Monday, November 30, 2009


The book Drop the Rock defines this character defect as "desire for material wealth or gain while ignoring the realm of the spiritual." defines covetous as below


/ˈkʌvɪtəs/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kuhv-i-tuhs] Use covetousness in a Sentence

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inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy.


eagerly desirous.

1250–1300; ME coveitous < AF, OF; see covet, -ous

Related forms:

covetously, adverb

covetousness, noun

1. grasping, rapacious. See avaricious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
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avarice, avariciousness, cupidity, avaritia, greed


"Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Luke 12:15

Copyright © 1976, 1977, 1983, 1997 Diane S. Dew

This is the best site I've found for a full discussion of the Biblical references against covetousness. They're almost endless.

Drop the Rock states that the desire for material things isn't the problem it's the excessive desire and the attitude. It's 'fear based' and believing that possessions 'make the man' or that if I have things I am somebody.

Yet that's the very nature of this pacman society. All that matters is wealth in the world it seems and to be a 'success' one must have wealth and really once one has wealth there's no real question as to how one came by it.

Yet there on TV this week I watched Bill and Melinda Gates describing their life today of philanthropy and the joys they have learned from this new life. Most of us 'want' and believe that one day with 'enough' we'll be givers too. But how much 'security' do we need and how much 'insurance' in this world can still the fear within us.

Do we think of ourselves in terms of what we have. I certainly am guilty for feeling less than. The book Drop the Rock says very clearly that few of us 'examine' our lives and rarely do we seriously look at the values that guide our day to day decisions. Certainly I do now. I believe I once was only interested in learning and giving the learning I had. I repeatedly made decisions in the best interest of helping others over what would be most beneficial for myself. I still do and mostly these days I don't like it simply because of the society I experience. I was unprepared for theft in my work and lost tens of thousands of dollars because of the theft and deceitfulness of staff. I believed in working harder so I could give others jobs and pay them and that by more work it would generate outwards but I didn't count on black holes of greed and evil. I was unprepared for the losses of divorce. I was unprepared for the countless new government regulations and penalties that require everyone to be a lawyer just to get through the day. Everything is taxed. I was constantly striving to do my best, work the hardest and then share the benefits with everyone.

I had huge dinner parties which were not reciprocated. I have countlessly shared and have not seen the same kind of reciprocity. People hoard here. When I was in a treatment centre wondering where my life had gone wrong a delightful character said "we all looked for people like you to take from. You're a "mark". I spent all my money on booze and drugs and then depended on guys like you to feed me and clothes me and give me a place to stay." I remember housing drunks and having them always around eating the bounty of my labour while few of them worked.

Even in my regular association I found that people were ever quick to take generosity and really appreciate it in me but weren't generous in return. Their sense of the "world" and self care, I'd work two jobs or weekends or holidays and they'd not, or they'd claim their relative poverty was anything but their own 'choice'. My success was ever defined by others as 'luck' and theres was 'hard work".

Living in this world caused me to really question my values of generosity. Indeed I've had to question a lot of the spiritual values that I had. I now continue to be generous, I believe" but I ask myself if I'm throwing "pearls to swine" and question whether I'm giving 'seeds' to those who would squander them or those who would plant them and make another garden to share.

Bill Gates was describing this when he talked of learning from Warren Buffet about giving and projects that would grow. I thought giving itself was good but recognize that those who give to drug addicts on the street are really just self serving because giving without thoughtfulness and God's guidance isn't 'selfless' but rather selfish.

When I hired a staff person who was a compulsive liar I didn't take the effort to thoroughly investigate their past history of theft and deceit. I hired them despite their shady references. I thought I was giving them a chance but in fact I was being trusting and generous because it makes me "feel good" and "looks good" but it needs to be coupled with 'discernment'.

When I give time and money to one person who doesn't deserve it or abuses it I have to realize that there is another person who might do the job better, appreciate the generosity, see the spirituality rather than just experiencing a 'mark" to be used.

I have to look at my own actions today. Clearly I was innocent and naïve in business. I was a doctor and gave 100% to medicine but didn't get any training in the paranoia that business people have and given the losses I've had in business, not dissimiliar to the losses I had in love, I really have to consider that I'm putting my seeds in barren ground and really ought to reconsider where I'm planting and what I want.

That said, life as a lesson is a constant source of entertainment. I am growing covetous as I get older. I want the neighbours new boat with all the parts working. I seem forever to be in a state of constant repair and would love to have the money to hire a staff of people to fulfill my fantasies, but don't have the capacity to scrutinize staff so that I don't spend 3 years of my life paying for the error in judgement of hiring devil's spawn. So then I recoil and don't want to work at all and go on the dole or become a criminal like the people who steal from me and don't work themselves but seem to collude with the courts to take the hard work of the good people. I think I'll grow marijuania or steal or do any number of things to get the lear jet and rolls Royce.

Then I go back and think no, if I had tremendous wealth I'd just make bigger mistakes. I need to do what my mother said, look at the pennies. I need to look at my own covetousness in terms of the pennies and the small scale because if I won the lottery I'd just hire a person who stole more from me and told bigger lies. I have to be grateful to God that his lessons have been smaller scale. It's here where I need to make the changes. If I had a harem my wife problems would have been a whole lot worse than occurred in our monogamous society.

I certainly don't covet my neighbour's wife. I feel sorry for him more often than not. I feel less than in the eyes of others because I don't have a bigger boat and a couple of houses and that's phallic as Freud would say. I feel less than a lot. I recognize it but whenever I have things they just require more work and they don't fill that whole Pascal says is a 'god hole" and the pacman consumer items never sustain. Just as soon as I have one toy I want the next and I'm still left with the sense of emptiness for God.

I was covetous when I was married. Having the beautiful wife I wanted her to be a rocket scientist too. Having the bright woman I wanted her to be more sexy like my neighbour's wife. I want my cat to fetch like a dog. I want a dog that doesn't have the demands they do but can be left a couple of days like a cat.

I want what I don't have and like C.S. Lewis says I look for the architect in the walls of the building. It's the holy spirit I want not the spirits. Materialism is a lie. It's a necessary evil but the reality is that it's not all there is. We are spiritual beings living in a material world not material beings living in a spiritual world. I have to put covetousness into that equation and not expect things to satisfy more than they do or still the fear of separation from God.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

BC Winter Hunting & Lillooet

I was up at 3 am and on the road by 4. That's a very keen hunter. A&W is open 24 hours but don't serve breakfast till 6 am. A Papa Burger combo at 4 am with coffee is a little heavy on the stomach. The sea to sky highway to Whistler was at first fogged in the valleys. Then by Whistler it began to sleet. I took a right at Pemberton and headed up the Duffy Lake Road. It was just getting light. I was glad to use a recreational site outhouse. After that I tried out my new chains finding they fit just fine. But I didn't need them for the main road. It was slippery but with the Ford Ranger 4x4 did just fine. I saw the rump of one deer in my headlights. Don't even know if it was a buck.

I left the truck on the Duffy Lake Road and hiked up the Duffy Lake Forest Service Road. The wind was in my face and the snow had all but stopped. I stayed on the packed snowe of the road which had about an inch of fresh snow over a crust which when I went through my foot went down another foot. Off the road I was hip deep in snow and regretted I'd not brought my snow shoes. I'd passed a place where guys were going cross country and alpine skiing. Interestingly it had a whole lot of avalanche warning signs but didn't seem to deter to these young fit guys.
Quite aways along from that is where I went in and it was a slow slog up the hill. I heard one grouse fly up in the woods, saw lots of rabbit tracks, some deer tracks and a few ground squirrels. I decided to turn around at 3 1/2 miles considering if I shot anything I'd have to haul it a very long ways as I'd gone beyond where I'd be able to get my truck in. Fallen trees were blocking the road from about 2 1/2 miles, not that I couldn't have cleared them with the chain saw I have along. Admittedly I was tired. Sore legs and feet. Great country. There should have been a deer or at least some partridge but I was really just happy for the hike.

