Charlie Sheen … Normal? Burning the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book Made Him Feel Better!

Recovery or ?

Very few are taking Charlie`s side in this world event! Maybe he has it right? Every time I see him, he sure looks happy. Isn’t that what life is all about?  Wine, women and song doesn’t really sound all that  bad. I remember Liberace saying “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.”

So what is “normal?” In my 65 years on this planet, I have yet to meet a normal person. In fact, the only thing that I consider “normal” is the cycle on a washing machine. Webster`s Dictionary defines normal as: “being the same.” Since I have never met any two humans who think, feel, or do the same, that means that no-one is normal.

Wait! Maybe I have to correct myself. I found something that is normal! The behavior of an alcoholic/drug addict is actually predictable if you know what to expect. I am a recovering alcoholic/ drug addict myself, but, just like Charlie, was a proud member of “denial anonymous” ( if there was such a group). Charlie and I had so much in common. I, too, used to misinterpret the meaning of life.

Charlie Sheen insists he will never use the support of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help him beat booze as he has nothing but contempt for the “ridiculous” system. During an interview with Britain’s The Sun, Sheen is pictured tearing pages out of the AA handbook and then using it to light the fire in his living room, declaring “I’m finally finding the right use for Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Although I may not have gone to that extreme, I was in and out of my 12 step program many times before “I got it.” I also criticized the A.A. program. But, during my relapses I would take the motto “One Day at a Time” to mean I should get high and escape reality and all responsibilities. No need to feel shame or guilt, medicate, and it worked! But the “one day theory” always had an end and I would wake up back in realty, which became more painful everyday. My temporary solution was simple, repeat my “one day at a time plan.” I finally reached the point of…. no way out!

Yes, Charlie Sheen, you are a normal person with an addiction. Being pain-free is “fun for the moment” (I always quoted the Dalai Lama to justify my addiction). But the price of the side effects is huge. I  could handle the harm I was doing to myself (which I did not know) but the pain I caused to the people who loved me was overwhelming. The most difficult part of all of this was to say “I need help.” I saw it as a sign of weakness, but it really was a sign of strength.

So, Charlie Sheen, I understand you. For those unfamiliar with his disease, he is the way he is, and the power to change will never happen until the pain of realty sets in. Only through surrender will the door to recovery be opened.


Charlie Sheen….Unpredictable

Recovery or ?

Loving Ourselves…reprint with permission

g 12 Step Recovery Site
Kathy L.
BellaOnline’s 12 Step Recovery Editor


Loving Ourselves
Almost everyone I know in recovery has underlined parts of the Big Book or the 12 & 12 that hold special meaning. Some have just about the entire book(s) highlighted and some, like me, write phrases, clichés or words that we hear in meetings. At times I will write a personal note to myself in the margin because something hits me as I read. I must admit that at this point in my recovery I’m usually reading these books in a group and so a long period of time goes by before there is any repetition.

There are some things I’d written a number of years ago that I can’t quite make sense of the meaning today. But there are other thoughts I had put down that not only make sense but still give me pause. These either serve as a reminder to me that sobriety is one day at a time no matter how long we are in recovery or that I still have issues that need attention.

We were reading Step Two of the 12 & 12 and on the very last page I had written: “How did I expect God to love me when I couldn’t love myself?” Perhaps this was one of those times when I read what I needed to read and ironically they were my own words to myself. So often in the fellowship we all hear someone share about self-loathing and someone will say, “We will love you until you learn to love yourself.” Why is loving ourselves so difficult?

Love is a complicated subject whether we are talking about loving ourselves, others or accepting love from others. I thought it was easy to love others but the reality is that when we are in our disease, we truly love no one. What we do for others to show or prove our love is usually self-seeking and is more about how good we look. I have mentioned before that years ago I saw someone who read chakras. This was in my self-help seeking period. He told me that I would do anything for anyone; that I had the capacity to love others but I could not accept love from others.

