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The Cure for Oblivion

progress relationships Feb 09, 2021

A woman recently told me that she always seems to end up with oblivious men. We both laughed and I responded that oblivion may be a general feature of the gender. 

Except I wasn’t really kidding. I have both been accused of being oblivious and have confessed to it, so I have given a lot of thought to the subject.

Google tells me that oblivion is “the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening.” I admit to using this as a comfortable excuse for my own relational mistakes and messes. It’s easier to admit to being clueless instead of selfish or evil.

Of course the dictionary doesn’t give us the “why” behind someone’s oblivion. Maybe it stems from ignorance, which sounds innocent until you consider willful ignorance. In other words, I am oblivious because I don’t care about you so leave me alone. The oblivious person may be a selfish, narcissistic bastard that is trying to hurt you. Oblivion can be a smokescreen...

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Relationships are Challenging

god progress relationships Feb 06, 2021

I woke up the other morning in quite a bit of distress. I had expected a night of tossing and turning, but actually slept well; but I was just postponing the inevitable fear and anxiety. I was in a situation where I felt like I had painted myself into a corner. Except that the paint was battery acid and I had bare feet.

And of course the stress was all about a couple of particular relationships, specifically my clumsiness in navigating them. I can do almost anything when it comes to building and house repairs, I have done plenty of brake jobs, and taught myself how to write computer software. I am physically fit for my age and can easily knock off a Saturday 50-miler on my bicycle. I am proficient at a lot of things and am confident in most of my abilities.

But this relationship stuff is hard work for me. Being in an addiction and basically in isolation mode for the majority of my life has really taken a toll on the way I relate to people. I am not sure which is the cause and which...

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Expectation, Disappointment, and Acceptance

god healing progress Jan 15, 2021

It is said that expectation is the root of all disappointment and that is usually a true statement. The trouble is that life is full of expectations and most of them are very reasonable. I am at the bus stop and my app says that the bus will be here at 6:21 am. It is 6:20 so I expect it to be here very soon. I have an appointment to get my teeth cleaned at 8:00 am and expect to be in the chair shortly after.

If the bus doesn’t come or I have to wait a long time at the dentist’s office, I can be disappointed. I had an appointment—I expected something to occur at a precise time and it didn’t so I am dis-appointed. It’s funny how words make sense when you break them down.

Where expectations get tricky is when they are not about a fixed, agreed upon appointments, but in more nuanced things like relationships. I expect something from someone else and when things work out differently, I can be disappointed or even devastated.

Disappointment, then, is a useful...

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It's OK to Be Bored

12 steps progress sobriety Jan 12, 2021

Life has its ups and downs. And its flat spots. Peaks, valleys, and plateaus. Life moves through time so I don’t think of these as static positions but movements along a line. Sometimes rising, sometimes falling, and sometimes flat.

There can be multiple lines: rising success at work and play, but a decline in morality and the private life. A rise in recovery and healing and yet a decline in some relationships. Sickness in the outer life and growth in the inner life— “though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Life can be complex.

But the fact remains, we have to navigate the peaks, valleys, and plateaus and still maintain sobriety and recovery. I think the first key is to be aware of them, realize that they are part of life and that everyone experiences them. We want to think we are “special” and that our experiences are quite unique. But there are cycles in nature like the four seasons and the waxing and waning of...

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Don't Talk to Me Like That

healing progress sobriety Dec 28, 2020

You are no good. You are a loser. You will never get this right. You messed up again. Why don’t you just give up? You don’t deserve your wife. She despises you and thinks you are a loser too.

If those words were directed to me from the outside, I would be pretty upset. I would even consider those “fighting words.” But there was a time not long ago when I let statements like that enter in and  dominate my thoughts. Worse than that, they were phrased in the first person: “I am no good...I am a loser...I will never get this right…” etc.

I let them slide through because I assumed that they were true. This is the ultimate form of self-deception—I was telling myself lies about myself.

This kind of thinking and self talk has to stop if solid sobriety and recovery is to occur in your life. Recovery is not possible when toxic thoughts are allowed to run wild in your mind. Why? Because your behavior is usually consistent with who you think...