As I began the descent, I heard a loud bumblebee engine. Ahead of me on the my now backtrail a young guy appeared on a snowmobile. The snowmobile was lightning blue, his snowmobile suit was psychedelic purple and he had huge yellow goggles. He was followed by a couple of other guys in similiar costumes. Dressed in camo against the green of alpine forest I watched this trio go by thinking that Elton John must have had a fling with Michael Jackson and this was the adult spawn on the way to do a concert for the Sasquatch at the top of the mountain somewhere near their mother ship. It was hallucinatory, watching them wave and pass by at high speed. They sure looked like they were having a party. Quiet returned and I hiked the 3 1/2 miles down, marching really. I tend to 'stalk' up and march down. Not so many stops and really glad to get back to truck. One to find it and two to see it's safe and three to get a drink of orange juice.

I saw another doe just before Seton Dam on the way to Lillooet. I got out and got here picture looking around for the buck I'd hoped was accompanying her. If there was one he stayed in hiding.

I stopped in Lillooet. The Mile O Motel here looked to inviting with Internet and Satellite TV in the centre of town. I had planned to have a nap and do the night hunt but slept too soundly to get up early enough to get out. Truth be told I was happy with just walking about this terrific little town and checking out the shops. Great shops. I love all the country merchandise that doesn't appear in city, rodeo books and a variety of chaps, smokers, hunting and fishing gear. It was fun to browse. I loved that the St. Andrew's United and St. Mary's Anglican shared a church. I bought take out Chinese at Sally's and it was terrific.

I really enjoyed the pleasant clean spacious rooms and pleasant decor at Mile O. $60 for the night and long hot showers. It's going to be hard to get up in the morning to get down to hunt the Nahatlatch River System. I'm hoping there will be less snow there. Despite having chains, 4x4 and a back up winch as well as come along I've not enjoyed driving up the mountains on the icy roads. Lots of rocks and debris so I have to pay full attention to driving and can't enjoy looking about for game. I'm hoping on the flatter Nahatlatch I'll find more of that and maybe surprise a partridge or two even if the deer aren't obliging with my desire to eat them. There's black bear around too. The mountains are beautiful this time of the year and hiking has been awesome.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grateful to Have Been There

Grateful to Have Been There, (My 42 years with Bill and Lois, and the Evolution of Alcoholics Anonymous) by Nell Wing is a most delightful read. Nell Wing was Bill's personal assistant and secretary and a friend of their family. She has written the most candid description of the cast of characters that surrounded those early years. The book was worth the read just for the descriptions of Bill's mother, "Dr. Emily" and the powerful account of Bill's brother in law, Dr. Leonard Strong's loyalty. The first General Service Convention is well described with the parts each played including Lois as the co founder of Al Anon. What a remarkable uplifting book and what a record of those amazing early days.


Politics is almost a dirty word these days and may ever had been such. Yet isn't war the or isolation the only alternative to politics. Politics is that place where competing desires of individuals meet and decisions are made which for the individuals involved are so often not the best but the 'least bad".

Politics is the arena of words, discussion, debate, argument, confrontation, and everything short of physical violence. It's a bag of statemanship skills and back room dirty tricks.

One side wants something while the other side wants something else. It's the process of the resolution of this. It's where change and no change meet.

It's pseudo war in a sense. A fundamental law of war is time and place. Great generals assuming the other is equal recognise that they can gain advantage by choosing time and place. Hence when an enemy ambushes you, you retreat or advance thereby taking away from him the advantage of time and place.

In politics there's face validity which advertisers and marketteers love to manipulate. Validity is the rightness of a thing. Face validity is that appearance of rightness. The appearances are not the thing but can appear like they are. Covert operations like the wooden planes in WWII misrepresented the intentions of the Allies to the Germans and assisted in winning the war.
The fallacies are a collection of types of arguments used through the ages to manipulate people. These days there's always the fallacy of the "appeal to fear" and "ad hominem" being used routinely. The Nizkor Project on the net in an attempt to avoid the mass hysteria that gave rise to Hitler has put forward for free use Dr. Labossiere's brilliant brief 101 course on fallacies the essence of politics 101.

Meetings are commonly manipulated by such devices as limitting the "terms of reference'. There's also a collection of these procedures. Robert's Rules of Order one of many devices to level the playing field, assure fairness and address the process of discussion. Process the way a thing is discussed as opposed to what is being discussed.

Robert's Rules are unweildy and though AA (alcoholics anonymous) for example, has adopted this process for much of its work, Bill Wilson tried to develop the Traditions of AA as an alternative for running meetings. Today there's a "modified Robert's Rules" in AA and there's "group conscience" The idea of "group conscience" is that God is the final arbiter and will eventually unfold is God's will.

So in AA people have faith and are hopeful which is clearly not the normal response to decisions made in committees of government where the fear is so often that the process and content are really just the King's desire or these days what America, the new Rome, wants.

Politics is also about "puppet regimes" too and the fear is that so much of what goes on in the light of day is just a 'drama' to mask what is really being decided behind the scenes.

We'd all like to get our own way without effort and the work of politics is participation. As Krishna said to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita , the war will alwas go on, the only question is will you be in it.

So politics is always there. The only way of escaping it is by isolation , which really is very hard today. I paid a fortune and trained for decades to get 25 days alone at sea away from my fellow man. The longest I've been able to get alone in the wilderness is a week at most before someone happens along. And even the dead are routinely found in cities because their smell disturbs other who are forever nosy pesky busybodies. Because of others, even the dead are routinely disturbed in a matter of weeks if they try to be alone on their own.

So politics or war, it seems to be despite the romantic idea of the wild west and riding into endless horizons. I want to ride into the sunset any given day of the week. I have a Harley but then I"m also a big fan of NASA because it really gives me just that hope.

That said politics is the choice and as social animals it's here with us to stay. Best participate. Otherwise you will be coopted. Even the silent majority was used in the end. So speak up or have words put in your mouth.

And remember 2 to 3% of the population tend to do 90% or more of the work of community and those 2 to 3% are the ones that the 90% criticize. The politicians, and I love to criticize them too, are just those who are active and participating. The principal difference between them and others is that others are on the couch complaining while the politicians are at least doing something, even if it's wrong.

In the end I believe that God makes the best of it all and what we get in the end is the best possible outcome in the long run.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

AA - Inside Job and Up the revolution!

I have been a liberal and proponent of "progress" all my life. In one small pocket of my world I had this place where I liked that things didn't change. It was an AA meeting and when those who wanted to change the outside world instead of changing themselves insisted for a whole group of justifications and rationalizations to change that world, I became a conservative voice arguing for no change. It's taught me so much about me and my life and my parents and the conservatives the world over.

The revolutionaries had made their first attack on the traditional meeting with shouting, and threats of violence. When that didn't work they continued to gossip, agitate and criticize. AA's untreated are the greatest bunch of critics. The Big Book even speaks about this.

But the revolutionaries chased off many members. And they claimed that things would be better after the revolution as all revolutionaries do who set out to destroy what is with the alcoholic promises of something better. Of course they claimed that what had brought them and all those who were before them this far was no longer as good as what they had in store.

I didn't understand why I wanted no change. It seemed a rather arbitrary position that I took because I hadn't liked the process of change more than anything else. I didn't think from the beginning that the problem was with the meeting but rather with the individuals in the group who were not working the Steps and couldn't see that the problem was with themselves. But then I'm always thinking that the problem is me. I've a sticker looking at me that says "you're looking at the problem." It's on the dash of my truck waiting to get to my mirror.

It was an AA meeting and the essence of the AA message was that the change that was needed was an "inside job" . Yet here was this concerted effort to change the "outside". The reasons weren't relevant. The thing was a perfectly functional working group that had served for decades but suddenly individuals wanted to change literally everthing about the group. The same individuals seemed to do the least about changing themselves but that was my judgement call and I couldn't help thinking that the first call to change had come from women who'd come to the group and not liked that it was a men's group.

