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Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't be a victim!

Let's assume for a moment that there is something about my life I don't like and want to change.

I want to explore the idea that everything in our lives is a result of our beliefs.

I like this idea because it forces me to take responsibility for my life and to avoid thinking of myself as a victim.  Once you get the feeling that you are at the mercy of others, you become a victim.  Much better to look inside yourself and see if you can discover just what you have done or believed that has guided your life into its present state.  ASSUME that you have done, or believed, something that has resulted in your life being as it is now.

Suppose you have a "disease", for example.  Such as alcoholism, or cancer.  Most people in the western world regard disease as something that has hit you, out of the blue: you are its victim.  You have to take drugs or visit a shrink or a surgeon.  You have to "battle the disease."  Avoid this line of thought studiously and instead, regard the disease as an essential part of you, for the moment.  The disease is telling you something you need to know.  It's a cry from your body that something about your life has to change.

So far as I can understand, the need for alcohol arises because alcohol can cause you to forget or ignore painful feelings which you do not know how to deal with otherwise.  In my case, I am not addicted to alcohol, I can go without it for many days and not feel the need to take it.  I like it, however, and usually drink a little every day - say 3/4 inch of Tequila in the bottom of a small tumbler, and only after 5 p.m.

Now comes the interesting part:  I have a tremor, very noticeable in my hands but present elsewhere in my body.  It is present all the time.  It's worse in my right hand than in my left. It makes writing extremely difficult, for example signing my name to withdraw money at the bank.  Lifting a cup of coffee to my mouth requires both hands to avoid splashing it everywhere.  When it first became noticeable, about three years ago, I thought there must be some nervous damage, and I remembered that my father also had this tremor.  Perhaps it's inherited?

One day I inadvertently poured too much Tequila into my glass, almost twice as much as usual; nevertheless I drank it all and became slightly tipsy.  It happened that I needed to sign a document that evening.  I discovered to my astonishment that I could write perfectly well, there was no sign of a tremor.  Next day, the tremor was back.

A little research on the internet showed me that this phenomenon is known in medical circles: alcohol relieves tremor symptoms; but nobody knows how that works.  Of course, it is no use considering it as a cure, as I would probably become addicted to alcohol.  But it showed me that alcohol was allowing me to stop doing, or believing, whatever it was that was causing the tremor.  It showed me that my nervous system was working properly, not defective. If something was inherited, that something must be somewhat insubstantial, like a belief, for example.  Just what exactly is it that I am doing, or believing, that causes it?

I haven't found that out yet - sometimes ordinary life is too interesting to spend time introspecting like this. (excuses, excuses.)  Then again, it is very difficult to expose one's basic beliefs as one is so close to them and so used to them one doesn't recognise them as beliefs, even.  If in this case the alcohol is doing its job of causing me to forget, temporarily, painful beliefs, what can those beliefs be?  Must be something that's basic to my life.

(I'll continue this later, time is running out)


  1. Malcolm, I write to you from San Jose, CA. I appreciate your perspective. Just because I am uncomfortable, does not mean something is wrong. I think my view mirrors yours on many points. Thank you, sir.

  2. Malcolm, I had a bizarre hearing issue a few years ago that drove me practically insane with fear and pain and the only thing that gave me any relief from the constant noises going on in my head was drinking wine. And even then, not always, only sometimes. I found out by accident two weeks into it that if I drank enough wine, the screeching noises in my head/ears disappeared for a while.

    My doctor confirmed that it was a known effect on my condition but of course he couldn't recommend I just start drinking all the time nor did I want to. However, I did lean hard on alcohol for about a year. I wept over it, I hated turning to it. I felt I knew what alcoholics went through because I would fight the urge and finally give in when I could no longer take the pain anymore.

    My husband comforted me and said he thought it would be temporary and go ahead and lean on it. That alcohol was used medicinally for a long time in human history and since there were no drugs to help me, I had no alternative.

    There were times when it was barely noon and I would open a bottle in desperation. I would cry as I poured the wine but at the same time pray it would give me relief.

    My husband was right and as time went on, my condition lessened. It stopped bothering me so much and I no longer needed to drink in order to cope. That was three years ago now, maybe four. Now wine is just a part of some evenings, the way it was before. It has nothing to do with trying to block out pain. Thank god.

    But I will never forget the experience. It taught me a great deal about suffering and taught me compassion for those who can't stop drinking, who need it. I've never looked at addicts the same way after that, I have great compassion for them now. I think I understand their struggle and I have nothing but sympathy.

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful post, you reminded me once again of a valuable lesson in my life. :)

  3. Dear Malcolm,

    I enjoyed this post, mostly because i agree with Your decision to take responsibility for Yourself and Your environment.

    All too often, P/people like to point the finger at others or things outside themselves instead of looking inward OR even having things or situations in O/our lives as a result of past karma, even in another life, if You will...

    i believe if W/we want things to change, W/we have to change...Y/you would not expect Your shadow to move without You moving first, right? Or Your image in a mirror to move without You moving - the same goes for everything.

    My belief is that nothing is impossible, even overcoming sickness, but aside from prayer, action must be taken!


    Wishing You and Your sub/slave well,

    --kitten for Sir


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