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Old 03-28-2013, 03:29 PM
  # 281 (permalink)  
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Like I said, I'm amazed at just how much people say they just want to quit and get on with their lives, yet they really don't want to talk about their lives, they would much rather talk about quitting, like as if their lives were secondary.

this is just what i've observed, or maybe just my interpretation of what i've seen and heard:
that what you're saying there comes more often from people choosing secular recovery methods. and i think that's because in the secular arena vs AA arena, the emphasis is on quitting the drinking, or more perceived to be there, rather than as in a "programme for living", so to speak.
in the AA meetings i've been to, no-one has seen their drinking or their alcoholism (if they thought they had that at all)as separate from the rest of their lives, whereas that's been a not uncommon view expressed in the dozens of secular meetings i've been to.
on a more personal level, coming to see how entangled alcoholism is with me/my life took me a long time, and it's not where or how i started .
things like quality of life started looking like something to "deal with" only after a considerable amount of time sober for me. and likely, that wouldn't have happened if i hadn't been open to hearing and grappling with concepts from other corners and having to acknowledge that much of what i heard meshed with my own experience.
not something i really WANTED to look at. at all.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:36 PM
  # 282 (permalink)  
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I would agree folks in AA certainly in a general sense accept alcoholism as a part of their lives both in their sobriety, and while drinking, before their sobriety. My successful years with AA though did not include most members talking about the quality of their lives. They did speak about the quality of their sobriety often, about their alcoholism too, but not so much their lives as concerns quality, as I'm meaning in this thread. The program takes center stage for most AA members.

AA was never a new way of life for me, to use in place of my past drinking life. Alcoholism as an illness appeals to me, and so I accepted the AA definition, and I practice the AA program. As well, I was agnostic when I first sobered up, and AA allowed for me to learn about spiritual experiences, of my own understanding, and eventually, I became Christian in my faith, although my recovery from alcoholism is not conditional on my spiritual faith. It can be a bit complicated, but its really about me choosing to be Christian after I quit drinking, and not before. I successfully quit drinking as an agnostic.

Well, I'm glad we have collectively had this open discussion on such a subject. I'm not surprised about the results, and although I did decide to have this in the secular forum, it would have had the same results in any other forum too, I believe. As you can all imagine, in my decades of not drinking, this is not the first time I have raised a discussion of "quality of life" issues, and how they are an excellent unlimited resource for quitting drinking now, and forever, no matter what other techniques are also, or not also, used. Great feedback!



Thanks, guys. You know, this thread itself, with all its different conversations of relative interests, may be reaching its own zenith, lol. I dunno just yet. What say you all? Please feel free to share or not on the thread, as you may wish, same as always. I'm deeply grateful it was never locked. Thanks so much!!

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Old 03-29-2013, 10:00 AM
  # 283 (permalink)  
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One thing that Behold talked about really jumped out at me, that is the aspect of age and ressillience. From my own experience the ability to "bounce back" from benders of epic proportions does drastically change as one gets older. I wonder if there isn't some type of cunulative thing going on here. Could it be that each subsequent detox episode adds to the equation or is it just that we're getting too old for this ****.

I attended my first rehab in 1991 but never actually threw in the towel until 2008. In 1991 my ability to bounce back was still good but as I got older things changed. The withdrawal symptoms such as subliminal anxiety and depression started to linger, then gradually became the norm instead of the exception. In a sense by 2008 my deck of cards had run out of the ability or desire to go thru all of that detox nonsense even one more time. I was born in 1957 so I guess that would make me 50 something.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:47 AM
  # 284 (permalink)  
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Yeah, 1957 here, too.

No way I would survive another detox. I've been sober now longer then I was alive when I quit at 24, meaning most of my life now I've been clean and sober. Going back would kill me dead, same as always, but there would be no way back for me.

Some guys say don't ever say never about returning to drinking, and getting sober again. They say it could happen, and if it did, I'm just setting myself up for not being able to get clean again by saying I don't have another detox in me.

Well, I don't have another detox in me, and I haven't had one since I last quit. Some guys say they have another drunk, but not another detox. Well, I don't have another drunk in me either, so no worries for me.

Do guys with 30+ years return to drinking? Yeah, it happens. Will I ever return to drinking again?

Truth is, that is my call, and since it is my call, the answer is absolutely NO, I'll never return to drinking. Been saying that for decades now.

Yeah, they say, but what about that alcoholism you got sleeping inside you? Isn't that a potential bomb waiting to happen? Why play with that?