I had personally stopped going to meetings dominated by young women because the men were always wanting to please them and the girls were always critical with the guys stumbling over each other to do their will. I did go to meetings where there were older women and older men and liked those most but this men's meeting had been unique and offered something other meetings and even other men's meetings didn't offer.

I facilitated the changes, assisting the revolutionaries in all their demands but one. I'd wanted no change but accepted change after change. Mostly the changes were 'homogenizing' too. I was conciliatory. I was compromising. I assisted the process and found myself if not alone in the extreme minority with no one seeming to notice or even appreciate all the change I'd made where others insisted the no change people change everything and we did.

Soon we had more changes than there'd been in 20 or more years and I helped facilitate this. I didn't feel good about that either. Especially as the revolutionaries saw that the no change people were assenting to their demands across the board and now wanted a thorough and total rout demanding more and more of less and less. There really wasn't any more of the old left by then. When time was up and a gluttony of changes had been made with still more and newer demands being made by the revolutionaries who would not be satisfied without the total annihilation of all that was sacred to me, ie no change, I asked that we end there.

That was when I was personally attacked, character assasinated in one demeaning ad hominem after another. All I wanted to do was leave. And I understood in all the talks through all the years how one side had to get up and walk away from these so called diplomatic tables or fight and I don't want to fight. War is easy. Diplomacy, that's a different question. And politics, the bastard brother is even something else. Yet only when I stood up and began to walk away did the personal attack end. Only really because another conservative said, "Look guys it's Christmas".

The question I've asked is how to have the most people be happy whereas others have the question what will make me happiest. I find myself thinking about group and community and see individuals thinking about them. Over and over I had to ask 'could we hear from someone who hasn't spoken yet?" while those who wanted their way insisted that I wasn't giving them a chance yet the very same faction of change had got all they wanted and yet wanted more.

It sounded like the voice of addiction over and over again and all I wanted was peace really. Yet peace at what price. Al Anon came to mind again and again as I watched the methods being used to self serve especially as they escallated in an orgiastic frenzy as the time went and people who had no respect for time or order increased their demands when normally a winding down time, easing off time would occur.

In the end "it's Christmas", the traditional call for peace on earth, reigned and even the revolutionaries were willing to let the meeting come to a close despite their dissatisfaction with their orgy of change and looking as unhappy after all the pacman excesses they'd had outside which would not satisfy the "inside job' that was neeeded. It was a macrocosm of the microcosm. And I saw my own part in it. More I saw my life as a mirror of this process.

Politics and peace and diplomacy are as hard as compromise, compassion and forgiveness. I returned to the table and stayed. It was Christmas and I was amused to see that the once angriest man was calling for peace on earth showing how much change can occur in AA.

The revolutionaries weren't happy. Revolutionaries are never happy. They want it all and they want it now. And when they've got it they want more. It's part of the addiction. And I wasn't happy having presided over the loss of all that 'no change' stood for. But then that's part of the addiction too.

The status quo was gone and here where I'd found safety and grace I heard the beast laughing with that insane pride I'd once known well myself. I could hear the baby cry.

The inside job was mine. That's the nature of AA. I learned alot about revolutionaries and realized how often wiser men than me had watched me unable to change myself demand that the world change for me. Karma and retribution. It doesn't matter. Just another drama of self discovery but it's a bitch being a conservative. It's a bitch trying to hold onto anything precious in a world of theives, bullies and babies. That's why we talk of surrender and letting go and acceptance in AA. We're the most blaming of people and least accepting too.

I failed in the end not because of the change/no change equation but I found myself caring again. I'd let myself get involved. It's the story of attachment. Desire is the root of all suffering and letting go we receive. I'm learning about letting go as living is just a preparation for dying.

Dr. Bob always told Bill to "keep it simple" , "don't mess this thing up, " he'd say. And that's what I wanted to say as more rules and more rules and more changes and more individual demands were being thrown into the pot as everyone's dissatisfaction with their own recovery was thrown at the very group that had saved their asses in the first place. People who need outside walls are out of control themselves.

But it's just a smaller part of a bigger part of a world I'm seeing where people are looking for solutions in the rules and laws and not in the heart of human kindness. There's a lack of faith in God's will and in the love of human kind. So there's all these man made things going up everywhere.

An old timer told me later that this group had been safe because it didn't have rules beyond the two another old timer had shared that night. And a lot of new comers had come to this meeting and had stayed because the members "kept it simple" and stayed focussed on "carrying the message" and the "newcomer."

What hurt was that I'd let myself care and now felt vulnerable and exposed. I was criticized and thanked but typically heard only the critics and hearing myself listening only to them felt how all my life I'd played to the lowest common denominator.

I've always worried less about pleasing God than I have about offending the devil. I know God loves me but the devil is just so fascinating.

The man of service who the revolutionaries had first savaged months before came to say that our old friend of service had died. There was to be a memorial service. It was a fitting announcement.

With that a member of the old group took a 6 year cake. It was something beautiful to see and hear. A dozen years later I've watched almost weekly as one after another a person adds years to that wonderful life of recovery so many had begun in these old rooms. I hoped that with all the changes as many cakes as have been taken these 50 years will be taken again. Maybe with progress there will be perfection. Up the revolution!

As for me I'm still learning acceptance I guess. I'm just a baby too. It's an inside job. I wish I did life better. But there are no dress rehearsals. And I need more time in Al Anon to learn more compassion and detachment with love. Thy will be done not mine.


It's not raining. Vancouver is manic depressive with rain and sun. When the sun comes out the streets fill and we feel almost like dancing. Then it rains and we put our heads down and we work. Here in Kitsilano near UBC the streets are bright tonight with the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. I'm having a panini and chai latte in Blenz before going to a business meeting.


I'm thinking about it

I'm planning

I'm not procrastinating

I'm preparing

I'm getting the feel for it

God forbid I should make a mistake

Better to do it right

I wouldn't want to rush into it

It will get done eventually

I promise

If it's so important to you why don't you do it yourself

Didn't I say I'd do it

What's your problem any way

I'm almost done

It's just a matter of time.

Don't rush me.

You don't understand

These things can't be done quickly

I'm thinking about it

I'm thinking

I'll get to it

Don't get your knickers in a twist.

Sloth is low down mean

It's being a drama queen

It's getting the homework done after the deadline

It's proposing marriage after the woman is infertile, senile and dead

It's dirty and sneaky and the essence of pride

It's delivering the bullets for the guns after the war is over and our side lost

It's claiming it's not your fault

It's running from responsibility

It's immature

It's having no respect for time and others

It's claiming that you need more time because of your genius

It's claiming you should be paid the same though your work is late

It's maintaining the status quo because it serves your lowest aims

It's fearful and yet you won't admit inadequancy or ask for help

It's arrogant and grandiose

It's demonic and deceitful

It's making a commitment and breaking it

And yet denying the right person the job

It's holding everyone else up

It's disrespectful

It's pride of the very worst kind.

Self centred and negligent and dishonest.

It's claiming that it hurts me more than it hurts you

It's covert aggression and passive aggression

It's a measure of how much deep seated anger a person contains

It's tied in with perfectionism and pride and mostly makes others wait

It's selfish and self centered and cowardly

It's delaying anything to get greater praise

It's hoarding and raising the value falsely of something

It's the pure aggression of a pout. It's a little boy or little girl potty training.

It's me and you and all those other sons of bitches that piss us off

Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and Krishna and Zeus and Elvis

Are all waiting for you and me so we can all start heaven together.

