Author: DukeOfChaos

Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Seeing it all clearly can allow you to understand the whole picture, and how you fit into it.

One Day at a Time – January 2, 2020

Hindsight is 20-20. Seeing something from a vantage point of knowing the outcome usually gives us insight we never would or could have had were we to access it during the moment. Life is a linear experience, usually, and as I saw somewhere, in life, you get the test, then the lesson. The benefit of getting the test and then the lesson is that it forces you to shift your perspective. Literally, you get to see the results of your test and how it applies to the lesson you were supposed to learn. In real life, changing your perspective is one of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox to effect the changes you need to make. Changing your perspective can help, it really really can.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled “One Day At a Time In Al-Anon” available from Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local meeting.  If you’re an introvert then go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the daily text from many good books can be found HERE, if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Today’s Reading

If I were to sit down in a quiet corner and look back over my troubled life as though I were examining the life of someone else, or reading about it in a book, how would it appear to me? I know I can do this only by guarding against all self-justification; looking at the facts honestly. Have I said or done things in haste, anger or desperation that made my situation worse? Are there things I recall with regret? We learn only from experience, and only by making up our minds not to repeat past mistakes.

Today’s Reminder

I will not fall in with the alcoholic’s craving for punishment to relieve his guilt. I will not scold and weep, for it will not help me overcome the difficulties we are trapped in. I will try hard to deal with my day by day difficulties with quiet poise, remembering always that I am doing this for my own benefit.


“When I am tempted or pressured into irrational
behaviour, I pray that I may stop and think before
I do or say anything whatever. I ask God to
Remove these impulses and help me to grow into the
person I want to be.”

Alleged Insight

Oh man, where the hell to start? Look, I know this post is late, no excuses, it’s now January 31, 2019, and truthfully even when I thought to post, I was unable to.

Frozen in fear, paralyzed and over-analytical. Now it’s so far past the day that there’s no real chance to catch-up, yet here I am, trying again. That’s the take away from this. To sit back, attempt to understand, and then try again, and again.

Each morning that you awaken to a new day is another chance to choose the positive. I keep trying that. Life is BUSY. Kids are CHAOTIC. My world is literally running flat out most days.

As an example, right now I have the littlest two at home because they’re not old enough to go to school, the next two because they didn’t feel like participating in the extra-curricular activities that the school had planned for today (cross country skiing at +2 Celcius in sleet and slush mess. I can’t fault them for choosing to stay home and skip school today. Anyhow, from that aside, I have four kids at home, I’m clearing out to renovate a pair of the bedrooms, and dinner prep is starting right quick here. This is on top of the usual daily maintenance for seven people and their crap.

It’s not about the crazy however, and acknowledging the sense of failure as just the feelings that it is, shifting perspective can allow me to climb back on this horse and get moving again.

Closing Thoughts

Somewhere I read that the biggest saboteur of my own success is my own mind. I can run with my feelings, getting stuck in my own mental ruts, or I can jump the track, get a fresh perspective and get back to work.
My tentative goal is to push through a couple of simple, emotionally loaded posts per day until I catch up. If I can gain three or four in a week I’ll call it a success. In addition, there are other posts that are formulating, percolating and getting created as I work through my own crap, which will see daylight occasionally.

You can do this, and I believe I can as well. Cheers. Duke.

One Day At A Time In Al-Anon.

One Day At A Time In Al-Anon.

New year, new start, same program, same practices

One Day at a Time – January 1, 2020

New Year, New Hopes, New Plans… Same old tripwires and traps to keep me down. I will admit that I am the cause of my own downfall. It’s time to start again, each day a new beginning. One day at a time in Al-Anon, it’s more than just a title, and a little blue book; it’s an offer of hope, a promise of redemption and a path to salvation from the manic and damages of today’s world.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled “One Day At a Time In Al-Anon” available from Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local meeting. If you’re an introvert then go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the daily text from many good books can be found HERE, if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Today’s Reading

This year is a book of clean blank pages on which I will write a record of my experiences and my growth through the daily use of the Al-Anon idea. I turned to Al-Anon as a last resort because I was living with a problem that was too much for me. I know I can deal with this problem through applying Al-Anon to myself, to my thoughts and my actions, every day. If I allow myself to be influenced by what the alcoholic says and does, it will make blots and smears on the pates of my year. This I will try to avoid at all costs.