At first I thought this was crazy but later on I realized that he was 100% correct. I couldn’t accept love from others because I couldn’t love myself. This whole “love thing” is very confusing even in sobriety. Today I realize that it is many times the small things that I have to accept as love. More important, though, is that I learned that I couldn’t accept love because I did not believe I was worthy. I didn’t believe I was worthy of God’s love or human love. If someone loved me it was because they “had” to love me. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But I thought my family, including my children and husband should love me because that was their job. I did not accept it as real love. It was almost an obligation. If they knew the real me they wouldn’t love me at all. I didn’t love me. I didn’t even like me.

There is a lot involved with loving oneself. A lot of it is self-esteem, ego (in a good sense), self-awareness, and self-image. For me the most important factor in understanding love was the belief that the God of my own understanding did love me. It wasn’t an overnight realization. It was through the steps, specifically Steps Four and Five that I began to understand and feel love in and out, around and through!

I would imagine that many of you share my sentiments and that in recovery we still have those times when we just don’t feel good enough, confident enough, comfortable enough and have fears that still crop up now and then. These aren’t huge but are upsetting because we just don’t feel right. They don’t make us feel the way we want to feel. What do we do? Pray and meditate. No one can make us feel different without help from our Higher Power. I believe God (my Higher Power) definitely speaks to me through others. This listening is part of meditation.

Last week I was feeling down. I was bogged down with work but felt unappreciated. I was in one of my “I really don’t like the way I look” moods (I truly have to work on self-image), and I was in an overall funk. I work in an adult school as one of the administrators and so I know most of the 100+ students but not all. One of the students who I never spoke to and only knew by name came into my office. She stood there and almost robotically said, “Ms. Kathy, I was in my classroom and something inside of me told me I had to come and tell you that you are an incredible lady!” I looked at her and said, “What?” I heard her but it was just weird. She repeated what she had said. I thanked her but have to say that although it was complimentary, it kind of rattled me.

It changed my whole mood and demeanor. I don’t know what made her come into my office (and I haven’t spoken to her since) but I have to believe it was one of those God shots that happen when we make room for them. It is about loving me because I am worth it. God tells me I’m worth it and because of that I can learn each day to better love myself, others and to accept the love given to me. Question: Do you love yourself?

Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.

Step Two: Easy or Not?

Reprint with permission…
12 Step Recovery Site
Kathy L.
BellaOnline’s 12 Step Recovery Editor

Step Two: Easy or Not?

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Wow! What a combination that is and it is the beginning of the solution to our problems. This was the good news step for me but depending on how you feel about a power greater than yourself, this step may not be such great news.

If you are agnostic or an atheist you may have difficulty with the concept of whom or what this power is but this should not mean that these 12 Steps are not for you. I would encourage you to continue to try understanding the steps which are actually called “suggestions” not rules or regulations. I know many folks who truly struggled with believing in a higher power but continued to work the steps and at some point, they accepted this concept. There are other folks who just can’t get it and that is up to them. I do not know these people because they are not a part of my recovery program but it is not up to me to judge them and what they choose to believe.

Ask yourself this question, “Has anyone (professionals or the people you love most in this world) or anything (self-help, will power, therapy, etc.) eliminated your addiction? If you are totally honest and answer “no”, then you have to at least think about believing that there is a power out there greater than yourself. This is also a very important step toward deflating the ego which usually wants to make us believe we can do anything without any help at all. How is that working for you?

Okay, so we believe in a power greater than ourselves but what about this sanity business? Anyone in a 12 Step Recovery program will tell you the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I believe insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, knowing full well what the results will be. This insanity is a factor that is nearly impossible for someone without an addiction to understand. Why on earth would anyone want to put themselves in a position of danger or of loss over and over again and know they were doing it? I can only say it is the nature of addiction and if there were a better answer for it, I would love to know it.

