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Handling Irrational Beliefs

Old 07-01-2006, 12:15 AM
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Handling Irrational Beliefs

by James J. Messina, Ph.D. & Constance M. Messina, Ph.D

What are irrational beliefs?
Irrational beliefs are:
  • Messages about life we send to ourselves that keep us from growing emotionally.
  • Scripts we have in our head about how we believe life "should'' be for us and for others.
  • Unfounded attitudes, opinions, and values we hold to that are out of synchrony with the way the world really is.
  • Negative sets of habitual responses we hold to when faced with stressful events or situations.
  • Stereotypic ways of problem solving we fall into in order to deal with life's pressures.
  • Ideas, feelings, beliefs, ways of thinking, attitudes, opinions, biases, prejudices, or values with which we were raised. We have become accustomed to using them when faced with problems in our current life, even when they are not productive in helping us reach a positive, growth-enhancing solution.
  • Self-defeating ways of acting. On the surface they may look appropriate for the occasion, but actually they result in a neutral or negative consequence for us.
  • Habitual ways of thinking, feeling, or acting that we think are effective; however, in the long run they are ineffectual.
  • Counterproductive ways of thinking, which give comfort and security in the short run, but either do not resolve or actually exacerbate the problem in the long run.
  • Negative or pessimistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection, or accepting change.
  • Overly optimistic or idealistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences such as loss, conflict, risk taking, rejection, or accepting change.
  • Emotional arguments for taking or not taking action in the face of a challenge. When followed they result in no personal gain, but rather in greater personal hardship or loss.
  • Patterns of thinking that make us appear to others as stubborn, bullheaded, intemperate, argumentative, or aloof.
  • Ways of thinking about ourselves that are out of context with the real facts, resulting in our either under-valuing or over-valuing ourselves.
  • Means by which we become confused about the intentions of others when we are enmeshed in interpersonal problems with them.
  • Lifelong messages sent to us either formally or informally by: society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, neighborhood, church, social networks, family, relatives, peer group, school, work, or parents. They are unproductive in solving our current problem or crisis, but we are either unwilling or unable to let go of them. These messages can be very clear to us or they can be hidden in our subconscious.
  • Conclusions about life that we have developed over time, living in an irrational environment not identified as being irrational (e.g., beliefs developed as a member of a high-stress family).
  • Standards by which we were reared and from which we learned how to act, what to believe, and how to express or experience feelings. When followed, however, these standards do not result in a satisfactory resolution of our current problems.
  • Ritualistic ways by which we pursue our relationships with others, resulting in nonproductive relationships and increased emotional stress.
  • Outmoded, unproductive, unrealistic expectations exacted on ourselves and/or others, guaranteed to be unattainable and to result in continuing negative self-concepts.
What are some examples of irrational beliefs?

Irrational beliefs (negative) about self:
  • I do not deserve positive attention from others.
  • I should never burden others with my problems or fears.
  • I am junk.
  • I am uncreative, nonproductive, ineffective, and untalented.
  • I am worthless.
  • I am the worst example on earth of a person.
  • I am powerless to solve my problems.
  • I have so many problems, I might as well give up right now.
  • I am so dumb about things, I can never solve anything as complex as this.
  • I am the ugliest, most unattractive, unappealing, fat slob in the world.
Irrational beliefs (negative) about others:
  • No one cares about anyone else.
  • All men (or women) are dishonest and are never to be trusted.
  • Successful relationships are a trick; you have no control over how they turn out.
  • People are out to get whatever they can from you; you always end up being used.
  • People are so opinionated; they are never willing to listen to other's points of view.
  • You are bound to get hurt in a relationship; it makes no difference how you try to change it.
  • There is a loser in every fight, so avoid fights at all costs.
  • All people are out for #1; you need to know you'll always be #2, no matter what.
  • It's not who you are but what you do that makes you attractive to another person.
  • What counts in life is others' opinions of you.
  • There is a need to be on guard in dealing with others to insure that you don't get hurt.
Irrational beliefs on other topics:
  • There is only one way of doing things.
  • Work is the punishment man must endure for being human.
  • A family that plays (prays) together always stays together.
  • Always protecting against the forces of evil in life is the only way to live.
  • There are always two choices: right or wrong; black or white; win or lose; pass or fail; grow or stagnate.
  • Once you are married and have children, you join the normal human race.
  • A handicapped person is imperfect, to be pitied, and to be dropped along the path of life.
  • Admitting to a mistake or to failure is a sign of weakness.
  • The showing of any kind of emotion is wrong, a sign of weakness, and not allowable.
  • Asking for help from someone else is a way of admitting your weakness; it denies the reality that only you can solve your problems.
How can we recognize irrational beliefs?

