Monday, January 30, 2012

Can't Know Everything

There are limits on what each one of us individually can possibly know about the world, regardless of applicability.

Although it seems nice to want to learn "everything" it doesn't actually make sense to do that.  We need shortcuts to the conclusion that a body of knowledge produces, and that's why we rely on experts, or refrain from making decisions.

Still, there's a push with some people, I think, to try to understand every field, and generally, if you think you can do this, you're over-estimating your capacity and severely under-estimating the complexity of the stuff that you hope to master.

I have to tell myself this more often than not, especially lately.  I can't do everything.  I've got to choose what it is that I want, and spend time going after it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Check In.

I've been sober for over 1 year and 7 months.

I'm still alive.

I've had to face myself a bit more.

I'm not as bad as I thought I was.

I'm not quite schizophrenic, bipolar, deranged in permanent marauding, overly dramatic, saccharine, or dry caustic flippant way.  Okay, maybe a dry caustic flippant way, but only that.

I feel much smaller in the world.  But my smallness is more solid than my bigness was.

I'm hopeful.  I'm tired.  I'm imperfect.  And I have more than a lot to learn. I try to manage layers of guilt and recognize my irrational tendencies, of which I have many.

I'm trying to infuse the lost humor into the quilt I've been wrapped in.  It is working.

I'm late.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are We Being Lied To?

All of the details.  Of the cars.  The women.  The guitars.  The lucidity they promise.  The pleasure.

They make us believe that we're not here anymore.  They make us believe that we're part of the inexhaustible center.  In short, that we've attained.  Whatever it is doesn't matter. What matters is all of the indices tattooed on our collective asses, as they are spanked routinely from the hard hitting icons, the pop jungle dominatrixi, and the wet leather of our very own dreams and fantasies.

We self-flagellate so we don't have to face huge open expanses of vacant properties.  I'd rather be catty, outraged, inflexible, and arrogant than bored, placid, dull and uneventful.  Right?

Step right up.  Have I got a life for you.

This is it folks.  Our only life.  Just slow down and think about it for a minute.  Or two.  I'm not advocating complete seriousness in all decision-making, but we should pause when there are things at stake for us later on down the line that we don't know enough about now.  We don't get second chances.  We don't get a second life.  There is no heaven, and there is no actualized dream.

The truth is much more mundane, all the while living as an underbelly to the fantasy.   I'm not saying we shouldn't try, that our lives shouldn't be animated by principles, but they should be virtuous, and not fantasy-laden.

How to tell?

Here's the test.  If you chose to follow virtues, whatever they are, there will be no end to your quest.   If you chose fantasy, the end is close.

If you want to be an asshole, that's easy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Alcoholic Fantasy.

The fantasy of every alcoholic is to give up.  To be buried. To be dead.  To be despised.  To be ugly.  To be loathed.  AND to be worshiped.  To be better.  To be higher than before, to be grander than ever, and find a way home.

What I'm saying is that we, as boozers, however you want to define that--and perhaps it is just being human--have to get straightened out regarding effort, and discipline, and patience.  Those are things that come later in life, later in maturation, and they are items that need learning.   We long to find a place where we do not need to deal with pressure.  In efforts to hijack pressure inducing circumstances, we hijack our own tomorrows.  A little less pain in an effort toward sobriety will go a  long way tomorrow toward comfort and stability.

Progress is generally incremental.  It doesn't happen in large swaths.  We don't like that either.

We're generally not the smartest folks, though we've convinced ourselves that we have something impenetrably unique, impenetrably better.  What I'm saying is that we make a lot of excuses not to make an effort, and the cumulative total pain of all of those excuses if often times much greater than the pain of effort.

I'd even go so far as to say making an effort is genuinely rewarding, as long as we don't expect miracles.

Here it is: making an effort forces us to be involved in development.  Development is key.  We shun it in favor of the fantasy of leisure.  That's a cappuccino enema induced figment.   We have to be better, to hold ourselves to higher standards.

We can, indeed, run mini-self-experiments, by changing one variable/habit about our behavior every few days, and then reverting to the habit/variable, to see if there's a difference in our subjective quantities of happiness and satisfaction.  Alcohol is but one of those variables (albeit important). Breaking away from all or nothing thinking is vital, and, even better, possible.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pain Can Calm.

Little bits of pain can provide relief and peace in a way that is highly addictive.   There are explanations.  Of course, if you don't expect pain and have it inflicted on you, it will not prove calming.  But if self-inflicted, and controlled, once gotten used to, it can provide some comfort, if you will.  Hence cutting, self-mutilation, etc.  Once you gain a 'tolerance' you can go too far.

Also, of course, I think many alcoholics are more aware of this, and perhaps inflict pain on themselves purposefully.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

To Be Sober, Be Ordinary.

Very simple statement, I know.  But here's the gist.  If you want to get and remain sober, seeing yourself as ordinary is important.

Let me repeat that.  You are quite ordinary.

That doesn't mean you don't have all the comforts of being uniquely you, but it does mean that the likelihood that you're exceptional in some capacity to produce, is very low indeed.  I'm sorry.  Now get over it, and get to work with what you care about, instead of trying to please everyone with your absolute exceptionalism.

The point is that letting go of alcohol is also letting go of how important you think you are.  That's difficult.

Friday, January 13, 2012

We Need Rules

We need rules because we can't control ourselves.

We must admit that we can't control ourselves.

Blah blah blah.

What's not being said is that we can control ourselves, but that there are consequences, and we don't like to feel uncomfortable.  In fact, we have a particularly low threshold for discomfort.  And it turns out, that we, and you, and me, are in fact, uncomfortable a fair amount of the time.

So we make rules.  To out beast the beast that's sitting there, waiting to draw up the blueprints of our demise.

Rules cut the mental effort in making a decision when certain indicators present themselves in a situation.

Their danger is that we'll actually miss out on a bunch of close calls.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We're All Suffering. And We Don't Know it!

Don't you just love claims about what you do and do not know regarding yourself?

You are, for instance, an alcoholic, but you didn't know it.  You have to learn it, through time.

In other words, the more familiarity and specificity claims come with, the more we are likely to buy in to the idea that they apply to us.

To add a bit of confusion: a lot of the fundamental definitions that we learn to apply to ourselves, like "alcoholic" itself, is in a sense, very much created.  It describes a pattern of behaviors, any one of which, by itself, may or may not be enough to tip the scales.

And another bit: we've already assumed many definitions already, without full knowledge.  We cannot operate in the world without assumptions regarding our own efficacy, goals, and desires.

The final bit: often times our professed self-belief runs contrary to the understanding of peers we interact with.

This is very strange.  Why should there be such inconsistency?

Another question: what is truly motivating?  How do we create the best incentives?    Must they be universal?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Living A Life:::Catharsis Needed.

I start five different posts within a minute, each paced into a breakneck speed that even I can't keep up.  With.

Strange, that.  Not being able to keep up with yourself./


Honesty requires a bit of slowing down, it seems.

Being conscious of limits is infuriating.  

People drive me crazy.  Their ideas.  Their confessions.  Why can't they keep it all to themselves?  Why can't I?   Why must I wrangle out these confessions?  Why must I condition my sustenance on tortured production?

Why not slicken the walls with lubricant and go running around full speed?

At the end of my life, if I have lived a life according to standards, what will it mean?  When I am five days from death?  When all of the potential that could have been is now actualized and splayed out into the finite and knowable past?  What sustenance will I receive, when I know that?  If I have created favorable impressions of myself in twenty people's minds.  If I have convinced myself?  Will it be worth it?