Posts Tagged ‘alcoholism’

The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief Series

November 8, 2017

 

Chronicles I

A short, rather amusing tale about the start of the world’s very first Private Military Company, Executive Outcomes. Told from an insider’s point of view. The country, Angola at the height of its three-decade long state of war.

 

Chronicles II

A story about falling into an abyss, and what it took to climb out that deep pit. It is story of hope, for the seemingly hopeless and more importantly, of how to break the chains that hold you. The chains come in many forms, the thickest being the one called addiction. Drugs and alcohol are the most obvious forms of addiction but addiction comes in many, many forms, and everyone has at least one.

 

Chronicles III

Falling back into the abyss, and finding a whole lot of new deeper black holes, not the least ugly and deceiving were the ones that had the label, “Christian” on them. Surviving those, only to be thrown in another snake pit that goes by the names of phycology. Becoming a Gypsy and beginning of the Gypsy lifestyle. Traveling from Johannesburg to the Cape, narrowly avoiding falling into yet another pit, the Cape Flats gangs after befriending one in the Government Rehabilitation center.

 

The Palala Mission

A true story about the frustrations, the lies and the corruption that surrounds the Rhino Anti-Poaching business. Written before the real crisis began, South Africa was losing only just over a 100 rhino a year at that stage. You will get some insights of why the poachers have been so successful over the years and why they can kill more than a thousand a year now. It is not a happy story, certain people in this tale are now infamous and had charges brought against them; for others, it is just business as usual.

 

Purchase a copy of The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief Series:

Email wvbisset@gmail.com which copies you would like to purchase and we will send you an invoice and banking details. As soon as the bank reflects your payment we will sent the copies via your email. Price: R50. 00 each

A Sense of Belonging

May 11, 2017

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According to the head mechanics, a sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. Some find belonging in a church, some with friends, some with family, and some on Facebook or other social media. Some see themselves as connected only to one or two people. Others believe and feel a connection to all people the world over, to humanity. Some struggle to find a sense of belonging and their loneliness is physically painful for them. a single instance of being excluded can undermine self-control and well being and often creates pain and conflict.

My Strange Classrooms advocate that I “belong” too. Hell, I clearly remember telling the first chap that spoke to me in the AA, he told me that in order to get well I had to do certain things and join the human race. My reply was, “I don’t know about that, I have looked at the human race and found them lacking. I DO NOT want to sign up with them.” To this day my Facebook profile under About reads:

I am not aligned or affiliated to any organization, government, club, group, movement or facility. Religious, political or any thing else. I have always and will always be on my own mission!
Fully Section Eight.
Although I may travel along a path with people on occasion.

Part of that I got by reading the Twelve Traditions of the AA, I am sure the guys that wrote it never thought that it would be and inspiration for a personal philosophy.

The sense of belonging has come up recently in the Rooms again, perhaps I shall re-evaluate my stance on this matter.

Nosce te ipsum

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Bragging – A Defect of Character

May 8, 2017

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My Strange Classrooms tell me; defects of character stemmed from a need to feel secure and loved. One serious defect of character that seems to be prevalent is bragging.  We all have met those, being there, done that, and better than you, type of people.

Oh! You speak Spanish? That’s cute. I also speak Spanish, Italian and French. You taught Spanish in high school? I actually started my own company when I was 21, teaching 3 languages. I funded it myself!

God give me Grace!  I do not deal with this sort very well at all, which shows up a defect of character of my own. This will not do, I am sure I am not alone here.  So I thought the best thing is to see why they do it.

Understanding that they are actually sick, insecure and often lonely people should evoke some sympathy in me, for them. Nope, that did not work. I still find them irritating and actually they bring out the aggression in me. Next best thing, I also learned, when I get pissed off in a situation, remove myself.  If that is not possible, try to ignore the idiot and not getting into a competition with them seems to be a good plan.

Sometimes I hate these bloody Strange Classrooms, as for sympathy and braggarts? The only sympathy I find is for myself, that I have to deal with them.