Are we all here yet? Now whose going to say grace?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Gluttony is consuming more than required. The French philosopher and Pascal said that we were forever trying to fill a God shaped hole with anything but. Nothing speaks to this more than the eating disorders. Interestingly the gender division of eating disorders has been traditionally women eating more while men drank. A study of 15 to 25 year old women showed that 75% of them had some form of eating disorders. At an Addiction conference this summer the presenter discussing the latest MRI findings of brain pathology stated that there was evidence suggesting anorexia was more of a brain developmental delay but the evidence of obesity was that it was overwhelming in that it was an addictive disorder. Certainly the 12 step programs such as "Overeaters Anonymous" are a mainstay of treatment. Working with eating disorders indeed taught me something. Alcoholics say they don't want to go to AA because of the God word but I have told them convincingly that addicts and alcoholic would still go to the bar or drug dealer even if he was spouting God slogans. The thing about the gluttonously obese is that they don't want to go to the gym and they don't talk about God at the gym. Addiction is about lying. The addict lives in denial and avoids anywhere that their disease is out in the open. They don't want to face their problem or address the solution. So they isolate. They rationalize and justify. The sad part about obesity is that the 'smiling obese' person is really just another addict "stuffing' their feelings. The obese people that I have seen in practice are angry people who are full of resentment and commonly erring on the side of 'sins of omission'. They are neglectful and like other addicts self centered and selfish. They do have inferiority complexes but they also nurse their self pity and "medicate' their feelings with food.

Admittedly I binge. I reward myself with food. I'm of a society that has 'pie eating ' contests. I've competed in consumption as a child. I've been rewarded for 'cleaning up my plate'. Naturally parents in the past were concerned that a child not be thin as thin children were more likely to be sickly. Ironically it's only the thin that grow old. We must put away childish things. I've certainly noticed that any ounce of food I eat today puts on a pound of fat that clings to my body like I was Noah's raft. Exercise is harder with aches and pains so naturally one should eat moderately. Just like the alcoholic who finds it harder to recover after a bar fight the fatty has to realize that with age it's just that much harder to recover from the binge.

It's not 'what" I eat as much as how much I eat. All the dieting and talking about foods and sugars are no different than the alcoholic who changes from whisky to wine to beer or more commonly drinks 'white wine'. It's the quantity and the drunkenness and the emotional disorder.

It's not that I'm a "sugar addict" < I'm a glutton. I eat the whole hagen daz ice cream container. I have two chocolate bars, I eat a second portion of chips. I have to reduce the amount and pay attention to what I'm eating. Fat is a Family Affair by Hollis is an excellent book. I have to further look at my resentments and if I'm really serious I won't eat while watching tv . The trouble with character defects is that too often we're not ready to give them up. So I'm going to ask for God's help because frankly I love chowing down and watching good ole Swarzy baby kill the bad guys. If the truth be told they should have all the superheros doing their things with a peanut butter and banana sandwich in their hands because that's what the boy audience is usually doing. Now girls it's probably romance and sandwiches so all those hot gushy scenes should include the sexy heroine stuffing in carbs while the heros coos over her. It's the age of reality tv. Snacking is our main past time.

Moves like "supersize it' should be mandatory.

And all the diseases associated with obesity type II diabetes, osteoarthritic hip diseases, cardiac and GI disorders , sleep apneas, all of these should be clearly stated as "life style " diseases. And no I's "not my metabolism". It's my gluttony that's the problem.

There are no obese people over a hundred. There are smokers and drinkers but there are no obese people. I think that's what God has to say about gluttons. Again the movie SEVEN is a must see.

Now I'm so upset with myself I'll have to have a chocolate bar.. I hate carrot sticks and celery but I'd better get them and screw the gym. I can walk a block uphill and go for a swim without all the drama and the fancy gym wear. Maybe I should get to a meeting of Overeater's Anonymous. Too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


When I married a promiscuous woman I remember being jealous, perhaps even insanely jealous. I felt deeply hurt . I believed that if I was somehow a better man she would not have slept with another. I felt that I was inadequate. I blamed myself for her behavior. Men whose wives or girlfriends are promiscuous are indeed blamed for their behavior. I felt deeply humiliated by her public behavior. I felt deeply ashamed. I was stung by the distasteful gossip. Yet I'd known she had 'slept around' before I married her and somehow felt that marriage would change things. I believed in the power of love and that if I just loved enough she'd love too.

Society calls men whose wives sleep around on them "cuckolds." Women are not subjected to the same level of public scrutiny and condemnation for the behavior of men. Indeed women whose husbands sleep around are generally treated with sympathy. Men don't get or give sympathy to men whose wives sleep around. The wife or girlfriend publicly 'castrates' the man by her infidelity, unfaithfulness and act of 'covert' aggression.

A man was expected by society to control the behavior of his wife and later his children. He alone was held accountable for the 'public' behavior of his home. Because I didn't believe in hitting women I was told I was 'unmanly'. Indeed I met women who said, "if you loved me you'd hit me," and "if you were a man, you'd hit me." But I only hit people in self defence and did not feel my personal life was threatened only my social life. Somehow I understood these two were separate and not one in the same from an early age.

Her family even felt that I should "control' her behavior and blamed me for failing to do their job of moral training or indeed socialization. Her grandparents expected me to beat her and wanted me to drag her home and make her behave as they'd failed to do themselves. Perhaps they had or had not used force when she was younger and it hadn't worked. I was just ambushed by the end result.

My parents meanwhile had told me not to get involved with what to them were morally inferior people, or 'infidels' as it were. I hadn't married the 'good' girls that my parents had raised me among and who I was supposed to marry. "You made your bed, sleep in it," was what I remember being told. "That's what comes of wrongful yoking", some other self righteous, unhelpful, "I told you so" individual told me too.

I was attracted to her and thought I loved her. Of course love is blind these days where justice is not. I didn't feel 'good enough' or perhaps I might have been less 'tolerant' of the abuse or chosen someone of more character. But I didn't have high self esteem. Like attracts like often and usually we're joined by complementarity. The blind man marries the deaf woman and each complain about the others inadequacy.

At the time I didn't appreciate the significance of her alcoholism and how much addiction played into promiscuity or even jealousy with or without the alcohol. "Pathalogical jealousy" is most commonly seen with addiction. No amount of talking to her could change her behavior. Begging, pleading, cajoling, threatening, all of it was for nought. Drunk or stoned she might not come home or she might. I was just deeply hurt and blamed myself if not more for her behavior.

When her family sent me to bring her home after she'd spent the rent money on drinking, I was met with one of her boyfriends pointing a gun at me. I remember facing that gun. I was scared but also calm and angry at the same time. I'd learned by then and have had experiences since that have taught me that somehow in times of emergency things kind of slow right down more for me than perhaps others. It's frightening at the time and I never know before if I'll survive the thing I fear but somehow at the time it's always alright.

I remember looking into his eyes carefully and steadily and explaining quietly that his life was now mine, that if he pulled the trigger I'd kill him before I died and if he put down the gun I'd own his soul and he would forever owe me. He put down the gun. I walked away. She watched. She stayed. I suppose the marriage ended that night. I know I'd hoped that she would come with me but she didn't. I think I heard laughter as I walked away. She kept calling me and wanting me to be with her along time after that. Indeed she blamed me for not "controlling" her behavior too.

I just remember thinking her family was silly to think that I could control another person when they were at a distance. I remember thinking jealousy was silly too. I don't think I felt jealous like that ever again. I felt jealousy but it never went anywhere. I knew that I couldn't "control" another's sexual behavior. Hell, I had enough trouble "controlling" myself, saying no to all the sexual advances,saying no to all the 'married' women, saying "no" in general. Mostly I got tired of being blamed for saying no and then being blamed for being stalked. A lot of life one feels damned if they do and damned if they don't and frankly I'd rather be a 'hammer than a nail."

Like most people I'd rather say "yes" but I struggled with leading a 'moral' life in an 'immoral' time. I didn't do very well at it either.

She was a 'wild one' and we were young and 'wild' as only the truly young can be. But today I understand 'choice' more like those writings that say,"If you love someone, let them go" and the contrasting biker one, "If you love someone, let them go, if they don't come back in 5 days, hunt them down and kill them."

There's a lot of research I've been priviledged to read on "attachment", "identification with the aggressor", "gene theory", "Stockholm syndrome", "sex addiction" and "love addiction" and "codependency". I most enjoy Al Anon today. I became a member over 12 years ago.

Drop the Rock, writes of "jealousy", "Jealousy is a great danger in recovery. The kind of thinking that causes jealousy makes us believe that the world owes us much more than we are able to earn by our best efforts."

