That’s Just Your Opinion, Man

Men are disturbed not by the things which happen, but by the opinion about the things: for example, death is nothing terrible, for if it were, it would have seemed so to Socrates; for the opinion about death, that it is terrible, is the terrible thing. When, then, we are impeded or disturbed or grieved, let us never blame others, but ourselves, that is, our opinions. It is the act of an ill-instructed man to blame others for his own bad condition; it is the act of one who has begun to be instructed, to lay blame on himself; and of one whose instruction is completed, neither to blame another, nor himself.

Epictetus, Encheiridion, V

Disclaimer: Reading this aloud to myself, it rattles of teenage angst. Emotions involved with anger are difficult dragons to slay. I am proud that I am able to take responsibility for my actions, to the point of blaming myself for things that I shouldn’t. This is a hard pill for me to swallow because I almost want to be the agitator, I don’t want to think others have done wrong. The fact of the matter is that I can’t blame myself for everything, only the things that I know I am directly responsible for. C.S Lewis stated that “true humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less”. In this particular situation, I still find myself on the fence. I haven’t discovered the true resolution if one is possible. I would rather face this than sweep it under the rug, cognizant of my lack of definitive proof against myself or a surefire resolution.

Resentment is an ugly, awful feeling. There are a couple of people to this day, as hard as I have fought in my mind, that I continue to harbor varying degrees of residual resentment towards. One, in particular, has become very troubling. I started to really analyze this problem and figure out how much of it is me, picking individual elements and situations apart to see if I was the ultimate cause.

According to the dictionary, resentment is a feeling of “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”. If I adhere to this definition, I’m not truly resentful. I’m angry, to the point that I don’t want anything to do with the situation any longer. Continue reading “That’s Just Your Opinion, Man”

Advice From Napoleon

 

In war the general alone can judge of certain arrangements. It depends on him alone to conquer difficulties by his own superior talents and resolution.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon’s Art of War, Maxim LXVI

In an earlier post, I utilized a quote from Marcus Aurelius that encourages a person to ask for help, to not be afraid and accept that there are many occasions and circumstances we can not nor should we tackle alone. Friendship and community are one of the foundations to successfully quitting drinking. Hence why groups such as AA are as popular as they are. I could not have done this alone. Swallowing my pride and asking for help created a sense of courage in me that I knew that I had but was too stubborn to use. It’s hard to say if I would have discovered this fully on my own, but joining an AA group aided in the willingness to self-exam and lead me to that goal.

Napoleon Bonaparte has been called a giant for the ages. His military prowess is considered to be on a scale rarely seen before in human history. Continue reading “Advice From Napoleon”

When Moderation Leads to Excess: The Alcoholic’s Dilemma, Or, The Bee Sting

It has been said that one of the keys to life is moderation. Don’t sleep too much or little, watch what and how much you eat. Have a job but don’t be a workaholic. Take time to play but don’t play too hard. Find that middle ground. Psychologists call this the “Goldilocks effect”, that point where it’s just right. Graphically, that point would be the apex of an upside down letter U. Anything after that will possibly lead to a point of diminishing returns.

However, American culture values extremes and excess. You can never have too much money, be too skinny, have too many social media followers, never have a house too big or too small. We also live in a world that alcohol has become more acceptable amongst the masses. Continue reading “When Moderation Leads to Excess: The Alcoholic’s Dilemma, Or, The Bee Sting”

Define Your Environment: Addiction and the Art Of War

Sun_Tzu_open_rights
Sun Tzu

The addictive mind is a battlefield. Everyday occurrences that are mundane and routine to some people can be a complicated mix of emotions for someone coping with addiction. There are many little instances during the day that I still find myself trying to remember how to do things sober or breaking routines and patterns that I developed while I was drinking. For example, I travel the same route to a gig once a week. I usually stop at the same gas station. For a couple of weeks, I found myself walking unintentionally towards the beer cooler. I had no intention of drinking; I had no craving. It was simply a pattern. It was as if I was a deer, traveling the same game trail every day to my food, water or bedding source. It was a simple, nearly animalistic, behavior. The same can be said of coping with your environment. Your environment absolutely determines attitude and behavior and vice versa, at least for me it does. Continue reading “Define Your Environment: Addiction and the Art Of War”