Irrational beliefs can be present if we:
  • Find ourselves caught up in a vicious cycle in addressing our problems.
  • Find a continuing series of "catch 22's'' where every move we make to resolve a problem results in more or greater problems.
  • Have been suffering silently (or not so silently) with a problem for a long time, yet have not taken steps to get help to address the problem.
  • Have decided on a creative problem solving solution, yet find ourselves incapable of implementing the solution.
  • Have chosen a problem solving course of action to pursue and find that we are unhappy with this course of action; yet we choose to avoid looking for alternatives.
  • Are afraid of pursuing a certain course of action because of the guilt we will feel if we do it.
  • Find we are constantly obsessed with a problem yet take no steps to resolve it.
  • Find we are immobilized in the face of our problems.
  • Find that the only way to deal with problems is to avoid them, deny them, procrastinate about them, ignore them, run away from them, turn our back on them.
  • Find that we can argue both sides of our problem, becoming unable to make a decision.
What are the benefits of refuting our irrational beliefs?

By refuting our irrational beliefs we are able to:
  • Unblock our emotions and feelings about ourselves and our problems.
  • Become productive, realistic problem solvers.
  • Gain greater credibility with ourselves and others.
  • Gain clarity, purpose, and intention in addressing our current problems.
  • Reduce the fear of guilt or of hurting others in solving problems.
  • Identify the barriers and obstacles that must first be hurdled before our problems can be resolved.
  • Come to greater honesty about ourselves and our problems.
  • Put our problem into a realistic perspective as to its importance, magnitude, and probability of being solved.
  • Separate our feelings from the content of the problem.
  • Live richer, more authentic lives.
  • View our lives in a healthier perspective, with greater meaning and direction.
  • Gain our sense of humor in the presence of our problems and in their resolution.
  • Recognize our self-worth and self-goodness and separate it from the errors and mistakes we have made in our lives.
  • Forgive ourselves and others for mistakes made.
  • Give ourselves and others kindness, tenderness, and understanding during times of great stress.
  • Gain a sense of purpose and order in our lives as we solve problems.
  • Feel productive as we labor through the muck and mire of our problems.
  • Respect our rights and the rights of others as we solve problems.
  • Clarify our feelings about the behavior of others without the barrier of self-censorship or fear of rejection.
  • Gain a "win-win'' solution to problems, which involves ourselves with others. It opens us up to compromise.
Steps to take in refuting an irrational belief

Step 1: Is your thinking and problem solving ability being blocked by an irrational belief? Consider a specific problem as you answer the following questions:
  • Am I going in circles in trying to solve this problem?
  • Is there something inside of me that is preventing or keeping me from taking the necessary actions in this matter?
  • Am I bothered by the thoughts of what I or others "should do, act like, think, or feel'' in this situation?
  • Do I find myself saying how this situation "should be," having a hard time facing it the way it really is?
  • Do I use fantasy or magical thinking in looking at this problem? Am I always hoping that by some miracle it will go away?
  • Am I burdened by the fear of what others think of me as I work on this problem?
  • Do I know what the solution is, but become paralyzed in its implementation?
  • Do I find myself using a lot of "yes but's'' in discussing this problem?
  • Do I find it easier to procrastinate, avoid, divert my attention, ignore, or run away from this problem?
  • Is this problem causing much distress and discomfort for me and/or others, and yet I remain stumped in trying to resolve it?
Step 2: If you have answered yes to any or all of the questions in Step 1, you are probably facing a problem or situation in which a blocking irrational belief is clouding your thinking. The next thing to do is to try to identify the blocking irrational belief. Answer the following questions in your journal:
  • Is the blocking belief something I have believed in all my life?
  • Is the blocking belief coming from the teachings of my parents, church, family, peers, work, society, culture, community, race, ethnic reference group, or social network?
  • Is the blocking belief something that always recurs when I am trying to solve problems similar to this one?
  • Is the blocking belief something that has helped me solve problems successfully in the past?
  • Is the blocking belief one that tends to make me dishonest with myself about this problem?
  • Is the blocking belief an immobilizing concept that sparks fear of guilt or fear of rejection in my mind as I face this problem?
  • Is the blocking belief something that can be stated in a sentence or two?
  • Is the blocking belief a consistent statement as I face this problem, or does it tend to change as variables of this problem become more clear to me?
  • Is the blocking belief a tangible statement of belief or is it simply a feeling or intuition?
  • Can I state the blocking belief? If so, write it in your journal: My blocking belief is:
Step 3: Once you have identified the blocking belief in Step 2, test its rationality. Answer the following questions about the belief, ``yes'' or ``no.''
  • Is there any basis in reality to support this belief as always being true?
  • Does this belief encourage personal growth, emotional maturity, independence of thinking and action, and stable mental health?
  • Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will help you overcome this or future problems in your life?
  • Is this belief one which, if ascribed to, will result in behavior that is self defeating for you?
  • Does this belief protect you and your rights as a person?
  • Does this belief assist you in connecting honestly and openly with others so that healthy, growth engendering interpersonal relationships result?
  • Does this belief assist you in being a creative, rational problem solver who is able to identify a series of alternatives from which you can choose your own personal priority solutions?
  • Does this belief stifle your thinking and problem solving ability to the point of immobilization?
  • When you tell others of this belief do they support you because that is the way everyone in your family, peer group, work, church, or community thinks?
  • Is this belief an absolute? Is it a black or white, yes or no, win or lose, no options in the middle type of belief?
Healthy answers are:
1-no 2-yes 3-yes 4-no 5-yes 6-yes 7-yes 8-no 9-no 10-no
If you are unable to give healthy answers to one or more question in Step 2, then your blocking belief is most likely irrational.

