Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Christmas Memory

     One Christmas Eve when I was a child, I got up from my bed and looked out the window.  I must have been about 7.   I saw Santa knocking on a neighbor's door across the street.  He even had a sack over his shoulder.  It seem so real.   Clear as day.

       I've always remembered that Christmas Eve.  I must have wakened from a dream.  Sweet memory.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dealing With Anxiety

Good New York Times article

New York Times Article

Companies that target younger workers

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


   what is the soundtrack of your life

talking to shannnon   -- sounds and songs ---  how i felt in the moment

music is so's powerful

i can identify the periods of in time of songs i love.....

teen - ager
California Dreamin'   we'd had a blizzard

i wanna hold your hand,   ed sullivan!

would i have been a hysterical teen-ager

bob dylan

Friday, December 8, 2017

Brain Plasticity

Ted Talk, Dr. Merzenich -- viewed on 12/7/2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

3-D technology in orthopedics

Dr. Samuel Adams successfully completed a 3-D leg implant.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Reynolds Price and Doctors

p.13  ..." at 5 o'clock on that second day, i was lying on a stretcher in a crowded hallway, wearing only oe of those backless hip=length gowns designed by the standard medical-warehouse sadist.  Like all such wearers I was passed and stared at by the usual throng of stunned pedestrians who swarm hospitals round the world... two original doctors bound up the hallway with a chart in hand...all I recall the two men saying in that instant was "the upper 10 or 12 inches of your spinal cord have swelled and are crowding the available space....we recommend immediate surgery.

i could hear they were betting on a large tumor..they mentioned the name of a surgeon, suggested I go  back to my room and await his visit.  Then they moved on, leaving me and my brother as empty as windsocks, stared at by strangers...What would these two splendidly trained doctors have lost if they'd waited to play their trump till I was back in the private room for which Blue Cross was paying our mutual employer, Duke, a sizable mint in my behalf?

p. 40 - 41 "the presiding oncologist by telling me, with all the visible concern of a steel cheese grater that my tumor was of a size that was likely unprecedented in the annals of Duke Hospital -- some 50 years of annals...he'd ended with the kind of doctor's omen I was now too familiar with.  If a large dose of radiation was given me, I'd bear a small but significant risk of losing the use of both my legs -- say a five percent chance....Don't tell me that; driven as I've always been to stand in the winner's circle, I'll surely land in the five percent.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

John Steinbeck

     I just watched the A & E biography of John Steinbeck.  Such a brilliant, sensitive man.  The Grapes of Wrath pretty much made him a household name.  The people back home in Salinas, however, made him a pariah for calling landowners "greedy."  In his later years, when he was nominate for the Nobel Prize, the world rejoiced, everyone, that is, except the critics, who continued to say Steinbeck was sentimental.  After that, Steinbeck never wrote another word of fiction.

     Instead, he turned to Hollywood, writing scripts like East of Eden, after his book of the same name.  By that time, had grown to hate his second wife, who had told him she'd never loved him, and that the son they had together probably wasn't his.  Some of the things she said were untrue, however, Steinbeck was deeply wounded.;

     Steinbeck's son, Thom, said the book mirrored their family life. In the book, the mother shoots her husband, opening up a world of angst for their son.  East of Eden had James Dean in  the starring role.

     Late in life, Steinbeck had the desire to cleanse his soul and decided to write a travelogue called Travels With Charlie.  Charlie was his large black poodle, who became one of the best known dogs in literature.

     After Steinbeck's death in 1968, his hometown decided to build a museum in his honor.  Steinbeck would have preferred a "moderately priced brothal," or a bowling alley named after him.  The Steinbeck museum cost 10 million dollars.   Today, Steinbeck is the most respected American author.

     You can view the documentary here --  (45 minutes)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Journey to Recovery

     The first step begins with saying "no" to the food when the urge hits.  My brain learns to re-orient itself to healthy choices.  It may be uncomfortable to control an urge, but it can done!  The more we say "no" to bad food choices, the brain will remember and associate the "urge" with pain, not pleasure.

