Monthly Archives: July 2010

SPIN IS THE NEW TRUTH


Harriet Rossetto

Telling the truth today is dangerous.  We live in a black and white world of partial partisan truths, images and symbols.  We bully, deny, demean and crucify the parts of ourselves and others that don’t conform to the party line.

“Gotcha” is our favorite game.  People are paid to dig up shit and spread it virally across the land.

This week’s victim is Shirley Sherrod, a “woman of valor”, who publically admitted her biases and how she overcame them.  She revealed her original difficulty in helping a white farmer until she realized the issue was not race but poverty and committed herself to helping poor farmers of every description.  Her remarks were deliberately taken out of context by Fox News, sent to the NAACP, the Department of Agriculture and spread on the internet, branding her a racist.  No one bothered to check the facts.  She was publicly stoned by everyone, including the NAACP and the White House.  She lost her job and in the public eye, her 40+ years of devotion to her cause and her hard-earned integrity.

I wept for her this morning; I identified with her.  My heroes and heroines are people who examine themselves, struggle to overcome their demons and dare to tell themselves and others about them.  Our country’s heroes and media darlings appear to be those who deny their inner demons and demonize others.

That’s in public.  In private, we overdose on the smut of reality TV.  That further reassures us that we’re better than they are and affirms our denial system.

Last week it was poor Robert Gibbs, who was on the carpet for admitting an obvious truth.  It wasn’t even anything personal.  Just reality.  Not permissible in a partisan paradigm.  Deny, deny, deny!!

I weep for the Obamas and for all of us who got our hopes up and have watched hatred and fear overcome them.  We are in the grips of an addiction far more lethal than drugs or alcohol.  Only the truth shall set us free.  Honest to God!!!

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What is your Miracle?


For me Beit T’Shuvah has been a place of complete transformation. I came into the program with a bag of clothes and a lot of problems, to say the least. My boss John Sullivan showed up at Beit T’Shuvah with a trash bag of clothes and a suspended prison sentence. Now we both have a substantial amount of sobriety, loved ones and great relationships with the great people in our lives. Most important, we have self-esteem and integrity. That is my personal miracle. To me a miracle is something that I accomplished that I never thought was possible.

John and I are just two of the countless Beit T’Shuvah miracles. I would like to hear what your Beit T’Shuvah miracles are so please take your time to write a brief summary of what Beit T’Shuvah has helped you with, or any miracles you have experienced. Thank you.

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Filed under Gratitude

The 4th step: Momentum is a spiritual force


By Greg Metzger

Greg Metzger

“Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted. Though our decision is a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions”
Many people in recovery balk at this step.  Many say that their recovery came to an abrupt halt at this crucial step. Many started their 4th Step and never finished it.  Many who relapse say that they never finished or started this step.

Momentum is so very important in everything.  Newton’s laws of motion are as applicable to spiritual principles as they are to physics.Lex I: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare.

Apologies to Newton for this translation:  a person in motion through the steps will remain in motion until compelled by a force that acts upon the motion.”

What are the forces that “compel” us to change our momentum to go through the steps?     What forces can we harness to propel us through this important step?

We are “driven by a hundred forms of fear and self-delusion. . .”  Fear is a powerful force within it is great energy.  It can paralyze and it can propel.  I have learned to harness the energy of fear to maintain momentum and to use fear energy to create movement when I become stuck.  My fear of returning to active addiction is a very compelling force.

The force of self-delusion is also powerful.  I once deluded myself into believing that I could stay sober without working the steps or doing the things that sober people did to stay sober and grow in sobriety.  This delusion led to relapse and cost me dearly.   I came close to that place of no return.  So, when I came back I had new forces to propel me into action: Fear and Desperation.

I heard once that if I am stuck on a step, it is wise for me to look to the prior step for the cause.  The source of my delusion may have been that I “completed” the 3rd step – that I decided to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood him.

“Though our decision is a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.”

I came to discover that Step 3 is more than the mere recitation of a prayer; it is the decision and the attachment to the obligations of that decision.  Prayer is a means of obligating ourselves to our decision and asking for help in its fulfillment.

I found that to work any of the 12 steps, I had to be working all the prior steps, on that day, in that moment.  To work step 4, I had to be exercising my 3rd step decision.  I had to surrender to the truth that I could be returned to sanity.  I had to admit that I was alcoholic, that my life was unmanageable.  The further I get from step 1, the easier it is to die from the delusion that I am not alcoholic and I do not need to treat my disease today, in this moment.

I take a moment every morning to reconnect with the pain, fear and despair of the worst moments of my last “experiment”.  I follow this with an exercise to connect with my gratitude for life and all its blessings.  My worst and by best, a 1st and 2nd step, combine to reinforce my 3rd step decision.   With that, I can “attach” myself to the 3rd step and its attendant prayer and truly, “launch out on a course of vigorous action. The first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which many of us had never attempted.”

I have found that unlike the objects that Newton was writing about which respond to external forces, people in recovery are most influenced by internal forces.  So, when working with others, I try to help them to find within themselves the same forces of fear and gratitude to apply them in their own unique way to maintain their momentum and counteract the forces that slow them down.

I also try to be a force of attraction, which like gravity is a powerful force.  When we stay in gratitude, we attract others to that path that we walk.  As we move, we create a force that pulls others along.

The best way to get into action is to stay in action.  I am hopeful that these suggestions will help you create and maintain momentum for yourself those you help.

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Filed under 12-Steps, addiction

I’m a Rabbi and I need your help


The question that I am asking myself this week is: how do I manage my passion? I believe that living life with passion and purpose is vital to living well. Yet, I also know that passion unchecked is dangerous.

As a Rabbi, I am passionate about Judaism, living decently and finding goodness in the world. As an employer, I am passionate about fulfilling my mission and the people working for me working hard and being productive. And I find myself being calked intimidating, hard, angry, etc. Rather than blame others and say I am being misunderstood, I have to look at myself and change me.

My commitment is to continue to be passionate and productive. I need help! Please let me know your ideas and experience on how to stay passionate and not be dismissed as a raving lunatic. Thanks, I look forward to trying your suggestions out.

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Filed under Gratitude, Temple