Today’s Reminder

I can live my life only one day at a time. Perhaps my confusion and despair are so great that I will have to take it one hour at a time, or one minute at a time, reminding myself constantly that I have authority over no life but my own.


“Realizing that nothing can hurt me while
I lean upon my Higher Power, I ask to be
guided through the hours and minutes of
each day. Let me remind myself to bring
every problem to Him for I know He will
show me the way I must go.”

Alleged Insight

Holy man this is a big scary concept. A new start for a full year’s worth of commitment to an ideal that I’ve not been able to hold for more than a day at most. Being able to stand aside and watch my life happen, responding with considered thought, letting go and letting God.

My life is insane. This year started by giving me a new exercise program, here’s the results after four days into it…

Cute hey? It’s now the 18th of January, so the intentional planning and tackling of a course of action, went wrong from the start. Admittedly, the storms that took out our power for more than two days gave a push to my falling off the wagon.

Naturally, there is something to take away from all this. That time without power, shoveling to get vehicles unstuck, melting snow to wash and bathe, cooking over the open flame of a barbeque, life was simpler; more physically demanding, but simpler. Asking God to keep my children safe while they’re on-line is challenging and ephemeral but asking Him to watch over them while they play in five foot deep snow is a different matter. When life is removed from the manic, and slows down to keeping warm, dry and fed until we can get back to the grind, it get’s easier.

Letting go and letting God was an activity in applied practice in that situation, and it worked. I could see how it was supposed to work, and it made sense. When you can’t change or control the outcome, worrying about it was just tiring, not helpful.

Closing Thoughts

Life, with faith, is better. Even if you don’t have Faith, just simple faith in the outcome of it all, letting go of that which you can’t change, and then addressing what you can do when you can get to it, (like now, this is January 1st’s post), it will be alright and things will work out.

Until next time,
Duke of Chaos.

Fear Has Killed More Dreams Than Failure

Fear Has Killed More Dreams Than Failure

It’s January 18, 2020, as I type this. I had a plan for the new year, and fully traversed the Christmas break with my kids, intending to hit the ground running with my blogging plan in place starting January 1, 2020,. I’ve a full book of references, notes and points to make. God had other plans. The power went down on New Year’s Eve. It came back on 60 hours later (2.5 days), but by the end of spending two full days just surviving in the cold and snow (ok, we have a wood stove so it wasn’t that cold), the fear and insecurity which are my default settings had taken root. That was twelve days ago. I had such big dreams for starting this year strong. Fear kills more dreams (at least of mine) than any other factor in my reality. How do we go about doing all the things without being paralyzed by insecurity, fear and general feelings of inadequacy?

First, admit you’re only human

Groundbreaking, I know. As I sit here typing this, I have five kids running chaos, at least one of which sounds like they might be bleeding, maybe.

Ok, I checked, he’s not bleeding. The bloodcurdling screams were a result of his little sister trying to bite him. Ah well. I had a daily routine all planned out, but with the first five posts sitting in a queue to be proofed and then posted, I froze. I’m sure I’ll catch up, but it’s like anything else, when you start slipping, it’s easier to give up than to double down. We humans are funny that way. Not all of us by any means, but many times it’s a near miss to choose one over the other. Either way, there are going to be consequences.

Second, realize that all the good intentions won’t fix a lack of time

I wish it could simplify the truth to the point that it was all just that I was too busy getting things finished and through no fault of my own did I let this blog languish. The truth is that, per point one, I”m only human and a fallible one at that. Riding hard up against that however, is that truth that both my wife and I, together have five kids to take care (yeah, all day every day, funny that), and we both try to work full time to keep the bills paid and everything else running smoothly.

Somewhere recently I saw a week broken down by hours, to show that everybody had the same 168 hours per week, and factoring in a full work schedule, full regular sleep, and even family time, that there should be 48 hours left to pursue our greatness. Yeah, they forgot some aspects of parenting I suppose. By the numbers, I have about -10 hours per week to work on what needs to be finished after kids, meals, chores, working, and sleeping (sleeping usually get’s shorted first). The truth is that I can usually squeeze out half an hour a day sometimes to blog and write about my recovery processes here.

Being a dedicated husband and father takes time, more than any one man has. But we do our best, we’re only human after all.

“If it’s important, you’ll make it work” is hogwash

Life has a few different classification systems in this crazy world. Fear drives the accomplishment of the first few, and puts the brakes on others.