    Compulsive overeating is a serious illness.  I'm forced to look at the consequences and feel the effects, which are horrible.  I prayed that "just this once," I can recover from another binge.

     What has made a big impact on me has been Smart Recovery, a program started in the 1990's by a Harvard M. D.  The cos benefit analysis has really helped and I made a post of about 46 benefits of ABSTINENCE.  It's posted in my bedroom.  Three days of abstinence now and I'm feeling great!  I also started reading the Big Book.

     However, I feel, like many others, that AA has failed.  Its focus on the past is unhealthy...the program is not scientifically based, but it was the only thing that worked back in the 1930's.  It was the only thing "out there."

      Now I take my abstinence one day at a time, one meal at a time.  I still go to 12 step meetings...they are comforting and nurturing, but more and more Smart Recovery has become my mainstay.  I find the 24/7 chat rooms helpful, and the live meetings and webinars helpful.  I don't think it matters why a person uses.  The action and the answer is TO STOP!!!  And to become sober.

April 23, 2018

     I broke with my sponsor of seven years last night.  This had been building for some time.  I was feeling judged, and "less than," and grew concerned about her negative attitude, emphasis on the word "fail," and what I perceived as anger in her emails.  Mind you, I had relapsed, and decided to start the 12 steps over beginning with the first step.A word of caution, DO NOT share your inventory by email with yours sponsor.  Communicate openly and privately by phone or in person.
    In my re-start of the 12 steps, I shared my first step with a friend I've known for about 6 years, who lives in the land of Emerson and Thoreau.  This was a real blessing to have him listen attentively and non-judgmentally.  He related to parts of it and we communicated openly.
     So I don't have a sponsor now.  I value the process of writing, focusing on the present, looking forward to the future.  
     Went to a lecture yesterday (Earth Day) at the Unitarian Fellowship right across the street from where I live.  The focus was on the health and economic benefits of being a vegan.  Look at people who are vegans, how clear eyed they are, focused.  I used to be a vegetarian back in my 20's.  One of the speakers yesterday, Howard Jacobson, pointed out that recipes aren't necessary:  I made a pot of quinoia, chick peas, and a little shredded cheese.  DELICIOUS!  Dessert was a naval orange.  Very satisfying.

     Getting back to the 12 Steps: the sponsor and sponsee need to be on equal footing.  I've noticed over the years, that there tend to be "gods and goddesses" in our OA program --  People who do a lot of service, go to OA meetings, and may or may not be at a healthy weight.  I REALLY dislike the focus on the past, telling "war stories," and handling recovery based on  what the Big Book says, that people who fail are "incapable of being honest", that there are "such unfortunates."  There are numerous passages in the BB that state that  working a 12 Step program is the ONLY way to recovery.  In my opinion, the BB needs to be revised to reflect current medical information to help deal with one of our nation's most serious health problems.

April 24, 2018

     Cold, rainy day and I'm having pain in my joints.  Acceptance is how to handle this.  I recognize I have pain but that doesn't mean I AM a pain.  I act "AS IF".  This is one of things i love about AA, all the slogans.  Here they are:  Number 9 is "as if". .So, I act "as if" I'm OK!  I mindfully walk as gracefully as I can.  I think of Jordan, a dancer I met and how gracefully she entered the dance floor.   I say a mantra as I walk.  Or the Serenity Prayer.  Or the words:  "I am calm, relaxed, and peaceful."....