Nosce te ipsum

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Strange Classrooms, Sheep and Religion

May 3, 2017

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One of the things that I did not like about the religion of my father was the reference of sheep, even as a small boy I did NOT want to be a damn sheep, no matter what Jesus had to say about it. This may have been the start of the trouble between my father and I.  He saw that being a sheep was a good thing, and I thought along the lines of “lamb to the slaughter.” In the past few years the word “Sheeple” has immerged, and that small boy feels vindicated!

Now attending Strange Classrooms, I want to learn, I have to learn, but the same problems pops up in just about every bloody place I go to learn.  First there comes the dogma and then the group’s insistence of becoming like a sheep, of a flavour of the groups choosing.  Although Alcoholics Anonymous hard core supporters will deny this, a bit of digging can prove it. All the ideas they use came from the Bible.  The two founding members, Bill W and Dr. Bob as they are known, got the core material from the Oxford Group. (Basically a Papist type of Sect) I sit in the meetings listening to some “old timer” sprouting off how wonderful this Bill W was, and that he wrote the 12 Steps, now used in EVERY rehabilitation group invented, in one night, a miracle.  Understand this; I know that the AA is the most successful means to date of getting alcoholics on the wagon, and KEEPING them there. In my own experience I know, don’t attend meetings regularly, say at least once a week, then I end up going on my drinking missions.  Catch 22. I refuse to be a sheep but have to belong to this group.  The AA was my stepping stone and the cause of my quest and the reason I attend all the other Strange Classrooms.

A few things that the AA does enables a compromise to be found, one is that it advocates keeping an open mind and second it does try and keep religion out of it.  By the way, the AA taught me about compromise.

So, in order to remain of sound mind and sober judgement I attend these meetings, and learn an awful lot.  But from the beginning there are two, what are considered vital steps in the AA, that I refuse point blank to do.

One, the last part of Step 5.

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

I do not trust any human being on this planet enough to complete this Step.

The second is I refuse point blank to get the “sponsor” that they advocate is vital to recovery. Again, it is a matter of trust.

The last thing is, in order to fit in, I have to accept I will have to accept the hardcore, a meeting a day type members, will try make me into a sheep.

When they corner me with their dogmatic speech and narrow views, I must NOT argue with them.

Here the Serenity Prayer helps a lot; I just repeat it incessantly while they carry on. I smile.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

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Dancing in the Dark

May 2, 2017

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We all have some things in the past that we regret doing, much of our dark side stems from these. More often than not you will hear people tell someone that is depressed, “Forget the past and move on.” This is impossible, one cannot do both. In order to move on you have to not forget the past, but go back and access the dark things with complete honesty. Don’t do that and you are incapable of the “move on” part. So while you cannot change that past, you most certainly can learn from it, even if it is years and years later, but simply forgetting it, or blanking out the dark parts, you will just keep repeating the things you do that cause the darkness in the first place. In this case ignorance is not bliss. Once you have done an honest inventory of what part you played in creating the darkness, you have a choice: Continue to ignore it or decide make changes to improve. I can promise you, choosing the latter is, painful and entails a lot of work. In the long run it is worth it, choosing the former will just cause you to carry on building a dark past, in a state of semi-depression, as long as you live.

A big part of fixing your own darkness and moving towards the light is trying to help other people with similar problems as yourself, you can only do this by sharing what you have learned, from your past.

The Chronicles of The Mexican Horse Thief is not an autobiography, it is my reference book, Part II particularly. A story about, Dancing in the Dark, if you will.

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The Dark Side

May 1, 2017

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“It’s the side of myself that I refuse to look at that rules me. I must be willing to look at the dark side in order to heal my mind and heart because that is the road to freedom. I must walk into darkness to find the light and walk into fear to find peace.”

Anonomous

 

We learn early it is better not to speak with our dark thoughts and emotions.  This teaches us to avoid thinking about it, after all, your thoughts become your words.  But this darkness of our soul has a life of its own which thrives, whether or not we choose to acknowledge it.  It’s there, and it’s powerful. Much effort goes into repressing and hiding it from ourselves and others. It’s our dark side. The parts we are ashamed and afraid to show. Secrecy, manipulation, and pretending take over large parts of our lives from fear of this dark side. The more we repress these dark corners of our being, the more we face disorder in our personality. This comes out in things like addiction, anxiety, intentionally failed relationships or jobs, or other behaviors that cause destruction to ourselves and others. The latest way to not deal with this is… developing one of the ABC sicknesses, it is easy, your local friendly doctor will gladly help you!