First, there are the immediate and critical things (bloodcurdling screams, missing children, medical emergencies), these need dealt with like RIGHT NOW. The won’t wait.

Second there are the immediate non-critical things. Such things include the obvious, addressing burning food, cleaning up pet vomit on the floor, digging the van out of a snowdrift so my wife can get to work, that kind of things. The need to happen, immediately, but nobody’s going to end up injured or worse if it’s a moment or two.

Third there are the critical but not immediate (just really soon!). Feeding the children on schedule fall into this category, so does shoveling off the roof and fixing that slow leak in the garden hose, or refilling the washer fluid in the van since it’s getting low and this time of year is messy on the road.

Once all of these different things are finished there’s the balance of daily life, playing with the kids, laundry, dishes, cleaning, general repairs, that kind of thing. The time adds up and there’s never enough of it.

So, to say that my writing is important to me and as such I will make time for it, is simplistic to say the least. Sometimes, at midnight, after folding the last of the laundry or reloading the dishwasher for the third load of the day, I am falling asleep at the keyboard, trying to ‘make it work’ and have the time to do the writing thing.

This is where the fear sets in

When life is busy, and things are done at speed with less than the usual level of attention to detail, then things are not as perfect as we’d often like them to be. I overcame the need to post perfect material a long time ago, but even I suffer from ‘is it worth posting, nobody want’s to read my rambling.’

See, some people can look square at the day and decide to conquer it, and some of us want to go back to bed for another hour or two because last night’s sleep sucked. The confidence to know that you’re good enough is a trait all of us possess. Many times we really do have to fake it until we’re moving and momentum is keeping us accountable.

Fear is often referenced is many forms; two of the most common acronyms that I run across are:

Forget Everything And Run [away]

Face/Fight Everything And Rise

A third comes to mind in our AlAnon perspective

False Evidence Appearing Real

My question is this [two part] – which of these applies to your situation, and does it matter?

In my case, I get paralyzed wondering if things are good enough, and if I am worth it, and if anybody cares.

See, the demons on my left shoulder are much more convincing that the angels on my right (and I’m a little deaf on my right side) leaving me with a serious case of insecurity.


So in closing, after lots of words that don’t say too much at all, sometimes you just gotta do what you can to keep getting back up.

You’re only a failure if you give up. Humans are fallible, I am one such. Each time I get back up (or sit back down to type in this case, eventually hitting publish) is a new start at an old game, and you’ll only fail or lose the game if you give up and stop trying.

If you question if you’re worth it, like I do, then remember that others are almost always less harsh on you than you are on yourself. Hell, drop me a line and I’ll go over things with you if I can, even if that just involves listening to you unload.

I have to get to work here, after all, those important and immediate things include penalized deadlines that I have to meet for work, so that I can get paid and afford to feed them five amazing children that I get to call mine.

DFTBA and may God bless and shelter you.


Meditation is Personal, but not Guaranteed

Meditation is Personal, but not Guaranteed

Courage To Change – December 3, 2019

Photo Credit: Author

Photo Credit: Author

Meditation is touted as the holy grail in saving us from our own over-stressed world that we have created for and of ourselves. Everywhere you turn, there are tutorials, classes, personal coaches, all trying to teach you to meditate. The problem is that they are trying to teach you to meditate THEIR WAY, in a manner that works for them. I will be the first to admit that it is often helpful to be shown how to do something, but then it becomes my path to do it the way that makes sense, rather than how that other person showed me to do it. At the end of it all, my meditation is a personal process, and doing it the way another tells me to does not guarantee the success of the process for me.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

What is meditation? Al-Anon leaves that question open for each of us to answer in our own way. Drawing upon the experiences of other Al-Anon members can help us to find our own path. Here are only a few of the ways members of the fellowship have shared:

  • To me, meditation is a higher spiritual awareness. I practice remembering that every action can serve a spiritual purpose.
  • I go to a quiet place, close my eyes, and repeat the words of the Serenity Prayer to myself in a gentle voice.
  • I need to get beyond my thoughts, so I concentrate on my breathing, counting from one to ten over and over as I breathe in and out.
  • I simply step back and watch my thoughts as if I were watching a play. I try to keep my attention on the present day only, leaving the past and the future alone.
  • I focus on a flower. When my thoughts stray, I accept that my mind is just doing it is job – thinking- and then gently return to my subject.
  • In my mind, I picture my Higher Power’s hands. One by one, I place my problems and worries, my joy and my gratitude, into those hands, and finally I climb in too.