A good friend (a “normie” as I call him) one time asked me what made my drinking insane. If we were both drinking together, how would mine be different? I suggested the following scenario: if we were both standing at a bar drinking and someone came in with a gun, put that gun to our heads and said, “One more sip and I just might shoot you”, what would be his response? “Well, I wouldn’t take another sip”, he said. My response would be to continue drinking and take the chance. That sounds rather drastic but it is the truth. Isn’t drinking and drugging (examples of addictions) playing roulette with death anyway?

The second step says “came to believe” which to me means that believing isn’t something we have to do immediately but is a process. I always believed in a Higher Power and mine is God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). What I had to do, though, was be convinced that He could relieve me of my insanity (addiction) and maybe this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. He had never been much help before so why would He help me now?

This sounds like a crazy analogy and I remember reading something similar a few years ago. Compare your Higher Power’s help with Dorothy and her red shoes in “The Wizard of Oz”. She had the ability to go home anytime she wanted to but she didn’t know how. She had to be told the power of her ruby slippers! Well, we walk around all our lives trying to find the answer and the answer, a Higher Power, had been there all along. All we have to do is honestly believe and ask our Higher Power for help. Dorothy had to firmly come to believe she could return home by clicking her heels. We also must come to believe. We make recovery so difficult sometimes. Maybe Step Two is as easy as clicking our heels!

Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony!

| Related Articles | Editor’s Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

12 Step Recovery Forum Posts
Holidays – Addictions
Food Addiction
Very important. Severe emotional pain!

Content copyright © 2011 by Kathy L.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Kathy L.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Kathy L. for details.


Executive in Residence Program
Ashoka’s Executive in Residence Social Entrepreneurship Program connects executives to inspiring on-site volunteer opportunities with Ashoka Fellows around the world. Executives committed to social change will spend time with an Ashoka Fellow’s organization, working on a project critical to the success of the organization’s mission. In return, executives will experience social entrepreneurship in action. Each placement is designed jointly by Ashoka, our corporate partners, and Ashoka Fellows for a variety of meaningful opportunities. Placements are managed by experienced and informed Ashoka staff on the global and local levels. For details, please contact

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He
asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a
moment, and then he asked, “Did you start at 1?”

Children’s Logic: “Give me a sentence about a public servant,” said a
teacher. The small boy wrote: “The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.”
The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. “Don’t you know what pregnant
means?” she asked.
“Sure,” said the young boy confidently. ‘It means carrying a child.”

Why Do I Let Other People, Ruin My Day ?


Who really gives me a headache?

Being Stress Free is the Answer

THE IDEA MAN, Yahoo! Contributor Network     I am going to write this backwards starting with today., Cancun Mexico is so beautiful it is hard to have a bad day, and since this is where I now live, my inspiration for this piece comes from three other sources, and all in the last 24 hours.

First, I had a conversation with a friend who complained of someone who always came late to a 12 step meeting and would then complain about people, places and things at the end of the meeting he had disrupted. This late arrival would allow no time for anyone to give a rebuttal statement to his complaints and my friend in turn, resents this, saying it could it could ruin the newcomers view of the purpose of the meeting. My first introduction to the collision effect of countering thought processes.

Secondly, I watched a movie called “Gossip.“ It told the story of some college students who wanted to spread a story about a student who supposedly raped another student. They were going to test out the theory that people change the facts when gossiping and what the end result would be. The prank turned out to be a fatal mistake when, once again, things did not turn out as assumed.

Finally, the third source of inspiration was yet another movie called “Creation” a BBC story about Charles Darwin. The message it told was not about a theory of evolution,“ but how people misunderstand, and misinterpret, new ideas that go against their belief systems and how easy it is to begin questioning personal, and others, perspectives.

Now I must go back to my stay at the Hanoi Hilton or, in my case, the Belize jail not too long ago. This was the inspiration for my non-best selling book “I Fired God” (do not worry, I hired a new one) and has turned out to be a literal, life changing event. Who would ever think being in one of the worst jails in the world would be one of the best thing that ever happened to me.

Why Do I Let Other People, Ruin My Day ?