April 28, 2018

What Smart Recovery says about anger


I was raised a Presbyterian am   one.   Pos. aspects of family religionI went to Sun School mainly bc my mother wanted me to and I quit when I was in hs.  Always believed in GodI stood up for jesuswonderful minister, Dr. Hollingsworth.  I wrote a poem about the Crucifixion when I was 15.  Mary Moore was positive..i loved singing in the choir. Sunday night dinners nice.  Beautiful stained glass windows.  Id like to visit there again.   I like the hymns. Its intellectual.

negsmy fa.  Didnt attend.  Our fam. Didntpray and rarely ate dinner together.  No black people in our church.  Too showy..clannish.  felt different than everybody elserich church

I did break with the in Tarboro over bob burns being an asshole.  didnt go for couple of years.    Started up when Edmondston came on boardbroke again when church broke my OA anonymitypicked it up again bc of Franklin Golden feeling equal, accepted cared for.

Things Iv tried to control in the past:  people, place and things
I feel positive about turning my life over to a power great than myselfthat would be medicine, alternative  medicince, psychology , prayer, faith, trust, psychiatry, cognitive behavioral therapy.

How do I keepup turning my life over -- meetings with others in recovery; oa; calling people in OA; my therapist; my doctors;  meditation; journaling; volunteering; oa meetings; calling; taking the steps; keeping a recovery journal; planning meals; exercise; reading; practicing religious principals

Who am I?  A woman desirous of recovery and willing to do what it takes; wanting to plan my food; do portion control;  lover of dance; powety; wanting to be healthier; 

What are your greatest fears about giving up control of your life to God as you understand God?
Not doing it right.That I wont  get it.I.e get what I need.  Not having enough faith.   But I want to do this anyway.  In my meditation this morning from first Thessalonians, the scripture said, have faith that God will help you get the work done.

Throughout my life, i've had ministers and other people who have helped me understand what god is.  right now my Higher Power is medicine and nutrition.
I don't think that my previous experience with religion has anything to do with my OA program.  THIS IS AN ILLNESS, NOT A MORAL WEAKNESS OR SIN!!!

Step 3 - Trusting a Higher Power to help me get well.
  •   What are your greatest fears about giving up control over your life to HP?  That i'll forget i have a problem...that i'll try to do it my way and feed the desire for instant gratification.

  •   What things, people or circumstances have you tried to control in the past and how has that turned out? Do you think that HP will be able to handle your life better than you have?  In the past I've tried every diet out there, pills, Weight Watchers.  None of these things worked in the long run.  I don't need a reason to overeat.  It could be over stress, excitement, pain, happiness, being in a hurry, any reason.  This out of control eating has got to stop.  I have to trust something beyond myself.  My way clearly has not worked.  God is my partner in this.  I'm a believer.  God will guide my through recovery.  HP wants me to be well.  HP -- God, medicine, support groups.  I have to change my thinking about food. I trust medicine and addiction specialists.  Smart Recovery, for example, Never Binge Again, veganism.  My doctors, my web of support, OA, 12 steps.

  •   How do you feel in general about turning your life over to HP?   My way hasn't worked. 
  •   In what ways will you keep up the process of turning your life over to HP? 1.  In the morning:
  • -- get on my knees if possible
  • -- ask for help
  • --scripture
  • --Centering Prayer
  • --Qui Gong
Planning my meals, meeting with others in recovery, recovery meetings, phone calls.
  •   Describe who or what you trust and to what degree.

  • Someone who wants and needs recovery and is willing, able and ready; my family, good medicine, OA, Smart Recovery, God