Alleged Insight:

That picture, up top? That’s the handlebars of my 1975 KZ650.

That was how I meditated back before I was a parent. I could ride for ages and ages, it cost pennies to lose myself in the weave and flow of the air around me, in the dance of the rubber on the pavement. It was glorious.

Lately however, meditation is something that has been scarcer and scarcer. With lots of kids, two full time careers, and life going a little sideways [or even completely off the rails more often than not] most days, it is all I can do to get showered with fresh clothes on some days, let alone relaxed and into a meditative state.

I’m not so sure on what meditation means to me these days; a few quiet moments really is all I ever get, and those are few and far between. I suspect that taking the time to write up these posts is as close as I’m going to get to true meditation any time soon. In a couple of years the littlest ones will be heading off to school, and life will not settle down, but the manic should subside a little at least. a few hours of sanity for my wife will translate into some semblance of calm in my world. At that point, meditation or at least intentional mindfulness will be easier to achieve.

Closing thoughts:

Meditation, at it is core, is the process of focusing the mind, clearing the thoughts away and generally achieving a state of mental rest; peace, if you will.

Here’s the link to the definition of meditation:

It’s worth a read, but please note that the very first paragraph indicates that the practice and process of meditation varies widely across the whole spectrum of those who practice it.

Find what works for you, then do it. As for me, I’ll keep hoping for a chance to return to where the rubber meets the road and the wind pulls the tears from my eyes as I feel the world flow past.


Peace, Let It Begin With Me

Peace, Let It Begin With Me

Courage To Change – December 2, 2019

Peace is a hard thing to define. Where to start and what to do to attain peace. Peace of mind? Peace of Spirit? Peace of soul and body? What exactly are we looking for? Ultimately, the pursuit of peace is the same as the pursuit of happiness, maybe it’s not the pursuit of peace but the acceptance of such when it has become manifest. Most importantly, I shall let peace begin with me.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 337 in “Courage to Change

I can easily itemize my loved one’s limitations. Hours pass while I list the ways in which [s]he could stand to change.

But not one thing has ever improved as a result of this mental criticism. All it does is keep my mind on someone other than me. Instead of admitting my powerlessness over another person’s choices and attitudes, I flirt with illusions of power. In the end I am a little more bitter, more hopeless, and more frustrated. And nothing about my situation, or the other person, has changed.

What would happen if I took my list of criticisms and applied it, gently, to myself? I may complain about my loved one’s verbal abuse – after all, I don’t speak to him that way. But at the level of thought, I am just as abusive. The same attitude exists in both of us; we just manifest it differently.

Today’s reminder

Al-Anon says, “Let it begin with me.” When I identify something I dislike in another, I can look for similar traits withing myself and begin to change them. By changing myself, I truly can change the world.


“Peace of mind depends on recognizing our own shortcomings. An honest personal inventory helps us recognize the faults that so often increase confusion and despair.”

This is Al-Anon

Alleged Insight:

And so I begin with a skip, then a double up. Yesterday’s post was earlier today, and now this one. But admitting our shortcomings, accepting issues and moving forward is just a part of life, now isn’t it?

Took me a bit to recover from the literal sickness that took hold of our house yesterday, thus, I’m alive just a couple of hours late on things. But on a good note I spent more quality time with my kids yesterday than I usually manage. Anyhow, about today’s reading, I wish I could give some deep insight, some sage connotations but the truth is that all I’m getting when I read this reading is the song chorus continually running through my head. “Let there be peace on Earth, and Let it begin with me…”

These day’s peace of mind and peace of heart are two very dear and precious commodities in our turbulent world; personally or in the larger picture. Of late we’re fussing back and forth over boundaries and life choices while gearing up for the manic Christmas season that comes with public schooling.

Closing thoughts:

I guess the point to make from all this is that peace starts not with external stimuli, but it starts inside us. You, me, them, we all have this chaos and serenity built into our very essence, and it’s about time to settle the manic and let peace have a chance to shine.