A note to add….as I write this I sometimes rest my brain by doing something else. I watched “Ted” (A Ted Turner program) on my computer which has different public speakers from around the world who are not trying to sell anything, but do want to make a difference ion this globe.

On “TED“ these speakers were discussing China, and, yes, this will all come back to having a bad day. My first thought when listening to their discussion is that China is bad. Why? Is it because of the way I have been programmed, or is it the way that the media presents the facts? Maybe it is because of my how my friends view these situations? I don’t have the answer for these questions. But I am curious enough to take a look at what was said about the China viewpoint of a different culture, ours.

According to Martin Jacques, they teach their kids at an early age all about America, the good, the bad and the ugly. They understand us and, most likely, disagree with our way of life. But, at least they are informed and, as a result, they comprehend why we do some of what it is we do. We, on the other hand, especially our children, have no idea why China has such cultural differences. We are not taught about them and this leads to misunderstandings. A problem I had to learn how to resolve personally while in that belizean jail cell although I am  not a criminal.
OK, on to my bad day theory. Every time I have a problem with life it is often because someone else does not believe the same principles as me. So, If I want to live a problem-free life what should I do? Change something! This sounds so simple but it is, easier said then done. Give everyone the right to say, feel and do whatever they want? Even if they’re wrong, in my viewpoint, but keeping in mind just maybe they are right, not me? This might be difficult. But, when I do this, I give no chance to the birth of a resentment. I mean, lets face it , resentments (to re-feel) are not temporary, they can last a day, a week, a year or a lifetime.

So now I have discovered how not to create a resentment. Do I sit with my head in the sand being milk toast, keeping everything to myself? No, anger is good when done right, In fact, it is my way to dump something that is wrong. So how do I confront an issue without attacking? Do I not tell someone what to do? This is the toughest challenge to this simple solution. If I tell you what to do it sets up an auto-response. Naturally, you will defend your view because you think you are right, and we know where that will take us. So, if I can share what I would do, without attacking….this can work. 

Now the most important part of all this. What if the person does not respond to my view of the situation? How do I let it go? First, I am not God! If a friend is in pain and nothing I do helps them, that is all I can do. I have a choice to let their behavior mess up my happiness (why should I give them permission to make me have a bad day) or move on. I now refuse to go there, to their place of pain, anymore, it’s not worth it.

Sometimes we thrive on pain. But, this is not the way we were designed to live. The Dalai Lama said it best….”life is meant to be fun.“ Now, if were not, we have to change something. I no longer blame anyone or anything. That is my answer. Do I do it all the time? No, but I always try and every day is better than the day before. When I do not blame I do not have to forgive. Then resentments are not allowed into my “fun project.“ All my life I explained to people I was screwed up because my brain is not normal. I blamed it on my DNA, my parents, the Catholic church, drinking and using drugs, or whatever got in my way. No blame equals no pain and my prescription for pain was addiction.
So I have almost completed the circle of this story. The people who do things do things that piss me off can only do so if I am uninformed and I overreact. I learned how being on both sides of gossip can affect a life and that even the brilliant Charles Darwin doubted himself due to how others viewed him.

The moral of this story is……“Do Not Place Blame”, Peace and fun is guaranteed! I am, almost, totally stress fee.

Of all these major changes in my life. I give credit to two sources, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Jerry and Ester Hicks…..Abraham Hicks. These new views of life,changed me forever! I encourage you to check out their websites and look at some of the video clips. Every question I ever had, or will have is answered. The secrets, which are not, will be reveled to you.


Two Buddhist Monks were on a journey, one was a senior monk, the other a junior monk. During their journey they approached a raging river and on the river bank stood a young lady. She was clearly concerned about how she would get to the other…er side of the river without drowning.

The junior monk walked straight past her without giving it a thought and he crossed the river. The senior monk picked up the woman and carried her across the river. He placed her down, they parted ways with the woman and on they went with the journey.

