Heroism and Our Values in Recovery

Welcome to our discussion based on Joe C.’s Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. We post choice quotes from the daily reading, as well as the discussion questions, and encourage you to think on it and respond in the comments. Please keep our community guidelines in mind while commenting.

“The hero is the one who comes to participate in life courageously and decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of personal rancor, disappointment or revenge.”

-Joseph Campbell

…Much of the fight to recover involves our own internal struggles–rewiring programmed messages about what was demanded and/or forbidden. Wrestling our demons doesn’t make us heroes. We have to fight decently, with no personal rancor or revenge.

Do we confuse having chips on our shoulders with being heroic? Are we clamoring for attention or control? Are we overcompensating for negative self-images? Are we playing the roles of martyrs, rescuers or saviors? In our addictions, we raped, plundered and pillaged, calling it taking our comfort. Are we now the keepers of our brothers and sisters? We must always be mindful of our intentions. Even if we want to be good in the world and make up for our parasitical pasts, we think about Campbell’s quote to ensure that what we might see as “heroic” is truly decent.

Discussion questions

  • What would I like to be remembered for?
  • What do I admire most in others?
  • Who are my heroes and why?

Relapse, Judgment, and How “Clean and Sober” Changes Over Time

Welcome to our discussion based on Joe C.’s Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. We post choice quotes from the daily reading, as well as the discussion questions, and encourage you to think on it and respond in the comments. Please keep our community guidelines in mind while commenting.

Accept your backsliding as normal–as something that happens to almost all people who at first improve emotionally and then fall back. See it as a part of your human fallibility. Don’t make yourself feel ashamed when some of your old symptoms return, and don’t think you have to handle them entirely by yourself and that it is week for you to seek some additional help.

-“How To Deal With Back Slide,” SMART Recovery

…As we progress, what it means to be clean and sober changes for us. Some of us take a good look at our caffeine intake or our smoking or our rationalizations about cash-register honesty, physical fitness, short-cut-seeking or imbalances in our work, health or home lives. “To err is human” is the point that today’s quote makes. Recovery is not a competition; it’s a journey.

Discussion questions

  • Do I believe that effort, not just results, is what matters?
  • Do I hold pernicious ideas about addiction resulting from a lack of character or do I see it like any other illness?
  • Am I judgmental about relapse?