Learn To Live Your Life By Living

Learn To Live Your Life By Living

Courage To Change – December 1, 2019

Me and my Beautiful Wife

There was a line from somewhere, I can’t remember where I heard it first. The wording was along the lines of “Life is not for the faint of heart. Live your life like you mean to do great things and when you’re done, you will have done great things. In essence, simply observing life isn’t the point. Record all the things you must by all means, but don’t forget to be involved in all the things as well. Life your life, and learn to live your life, by living it. This precious gift of today should not be taken for granted.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 336 in “Courage to Change

Al-Anon was the first place I’d been in a long time where people invited me back even after listening to my woes. I’m so grateful that the did, because Al-Anon was my last hope – I thought that I would kill myself if I didn’t do something about the alcoholism in my home. Later, when members of the group asked me to make coffee, I was happy to do anything to repay them for their love; yet no payment was required. They loved me whether I was involved in a service or not, even when I couldn’t love myself.

Al-Anon is the only thing in my life that I’ve been dedicated to, the only thing I’ve ever felt consistently good at. As I do service work, I see myself accomplishing things, giving, receiving, growing. I see my progress as I learn to learn, and as the lessons become part of me, I take them into all areas of my life.

Today I like to think that I get to take an active part in the growth of Al-Anon through service. I’m not doing Al-Anon a favor, Al-Anon is doing me one. It actually thrills me to remember that. I’m allowed to take part! You let me!

Today’s reminder

Listening, hearing, thinking and reading about a spiritual awakening are fine, but if I really want this gift, there is something I can do about it: I can get involved.


“What we learn to do, we learn by doing.”


Alleged Insight:

It’s taken me the better part of twenty years to learn even the smallest portion of this lesson. I am a quite introspective person when left to my own devices. I do not, of my own accord, get out there and make a difference. Participating in my own life let alone other’s lives, is not something that even remotely crosses my intentional awareness.

But now I’ve this amazing family, with five vibrant children and a wife who is so very much ‘all that’ but can’t see it in herself, that I am required to up my game. Getting up every day and participating is no longer an option. I am required to take care of these people, they’re mine to care about.

Now, I came into this marriage with a huge pile of baggage, and had convinced myself that I had dealt with most of it.

I was wrong.

Not being triggered is not the same as being in good mental health.

I was a master at evasion; avoiding those things that were going to cause issues, were going to leave me an emotional wreck. This, while a valid coping technique, is not a good path to mental health. Constantly running away from what scares/bothers/upsets you just leaves you unable to cope with these things when you finally can’t get away anymore.

With the first boy born thirteen years ago, I found myself with a child and a wife in an emergency medical transport plane headed to a specialist hospital six hundred kilometers away from home. Things were getting really really real. I was their support. There was nobody else. I had to step up and perform.

That moment, watching the wings of the plane flex and shiver in the turbulent air as we hurtled towards Vancouver, I had a rather abrupt awakening. It was time to face the demons, time to start to be present in the life I’d been coasting through.

Up to now, I had been an observer (mostly) watching and avoiding. Not learning how to best handle the difficult things that were coming my way.

That boy was the first of five children with specific needs and issues that required a full time, fully involved father. I was not going to be the dad who brings home money, has selfish personal pursuits and never spends the time to connect with his children or wife.

Closing thoughts:

It’s been more than a decade since that first boy was born, and the roller coaster of life hasn’t stopped since. I am nowhere near the best version of myself that I could be, but by the grace of God, I am getting better, one day at a time.


Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Courage To Change – November 19, 2019

CC Pexels

Mental shortcuts. Categorizing, labeling, it’s all a trick our minds use to simplify and expedite life. However, to do so to the people around us is quite frankly, demeaning. Labeling people, assigning them specifications removes their complexity in the whole being human equation. Truthfully it’s about the worst thing you could do to a person, to label them and then forget them.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links.

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 324 in “Courage to Change

For years I lamented the absence of a label that would identify the soul sickness that brought me to the fellowship. I wanted to say, “I’m a recovering controller, enabler, caretaker, fixer.” Although they identify some of my character defects, these labels miss the mark. I’m not simply seeking recovery from one limitation or problem. The goal I’m striving for in Al-Anon is an overall sense of wellness.

My pursuit of this goal began by seeking recovery from the way a loved one’s alcoholism has affected my life. But today Al-anon offers me even more. As I grow and heal, I find that it is no longer enough to simply survive. The principles and tools that brought me this far can help me to create an increasingly rich and fulfilling life.