Step 4: Once you have determined that the blocking belief is irrational, you are ready to refute this irrational belief. Respond to the following questions in your journal:
  • How do I consistently feel when I think of this belief?
  • Is there anything in reality to support this belief as being true?
  • What in reality supports the lack of absolute truth in this belief?
  • Does the truth of this belief exist only in the way I talk, act, or feel about this problem?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?
  • What positive things might happen to me if I do not hold on to this belief?
  • What would be an appropriate, realistic belief I could substitute for this irrational belief?
  • How would I feel if I substituted this new belief for my blocking belief?
  • How will I grow and how will my rights and the rights of others be protected by this substitute belief?
  • What is keeping me from accepting this alternate belief?
Once you have answered these questions, substitute a rational belief and act on it.

My substitute rational healthy belief is:





Step 5: If you still have trouble solving problems, return to Step 1 and begin again.
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Old 07-03-2006, 01:08 AM
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Wonderful. Thanks very much for this.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:33 AM
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WOAH!!! COOL POST!!

That has to be one of the best written ones I've seen!!
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Old 07-13-2006, 01:41 AM
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Brilliant, brilliant. Thanks Morning. this will be my lunch break reading.

Ta.
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:25 AM
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Bump. So Good.
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:01 AM
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Another irrational belief is the belief in a higher power that listens to our innermost thoughts and takes some kind of interest in our lives and intercedes in favor of or against actions we take.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:25 AM
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I feel that way too Jack, but we're certainly in the minority.
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:45 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for bumping this one up!

Originally Posted by jbm125
Another irrational belief is the belief in a higher power that listens to our innermost thoughts and takes some kind of interest in our lives and intercedes in favor of or against actions we take.
I agree totally also. As I understand your statement you're talking about an external higher power. But can we not use the word HP to acknowledge that higher self inside all of us that we logically (or not) locate inside of ourselves and access in order to change ourselves into the person we want to be?
Does it then become non secular? Is it a problem of semantics?. Maybe I will change my use of HP to HS.. meaning higher self. I guess I just need to name the internal source that I have learned/accessed. AA doesn't have a corner on the market of the use of "higher power" or does it?