In psychiatric jargon, this is called "narcissistic entitlement' and speaks to the destructive anger that underlies the emotions of jealousy. Jealousy isn't an emotion of love but rather one of fear and hate. Hence the 'hunt them down and kill them" biker translation. Jealousy pollutes relationships and defines the truth about our own capacity to love. It says nothing about the other. It's blaming, deceitful, and controlling. In short, it's unloving.

Perhaps in a family it came from protecting children, a man bringing back the straying wife to the task of raising the children, a woman bringing back the errant man to the task of raising the children but between adults it has no such basis. And society is no longer structured such that men or women have control in relationships as the police and courts no longer respect marriage or family and would call any attempt to "control' another's behavior "assault", "kidnapping" or worse.

Jealousy is tied in with envy.

The book Drop the Rock says, "This state of mind produces not only jealousy, reactive depression, and an attitude that "life's not fair" but also anger at the world. Soon, that jealousy and anger turn against those people most dear to us. We are reminded that the Big Book calls jealousy that most terrible of human emotions."

Cognitive therapy teaches that our emotions are a product of our thinking. Books like Aaron Beck's student, Burn's , Feeling Good, teach that we need to consciously change our thinking, blocking negative thoughts and instilling the positive thoughts repetitively that we wish to live by. In the 12 step programs we say, "you can't think your way into right actions, you must act your way into right thinking." With that goes "fake it till you make it." The 'work' is in doing a step 4 and 5 and then looking at our character defects. When we point our finger three fingers point back. We have to look at our 'principles' and the 'institutions' and ask a "loving god our our understanding." And if that doesn't result in an answer as Phillips said in a book of the same title, "Your God is too small".

The serenity prayer goes, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change (other people and their actions?) the courage to change the things I can, (my thoughts, emotions, actions,?) and the wisdom to know the difference.(live and let live?)"

Later in life I learned a lot of things that would have helped me a whole lot earlier if I'd known them then. One of those things I learned was that everyone wanted to give me a job where I had responsibility without control. Being a doctor made me appreciate this most when a patient didn't take the medication I prescribed, didn't follow my directions and died leaving me to be blamed as a bad doctor for not saving his life. Often the courts aren't about "justice" per se but really are in the business of 'passing the buck' or finding 'some to blame." My Indian cousin said, "The RCMP always get their man. It doesn't have to be the right man. And if they can't get just any man an Indian will do." That said, judges and police have a tough job, especially today.

The whole area of "non adherence to medical regimen" or "non compliance with treatment' became a special interest of mine when I was a family physician and later community medicine resident. My work today with addiction is in many ways an extension of the interest in 'why people don't do what's good for them", "along with why bad things happen to good people". Experience with my own frailities and others has helped me become less judgemental of others.

Thankfully I learn a lot fewer lessons over time looking into the barrel of guns. Yet many people only learn from 'consequences'. It's a fine line between helping people and enabling. The only true 'experts' are the Monday morning 'quarterbacks" and "armchair critics". I confess to still finding their particular brand of arrogance and entitlement trying.

The term "toxic" often refers to people who are in the "victim" mode and "blaming" others. Their addictions are active, whatever their addictions are, and it's somewhat like watching a child having a temper tantrum or witnessing a violently insane person on a psychiatry ward 'acting out'in a "quiet room". We learn to stand clear, back off and wait till they're sane. The first rule of lifesaving is do not let yourself be drowned with the drowning. The golden rule says "love your neighbor as yourself." Self love again has a fine line between it and arrogance or narcissism. Yet without self love we can't truly love others.

Also we need to accept too that while alcoholics hang out with other alcoholics confirming each other in their disease, the jealous find the jealous and confirm each other's insaniety. The advantage of groupings is that they can multiply our positives or our negatives so it really does count who are friends are.

The equation of mature love is 1 plus 1 = 1 plus 2 plus. It's expanding and creative. Immature love or the attachment of fear is ½ plus ½ = barely one. That's what Erich Fromm described in his classic Art of Loving separating 'puppy love' from ''mature love'. Jealousy lives in the world of adolescent love. It isn't a part of mature love. Mature love is not the world of blame and judgement either.

If I had died that day it would not have been her fault or her life that was lost.

"Envy is very much caught up in desire. We are taught desire rather than deserve. Just because we want it must mean we are able to get it, right? The universe operates on a deserve principle – you will reap what you sow – yet we are taught if we just want it badly enough, something will happen so we can get it. No wonder we become frustrated and depressed."

"Envy brought hatred, jealousy, anger, fear, disrespect, and distrust. We wished failure and disaster on people who had become successful or had gained in any way."

"We discovered that doing is more important than having, and experiencing is more important than possessing." Drop the Rock.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Humble Pride

Humble Pride
Religion teaches that “pride goest before a fall”. The Greek tragedies were always a bout ‘hubris”. Yet today in psychology people are taught that ‘self esteem’ is good and ‘confidence’ is good. the new ‘Secret’ says literally ‘fake it till you make it”. Imagine yourself a success and you are a success.
The fact remains pride itself is not the problem, it’s ‘false pride’. False pride is a lie. Pride without humility and gratitude is arrogance.
We feel good about ourselves as ‘apart of’ not ‘apart from’. Pride that says we’re all God’s children and God doesn’t make shit is good pride. But pride that says I’m better than you or I’m less than so and so and must do whatever to be equal or better is not good. My being is equal.
I live in a culture which says that if I don’t have the house, the car, the girl, the fame then I’m not a winner. Yet there are countless examples of the deep unhappiness that the so called ‘winner’s’ experience. Do I really want to be Michael Jackson with his Achilles Heel or Elvis with his drug addiction and obesity. Do I want to be J. Edgar Hoover with his deceitfulness and lying love of boys? Talent alone can be an “idiot savant” skill. It may bring money but money in the hands of Hitler is a different prospect than money in the hands of Mother Theresa. There is good money and bad money just like there is good nuclear energy and bad nuclear energy. The truth is in what it is put to.
If I take pride in my ability to beat my foe alone then I’m missing the mark. The pride I have needs rather be in my ability to do God’s will and not be distracted by my foe. Whatever skills go to keeping me on track are those I appreciate but the competition is with myself and my own ignorance not with another person even though we may both be together in a class or a race. In the end it is always God and myself.
A lot of people I know ‘blame’ their childhood. They remember instances when their parents were less than text book perfect, or as the courts or society would say was down right ‘abusive’. What I never understand is that such individuals would not ask if the courts or the society brought in as judge had any better track record of caring for it’s own. Judgement is the Lords’. My pride is that I judge my parents. Most people I know who judged their parents became very humble when they themselves became parents. It is so easy to judge when one is ignorant and adolescent but maturity teaches respect and appreciation. I always like that the movie "28 days" puts such emphasis on having one fellow learn to care for a plant before thinking they can care for a relationship. We’re a society of ‘critics’ with too few of us having any real experience with long term relationships or caring.
False pride is the pride that comes from watching and thinking by watching that you know how to do something. The formula however is ‘see one, do one, teach one.” And our television, game show, American Idol society is all about ‘see one, teach one”. Yet without the ‘doing’ there is no real learning. The learning is in the ‘wrestling with the angel’, not just ‘thinking about it’. In our minds, we can be ‘legends’ but in the real world all manner of challenges arise that reduce ‘false pride’ to ‘right size”.
False pride and that ‘egotism’ , or rather ‘egomaniac with an inferiority complex’ , that arrogance says that we are separate, apart, above and don’t need other.
When I was a survivalist I learned to live off the land and sea and took pride in my skills and accomplishments but all the knowledge I had came from my teachers starting with my Dad. So as much as I thought I was a big shot in my little wilderness world I was wholly connected and dependent on those who went before me.
There’s a story that goes with future man being able to create. Future man goes to God and says we’re equal now. “I can create Man as you did God”. Show me says God, and at that the man picks up some dirt and is about to blow into it when God says “get your own dirt”.
False pride is about separation. Real pride is about connectedness. We are part of human kind. What happens to the smallest of us is important. We’re not alone. We’re God’s children and as my friend Scot loves to say “God doesn’t make shit.”
The fact is God makes shit but ‘shit is good’ sometimes. Ask a constipated man.
Meanwhile back at the God factory. The question is not whether I’m ‘good enough’, it’s what my purpose is. Today I ask God to show me His will for me and I ask that I might have the power to carry that out.
Humble pride then is like ‘tough love’. It’s mature. It’s not a children’s story but rather an adult tale. It’s like mature love. Just as messy but the story continues after the romance or orgasm, or the actors go home.
Meditations on Drop the Rock, Removing Character Defects, Steps Six and Seven. Bill P. Todd W. Sara S. Hazelden, 2005