Today, when I say I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon, I’m not zeroing in on one particular problem but rather participating in a whole hose of solutions that can lead to emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

Today’s reminder

As I continue on the never ending path of spiritual progress, I will expand my view of recovery.


“In Al-Anon, we believe life is for growth, both mental and spiritual.“

The Twelve Steps and Traditions

Alleged Insight:

Where to start? We all like to fit people into or under a label. Taking out our big metaphorical sharpie markers and scrawling titles and labels across the foreheads of all those around us. A few of our acquaintances will get passed over, if only because we know them too well to be able to label them with one or two simple tags and have them conform to that set of definitions.

The better you know a person, the harder it is going to be to label that person with any labels, let alone any dominant ones. The problem is rather like that of trying to add tags to a blog post. When I’m writing these posts, the obvious tags are ODAT, Al-Anon, Recovery, Step-Programs, that kind of thing. And occasionally some topic or other will poke it’s head out of the morass of words I’ve written which will seem to apply; something like ‘people’ ‘parenting’ ‘stress’ ‘marriage issues’ ‘addiction relapse’ and other such titles.

Hell, going down the list of people I have or will interact with today, the labels are extensive for any one person, so how in all truth can I label them, knowing that any attempt to do so will result in inadequate and ultimately useless labels that may not apply in a few hours/ days/ weeks/ years.

So you ask where I’m going with all this, and the truthful answer is I had no idea when I started typing. But it seems clear to me that a couple things shine true in the wording.

1- Almost all humans seem to want to label and simplify their lives.

2- The more truly and completely you know and understand any complex thing (books, blog posts, people, cities, you name it) the harder it will be to label it with any small number of labels without missing something truly important.

3- We are often in Al-Anon to get to know ourselves better so that we can more fully be true to ourselves and live our life to the best benefit we can individually manage. In becoming more fully human, we shed the labels and become whole people.

Closing thoughts:

So, what that points out to me is this: If you’re looking to identify yourself with a label, like the person in the reading above, then you’d best not pursue growth and healing in Al-Anon. We are all individuals, we are all alike, but we are all, each and every one of us, our own person. Life is not for the faint of heart who take the easy way out, life is to be lived, not filed away in nice little labels.

So, please, leave the labels behind, yours and the one’s you’re hoping to apply to others, and get out there, live your life, love your life. Always remember to be Awesome!

Sincerely, Duke.

Wanna See God Laugh?

Wanna See God Laugh?

Courage To Change – November 18, 2019

Funny, six years on since I started periodically posting daily reflections on the Al-Anon material that keeps me sane[er than I am usually]. This week has been about as crazy as it could be without adding monkeys in diapers and maybe some live action garden gnomes. School schedules, extra-curricular activities, work schedules, volunteering schedules, my wife’s unpredictable on call schedules, and then to top it off we foster a 2-year old Shar Pei. She’s a precious little girl, but she’s not a large boisterous family type of dog so there’s a chance we need to find a better home for her than our place. We’ll see what can be done to better her lot in life, but that’s for tomorrow. I have a few moments here tonight and thought to do up today’s reading quick and simple. Then I read it; in depth, slowly. Man did it hit home. There is some deep truth to the Woody Allen line “Do you want to see God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 323 in “Courage to Change

To me, when the Second Step talks about being restored to sanity, it covers more than the ability to function responsibly and realistically. A sane way of life also includes the willingness to play, to take a break, to cultivate a hobby. I suppose I think of humor as an especially appealing hobby. It takes no special equipment, doesn’t require travel, and never falls out of fashion. When I have a good laugh, I know that my Higher Power is restoring some of my sanity.

If I can see nothing but my troubles, I am seeing with limited vision. Dwelling on these troubles allows them to control me. Of course, I need to do whatever footwork is required, but I also need to learn when to let go. When I take time to play, to laugh, and to enjoy, I am taking care of myself and giving my Higher Power some room to take care of the rest.

Today’s reminder

A good chuckle or an engrossing activity can lift my spirits and cleanse my mind. I will refresh myself by adding some lightness to this day.


“Now I look for humor in every situation, and my Higher Power is a laughing God

who reminds me not to take myself too seriously.“

As We Understood…

Alleged Insight:

Hello my friends. Today Monday, and what a Monday it was. See every second Monday is payroll Monday for me. What that means in real world effect is that I have a required six hours of active work every second Monday until I pass the torch to somebody else to process these beasts. That in itself is fine. Six hours in a single day, of office work, isn’t going to kill anybody.