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Transferring Success

Sometimes I am amazed at the successful, accomplished men and women in my local 12-step groups. There are physicians, engineers, computer programmers, college professors, musicians, teachers, diesel mechanics, surgery nurses, business owners, and ministers. And those are just the people I can think of off the top of my head.

I don’t know why I am amazed. Maybe I expected a bunch of guys sitting around in trench coats when I first came into the program. I don’t know. While I wasn’t wearing a trench coat back then, the addiction had me feeling like I was down-and-out.

And yet, parts of my life were quite accomplished. I had (and still have) a successful computer programming business for over 20 years. I was basically self-taught and became one of the top experts in my field. I was earning enough for my wife to stay at home and raise and home-school 8 wonderful sons. I was logging thousands of miles on my bicycle every summer. I was teaching hundreds of people in a...

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Is It Going to Hurt?

“Hello Mr. Q. I will be over in 30-minutes to take your bandage off.”

My visiting nurse was on the phone. It was June of 2012, just short of a week after open heart surgery. Instead of sewing up my chest with Frankenstein-like stitches like the old days, they used glue to close the incision in my skin and covered it with wide, semi-clear tape, sort of like packing tape.

“Is it going to hurt?” I asked her before she hung up. 

Oh no, it won’t hurt. See you in a half an hour.”

About 30-minutes later, I answered the door, only to see a different nurse. “What happened to my regular nurse?” I asked.

“She got stuck at her last call. I am here to take your bandage off.”

A few minutes later, she had worked her fingers under the top of the bandage and was getting ready to pull it off. “Are you ready?” she asked. 

“Yes,” I replied. “Is it going to hurt?”

“Of course...

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Friction and Inertia

healing progress temptation Dec 21, 2020

I felt a strong craving. A lust craving. One that I wanted to fulfill with a woman. Any woman.

It was a Sunday evening as I was sitting in church. During the preaching. If that shocks you, this website may not be the place for you.

My Bible was flopped open on my lap and the preaching was lively and relevant. But I didn’t care. My mind was somewhere else, being pulled by my craving. I had been sober for a long time so I was a bit disoriented, but the sensation also felt familiar, like an old friend. Like the bad kid from the neighborhood that you liked getting in trouble with.

I discreetly hit the home button on my phone and scanned the apps. I had gotten rid of all of the dangerous apps that I had previously used in finding sex partners. Friction. Something to slow me down. Slightly frustrated, I got onto the NFL app to check the football scores. My team was losing a game they shouldn’t be losing. Bummer.

I launched a classified website that has some dark corners and...

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Three Aspects of Peace — Part 3

god healing progress Dec 20, 2020

Part 1 was about peace with God, which is the result of being reconciled to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Part 2 was about the peace of God that comes in response to making requests to Him with thankfulness and giving our cares over to Him.

This post is about a peace that rules in our hearts, a ruling peace. It turns out that this has been the most difficult aspect of peace to write about. I pictured an armored sentinel at the door of my heart keeping everything out except peace. She would be peace personified. I was actually daydreaming about this as an analogy—until I got cut off in traffic and she disappeared. But I persisted in this line of thinking until I found myself standing in a FedEx location frustrated with the clerk about a lost package. I know, just little things, but how quickly my peace went missing!

After taking another look at the passage, I realized that my analogy wasn’t very good.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to...

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How Do I Get Unstuck?

healing progress Dec 15, 2020

I recently asked my 12-step home group: What do you do when you are stuck? I asked the question because I felt stuck. As always, I got some great wisdom from the group. Here some thoughts on the topic:

Admit it to someone

Two things that have been vital in my recovery: I have to bring things into the light and to be honest about my weaknesses. When you go to the hospital to get a wound fixed they don’t examine you in a dark room. When I had open heart surgery, my open chest was flooded with powerful lights so that the surgery staff could do their work. The darkness was not a good place to be in our addiction; healing began when things were exposed to the light, whether the exposure was on purpose or not.

One of our 12-step meeting guidelines is to lead with our weakness. I don’t find that very pleasant because I want everyone to think I have it all together. But I don’t have it all together and if I can’t admit that among my fellow recovering addicts, where...

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