Be not ashamed to be helped; for it is thy business to do thy duty like a soldier in an assault on a town. How then, if being lame thou canst not mount up on the battlements alone, but with the help of another is it possible?
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.7
Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I began this conversation a couple of days ago via a live stream on Instagram. It was prompted by a discussion topic at an AA meetings concerning what part of the program stands out to me or what aspect has been really helpful in my recovery. It’s true that the program has to work holistically, all parts being a conduit to the whole recovery. Consequently, each part helps me through different stages of growth and development. Continue reading “A Little Help From My Friends”
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”
The safety of life is this, to examine everything all through, what it is itself, what is its material, what the formal part; with all thy soul to do justice and to say the truth. What remains except to enjoy life by joining one good thing to another so as not to leave even the smallest intervals between?
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 12.29
Life is life. It happens every day, with or without our input. Every day is made up of small events that we string together in our waking hours. I would say that most of these events are unglamorous: brushing your teeth, what you eat for breakfast, your commute to work, relaxing at home. They are just a point of existence in a day. They still hold importance, for sure, but those aren’t the moments we focus on.
On your commute to work, a millennial pulls out in front of you while she is texting and driving. A little blue-haired lady with a handicapped placard is going 15 miles an hour under the speed limit. An overcompensation of a diesel truck rides your tailgate and then flies around you, giving you the finger as his show of appreciation. These little moments are the ones that make you lose sight of the glorious sunrise, that first cup of coffee, the soft words or lips of your significant other, your ever-faithful cat reminding you how hungry he is and that he loves you. Continue reading “The Safety Of Life”
My sobriety has relied on two schools of philosophy to help make sense of everything that goes through my head on a daily basis: Stoicism and the teachings of Christ/letters of Paul.
In a nutshell, stoicism is an ancient Greek philosophy that focuses on personal ethics informed by logic and its view of the natural world. It is about living in the moment, controlling your desires, seeking justice and equality, using logic and reason to understand the world we live in. Personally, it has taught me a lot about accountability and what it means to have virtue in our ever-burgeoning world of material value. These values are found in the writings of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca, among others.
For me, the teachings of Christ boil down to a few basic tenants: love one another, be kind, treat others well, control your desires, do not be tempted by wrongdoing. There is much more to it than those values.
Consequently, these are not the only two schools I study.
I will continue to expand on these ideas throughout the course of my personal growth. But please know that I view my daily life based around these philosophical schools.
Because I use it as a daily “devotional” of sorts, I will often pull heavily from Ryan Holiday’s book The Daily Stoic. Some days, I may take what I have read for that day and expound my own thoughts on his words. Same goes for the Bible.
Ultimately, my personal goal is to strive to use philosophy as a way to expand my mind and cope with addiction.