To really appreciate the light, one must know and experience total darkness, that is my personal opinion, I may be wrong.

I put it to you, that any spiritual work must entail exposure and understanding of our dark side. Solely concentrating on your light side keeps you away from places of shame, guilt, jealousy, greed,  lust and aggression. But it is these very emotions that must be worked through first.

Taking an honest look in the mirror is the hardest, scariest thing you will ever do, trust me on this one.  But if you are unhappy and want to change it is the only way, forget about all these self help books, and look in that damn mirror…. honestly. Then decide what you would like to change about yourself, that is the first step.

As usual, simple…. but not easy.

As you know, a decision without action is worthless.

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People with Personal Problems vs People with Personal Issues

April 28, 2017

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Last night, trying to work out why I can feel empathy or at least sympathy with some people and will do my best to help them; others I simply just have no time for. I saw no logical reason for my choice of how I reacted to people, it just happens.

An epiphany!  You get two distinct types of people, those with genuine problems and those that have turned their problem into issues. Somewhere in my subconscious there is a filter that sorts them out, quickly, with no intellectual thought needed.

The word problem is connected with the word solution. A problem is something negative that needs to be solved. An issue is an important topic or problem for debate or discussion.

Not sure what the little men that put you on a couch would say about this, but this is my observation and conclusion.

Some people see a problem and seek a solution, the solution when attempting to solve a personal problem ALWAYS takes work.  You are always part of what causes the problem, always. Sometimes a minor piece, sometimes a major piece and I hate to tell you this, sometimes the whole damn thing. If a person wants to solve a problem the first and only way to do it is see where they can change their role in the problem. Like getting rid of their bad temper, intolerance, hate etc. Most will not admit that they are part of the problem, of the few that do, even less will be willing to make change to themselves.

So what do we have left? People with issues is what! They lie to themselves that they would do anything to rid themselves of the problem. What they want to do is have endless debates and whining discussions about their problem, most have problems, plural, because they LIKE having them. Their problems are now issues.

Now, any person that wants help on my specialty I am willing to share the knowledge gathered over nearly two decades of attending Strange Classrooms. If a person has personal issues, leave me out of it. People with issues are Energy Vampires, and very dangerous to other people’s mental health.

Good news.

Alcoholism is a problem, not an issue.

Drug addiction is a problem not an issue.

Having a “bad temper” is a problem not an issue.

Impatience is a problem, not an issue.

Depression is a problem, not an issue.

“Panic Attacks” is a problem, not an issue.

All the newfangled ABC type illnesses the doctors tell you that you have, most likely are a problem, not an issue.

All are fixable, without drugs,  if you are willing to do the work that it takes to address the problem.

You just need absolute honesty (with yourself), willingness, an open mind and a pinch of bravery.

 

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In Pursuit of Happiness

April 26, 2017

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There a few reasons why I choose to attend not just one Strange Classroom, but many different ones. The main one being is I never seem to agree with ALL of their teachings and the second is if there is one thing I hate, it is dogma.  Unfortunately, as much as they deny it, every single formal Strange Classroom I attend has a lot of dogma involved. As you know, people lie to themselves, and here they just do it as a group, the clever people talk about a group consciousness, but that is another topic altogether.

Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous said, “I don’t think happiness or unhappiness is the point. How do we meet the problems we face? How do we best learn from them and transmit what we have learned to others, if they would receive the knowledge? “

Now in the AA, what Bill said is considered Gospel, he has been canonised by most of the serious members of the AA.  This causes both of the above problems for me. Also why bother to do all the work it takes to get sober if one does not obtain happiness with it?

Now I do not chase happiness myself, I tell myself I am looking for this one thing called serenity, but just realized that my thinking was flawed. It was right in my face but I choose to ignore this small fact, I now deem to be true: One cannot be serine without having a certain amount of happiness in the whole equation!

So, as is my nature I set out to define what happiness is and how one goes about finding it, at least some of the time.