"Pride without humility and gratitude is arrogance."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trev Deely Motorcycle Museum – British Exhibit

Trev Deely on Boundary has a motorcycle museum. Right now it's the British Exhibit. Trev Deely began selling British bikes. There are BSA, Triumphs, Nortons and others. There's even a James and an Barnett. And a replica of the world's first motorcyle. There's history too. The story of how British bikes dominated the industry but didn't pay attention to the completion from Honda and the Italians and Germans. Trev Deely now sells Harley Davidson. I'm rather partial to the Ultra glyde classic but I began riding a Norton. Now I'm enjoying my HD Roadster which I've put away for the winter while I continue to ride the Honda CRF 230 enduro. It's better in the city in the bad weather. I just wish I had a sticker that said "My other motorcycle is a Harley". Trev Deely sold Honda for a while too. That makes me feel better.

St. James Anglican Church

With the comfort of heat, I slept in. I still took time to have a hot shower . Only a couple of weeks without the luxuries/comforts of home and I'm literally basking in God's blessings. Knowing I'd hardly make the 10:30 Compline at Christ Church Cathedral I still set out in my truck. Coming up Hastings near Main I realized that St. James Anglican was just over on Cordova Street. I'd been there a couple of times and thought maybe their mass was later. My friend Karen was an ardent member and had encouraged me to come to her church for special events. I'd loved the recitals I'd heard there in addition to the services.

Sure enough. High Mass began at 11.15. I was just in time. I love the old church with the altar facing away from the congregation. It was quite full with lots of old people and lots of children. I especially liked the dog that came to visit me while I was kneeling praying too. Father Mark Greenaway-Robbins gave a sermon asking us this week who sat on the throne we each had within. He was referring to the majesty of Christ, this week before advent. The Coming of the King. The readings referred to Jesus' response to Pilate before crucifixion.

I enjoyed the traditional service with much chanting and incense. It reached back to the Catholic origins of our faith and connected me personally with the 2000 years of worship since Jesus. In some ways I'm never far from my Baptist roots but on the surface this was almost 'papist', with all the kneeling and crossing. I'm sure my friend, John, who I attended the Catholic St. Mark's College with would feel quite at home.

I especially liked hearing Hail Mary, Full for Grace. In the protestant world there has been a resurrection of the Mary who quite literally seemed lost to the Catholics because they were 'soft' on her and a good protestant never strayed far from the tough blood of crucifixion.

All in all I was happy here and look to return. I like the community work they do in the Downtown Eastside as well. After I was able to walk over to the Dug Out .. I certainly don't seem to be getting up early now that the winter months are uponus so knoing a church that starts at 11:15 is a good thing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Banish Loneliness

Banish Loneliness

-william hay

Banish loneliness

Banish pain

Banish loneliness and pain

Jesus, Son of God

Cast out demons

Live in faith

Let there be miracles again

Jesus, Son of God

Bosch Propane Water Heater

Kaloo! Kalay! He chortled in his joy! I have hot water. I have had a stupendous shower! I'm happy, joyous and free! There is a God and he loves me true. Heat. Glorious heat. I suspect I'm not ready for heaven yet. I hope it's not drafty otherwise hell's warmth may have it's appeal. I love the joys of fire as much as my Siamese cat. She's slept most of the afternoon given the diesel stove's baking heat.

Astravan Distributors fixed the water heater this last summer. When I talked on the phone with them yesterday they encouraged me to try to fix it again myself. This small marine model is no longer being made so I couldn't get a new one to replace it. Steven's Plumbing who Astravan had recommended had some ideas as to what might be wrong too.

Given a day to work on the boat I settled in to studying the matter. I adjusted this and that and then ran a lighter in front of the propane outlet till the pilot light caught flame. Wow!. I think the diesel heater heated the boat sufficiently that the propane decided to take the trip to the head at the bow from where it was hanging out with the stove in the galley at the stern.

With the joys of hot water and heated cabin now, I got the boat Yanmar diesel motor running just for good measure. I let it run a bit to remember what it feels like to be alive. I even fixed the chimney on the stove and messed about with the leaking windows finally stopping the occasional drops that had me concerned mildly annowyed. Now their screws are tightened and cleaning and Vaseline has helped their seals.

I've more stuff to move off the boat. Changed the sheets and stowed even more stuff. I've been a busy boy. Best I didn't go hunting. This heat and hot water makes home life much more appealing. Amazing what we take for granted.

Storms in the Strait of Georgia persist. I'm glad to be snug now in harbor. Reading Alexander Kent, Cross of St. George with Bolitho and Avery in the British Indomitable fighting those dastardly rebellious Americans with their treacherous French allies. Life is good. I might just go have another hot shower!

Dickinson Marine Diesel Heater

It's simply glorious to have the Newport Dickenson heater going again. Lovely little flame dancing in the cabin. Windows open to let out "excess" heat. Imagine, more heat than one needs. Unbelievable! Yet this little Dickinson Heater kept me warm in this 40 foot steel sailboat when outside a blizzard was raging. True I wasn't sitting about in shorts and t shirt like I am now but I was still warm. Cordoroy and sweater warm in sub zero temperatures with snow covering the deck.

Today the rains continue and it's certainly chilly but not so cold as it's been for me and this boat. I changed the fuel hose last year, having changed out the pump with limited benefit. The new fuel hose made all the difference. Today I had to adjust the chimney cap too. It had fallen down a bit reducing the draft. The cap is especially designed to keep out rain. This was critical when I was sailing down the coast one winter and sleet and rain was pelting the deck. I was dressed in my Mustang Survival Suit and long johns keeping warm despite the weather.

Now I'm just baking in the salon cabin drinking expresso coffee after having had oatmeal with ginger rhubard jam for breakfast. Life is good with heat. Now sometime today I plan to make a foray at the water heater again. Oh to have a hot shower on the boat. As it is a cold shower wouldn't be all that terrible given the heat I'd be stepping out into.

I've been using the electric heaters and they'd certain kept the boat warm but even topped up with a Coleman propane heater at times it remained drafty with a damp chill feel. When I lived in Lodon England it was like that all the time in winter.

With this diesel heater its luxurious. The cat isn't even missing her heat lamp curled up beside me in Siamese cat heaven warmth. She did her tour of the deck earlier in the cold and rain and quickly came back yowling to be let into the warm.