That’s not how it went today however. Let’s start back at five AM when the Shar Pei we’re fostering went bonkers off the mat. She just started bristling and trying to find what was upsetting her (in a house full of sleeping children). So, rough, very abrupt and unsettling start to a Monday. Then there’s the usual bit where kids get up and head to school. Except the dog won’t let the children out of the hallway (yeah, behavioral issues are the first of many problems this little one actually faces). Next hurdle, the middle boy (of five kids) wakes up with a monster head cold. The two littlest ones are heading to daycare, an hour late when I finally get them all to where they need to be. And after planning a starting work time of 8:30, I sit down at almost 9:45.

As I am sitting down to the computer to start my solid six of processing, an emergency pops up and the project takes top billing this morning. Alright, it’s now eleven am, and I’m starting the usual work. By noon, I’d made up an hour’s worth of the time I’d already lost, and was looking to be finished for four without too much trouble.

Guess what? Yup, you got it in one. Schedule change, the kids piano lessons had been moved to today from Thursday last. From two-thirty to four is the three boys lessons in piano. Alright, so now I have until two-thirty to finish what should take until four. Headphones and driving beats you will be my savior.

Speaking of Saviour, that’s what came up on the random upbeat Spotify playlist that I plugged into. Needless to say, with God’s help, and some divine assistance in focusing, I rocked the end of today and we made it home in good form.

Yep, God has laughed his metaphysical ass off today at our expense. Kids are nuts after the impromptu piano lesson changes; we get home and they’re off and fighting. I also hear that the quick trip to drop my sister-in -law back to her place is going to detour into visiting an old friend from college (for my wife) while I’m home with all the littles. That was fun. The two-year old had been up all day, and was CRANKY. The four-year old is his usual charismatic (manic) self, while the rest are all on edge because of the four legged time bomb in our midst. It was a hilarious evening, if you were to watch it on a sitcom; to live it however, not so fun.

Closing thoughts:

Today’s plans? The Winner? Duke of Chaos – 0, God laughing his ass off – Priceless. Hell, if you can’t laugh at yourself, call a true friend, they’ll laugh at you.

Sincerely, Dan.

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Courage To Change – November 16, 2019

Credit: Author.  Design prepared in Canva

In this messed up world of passing the buck, ducking the consequences, and instant gratification, whose responsible for anything? I get up in the morning to a chorus of wails and demands from my children. That is as it should be. I am responsible for their well-being, which starts with a warm dry safe house and breakfast in the morning. What I am not responsible for is the happiness of my neighbour who’s chronically grumpy and depressed. I can care about their problems and empathize, but at the end of the day it’s not my responsibility. Likewise, I’m not responsible for your happiness, only my own and my immediate family; my children and my wife. When it comes to who is responsible for anyone else’s happiness, surprise! It boils down to your happiness, your responsibility.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

For a long time I tried to “Let go and let God,” but I couldn’t seem to do it. I needed to find a concrete way to let go. I heard someone share at a meeting that she pictured her loved ones on a beautiful ocean beach, basking in the light of a Higher Power.

Al-Anon has taught me to take what I like and leave the rest I couldn’t relate to the beach scene, but I did find comfort in the general idea. Once again, the experience, strength, and hope of another Al-Anon member let me to find my own, personalized answer. I now envision wrapping my loved ones in the kind of blanket that I think they’d like – a down comforter, an army blanket, a patchwork quilt – and gently handing them to my Higher Power.

I find it important to be very specific. After all, my fears and worries are specific.

With a clear picture of my loved ones in my Higher Power’s care, I am much more able truly to “Let go and let God.”

Today’s reminder

Today’s Reminder

When I’m anxious about other people, I need my higher power’s help. Fighting with fear often strengthens its hold over me. But turning my loved one’s over to God can free us all.


“‘Let go and let God’. . .

teaches us to release problems that trouble and confuse us,

because we are not able to solve them by ourselves.“

This is Al-Anon

Alleged Insight:

Let go and Let God?!?

Let me ask you something. Can you handle everything that everyone want’s all the time? Do you need to sleep, to take care of yourself? Do you have basic requirements that must be met?

