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True Power

" True power does not need arrogance, a long beard and a barking voice. True power is attained with silk ribbons, charm and intelligence"

- Oriana Fallaci in "Il Divo"


Lessons Learned - My Perpetual Recovery

My recovery has been debated, scrutinized and frowned upon. The evolution of my theory has been due to a unique set of circumstances. Bipolar disorder, ADD, substance abuse, 9 years of professional football, constant reflection, an unquiet mind and reaching the age of 46 with no kids and never being married. Throw in a caring brother, a recovering sister and an open dialogue with a pair of loyal, loving (and often frustrated) only touch the tip of the iceburg.

The 8th and 9th steps in the 12 Step Recovery* Program read as follows:

#8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

# 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

I've come to find that the lists and amends' are never ending. And if done correctly, our recovery is perpetual. It's a life long process. A process where we teach ourselves to 'watch our minds'. We must be highly aware of how our brain works. How it can malfunction and throw us into a bad space. A space where we forget. We forget that WE are in control of this journey. A journey which is never easy nor ever predictable. Our recovery will take a lot of effort. But it's do-able, so please never stop fighting.

The Mirror Approach

I do need to note that I strongly disagree with the 9th steps' "except when to do so would injure them or others."....... Nonsense.........People need to be held accountable. One of the main reasons why there are low percentages of recovery(and high percentages of relapse/suicide) is that those that have raised/coached/influenced  us (i.e. family, friends, co-workers) either don't know what they've done or have chosen to only show 'support' in the recovery process. A one-way approach that makes those recovering cringe every time they (we) hear the all too familiar tones, contexts and verbiage that spun us out in the first place. In order to achieve true recovery, true remorse will need to be shown by all parties. And if done correctly, pain will be involved. That being said, each and every recovery will be unique and will have to treated as such. To forgive/forget the many years of drama will take a monumental team effort. It will require a full family recovery. JMHO

In the end, though, the recovery process is our choice. And it's eventual success or failure hinges strictly on our ability to embrace the program and choose to recover. HOWEVER, I simply want to let everyone know that simply because those in our inner circles might be 'hurt' if we address certain issues............Tough shit.

Making amends, seeking forgiveness (psychologically, scientifically- i.e. through religion, prayer, meditation) is not for those we forgive and or make amends with. It's for us. It's for us to clear our conscience, take a deep breath and move on. A method to quiet our kaleidoscopic mind in order to keep moving forward. The path  to true 'recovery' includes honest reflection and acknowlegement; the two main componants of denial.

As mentioned earlier, the 9th step is where we reach out and make amends to those we've 'hurt'. The following was derived from an open letter I sent to a couple members of the band, Lake Trout. I haven't had contact with these cats in over 6 years, so I decided it was time to reach out. And by the way, I've been 'recovering' for 9 years.

Growth is painful......and thank God for pain

As you know, everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t until just recently I've finally begun to feel comfortable with the man in the mirror. It was 1998. I had just bought into a record label that was in charge of launching the band Lake Trout, a local Baltimore rock group. With a sound shaped by their roots in jazz, LT wanted to take their sound to the next level. I was looking to fulfill dream of owning a label. Our relationship would eventually be broken and never reconciled. Countless mistakes, falsehoods, sleepless nights and misunderstandings would lead to our demise. The record business, any business for that matter, is tough racket. They (we) were young and green. We used to lift glasses to “total world domination by the year 2000”. It would never happen. Not for the lack of effort or passion, but the band wasn’t ready sonically, mentally or financially. And I just simply wasn’t ready. If I knew then what I know now (which I didn’t), they most likely never would of made it out of Baltimore, MD. I definitely would have done it differently (if I even did it all). Chalk this one up for humility ….as in “The road to success is paved w/ humiliation”.

We had fun though….some more than others. ; )

When I met the LT boys, they were young, impressionable and looking for leadership. I knew they looked up to me. I can vividly recall their respect when we first were introduced......their awe. Whenever I arrived to the their their shows……….they would say "Yes! Greg’s here!”

Unfortunately I wasn't in a space (nor wanted) to accept the responsibility of being a leader. My main desire was to just "fit in"… to be one of the boys. I wanted to meet people that ‘understood” me. I learned a great lesson(other than I'm allergic to alcohol/drugs) - that power is lost when you expose your weaknesses. And when you party like I did, you’re destined to make mistakes. My vulnerability was exposed.

A great example of this is in the movie, 24 Hr Party People - The history of the Brit rave scene, the rise and fall of Factory Records. Factory was the record label that produced the Happy Mondays and Joy Division (who eventually morphed into New Order after lead singer Ian Curtis’ tragic suicide). I want to note that even though my label may have had much less success than Factory Records, we partied twice as hard). LMFAO

As I starting hanging out w/ more people in the entertainment business, I got the vibe they (the biz) were on another level mentally. Traveling to France, Italy and Iceland to promote my label, I met a bunch of interesting people. I loved the scene, but my partying and eventual behavior led to a dead end. As they say “drugs didn’t kill Elvis Presley, rock and roll killed Elvis Presley.” And it almost killed me.

During this period of my life, I constantly felt I was missing something. Constantly searching, I would always be followed cloud of boredom and emptiness. Musicians seemed to draw on pain in order to create their art, hence my interest. Most of the people in the record business are intelligent, interesting and forward thinking. But if you’re not paying attention (which I wasn’t), finances (companies) can get out of hand very quickly. I had the tendency to go into business with an open mind, open check book and open heart….trusting everyone. I would never take the time to understand the “nuts and bolts” of a business before writing a check. The late nights and excess would lead to the loss of respect and the eventual demise of the Lake Trout project.

Lessons learned

Holding onto my past and not wanting to let go. Throughout my entire life, in my mind, I felt that I was never appreciated and always misunderstood. And only due to my current enlightenment, thanks in part to an aggressive and much needed de-construction of ego, have I realized that it was an existence in which I created for myself.

The constant loop of negative dialogue never would allow me to accept my role on this earth...........which is to lead. And now, through my perpetual recovery, I'm finally taking THE lead.

To inform those that are looking for answers.

To comfort those that have been tricked to think they were 'crazy'.

And to lead all those that want to recover recovery itself.

Fact is, squeezing life for all it was worth and thinking we could control the outcome simply doesn’t work.

I’ve had to let go in order to gain control in my life……….and Lake Trout had a lot to do with it.

* For those that are familiar w/ the 12 step program, I'd like to stress that the content in this blog is to be read knowing that steps 1-7 have been completed.

1 comment:

Depression Sucks but God is good said...

Nice, keep it coming> Also, keep me (us) posted on your living siutation.