How about HIP? Meaning Higher Internal Power? Does have a nice ring to it doesn't it?
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:17 AM
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michski
How about HIP? Meaning Higher Internal Power? Does have a nice ring to it doesn't it?
yes it does...
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Old 12-21-2008, 06:52 AM
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It's What's Inside That Makes The Difference

After reading this thread I see myself not too long ago. As Jung described Alcoholism/Addiction: "..a spiritual quest for wholeness" I saw myself as one seeking that "wholeness" by any means possible from the outside world. The idea of a higher power (i.e. "God") was repugnant to me. Maybe I've studied too much science, Oh Well.... Anyway, as time went on thinking my answers would come from something I could put in myself, it became clear that would not work. After finally just "Letting Go" (to what ? I don't know, didn't need to at the time) I understood it was me trying to hold on to whatever thinking "I" could handle it which brought about my torment, so by giving "it" to what/whoever is out there, that life changed for the better. Remember, everything we have been searching for from the outside has been on the inside all along, we just couldn't find it. It is with that "unsuspected internal resource" that I have my relationship. From it comes a quality of living which effects all areas of my life. For that I am grateful. For some, to name it is to diminish it, so whatever you find that works.....................
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Old 12-21-2008, 07:09 AM
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For me, the strength of will I find to do all great things in life comes from "within" (cheesy, right?). Not the "me" that is destructive, but that better person I know resides there, waiting to be drawn out. I feel very accomplished (good marriage, good career, etc) for my 25 years, and I give credit to myself for getting there. Why would I not give myself credit as I overcome addiction? For me, placing the "reins" outside of my inner self (giving it over) is contrary to how I've progressed in life. Deities have no place in my spirituality, and one of those will never take credit for my accomplishments OR my failures. This is why the whole "it's not my fault, I have a disease and have no control" thing doesn't ring true for me. I get my strength from knowing my behavior and its consequences lie squarely in my lap. However, I can get on board with the notion that many people find "god" within themselves, their family, their friends, etc. Nomenclature makes little difference as long as it WORKS for that individual.
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:37 AM
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very bottom line: stay sober

I agree, whatever works for any particular person(i.e. staying sober) is the bottom line. I know people, and myself, who require more than the bottom line. For me, spiritual growth (by that I mean having a quality relationship with the most important thing in my life) is essential, without it I may be sober but waiting for the
next relapse. I must grow or die. Why be dry and miserable?
So to have that real intimacy necessary for that spiritual growth, I had to let go of that old self and construct a new one.
My old self would revel in each accomplishment (good or bad) as proof of my omnipotence. Loss after loss after loss, yet I would not see how I was Mr. Hyde.
Finally, after admitting to my innermost self I could not manage life as I had been living it, I let go, surrendered, whatever you wish to call it and my entire life changed in ways I could not have dreamed of, all positive (sometimes I make a lot of "lemonade" though).
Anyway, just want to say, in my case (I can only reflect from my experience) I had to let go to something beyond myself to find myself. Things have happened in my life which defy coincidence (hence noco..) all wonderful. That is what it takes for me, that's the type of ego which can return if I do not "place principles before personalities".
To tell someone the way they stay sober is wrong would indicate I have not come very far at all in my recovery.....
So, whatever it takes is whatever it takes...words can only get in the way sometimes!
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:39 AM
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Lightbulb Bottom Line

Originally Posted by Brightening View Post
I get my strength from knowing my behavior and its consequences lie squarely in my lap.
Ultimately that is, I am responsible for my actions. But what is the "I" or "me" that authors my actions. As a simplistic view, I think the "me" part is a collection of experiences and memories gleaned from living. Then there are the genetic behaviors that are inherent and well developed before there was a "me" or "I". They too govern my behavior. Neurological changes from substance abuse/addiction alter behavior. Also there is the hidden "me" or so I have been taught, that can influence my behavior through unconscious means. I think denial can be understood as an example of such. A behavior like denial, as I have experienced it, was uncovered through working with helping others. I believe it is very likely I may have suffered much longer in my active addiction have I not sought help with my malady. So I no longer believe that "I" alone could escape addiction behaviors (as I believe involves complex neurological and emotive conditioning among other things) without help from caring others or some other transformation power. As for naming other transformational powers, the Buddhist way is one I use and the mystery of life (or life force) is another.

Then the bottom line for me is: do something and attribute the change to whatever that works for you.
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Brightening View Post
... the whole "it's not my fault, I have a disease and have no control" thing doesn't ring true for me. I get my strength from knowing my behavior and its consequences lie squarely in my lap. However, I can get on board with the notion that many people find "god" within themselves, their family, their friends, etc. Nomenclature makes little difference as long as it WORKS for that individual.
The disease model I follow is that "it's not my fault, I have a disease but I now bear the responsibility to choose the elements that will enable me to recover" which is more what you go on to say.