Happiness is defined as:

Pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction, bliss, contentment. Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good.

Further reading tells me:

“Research shows that happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort.  Money is important to happiness, but only to a certain point. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life—housing, food, clothing. Genetic makeup, life circumstances, achievements, marital status, social relationships, even your neighbors—all influence how happy you are. Or can be.

 

So do individual ways of thinking and expressing feeling. Researchers estimate that much of happiness is under personal control. Regularly indulging in small pleasures (such as warm baths!), getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself are all actions that increase life satisfaction.”

Psychology Today

 

As Jung is considered the, or rather one, of the founding fathers of modern psychology, (Sigmund was a very sick puppy) it would be wise to see what his thoughts were on this matter.

In 1960, journalist Gordon Young asked Jung, “What do you consider to be more or less basic factors making for happiness in the human mind?”

Jung answered with the five following elements.

  1. Good physical and mental health.

 

  1. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.

 

  1. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.

 

  1. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.

 

  1. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.

 

I have found that it is always a good idea to begin at the beginning, and, I do believe my research and actions taken from my Strange Classrooms will help with the first step.

Step two I shall have to do a lot of work on, maybe I should find a Cat of my own?  (I smile)

Three I have down pat, and funny enough one of the times I find myself happy is when I have my camera in my had, capturing something beautiful, usually in nature.

Four is a problem at present, will have to correct that somehow.

Five is an ongoing mission and will be so till the day I die.

 

Conclusion:

Happiness is a choice but takes quite some effort to obtain.

You cannot be happy 100% of the time.

 

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Faith and Fear

April 22, 2017

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When one mentions the word faith, most people immediately jump to the conclusion that you are talking about religious stuff. Far, far more important than that, in my opinion, is faith in oneself.

In this society I find myself in, they teach you to have self doubt from an early age, and lack of faith in yourself and who you are. Your “faith” gets put, not into yourself, but what you are taught. You must faithfully believe “they” are right and you are wrong.

When you are different, you faithfully believed that you have to change who you are. You need to bend and mould and become who other people told you you should be. You are supposed to put their (society) needs and opinions, first. You must to push down your joy, your hopes, your dreams. You must dull your shine, and just damn well fit in.

You believe those things so that you will be accepted and loved. So you do what you believe will get you those two things and you end up living in fear of being yourself. Worse, you start a long journey of living a lie. You lie firstly to yourself and then everyone around you. You are happy, you are doing well, and you are satisfied with your achievements in life. (You have a “good” job, you have a house, a car or two and all the things that show you are successful.)

Meanwhile you are slowly dying, your spirit, your soul if you will, is withering away. You forget who you actually are and become this non person that looks good from the outside.

I believe that this is a great cause of alcoholism and drug addiction, and the reason so many people in this modern society are on legal drugs for metal issues.  To quell the fear of being you, those that do not take to alcohol or drugs do other things, they shove the fear down with food, or hours of mindless TV,  join some cause or by refreshing facebook and email every twelve seconds

Living in fear and in a lie of your own creation is not a good plan. The first step out of this hell hole is to find out who you actually are, and that…… is a very scary task in itself.

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Personal Space

April 21, 2017

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Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behaviour, communication, and social interaction.

The clever chaps in white jackets tell me that most people are comfortable with as little as 60cm distance when talking to strangers. Don’t know about that!

According to Ralph Adolphs, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology, “It is important to keep in mind that personal space of course varies depending on culture and context, and that there are significant individual differences.”

I am not sure what “culture” I fit in with, but it would be one with a huge circle they consider personal space.  But I live in Africa and without having to research anything on line I know that here, it seems that personal space does not exist in many of the cultures here!  This causes me much distress when standing in any form of que, at the checkout in the shops, in the bank, at the licensing department…..

The psychologist Robert Sommer suggested we do it by temporarily dehumanizing those around us, avoiding eye contact and pretending they’re inanimate until the moment comes when we spot an escape route. “ After all”,  he says, “ it’s not uncomfortable to stand inches from a wall.”

That  is a sure way to get mugged, robbed  and/or killed dead in South Africa, so is not an option.

The best I have come up with is to stand sideways in the que.

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