  •   In what do you find meaning now or think that you can find meaning in the future?  the same three things.  But i've decided to not include the BB except for the prayers.  Bill W. was a womanizer, he tried LSD to recover
  •   How do you think that you should live your life after giving your life over to the care of God as you understand God? What changes do you expect to make and how will this look in specific detail? 
  • continue with "Writing to Heal" 
  • not lying, cheating or stealing, 
  • being honest, 
  • i'm going to review my behavior and choices at the end of the day, 
  • i'll be grateful
  • put food plan first
  • not "looking back"  -- it's a trigger and makes me feel bad
  • not blaming self or others 
  • following Emerson's advice:  "forget about your mistakes of yesterday"
  • read the book "Never Binge Again"
  • use my planner
  • plan meals
  • consider veganism
  • get a sponsor who doesn't go by the BB
  • make 3 phone calls a day
  • avoid negativity
  • be grateful and stay grateful
  • Mindfulness on Wednesdays
  • work
  • put health first
  • get more rest
  • exercise everyday
  • limit watching Netflix
  • limit viewing on Internet
  • read more!!!!!
  • be kinder than necessary
  • be kind to myself
  • be quiet
  • make myself useful
  • ask for help from doctors and others like my therapist and a nutritionist
May25, 2018
Here we go.  Took my third step with Ed this morning.  I think it helped both of us.  I'm lucky to have an OA friend like him.  The third step is going to lead to some big changes.
  • Step 4 - I make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself
  •   Have you had any broken relationships? If so, describe them and how they hurt others or yourself. Describe any grudges, anger or resentment that you have over these relationships.
  • Right -- i have....guy i dated 4 or 5 years ago. He wasn't who he said he was, and i was hurt by it.  I haven't dated anyone since.  I realize I should have "vetted" him on Been Verified, then I would have known how he'd broken the law.  Plenty of grudges, seems like i'm always angry;  these are just feelings, unjustified.  they don't form my identity.  I can keep forgiving, forgiveness is the thing.

  •   Have you ever felt self-righteous? Explain when and the circumstances. Was this justified? Elaborate.
  • I have a little of the drama queen in me; but I don't judge, strive to be tolerant, to be kind, kind, kind.

  •   What events or triggers have caused you to begin your addictive behaviors in the past? Describe situations, feelings, events, food or people that you seem to be a part of your life just before or during your addictive behaviors.
  • Relationships can be a trigger.  Anything can be.  Which is why i make meal plans.

  •   Have you ever held a grudge? Did you try to get revenge? If so, explain the situation and how it played out, including whether or not someone else was hurt.
  • I still have a grudge over the mis-diagnosis.  Not taking revenge except to change my positive review of the practice.
  •   Describe times that you have been oversensitive. Did this ever damage your relationship with others, or were you just trying to keep your own boundaries?
  • I tend to feel slighted if i pass someone and they don't say hi...but i don't act on it...i say hi instead.

  •   Describe the faults that you most detest in others. Do you have any of these traits yourself?
  • Dishonesty; being critical; being unforgiving but I can be that way too.

  •   Put a checkmark beside any of the following traits that you despise in others. Also check whether you see these traits in yourself.
Traits that I Despise in Others
In Others
In Myself
In Others
In Myself

Verbally abusive
Physically abusive
Overly dependentxx
Sexually abusive
Intolerant XXX
Self-Pitying XXX
Full of Rage
Insecure XXX
   What are your fears? How have they caused you difficulty in your life?
  •   Describe your relationship with your friends, co-workers or neighbors. Is there something that you wish that you could do over again? If so, explain in detail.
  •   Describe your relationships with your family of origin. Do you have conflicts with any siblings or with your parents? Are you avoiding these matters in your family?
  •   Describe the earliest memories of your life. Did you share a similar personality with those in your family or were they very different than you? Do you think that these similarities o differences caused problems in your life? If so, explain.
  •   If you were to describe your family's major themes, what would they be?
  •   Describe your relationships with your nuclear family (spouse and children) if that is different now from your family of origin. Is there anything that you wish that you could erase from this part of your life?
  •   Describe in detail any major experiences in your life that you believe changed your life forever afterwards (good or bad).
  •   What decisions have you made in your life that made a significant impact on your life? How did you go about making those decisions?
  •   How much of your life have you used up already? If you drew a time line of your life, where would you be now?
  •   Put your major experiences and major decisions on a timeline. Is there a pattern of any kind?
  •   What are you most ashamed of in your life?
  •   Do you see any patterns in your addictive behaviors? If so, explain
    them in detail.
  •   What have you done to cover and conceal your addictive behaviors? What other deceptions did this lead to?
  •   What kind of personality do you exhibit at home? At school? At work? When no-one is around?
  •   What is so shameful in your life that you would not want to tell anyone? Who would you hurt if you told this?
  •   Write a summary of the highlights of your fourth step.
  •   How would you like to share your fourth step summary? What details would you like to make sure that are known? Write these details down in your summary and prepare the summary for presentation in your fifth step.
  •   Describe any celebrations or honoring activities that you hae done to honor the completion of your 4th step.