I could be hunting today but the partner couldn't make it and the drive seemed onerous. I'm glad I talked to my sister in law and she asked where I'd put another deer with my freezer already full. Truthfully with venison in the freezer already I'd just as soon get the boat ready for fishing. Even fresh rock cod would be a delight. I don't know what the regs say but will check them out and hope for some fresh December fish. Maybe salmon is still open. There's always crab to be caught off the islands in the bays where I like to anchor and just enjoy the quiet and pristine beauty of British Columbia. Each day I'm here working on the boat I bring it closer to being ready for a week of winter sailing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday & Cadillac Problems

The plans fell through. A friend couldn't make it. I'd cleared a weekend for hunting and at the last minute he couldn't come. Goodie. I'd not planned to hunt more this year. After getting stuck in the snow and paying for a wilderness towtruck to get me out a couple of times years back I just don't enjoy the risk and cost of such winter adventures. I'd rather just ski and snowshoe. Maybe I'm getting old. There was a time when hanging off cliffs 4x4 ing was a kind of excitement. Looking back it was 'fun' then but today I just wouldn't find it fun. Rolling vehicles and getting stuck just haven't any appeal anymore. Been there, done that, got the tshirt. Let someone else have the experience. It was good at the time. Great stories. Wonderful survival tales but now I'm just not so sure. I don't like 'unnecessary' costs and the wilderness is treacherous this time of the year. It could eat my truck and I need it for work. I don't remember thinking of cost when I was younger. There was always time and work to take care of anything that came up. Now I'd rather spend money elsewhere. The cost of repairing a driveshaft could instead be as many nights in a Mexican beach resort. Today I think of the value of my truck, the payments and the wear and tear on my body. It was months that my ankle took to heal and my elbows still hurting from the fall weeks back. So what if I have chains and it may be the last day I can get out hunting this year. Maybe next weekend. Maybe I could go up to Texada in the boat at Christmas. But my freezer is full of venison and grouse. Moose season is over in the south. I'd rather go fishing. Fresh salmon would be a real treat. But for that I'll have to get the boat shipshape.

I can answer questions of life and death but faced with a change of plans I often find myself running around in my mind what I should do. They're called "cadillac" problems. Just yesterday a couple of us were discussing the merits of cross country skiing versus snowshoeing. Now life is rough when you have to decide whether to hunt or fish, cross country ski or snowshoe. Yet how often I'm feeling moments of self pity about the whole scheme of life. It's so easy to forget that I'm really blessed.

I've friends right now deciding between having cancer surgery or not, whether to move to another province being unable to find work here, others unable to pay debts selling their home. Generally money problems are cadillac problems. But my decisions right now aren't even 'cadillac problems'. They're Ferrari problems. It's a gift to have choices. We can get so twisted whether to get out of bed on a weekend even and think it's an 'issue'. Luxury and priviledge bring these indecisions.

Meanwhile I'm considering fixing a water heater or driving up to a motel to enjoy the hot water shower and then go hunting in the morning. Who knows what I'll decide. It's not important. What's important is that I'm grateful for the kind of problems I have. Cadillac problems. Thanks God for cadillac problems.

AA Step 6 Continued

Step 6 cont
Do we gossip?
Are we sarcastic?
Do we make fun of those less fortunate?
Do we recklessly gamble, abuse credit cards, act out sexually, drive over the speed limit?
“How do these activities affect our movement to God and spirituality? Does practicing one addiction mean we still have an addictive lifestyle?”
The Big Book said alcohol was a symptom.
Do we still treat others as sex objects? Are we abusive? Are we able to be intimate? Can we reveal our true feelings in an open and trusting manner? Can we relate well to those we are sexually attracted to without becoming sexual?
How about our work patterns. Are we workaholics?
Cleansing rituals – pick a character defect and remain abstinent from it for a day to see how entrenched or present it is. Go without TV for a weekend. Vow not to gossip for 24Cleansing rituals . Remain celebate for a week. Give up smoking for a day.
These ideas continue to come from Drop the Rock, Removing character defects – Steps 6 and 7. I have been selective because a few of the suggestion pander to political correctness rather than looking carefully at addictions. In the program of AA, we say “take what we need and leave the rest.” I’ve left some of the idea about ‘altering mood’ out of the discussion because frankly I consider it normal for people to ‘alter their mood” with a hike, love making, a bowl of ice cream, prayer and meditaion, work. It is healthy to alter our moods with activities and yet the book seems to question this against some treatment centre ideology which I believe represents more an addiction to pseudoscience than something helpful to my recovery. That said, I still think the book is brilliant and admire the genius and work that the writers have put into it even encouraging me to think about this ‘mood altering’ thing which I’d occasionally heard as a chant in some meetings where it irritated me and now I understand why. Clearly it’s an “inside job’ but the founders said ‘spiritual progress’ and coming from the perfectionism of medicine I was thankful to hear that my job for today was not to drink. I don’t want to go back to questioning every little detail of my life or in my case I might return to drinking to stop the obsessive compulsive avoidance of anxiety by trying to live according to rules upon rules and often phony standards. It’s useful to consider our characters but I like to remember the Churchill’s of the world and Jesus’ rage attack in the temple. I am here to be human. But I’m not hear to indulge the animal. I’m aware I’m looking up and standing upright and walking forward.
Fasting is what these cleansing rituals represent.
I had thought sex was central to my life and frankly had said not so much in jest as in reality that if I couldn’t have sex life wouldn’t be worth living. But the years of absolute celiebacy taught me that despite my honest thoughts on the matter life went on. The same was true for food. I fasted for weeks drinking only orange juice and found that I felt better and meals weren’t central in my life. Smoking was once a daily matter to me and something I thought was a pleasure but indeed had become a terrible addiction. I am so thankful for having given up smoking and remained of the coffin nails.

While I didn't return to smoking and drinking, I did however return to food and sex and don’t’ have any regrets.

Ultimately pride is what we're working to understanding. We want to eventually replace 'false pride' with humility and true self esteem. In the eyes of God we are equal. When I think I'm better than you because I'm smarter or faster or richer or rank higher I really have to consider my on 'egomaniac with inferiority complex'. In a specific context I am superior. I am superior as the captain of my boat on my boat and at sea. But because I'm captain of my boat I'm not superior to you outside of that context.

I was fascinated by my dog's being happiest with a bone but having a quantum leap in happiness when another dog was present who didn't have a bone. I notice a lot of dogs carrying their bones around in search of dogs without bones. I've done it myself at times. The people I most resent are the people who do this and that's just because their arrogance reminds me of mine. Perhaps I'm disheartened then at how long the journey really seems.

Knowing that I ask God for forvivenss, guidance and help.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Winter's Day

Another winter's Day
-William Hay

Rainy, cold, damp, my crotch wet where the leather's leave off.
Where does a biker buy a cod piece in the 21st century.
Man with cellphone driving death car blind,
Captivated by conversation,
As I go hoarse screaming, horn bleeting and brake to
Where he's intimidating driving halfway into street.
My words horn and the motorcycle tire on his crome
Stop his car and conversation.
I thank God again for saving me from the living brain dead
Cellphone zombies.Woman passing cheers my expletive tirade.
I move on as another killer car changes lanes saving effort on signalling
The economic times adding to Strange.

I found the galley baskets I needed in
The blessed Oriental kitchen store across from Sun Yat Sen Garden,
The feng sui influencing the genius and beauty of her selection.
The Blenz Cafe lasagna tasted real good microwaved by the young European
Her sexy tones reminding me of the sauna nudes of my ancient youth.
She is thinking of her father and elder uncle.

The newspapers say the winds shut down the ferries.
Now how can I hunt if they won't take me to the island deer.
A conspiracy of Franciscans and vegetarians.
There's partrige in there too.

I worked today ,the kind of day any salaried worker would have stayed home
To worship bed and feign H1N1. The Darkness at Noon has stayed.

She asked if I'd come to the writer's circle in December.
I said, "maybe", committment phobic in this passionless cold.
Minimalist in misery.
My Strathcona friend celebrates his cake of sobriety
I will attend his 'experience, strength and hope'.

The 60's Loving Spoonful and Cowsills in town,
But where is John Sebastian?
And what are we doing alive?
I was supposed to die by thirty.
Borrowed time. Only the good die young.
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet are dancing here tomorrow
But where is Arnold Sporr? I must listen to Pelestrina.
Poet Tempest Grace Gale, aged 25, was murdered on Hornby Island last night.
And I hadn't finished reading Leonard Cohen, older and younger than Moses.
I shouldn't read the paper. Too many fractual emotions.

Glistening streets, vehicles headlight, flashing red emergencies and left turns,
Umbrellas and black stockings, short skirts and wool coats,
Men in blazers drawn close, bowed heads
Scurrying. More stores open late.

I don't want to die. Aging being better than dirt bedding.
I love my comforters, down and duck, with cat fur in my face.

"I live for meals and bed," she said. I thought I'd never feel the same.
How stupid are the young and I was even stupider.
There are surgeries I would not want to know.

