongoing struggles within and with yourself. i'm finding much the same after a few years of sobriety, so it's reassuring to read your post. that doesn't sound good, i know
about the above quote, just thought i'd share something i remember reading years ago when i first started looking into the steps and seeing no possible way at all i could do any of it: that the two steps dealing with this are about readiness first, being ready and willing to have "them" removed. the point was made that for various reasons or perceived benefits to us we may NOT be ready or willing to have things removed, no matter how "defective" those traits might be. this gave me a lot to think about, and a different way of seeing. i could see that i got benefit from hanging on to some of these "defects", and that not only was i not ready, i had no desire to let them go. i wanted to keep them.
some of them felt/feel oddly safe and comfortable.
as yucky as they are or can be, i know what i'm dealing with there. not as scary, maybe, as something new if i were to let go. which i'd have to do in order to ask to have them removed.

anyway, different angle. to me.

the other thing that greatly helped me is to read the word "defenses" substituted for "defects". very interesting how it can describe the same traits but with an entirely different twist.
but that's just an aside.

i don't know too much about AA, but i've never gotten the impression that being ready to have defects removed and asking for that to be so equals that one can only have sobriety if indeed they are removed.
i've understood it to mean that the point is readiness and being willing to ask. but i could be entirely mistaken and mis-reading and mis-understanding.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:42 PM
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Thanks Fini. Good observations. Such as the possibility that one can have some hidden reason not to have one's "defects" or as you say "defenses" removed. There is an even greater likelihood if "removal" is interpreted, consciously or subconsciously, as imperiling one's continued access to the drink supply!
Despite all this, however, my impression, faulty as it may be, is that even after 25 years of sobriety, many of what I call my "personality characteristics" (which certainly played a role, along with genetics, in steering me into alcoholism, many of these "characteristics" (e.g. compulsive-obsessive perfectionism, sensitivity to criticism, shyness, introversion) still survive. They have not been "removed" and maybe they cannot be "removed". Maybe they are "me". But sobriety has at least enabled me to see them more clearly, and to cope with them, to say "easy does it", "one day or one thing at a time", "if you can't change it then don't try" and, above all, don't be too proud to seek help.
How can I expect to have them "removed" entirely? If these are "defects" and if all the "defects" are removed by some "higher power" then might I not end up like Icarus, flying too close to the sun, which melted the wings made of wax? Is it more probable that only in death may we hope for perfection and then only by forgiveness from some one or some thing beyond our understanding? Meanwhile, I must cope with what I am, imperfect, "defective" if you will, but trying to understand, trying to cope, and thankful that sobriety has made all of this so much easier!
None of this is really important. It's a little like driving a car. You don't really need to look inside the engine or fully understand what makes it work. You just have to be able to steer it, keep it on the right path and it helps to play a little music while you go along. Sobriety is like that. You can talk about "defects" or "removal" or whatever. If it makes sense and keeps you sober that's what's important, that's what it's all about.

W.
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