Yeah, well, it can't go off unless I light the sucker up first, lol. And I'm just completely out of stock with bomb-lighting fuses that can go off by themselves, hahaha.

Without my okay to return to drinking, my alcoholism is on ice. Cool.

Making Choices. What a wonderful human power, eh?!!

It's a good day to be sober, and even when its not, its still a good day to be sober.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:22 AM
  # 285 (permalink)  
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1957! you young'unes!
i was two then.through no fault of my own.


okay. you say feel free to share:
guess i'm finding i'm still not entirely sure what you're actually meaning by "quality of life
and i say that partly because your mention of "quality of sobriety" throws me for a loop. what is "quality of sobriety"? really, i realized i'd not thought of it as a thing separate from quality of life. so, clearly, i'm not clear on what you mean.
what, to you, is quality of sobriety?

and then, too, i've been thinking about how i'm rather a lot like the guy you talk about in your first example: miserable at work. not because of the job itself, but because of the way we're treated by a rather bullying system and our particular "team leaders" (there are no teams.trust me on this. but it's cool language that changes every few years depending on the latest corporate attempts to pretend to change).

and i know that my life would improve in significant ways if i removed this major irritant. if i quit.
but that would add another major irritant, namely poverty-level. not smart.
and at 57 the chances for me to get another decent job in my field are very slim.
so my best option seems to me to accept the reality that important things at work suck, that it's miserable there for me, and to find ways to do an inside-job that will help me not suffer as much from this.
the temptation is always to chuck it, but that would be reckless. recklessness has its own appeal to me, however.
anyway, that example about quality of life seems different to me from the other two you described. those two seem more tied to internal stuff and perception , whereas the first one, or at least mine, to me, has real external considerations.

but now i'm all over the place again.

i did quit drinking, in a real way, because i just couldn't "be" that way any more. because i knew my quality of life would be better, my quality of "me" in my life. though on the outside nothing much has changed.

okay, well, just tossing out a mishmash your thread is provoking.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:33 AM
  # 286 (permalink)  
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Thanks, fini. Great share.

Billions of unique individuals living on a beautiful Blue Marble moving through space-time. That's us, yeah? I can't see faces, but that's our collective home. What's there not to love?!! In fact, a famous photo taken by the crew of Apollo 17, in December 1972, the last manned mission to the moon is awesome to behold. I'm sure you've all seen it already:

The Blue Marble - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You know, I'm a total space nerd guy. Sci-fi rocks. Hey, I have a collectors edition replica of the Fisher Space Pen for the Apollo 11 mission. Embedded in the very top of the pen is a tiny cut swatch of the actual space radiation protective fabric used in the command module of the 1969 moon mission. Awesome! I was 12 when they first walked on the moon! I always wanted to be an astronaut! You know, I have a dream to eventually pay the big bucks and hop a space flight to orbit the earth. That would be just the greatest thrill for me!! Seriously.

Space Pen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Just two nights ago, from a gift from my wife, Melissa, I built a Lego mock up of the Saturn V rocket, service module with the command capsule, the Eagle lunar lander, and the lunar rover. My office is in our home, and it looks more like a hobby shop then anything else. I have displays of statues of superheroes, villains, monsters, space stuff, comics, etc. It's like I'm still all boy at heart, surrounded by my memories of youth. I have a 10ft x 3ft banner of Marvel Superheroes, a gift from my step-son's, still looking for a new wall since we moved into our new digs here last October

I still have a huge original series Star Trek Enterprise model kit to build.

In our basement I have a 12ft x 6ft 1/32 scale platform 2 lane digital control model road race set I'm currently setting up and tweaking. R/C TRAXX cars and mini-helicopters too are stacked up along the walls. I'm a 12 yr old going on 55, hahaha.

Okay. Back to business. Anyways, all that above, is a rockin' example of "quality of life" for me. It's really just me being me because it feels good to be me. I'll probably never really grow up like a "normal" grows up, and I don't ever want to, truth be told. That never growing up into an "old person" in my heart and mind -- that itself is "quality of life" -- not the toys and games themselves -- but to be able to be a happy, responsible, lovin' person; generous with others, forgiving, humble, intelligent -- this is what creates "quality of life" for me. I've nothing against aging in itself, but this does not mean as my body ages, I am required to trip, stumble, and crawl myself into the gloom, and inevitably fade to grey. No way. Not this one. Ain't happenin'. Full stop.


I've always been stubborn and smart-mouthed, and quitting drinking didn't cure me of that, lol.