What I know now would go well in a svelte young body.
No Christian reincarnation till heaven.
Can I prodigal son my inheritance, return for heaven later
Pre Mortgage my pre morbid temple?

I've faced too many guns. Swat teams. Military units.
Stabbed intentionally and unintentionally shot.
But hurt myself worse rolling cars, flying motorcycles and racing horses.
I'm my own friendly fire.

Who would have thought they'd put a man on the moon
Then settle for space suburbs?
I thought we were crossing the galaxy
To find why blue alien women anal probe.
Halos and black holes.
St. Francis, St. Augustine and Buddha all were degenerates
Before they gave it all up to Essene.

Where should I be headed on another winter's day?

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir sang again at Christ Church Cathedral. Several of the people are little but they have the biggest voices that I've ever heard. And the choir, well it's feel good music of the finest kind. I just love them. Now that's saying something considering that Christ Church Cathedral has the best choir in Canada.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diesel Heat

Diesel Heat
By William Hay

There is candlelight.
Propane heat and electric heat.
The cat has curled up beneath the
Warm Red glow of the heat lamp.
I am huddled under comforter
Considering turning on the diesel heater
A truly big gun against winter rainforest drafts
In this now less insulated shell of a boat.
Or I am older. Winters aboard not remembered
As such or spoiled by shorts and tropical suns
Or worse missing the warmth of other bodies
Women and dogs who shared this winter space

Earlier the cat ventured out on the deck
Only to yowl loudly to be let in again
Returning to the heavenly halo
Of Her heat lamp.
Half Saimese calico talker her yowling
Comments summed up my thoughts
On this November winter night.
But like my grandfather
Who lived in the snowy Manitoba north
And resisted lighting the big stove
To save as was the Scottish way,
And otherwise to deny the inevitable arrival
Of winter too soon and likely to stay too long.
I remember him teaching me to milk cows in spring.
Milk squirting in my face,
On the way to summer laughter.
I would my dad another winter and then some.
Mother gone too early these past few years.
Now there was diesel heat and then some.


There has been a lot of concern recently about the 'metabolic' side effects of newer antipsychotic medications. These 'atypical' antipsychotics include the following medications, olanzepine (zyprexia), quietiapine (seroquel) , rispiridone (risperdal). They were called 'atypical's' because they worked on different receptors than the previous antipsychotics such as Chlorpromazine and Haldol.

These first line or original break through antipsychotics lead to the ability of many people to leave asylums and live independently in the community. Haldol specifically was amazing for stopping people from having auditory hallucinations. The problem with the original antipsychotics or major tranquillizers as they were also called was that they caused extra pyrimidal side effects which gave a person a 'parkinson's like' syndrome, examples being the 'thorazine shuffle', glazed eyes, muscle stiffness and tremor . Further they could lead eventually to a very unpleasant and potentially untreatable movement disorder called "tardive dyskenesia". This was most notably a restless movement of the tongue which aethetically was most unappealling There was also a sense of being controlled or somewhat restless creepy feelings for some.

It needs to be noted that the very vast majority of people had the most positive benefits from the medications. As with reporting of medication side effects in general it is only a small percentage of those who have a problem with the medication but it may be severe enough or frequent enough to warrant serious consideration. Many medications are used despite serious side effects because the disease warrants the cure. All the anti cancer drugs for instance do have serious side effects as do most of the cardiac and lung drugs. The whole idea is to balance the risk benefit and make adjustments and ameliorate the negatives while maximizing the positive benefit of the medications.

As one of many people said to me "when I didn't take my medication I was haunted by demons and so terrified I couldn't leave my room." "I couldn't talk to anyone because the voices were always interfering." "Thanks to the medication I can lead a normal life." This is what these medications achieve routinely. Peoples lives are restored and the medications that are used for mental illness have been as beneficial as the antibiotics or medications used for other diseases such as those of heart, kidneys or joints.

People too often forget the amazing progress that medications have brought for literally millions of sufferers of mental illness. Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, manic depressive disorders, psychotic depressions, and borderline personality disorders all were conditions that only 50 years ago could mean a life in an asylum for those sufferers who would not be able to work or have normal relationships. These conditions were not a phenomena of the 'western world' but had been seen throughout history and had lead to horrible difficulties for so many in all the countries of the world. Roughly 1% were afflicted with these difficulties. Certainly some of those with hallucinations or delusions were having a religious experience or spiritual awakening or some situational psychologically complicated event but that was only at most a small percentage of the majority of cases who were more likely having the consequences of encephalitis, meningitis or traumatic brain injury. Increasing evidence from MRI studies shows that the most severe of these conditions have actual brain damage that may well have occurred intra uterine or as a result of a head injury or infection in childhood. It's not something that would just 'go' away on its own. It's a mental illness and not just a bad attitude or lack of will power.

Thanks to medications the asylums literally emptied. The problem today is that we need hospital beds for the mentally ill not because of the old mental illnesses but rather because of new mentall illness mostly associated with drug and alcohol abuse and traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorders. Those with schizophrenia and the other severe mental illnesses are mostly able to live in the community thanks to medication but they do need respite care in hospital at times. The lack of resources often makes this otherwise treatable illness a nightmare. These individuals who once needed to be a lifetime in hospital now will have months or at most a year of their life in hospital however they still need those hospital beds for these periods of illness severity no different than people with heart disease who experience periods of angina and have mild heart attacks. The very success of the antipsychotic medications cost the mentally ill patients the government funding and hospital beds that were once always necessary.

As to the atypical medications, these were a god send to the patients collectively because they didn't have the extra parimidal side effects and didn't have the danger of tardive dyskenesia. They were pleasant to take compared to the original medications for so many. Unfortunately they came with their own side effects which is simply the way of life, there is no 'free lunch'. All treatments come with costs. For most these new side effects are not a problem. The risk is small compared to the overall benefits of the drugs and there are indeed ways of treating the side effects.

The greatest concern is weight gain with associated diabetes. Zyprexia (olanzepine) was an amazingly appreciated medication but had a seriously concerning tendency with increasing dosage to cause weight gain. Alot of the metabolic side effects for all these medications were indeed dose related. A medication that caused no problem at low dose caused problems at higher dosage. Aspirin is like this. One or two pills cause little effect on platelets but more will increasing the tendency for a persons platelet system to not be able to stop bleeding if one has a cut.

One of the problems of patients looking up side effects of medications on the internet is that the side effects listed commonly come from the pharmaceutical companies necessary list of "medical disclaimer side effects". This means that the side effect is listed if it ever occurred even if it is rare and even if it was taken improperly or with other medications by the elderly or dying and in large dosage. It's like saying that planes wings fall off without listing the speed at which the plane was going of that the plane had had it's wings shot up by an enemy plane before the wings fell off later. In contrast the medical and psychiatric community utilized actual clinical resources and clinicians have experience of the medications and use them in a way which will be individualized and result in the least possible side effects. The 'studies' in the individual research papers which doctors read tell the ages and weights and races and other medical conditions which might have been present when a medication was used and then if it worked. Further these studies list whether the research information was randomized or controlled or subject to bias. Too much of the information listed on the internet is for legal purposes, to protect someone from legal assault, or simply a personal account. Too often critical information is missing.

That said, Ziprasidone or Zeldox (Pfizor Pharmaceuticals) is a new class of medication which has all the benefits of the original antipsychotics and the atypicals but in addition is energizing and doesn't lead to weight gain or cause metabolic side effects. It's been a relative breakthrough in the psychiatric medication armamentarium. No doubt it will eventually be seen to have it's limitations. Even the God send Penicillin caused allergies in many while it saved the lives of millions. Ziprasidone for now is working very well for those who need a major antianxiety medication but won't cause the other serious side effects. It's proving highly beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia but is also very helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders and mood disorders.

I'm thankful to the pharmaceutical companies for the work they have put into providing yet another medication that will help patients live independent lives to their greatest satisfaction without the nightmares of mental illness destroying their hopes and dreams.