Does anybody else hunt you down ans suggest that they’re responsible for your happiness and well-being?

If you’re in anything like my situation, then the answer is probably an emphatic “NO” right?

I can only barely let go and let God myself, in some small ways. Each of us has to find their own path through this morass of chaos that has often supplanted our lives. In my case, I have to do the mental image thing, realizing that God’s love is more like stage lights, each person on stage has their own set of lights, and of course each set of lights is specific to that person. I don’t have to be the ringmaster, highlighting people to help them and support them. God’s handling the stage lights, and those people will get their support not from me but from God.

This is warped, abrupt and kinda blunt, but such is the state of my mind. May God highlight you in your moment of need so that you have the support you need when you need it.

I have to get to work so until later, be blessed.

Closing thoughts:

P.S. We need to start talking about this crap, or our kids will have to fight our demons. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to leave my demons for my children. Duke.

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Courage To Change – November 17, 2019

The thing about a program is that the end results are proven. Given a set of inputs and variables being held to be true, the outcome is never in question. Concerning recovery however, the above cannot be taken as given facts. The inputs (your effort in the endeavor), the variables (what you bring to the table and the damages your trying to overcome) and generally life as a whole, is not a set of defined variables and inputs. Frankly, life often sucks. Heck, sometimes it even feels like life is out to get you. [news flash: it’s not]. But the truth about life is that today is a new chance to find even more creative ways to spectacularly fail or fly. Which is it going to be today? Will you show up to the table and get to work or will you skip out and take the day off? The programs work, as long as you choose to come back, it works if you work it.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me. [this is not an affiliate link in any format, it’s just a link to the site where I would go and buy my books if I needed yet another set because mine are getting too worn out again.]

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash

Photo Credit: Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 322 in “Courage to Change

“Keep coming back” is a phrase we often hear in Al-Anon. Why is it so important? Because many of us have grown so hardened in our fights with alcoholics or flights form alcoholics that we literally found it difficult to sit still for the process of recovery. We had to have answers right away or take action right away. Yet we felt just enough relief at our first meeting to come back once more. And then again, and again. Slowly we learned to sit still, to listen, and to heal.

No matter how many years we’ve been practicing the Al-Anon program, we can use the reminder to keep coming back. Difficult times come and go, even after a long term Al-Anon recovery. With each new challenge, many of us still need reminding that “there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness to great to be lessened.”
Today’s reminder

If I feel discouraged today, I will turn to the basics of the Al-Anon program. I”ll get to a meeting, call my sponsor, go back to the First Step. One-Day-At-A-Time, if I keep coming back, I know my situation will improve.


“If I really want to learn how to fit easily and happily into my environment

and my relations with other people, Al-Anon has something for me.“

One Day at a time

Alleged Insight:

Oh goodness, the truth of this mantra. Heck, look below at the disclaimer, it’s part of why I do this each and every day, barring slips and missing days. Life is hard for the best of people some days, and I sure as hell ain’t one of the best of people. The cracks and blotches on my soul and spirit would drive many of my compatriots to the bottom of the abyss, but such is the life I have been living.

Seriously however, healing takes time, and intention. In order to get to that point, there are some hard choices to make, and some harder truths to accept, usually one’s we’ve been hiding from for too long because they’re going to hurt. Sitting still, supported by the company of others in the same program, maybe then we can start to understand what hides behind the black spots in our souls.

The first trick however is to learn to sit your own self down and stop reacting out of a desperate need to control and fix things. I am probably the worst person I know of to just react. I try to fix things instantly; keep the peace and restore the calm. I’m not very good at it. Like, I really suck at it most times. I’m not complaining however, just trying to highlight that if you keep working towards the goal, every little step you take, and every effort no matter how small, is going to help you get to where you’re going. Good luck out there Charlie, it’s a mean world, but it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Keep on keeping on..

Closing thoughts:

No matter your situation, if you’re broken, regardless of how, there’s a group of people looking for you so they can help you, and you in turn can help them. Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics, Gamblers, you name it and there will be a support group for you. If your significant other is the one, then there’s a group for you as well. Sitting in a therapists chair, while it does have a valid place in recovery of some sorts, rarely helps in this arena. Trust me, I’ve been there. Therapists are talented people with good souls for the most part, but with this, a leader is more what’s needed than a counselor.

Take care of yourself. I’ll be here if you need to talk, just drop me a line.