  • Step 5 - I admit to God, to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs
  •   After working through the fourth step questions, what do you realize about your limitations and capabilities?
  •   Describe any person who has helped you to see yourself more clearly and objectively in your process of recovery and of life.
  •   What qualities would you like to have in a sponsor? How do the people in the list of possible sponsors measure up to these criteria?
  •   Write down the names of the most trustworthy people that you know. Do you think that they would be willing or interested in being a sponsor for you?
  •   Describe your feelings and expectations about sharing your fifth step with your sponsor.
  •   List people that you can think of that you might share your story with. Write whether you think that they are a safe, risky or a bad
choice to work your 5th step with.
  •   Describe who you have chosen to be your sponsor and how they reacted when you approached them.
  •   Describe what it was like in sharing the fifth step. How did you feel before, after and during the process? Are you glad that you have done this?
  •   Describe any celebrations or activities that you have done in honor of completing the fifth step.
    Step 6 - I become entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character
  •   Do you have any fairy tales or myths that you feel a special affinity with? Why?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have been full of pride. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you?
  •   Describe the kind of activities do you really enjoy (of course, NOT your addictive behavior).
Safe, Risky or Bad choice
  •   What are some healthy eating or exercise habits that you could start?
  •   What are some unhealthy eating habits that you could give up?
  •   Describe some secret GOOD deeds that you have done or would
    like to do.
  •   Describe situations and events where you have been greedy, oerly needy or materialistic. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are you ready to give these attitudes over to the care of God?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have given in to lust without regard for others or any morality. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are you ready to give these lustful feelings over to the power of God?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have been dishonest. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are you ready to depend upon God to keep you from dishonesty?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have given into excessive eating, drinking, shopping or covetousness. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are you ready to let God take control of these behaviors and attitudes?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have been very envious or jealous of others. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are your ready to turn these situations over to God?
  •   Describe situations and events where you have avoided responsibility for your actions or lack of actions. What has this brought into your life that you like or enjoy? What problems has it caused you? Are you ready to allow God to help you take responsibility for your actions?
  •   List your major defects of character.
  •   What do you plan to do when these major defects of character begin to become evident? List each defect individually along with the proposed preventative behavior and how you will allow God to help you in your battle against these defects.
    Step 7 - I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings
  •   What defects will be most difficult to give up? In what order to you plan to give them up?
  •   What kind of situations, stressors or pressures cause you to regress back into your defects of character? What can you do to lessen the likelihood of that stress occurring?
  •   Where do you feel most supported and helped in your strivings for recovery?
  •   What makes you lose hope? Can you avoid such situations? If so, then how?
  •   What (person, situation, event, thought) restores your hope? Is there a way to maximize those influences? If so, then how?
  •   What would you like to recapture in your life?
  •   Describe in detail what you think that your life will be like with your
    defects of character removed from you.
  •   What are you grateful for?
  •   When do you think that life has been especially good for you? When did you have the greatest joy?
  •   Describe your typical day's activities in terms of how much time you spend on each type of activity.
  •   Describe your typical day's activities if you knew that you had only one year to live.
  •   Have you made the correct decisions about how to spend time with loved ones, in solitude and with your discretionary time? If not, how
would you like to change it?
  •   What would you do if you were granted three wishes?
  •   What do you think that you can do to leave the world a better place and accomplish your mission in life?
    Step 8 - I make a list of persons that I have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all
  •   How have you hurt yourself by practicing your addiction?
  •   What important relationships did you destroy or damage because of
    your addictive behaviors?
  •   How much time and energy have you lost from your addictive behaviors? What do you think you would have done or become had it not been for your addictive behaviors?