Sobriety for me is really just the cost of the freight required for me to be the me I want to be. I can fulfill many of my dreams while sober. When I was drunk though - I was blind, deaf, and dumb to who I am today. Sobriety is not the whole summation of my life, but simply the beginning of my present life created from the ashes of my now past and dead alcoholic life.

I'm a total believer in that when we make fundamental continuing change to our insides, and do so from within ourselves; we eventually create a cascade of changes on and effecting our external life as well. It's not a matter of if, but more a matter of when inside work changes outside reality.

Of course, reality is relative to the observer, and this is what separates the doers from the doubters, imo.

I know this much to be true:

None of us are nobodies. We're all somebodies. We're all important, and we're all living on the same Blue Marble.

Did any of this help further explain myself re: quality of life?!


Originally Posted by fini
i did quit drinking, in a real way, because i just couldn't "be" that way any more. because i knew my quality of life would be better, my quality of "me" in my life. though on the outside nothing much has changed
The quote above says to me, you creatively have grokked ("A Stranger in a Strange Land" - Robert A. Heinlein) all these "quality of life" issues, no problemo. As for not much has changed externally, you yourself have explained this out as being directly tied to your decisions. Smart decisions, I agree with you, but nonetheless, your external life is joined-at-the-hip with your real-time decisions.

And things take time to change. I'm speaking today with decades of sober life experiences. We can't just talk our way into an awesome external life. We have to create it, from the inside out, as you of course with many others, already know. I'm just saying.

Hey, thanks for the share, friend!

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:38 AM
  # 287 (permalink)  
 
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The idea of improving one's "quality of life" is universal and old as dirt. The Buddha was disillusioned and looked to improve his quality of life despite already having all the supposed trappings of happiness.

I was once addicted to alcohol and drugs. My neighbor never was. We both encounter "quality of life" issues. We both have ups and downs. We both encounter problems and work to solve them the best way we know how. We both have joys, we both have sadness. To think that mine are different or special or I go through something entirely different in the process of building a "quality life" because of my past addiction is really pretty self-centered of me. To think that I am lacking some ability to improve my life that my never addicted neighbor has just by virtue of never having been addicted is also misguided.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:41 AM
  # 288 (permalink)  
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Awesomely well said, soberlicious!
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:44 AM
  # 289 (permalink)  
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I love the way this thread is unfolding. Don't shut it down yet!

I had a thought today about a quality of life issue. I'm having a good time in my life lately, and my circumstances are still pretty terrible. I have a lot of mess to clean up. I was wondering why I feel optimistic despite it all. I think it is because I decided to approach quitting drinking playfully this time (the last time!). That has spilled over into the rest of my life. I've just taken an attitude that nothing is that big a deal, so let's make it an adventure. I love movies and novels where things go wrong, because therein lies the story. In situations where I used to think f**k it, I'll just get drunk, I'm now finding amusement and thinking, okay, I can play this part of the game.

I used to think that I wasn't taking my life seriously enough, because I was completely wrecking it. Now I'm starting to think that I was taking it too seriously. Why can't I enjoy the challenge of putting my life back together? I'll think of it like a complicated knitting pattern - often frustrating, a lot of fun, and you end up with something beautiful.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:21 AM
  # 290 (permalink)  
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Yeah!!, SoberKnitter

Life taken too seriously is akin to thinking "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids" and when we really ponder that, its true, Trix really ARE for kids, as long as rabbits can choose to be kids too!! And they can, if only they will...

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Old 03-31-2013, 09:24 AM
  # 291 (permalink)  
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crumbs, yeah i take it seriously.

that is the me that i am

yes, Robby, you explained well how you see quality of life and what yours is to you.
for me quality is also about me being me, but it's in different places from yours. and i have stuff getting in the way. and i would, in fact, like to grow up more!

and i would, in fact, like to be a bit more on the "nothing is that big a deal" (SoberKnitter) wagon...THAT would increase my quality of life considerably.

okay, so, being ever-questioning: what do others mean then when they speak of "quality of sobriety"? anyone here use that phrase? and how could it not be intertwined with quality of life?
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:38 AM
  # 292 (permalink)  
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For me quality of life and sobriety required that I lose the "worrier" mentality I had acquired over the years. What helped me most was a lot of the Buddhist stuff, mindfulness, accepting that what is, is and all of that type of thing.

Face it we all get to animate these bodies for a limited amount of time. One thing we can all be certain of is that our bodies will all break down and eventually stop working and turn back into dust. In a very real way we get to decide the attitudes and outlook we operate from in the time we are here.

There is a certain reality to the thing tho, it's not that easy to change ways of thinking that have been firmly ingrained over a lifetime. You don't just quit your substances, snap your fingers and everything turns into peaches and cream, rainbows and sunshine. That may happen for some lucky people but I doubt thats the case for everyone.