I follow a journey in which knowledge of lack of control is immediately followed by seeking and applying remedies leading to better control.
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:07 AM
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The Doctors Messina

Wow. The Doctors seem to have everything covered in their list of irrationalities. They even get irrational themselves while committing to the list. For example:
Scripts we have in our head about how we believe life "should'' be for us and for others.
The Constitution is an "ought" (where "should be" = "ought"). My life should be sober. My children should not become screwed up because of my alcoholic actions. I should not lose my job; therefore I must admit I am alcoholic and go to A.A. The "is-ought" problem in morality apparently is still not settled, after nearly 2500 years.

values with which we were raised.
I'm certain that Christians who were raised as Christians would not agree that those values with which they were raised are "irrational." I believe that only an atheist who despises Christianity would say that. There are many other values with which we are often raised that are not irrational: the value of honesty, of bootstrap individualism, of gardening, of brushing our teeth, etc. The Doctors leave that one so wide open it is worthless to consider it.

Self-defeating ways of acting [that] may look appropriate for the occasion...
How can we know, when they look appropriate, that they are not?

Habitual ways of thinking, feeling, or acting that we think are effective; however, in the long run they are ineffectual.
Ditto

idealistic ways of looking at necessary life experiences
Anytime anyone tells me to quit being idealistic (back to the "oughts") I cringe. Idealism in the sense of oughts are philosophical Romanticism, which deals "with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence." Oops, there is that pesky problem of "values" again!

Patterns of thinking that make us appear to others as stubborn,
Oops, there is that pesky problem of "values" again. I will stubbornly hold to my values as long as I understand them to be of value to me. Sometimes, stubbornness can be a value: just to give in to some other argument so as not to appear "stubborn" is no virtue. It takes virtues to hold on to our values.

Lifelong messages...They are unproductive...
No explanation is given as to why they are unproductive, yet the fact that we have received them all our lives (perhaps messages like "One Day At A Time" or "Take it Easy"?) would appear to be the reason they are "unproductive". The Doctors give no explanation.

Standards by which we were reared and from which we learned how to act, what to believe, and how to express or experience feelings.[Period. No equivocation on that.] When followed, however, these standards do not result in a satisfactory resolution of our current problems.
When it is true that they do not result in satisfactory resolutions, the Doctors are correct. However, they also unequivocally state that such "standards...when followed...do not result in satisfactory resolutions". Really? 100% of the time? Christians, would you say this is true of every Sunday School lesson you have ever learned?

The Doctors are Humanists, but they seem to be determinists, whereby such broad generalizations are meant to show "compassion" to the "poor humans" who are "fully caused to be what they are", rather than moral agents capable of making informed choices.

The Doctors do, however, offer a couple of good points about irrationalities:
Messages about life we send to ourselves that keep us from growing emotionally.
This is almost always the alcoholic's dilemma. My own spirituality was totally arrested before I admitted I was powerless over alcohol. I kept sending myself the "message" that something was wrong, but that it wasn't the alcohol; it was the excuses I made for drinking it. Sure the excuses were the wrong message; but so was the reliance on alcohol to give credence to the excuses. (They never did.)

Unfounded attitudes, opinions, and values we hold to that are out of synchrony with the way the world really is.
.
True. When we are in "synchronicity with the way the world really is", that is called having "correspondence" with the truth of reality. [1][2]

Counterproductive ways of thinking, which give comfort and security in the short run, but either do not resolve or actually exacerbate the problem in the long run.
We call these "excuses".

Ways of thinking about ourselves that are out of context with the real facts
Again, the "correspondence theory". But the Doctors go on:
resulting in our either under-valuing or over-valuing ourselves.
This demonstrates that "values" are not detrimental unless, according to the Doctors, you were raised with them, and then they are bad. The Doctors leave no room for argument about that.

I don't like lists such as the one put together by the Doctors. By definition they must be so general that they suck anyone into their argument who isn't familiar with the embedded issues in each argument. This generality waters down the list so it becomes unusable, once you bother to look twice. No one should [ought] ever accept such a list without looking twice.

But most people are not trained to see the deficiencies in such arguments. Don't be fooled by any argument. Look closely at it. Question it. Ask yourself if it fits the "correspondence theory". Obviously most of what the Doctors wrote in this piece does not correspond.

I know that many will argue with me. It isn't necessary to do so in writing. I am not trying to change your minds. I don't know if you agreed with that list in the first place. I'm trying to open some eyes, and if you disagree with me---Good for you, so long as you can make your disagreement correspond.

for reading my critique.