As the journey went on, the senior monk could see some concern on the junior monk”s mind, he asked what was wrong. The junior monk replied, “how could you carry her like that? You know we can not touch women, it is against our way of life”. The senior monk answered, “I left the woman at the rivers edge a long way back, why are you still carrying her?
A Zen Buddhist Monk Story

Photographer: graur razvan ionut

Musings in Mexico….From “The Idea Man”

Did you ever notice how many expressions are nautical in nature?  “Two ships that pass in the night,“ which could explain my marriages.  “Any port in the storm,“ another possible explanation, and my personal favorite, “steady as she goes.“ That is the term that popped into my head last night while out and about here in Cancun.

Let me leave those hanging for now while I address what can, and often does, happen when one moves to a foreign country.  We gravitate towards others who speak our language, are familiar with our customs, and form friendships.  I believe I mentioned in an earlier piece how I might well have become friendly with both Captain Kirk and Naziesque wannabes just because they spoke English when I first arrived.  Politics and nerdiness can be put aside in the hopes of communicating in your native tongue.

However, if not already obvious by the above examples, sometimes those friendships can be damaging and unhealthy.   But, hell, other times they can be teeth grinding, fist forming, wanting blood to fly relationships too.  Let`s not sugar coat the issue.  There is a mistake often made that all foreigners will become friends once in another country if they live in close proximity to each other.  I am here today to dispel that myth once and for all.

Now, I must be careful since most of the types of people that I disagree with tend to be way more interested in money and power than I ever will be.    Hence, lawsuits, living off of others` wages, and other forms of destruction can often revolve around those who crave such things.  And, the fact that I have little means little to people of that nature.  In other words, names, and a few facts may be changed a bit just so that I don`t assist yet another attorney to buy a Mercedes.

I was out with a dear friend last night.  A good person who, unfortunately, doesn`t get out much, which means we wanted to be around pleasant people, have a reasonably good time and she would then head home early.  However, I tend to be opinionated, political, and possess what one old friend calls “a birth control personality.“  Again with the sugar coating?  I piss people off.  I piss them off and then do two things.  Will attempt to mend, with all the accompanying emotions of regret, guilt, whatever is appropriate, and then, if that fails, will forget to give a damn.  It is not that I don`t care, I do, I really do, until I don`t.

So there we were, in a setting of assumed friendliness, having few expectations other than a bit of pleasantries and, then,  I found myself facing a foe.  It was my fault really.  I had said something a month or so back that was quite misunderstood, I forgot to use simple words.  Not surprisingly, this person had retaliated with a bit of nastiness via email, and I, not to be outdone, and honestly a bit hurt, circulated that email.  How fun to play third graders when in our fifties?   But, fun always has a price and I paid last night.

My only regret?  The uncomfortable moment occurred while with someone who, as I`ve mentioned, does not have the opportunity to go out often.  My face held a plastic expression during this little moment in the sandbox, but inside my fists were ready and my imagination was all over the place.   The whole thing really is based purely on a misunderstanding, but I don`t care anymore and did not wish to ruin everyone`s evening by having a little fun, metaphorically speaking of course.  That was when the expression, “steady as she goes“ first popped into my head immediately followed by another voice screaming “just walk away you idiot.“  My thoughts are not always friendly either.

The moments passed, life went on, and my friend went home a little while later.  I have hopes that the experience did not scar her, but I have faith in her resilience.  But, since  it was Saturday evening, and still quite early,  I went to a casino with yet another friend and we had a great time.  Her ear wide grin and the look of pure joy on her face when her slot machine hit was the perfect antidote.  A couple of second glances from a few men helped patch my hurt ego as well.

 But, once back home, the situation that had occurred earlier was seldom far from my thoughts.  I made some coffee, although it was well past midnight,  and started to backpedal to try to figure out how this opponent and I had become “friendly“ in the first place.  The fact we no longer associate  is fine with me, but how did we ever connect when such obvious natural opponents in the wild.  It`s like those photos of a cat with a mouse on its head?   We were never meant to be more than bodies that happened to exist in the same general location.   That was when I realized that it was purely based on geographics.  We had both moved to Mexico.  Linguistically speaking, she had been a representation of “any port in the storm.“ 

From my rhetoric in these little blogs you can probably tell that I might have a bit of book smarts, but I would die on the streets in a New York minute.  My complete lack of intuition has led to many mistakes over the years.   I do not need to bore you with a lot of examples, but I will use one just to prove a sad point. 