The beauty of facing everything with a sober mind is that your states of consciousness are no longer dictated by substances. A big accomplishment for me was to gain the ability to have a really bad day and just be OK with it. Sort of to say at the end of the day "Wow, this was a really great bad day". That sounds incredibly silly I know but there does seem to be something to it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:48 PM
  # 293 (permalink)  
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RobbyRobot,

You wrote:

Originally Posted by RobbyRobot View Post

As for conditions with my AA sobriety, I do have conditions:

I must always live by and practice my AA 12 steps, as I have come to understand them, or else I will absolutely return to drinking. No exceptions for this condition. I do the steps, or I lose my AA sobriety, because my AA alcoholism is kept in remission because of my practice of the entire 12 steps.

No program, and my alcoholic mind would not long be still asleep, and when it came back on line, my present psyche would be struggling for its life against my alcoholism. If I continued to not do the entire 12 steps thereafter, I would absolutely return to drinking.

So, I've made it clear, twice over, that I would return to drinking without the 12 steps to keep my alcoholism in remission, and so then my alcoholic mind would no longer be unempowered.
And then an hour or so later you wrote:

Something else I would like to be clear about for me is this: my being a non-drinker is not the same as me being AA sober. These two differences are light-years apart in my mind. Just want to get that out there, and I noticed it wasn't it my last post.

So, having said that, my non-drinker status has no conditions for me to happily remain a non-drinker. No conditions are attached to me personally, and I achieved being a quitter on my own. AA did not help me quit, and I've never used AA to quit drinking. I did it on my own, and later learned i did it in a very AVRT way because of the way I separated myself from my alcoholic mind.

Interesting, eh?!

I've a thick skin, so no worries about divergent and wholly different views on this thread
I can't seem to make any sense out of these posts, and was waiting to see if anyone else would point out their glaring contradiction. But since no-one else did, I decided to ask, hoping you would help me out with some clarification.

Do you have a Big Plan, OR is your abstinence conditional upon doing your practice of the entire twelve steps? It obviously can't be both. It sounds sort of like you HAD a pre-AVRT Big Plan but that your AA involvement has gotten you to put conditions on that plan of abstinence; you have to practice the 12 steps or you will drink again.

Thanks,

GT
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:18 PM
  # 294 (permalink)  
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GT, I'm going to leap in here, just with my own thoughts about what Robby had said a while back. I too found it confusing, yet I could kind of sense something of where he's coming from.

These thoughts are solely my own, so naturally, I do not speak 'for' Robby as such, but rather, 'to' the type of apparent contradictions you mention. I should also add, in the spirit of disclosure, that I have nothing like the sober time of people like yourself or R. However, I do have an enquiring mind, about AVRT, AA, and all manner of ways in which we might try to make our lives a bit better.

What I think creates the contradiction is the highly logical, black n white, epistemology of AVRT. In fact, not so much AVRT as a simple mental tool...but rather the underpinning conclusions about 'recovery', the 'industry' around it, and so on and so forth. My understanding of the Big Plan is that it 'should' sweep all before it. In other words, once we've made a Big Plan, its sheer logic is - or should be - enough, not only necessary but also sufficient for us to never take another drink again, under any circumstances (the old historiography 'conditions' of certain things happening once there is sufficient impelling force).

For some...indeed, many, yourself, Robby, and others here on this site: that IS sufficient to never take a drink again. In the, if you like, purely technical / physical sense, of never picking up a drink.....[and then, as RR / AVRT suggests, going on to 'deal with' Life, in all its misery and glory, etc].

Segueing to that: Living. I hesitate to suggest that the kind of life story which R has described on these boards is, in some small part, what lies behind such a person (and I count myself in this 'both-and' category) ALSO moving towards some additional space wherein we might learn and experience inspiring ways to live. Within ourselves. Hence the term, 'inside job'.

For some, that additional space may be AA / Buddhist practice of one kind or another / seeing a therapist or priest, a spiritual director or mentor....or all or any of the above.

For myself, I'm less inclined towards embracing the total 'additional space' of, say, AA, as Robby has for many years. But I think what he's saying is that, because he embraced AA (in his case), he did it wholeheartedly. It became an additional space in which to connect with others, and practise a new way of living. Perhaps a little similar to how others here on Secular Connections deploy AVRT AND / together with things like meditation, exercise, outdoorsey living, their particular 'faith' or philosophy....for Living.