Sincerely,
Curtis C
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:25 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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The Power Within, Not Without

Brightening wrote:
For me, the strength of will I find to do all great things in life comes from "within" (cheesy, right?). Not the "me" that is destructive, but that better person I know resides there, waiting to be drawn out.
Cheesy? H.E.Double L. No! It does go against the grain of a higher power "outside ourselves". But it took me 4 years in A.A. to come to the understanding as an atheist that since no power outside myself assisted me, that it came from within.

When I talked once at a step meeting, I said that when I was drinking I often wondered why I did things I knew to be wrong, seemingly without the ability to prevent myself; and why I did not do things I knew to be right. When I was struck, one day, by the idea that this was my whole problem, my means of making excuses, I was hit by a ton of bricks, I admitted I was powerless, and then went to my first meeting!

After the meeting, a man thanked me for my honesty about my atheism, and told me that I basically had said what Paul said in Romans 7:15. I was dumbfounded. But he was right. I went home and read it. However, Paul attributed his inability to do the next right thing to the sinful nature of the flesh. I attributed it to "stinkin' thinkin'"

Thanks for saying outloud what many of us already think but don't say often enough outloud. Other's need to hear it.

Sincerely,
Curtis C
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:56 PM
  # 17 (permalink)  
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Wow.

This came along at the right time in my life!!!

And it wasn't a higher power that led me to this!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:30 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
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Just wanted to chime in to say thanks for a fantastic, thoughtful list. It's definitely something I will refer to when running into difficulties.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:17 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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This is very long, but the following quote from a REBT advocate is on message here. (If MG or others prefer, remove this post and I will provide a hyperlink instead.)

The 12 Irrational Beliefs (iB's) of REBT


1. The idea that it is a dire necessity for adults to be loved by significant others for almost everything they do--

Instead of their concentrating on their own self-respect, on winning approval for practical purposes, and on loving rather than on being loved.

2. The idea that certain acts are awful or wicked, and that people who perform such acts should be severely damned --

Instead of the idea that certain acts are self-defeating or antisocial, and that people who perform such acts are behaving stupidly, ignorantly, or neurotically, and would be better helped to change. People's poor behaviors do not make them rotten individuals.

3. The idea that it is horrible when things are not the way we like them to be--

Instead of the idea that it is too bad, that we would better try to change or control bad conditions so that they become more satisfactory, and, if that is not possible, we had better temporarily accept and gracefully lump their existence.

4. The idea that human misery is invariably externally caused and is forced on us by outside people and events

Instead of the idea that neurosis is largely caused by the view that we take of unfortunate conditions.

5. The idea that if something is or may be dangerous or fearsome we should be terribly upset and endlessly obsess about it--

Instead of the idea that one would better frankly face it and render it non-dangerous and, when that is not possible, accept the inevitable.

6. The idea that it is easier to avoid than to face life difficulties and self-responsibilities

Instead of the idea that the so-called easy way is usually much harder in the long run.

7. The idea that we absolutely need something other or stronger or greater than ourself on which to rely --

Instead of the idea that it is better to take the risks of thinking and acting less dependently.

8. The idea that we should be thoroughly competent, intelligent, and achieving in all possible respects --

Instead of the idea that we should do better rather than always need to do well, and accept ourself as a quite imperfect creature, who has general human limitations and specific fallibilities.

9. The idea that because something once strongly affected our life, it should indefinitely affect it --

Instead of the idea that we can learn from our past experiences but not be overly-attached to or prejudiced by them.

10. The idea that we must have certain and perfect control over things --

Instead of the idea that the world is full of improbability and chance and that we can still enjoy life despite this.

11. The idea that human happiness can be achieved by inertia and inaction --

Instead of the idea that we tend to be happiest when we are vitally absorbed in creative pursuits, or when we are devoting ourselves to people or projects outside ourselves.

12. The idea that we have virtually no control over our emotions and that we cannot help feeling disturbed about things --

Instead of the idea that we have real control over our destructive emotions if we choose to work at changing the “musturbatory” hypotheses which we often employ to create them.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:36 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
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I am very pleased to see a secular thread dealing with addiction. I've never come across a mini-community that deals with it in a secular manner. My mother who is suffering from addiction is religious and so are my family members who fund her recovery programs, and so they are adamant about projects that repeatedly fail (and are against most forms of medication that could probably help her.) No one wants to listen to any of my (or her) advice on what's best for her. Thanks for this thread.
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