 I married a man who was, apparently, recognized as gay by everyone including my roofer.  Immediately after this gentleman and I had exchanged vows we complicated issues even further and bought a home.  It was a lovely Victorian with a slate roof that required a bit of work.  We needed  someone with experience.  Jump now to a few years later, once in my own home that also had issues, I called that same roofing man to come over and take a look.  While standing in our driveway he turned and asked me if I minded if he asked me a question. “No,“ I said, “go ahead.“  The question pertained to my exhusband`s sexuality and the joke on campus became, and I quote, “even her roofer knew.“  Yep,  I have made a few mistakes.

However, whether here, or in the states, I have always tried to trust first and ask questions later, which can then make for amusing stories, but, during the event when my naiveté bites me in the ass, I`m not laughing.  I am left just rubbing my butt where the teeth marks are firmly implanted.  I am the one who is, proverbially speaking, often left holding the check, or turning the other cheek, depending upon your perspective.

Hence, my developed sense of the ability to no longer give a damn has been finely tuned.  Sometimes that person really is a ship that should just “pass in the night.“  Whether living in Mexico and seeking out others who speak my language, or meeting “friends“ on Face Book, I need to start becoming wary of others.  However, it saddens me that I am finally going to become what is necessary in these times in order to survive.  Resistance to cynicism will only lead to more pain.

So, I have determined that trust can no longer be given out freely, it has to be earned.  Gone are the innocent days of the literal sandbox when all one had to do was grab his toys and just go home when someone kicked sand in his face.  Now? I am not even going to bring my toys over until I know the person, and know him well.  ¡Salud!

About mexcelia

writer editor photographer traveler

Fun in the Sun

OK, we’re off and running. This blog will be all about living in Cancun on a low income, volunteering, finding low cost real estate, and just having fun in retirement. Thinking about retirement ? Plan ahead….a visit to paradise is a guarantee on stress relief.
Low cost flights make it possible to come down for lunch (but I suggest you stay a little longer and enjoy the beach and 80 degree weather all year)! I took a flight from Chicago to Cancun for $99 plus $60 tax one way. I signed up with American Airlines “guaranteed lowest price” plan. There are many bargain flights out their, so read the fine print. Cost of luggage adds to your flight cost. A.A. gives you one bag free. Airlines have different polices on international flights. Check the internet out for all kinds of bargains on rooms on the beach, some include free food and drinks. Some hotels offer low rates if you sit through their pitch on time shares. So use caution.
One question everyone has “Is it safe?” YES………it’s the safest city in all Mexico it is not a border town with all the drug cartel problems. In Cancun, tourism is a huge part of their economy and they do protect that.
So if you have any questions or suggestions please ask and I will tell. Go to my blog at Cancun Fun, one word No question will be to crazy so join the fun in the Sun. And remember “Live every day as if it’s your last because someday you will be right”……..JIM “The Idea Man”.

Hello world!

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and
slipped quietly into the garage I hooked up the boat up to
the van, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was
blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered
that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly
undressed, and slipped back into bed.. I cuddled up to my wife’s
back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, “The weather out there is
terrible.”My loving wife of 5 years replied, “And, can you
believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?”
And that’s how the fight started…

It’ almost working!

Since I’m  from the microwave generation (sounds better than being a baby boomer) that makes me feel old-er. This website stuff is a bit overwhelming to me. But do not fear, I don’t give up. On google it shows several cancunfun of which some are blank pages. So I bought bandaid’s  and am repairing it.
                  It’s 80 today in Cancun!   Jim…The Idea Man

Stories from Celia…..