  •   Make a list of all those that you have possibly harmed by your addictive behaviors. List the effect on them as individuals and on your relationship.
  •   Take the list of people that you have harmed and make a list of possible amends for each one of them.
  •   From the list of possible amends, choose the ones that seem most
appropriate, and mark them according to level of difficulty.
  •   What consequences do you fear in making amends? What is the worst thing that can happen? What is the best thing that can happen? What is likely to happen?
  •   Do you feel angry or resentful towards any people on your amends list? If so, write them a letter of anger, but don't send it to them. Describe here any other ways that you have used to get rid of the anger and resentment towards anyone on your list.
  •   Describe any dreams that relate to making amends to others.
    Step 9 - I make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  •   What amends do you think that you have already made? These can include apologies already made, helpful tasks for those that you have hurt, changed attitudes and so forth.
  •   From your list of amends, if there are apologies that you need to make, write them down here first.
  •   Read your apologies to a friend or a sponsor and ask them if it sounds sincere or if it sounds defensive or like an attack on the other person. Record here what response they have about them.
  •   Role play with your sponsor or friends for anything that you are
going to say when making amends. Record here how these practice sessions went and what you learned.
  •   After you have had your first encounter with making amends, record what happened here. How did you feel about it? How did the other person respond? What have you learned from this? What would you do differently next time?
  •   After you have done your first several encounters for making amends (for example, after 5 times of making amends), record your overall impressions here. Is there anything common? Has anything surprised you? Has anything disappointed you? How do you feel about the process and how has it affected you?
  •   What amends do you have the most difficulty making? What do you need to do to be able to make these amends?
  •   How has making amends affected your relationship with others?
  •   How are you dealing with the feedback from others after making amends? How are you feeling? How are you dealing with the desire to defend yourself?
  •   Write down any other amends that you found that you needed to make after starting the process of making amends.
  •   How can you celebrate or honor the completion of your making amends (step 9)?
  •   Have you had any dreams about making amends? If so, describe them in detail.
  •   Describe any celebrations or activities that you have done to honor the completion of your making amends.
    Step 10 - I continue to take personal inventory and when I am wrong I promptly admit it
  •   What is your plan to allow time for reflection each day?
  •   What new behaviors would you like to try to make your program
    more effective? How would you go about implementing these?
  •   What kind of behaviors and attitudes do you need to be most vigilant against to keep from your addictive behaviors?
  •   What are your triggers for addictive behavior? How can you guard against them or prepare for them?
  •   What are some amends or remedies that you should make when you find out that you are wrong?
    Step 11 - Through prayer and meditation I seek to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand God, praying only for knowledge of God's
will for my life and the power to carry that out
  •   Can you recall anytime that your life was heading in the wrong direction? If so, what brought you back? Describe this in detail.
  •   How would you describe your beliefs about God and a Higher Power to a child?
  •   What are your favorite sources of wisdom and knowledge abot healthy values?
  •   Has anything you ever read convinced you to change in some fundamental or deep way?
  •   If you were stranded on a desert island with only one book, which book would you take? Why?
  •   If you had only one week to live and unlimited resources, who would you gather around you and how would you pass the time?
  •   Write out a complete form of what you would like your obituary to say.
  •   What do you believe will happen to you after you die?
    Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the

result of these steps, I try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all of my life
  •   Have you been able to reach out to another recovering addict? If so, describe the situation and how it feels to you.
  •   What kind of approach would you like to have had when you first started the program? How can you implement that type of approach in your life to others now?
  •   What you say if someone asked how the 12 Step program has worked for you?
  •   How do you usually handle conflict? Do you know of any way to be more effective in conflict resolution? If so, how would you become more effective? What would be the steps?
  •   How much time do you want to and are able to allow for working with others on their program? How will you go about setting that time aside?
  •   What outside resources can you call on when you need help as a sponsor?
  •   How do you know if you are suited to helping another person work a 12 Step program?