My - rather long - 2 cents on the matter :-)
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:22 PM
  # 295 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Do you have a Big Plan, OR is your abstinence conditional upon doing your practice of the entire twelve steps? It obviously can't be both. It sounds sort of like you HAD a pre-AVRT Big Plan but that your AA involvement has gotten you to put conditions on that plan of abstinence; you have to practice the 12 steps or you will drink again.

Thanks,

GT
My AA defined spiritual sobriety is conditional on me embracing alcoholism as an illness, as defined by AA. This is wholly different then simply being in abstinence.

My Big Plan is simply a decision to forever now quit drinking, and never change my mind. There are no conditions on my QUITTING drinking. Like any one else, I too can just quit, yeah?

On my sobriety, there are, of course, actual conditions. AA is not about abstinence, its about AA sobriety. I recall you generally talking about in various posts how AA program was not for you, even after many years, so perhaps you just can't understand the obvious differences of AA spiritual sobriety, and AVRT resultant abstinence. It's like night and day differences for me, and has been for decades now.

As for drinking again, my practice of the AA twelve steps keeps my alcoholic illness in remission, and so then my alcoholic mind remains un-empowered too. Without my alcoholism in check, I would return to drinking, sooner or later. Alcoholism illness is not just a kind of AVRT Beast in disguise. I'm free to have these views, and I'm also successful with them too. AVRT would fail me because I would not reverse myself, and in that reversal, disavow myself from being an alcoholic.

AVRT simply "sees" my alcoholism as just more Addictive Voice, and nothing but AV. There is no mystery here. It's not like the sky is falling because I have AV, lol.

Practicing AA does give my AVRT Beast a constant feeding of course, and so what? AV is a perfectly normal thinking process. Experiencing AV, no matter how strong or relentless, can never in itself make me ever return to drinking, so no big deal being a recovered alcoholic drug addict who "does both" AVRT, and AA program.

I suppose if I did return to drinking, you'd quickly remark that I never did have a true Big Plan. Well, its been 30+ years and here I am, with a Big Plan, and my practice of the AA program, and my deep enjoyment of AA.

I'll never ever drink again, GT. I've been saying that same thing years before Rational Recovery came onto the scene, and years before AVRT proper was published for public awareness.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:26 PM
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Probably, I should have simply remarked: both AVRT and AA have fairly dualistic underpinnings, in their deepest assumptions...and therefore, conclusions.

You can't have one....without getting rid of the other.

That's what dualistic thinking does. It's 'either / or'.

Some of us try to grapple with Both / And.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bemyself View Post
Segueing to that: Living. I hesitate to suggest that the kind of life story which R has described on these boards is, in some small part, what lies behind such a person (and I count myself in this 'both-and' category) ALSO moving towards some additional space wherein we might learn and experience inspiring ways to live. Within ourselves. Hence the term, 'inside job'.

For some, that additional space may be AA / Buddhist practice of one kind or another / seeing a therapist or priest, a spiritual director or mentor....or all or any of the above.

For myself, I'm less inclined towards embracing the total 'additional space' of, say, AA, as Robby has for many years. But I think what he's saying is that, because he embraced AA (in his case), he did it wholeheartedly. It became an additional space in which to connect with others, and practise a new way of living. Perhaps a little similar to how others here on Secular Connections deploy AVRT AND / together with things like meditation, exercise, outdoorsey living, their particular 'faith' or philosophy....for Living.

Awesomely well said, Vic.

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Old 04-05-2013, 06:51 PM
  # 298 (permalink)  
Not The Way way, Just the way
 
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Originally Posted by RobbyRobot View Post
As for drinking again, my practice of the AA twelve steps keeps my alcoholic illness in remission, and so then my alcoholic mind remains un-empowered too. Without my alcoholism in check, I would return to drinking, sooner or later. Alcoholism illness is not just a kind of AVRT Beast in disguise. I'm free to have these views, and I'm also successful with them too. AVRT would fail me because I would not reverse myself, and in that reversal, disavow myself from being an alcoholic.
Of course you have every right to believe what you want but you can't get away with calling that AVRT and not have it pointed out that it is absolutely not AVRT.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:57 PM
  # 299 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Of course you have every right to believe what you want but you can't get away with calling that AVRT and not have it pointed out that it is absolutely not AVRT.
Seriously?

Do you think you've "caught me" GT?

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Old 04-05-2013, 07:03 PM
  # 300 (permalink)  
Not The Way way, Just the way
 
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Originally Posted by RobbyRobot View Post
Seriously?

Do you think you've "caught me" GT?

Just in time, Robby, not in space.
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