Tag Archives: addiction

12-Step Program for America: Step 1

By Jim Selman | Bio

I work with organizations that are attempting to change. At the beginning of working with a new client, I point out what’s missing for any organization that has recurring or seemingly intractable problems: what’s missing is a different way of observing. Whether we’re talking about a company, a community or a continent, a new perspective always gives us an opening to create new possibilities, have new choices and take new actions: a new way of observing the world effectively gives us a different future than some variation of ‘more of the same’. =&0=&. When we do, we begin to realize that we have a paradigm problem. Until we deal with that, none of our seemingly intractable problems—from staggering debt to unending war, climate change to the underlying causes of the mortgage crises—can be solved. Albert Einstein expressed this concisely when he said that sometimes our problems cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.

Paradigm problems are like addictions. They are ‘self-referential’ structures that, at some point, disconnect us from a larger ‘reality’. Once disconnected, we begin to follow self-destructive patterns of behavior until we ‘hit bottom’ or have some form of crisis that ‘breaks the paradigm’ and opens possibilities for making other choices. In AA and most ‘recovery’ literature, the self-destructive behavior is understood to be the symptom. The ‘disease’

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Boundaries: Choosing Change

By Jim Selman | Bio

We’ve all experienced a situation—whether in a marriage, friendship or business relationship—where we find ourselves thinking about the other person and saying, “I love you, BUT…”. It’s in that moment we realize a particular behavior of theirs is not acceptable to us and has become a source of stress and resentment. For many, resentment almost always leads to a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior and the eventual destruction of the relationship.

I was coaching a friend recently who is in such a dilemma. She is and always has been the primary breadwinner in her marriage. Her husband is a charming, lovable, creative man who is prone to spending binges whenever he is traveling or working on various short-term projects. This usually leads to an ‘explosive’ encounter when the credit card bills arrive. These angry eruptions are followed by his characteristic pattern of apologies, remorse and promises followed by feelings

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Capitalism: Never Enough?

By Jim Selman | Bio

New York is a consumer paradise. That’s one of the reasons it is a shopping mecca for so many people from around the world. Folks who can afford it want to have an apartment here, the ‘Big Brands’ want to have a store on 5th Avenue, and the rest of us want to look in the store windows and buy stuff. New York, of course, doesn’t have an exclusive on being a magnet for shoppers—most big cities have their own version of a street lined with designer stores overflowing

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Sobering Up

By Jim Selman | Bio

As we move into the sixth month of the ‘global meltdown’, it seems like it has been going on a lot longer. I can hardly remember what it was like when we were ‘high’ on the prospects of prosperity forever. Like most ‘-olics’, we thought we controlled something we didn’t control that then began controlling us. In our pursuit of the American Dream, we somewhere began to get a little too much of a good thing and became ‘hooked’ on the idea that perpetual growth

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A Crackberry By Any Other Name…

By Jim Selman | Bio

A few weeks ago, I posted my musings about Blackberries and other gizmos that seem to have taken over our minds and that are becoming the focus for much of our attention (to the point of almost being amusing to see folks pulling them out). The media has dubbed these devices “crackberries’ in view of their seemingly addictive hold on us.

Well, in spite of my protests to never get hooked, I bought one and am now one of ‘them’—sneaking glances, trying to look nonchalant

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Gore’s Challenge

By Jim Selman | Bio

There is an inspiring 30-minute speech by Al Gore challenging all of us and our nation to commit to a 10-year program to move away completely from a carbon-based economy. The challenge echoes what a lot of us have been saying for years, but he has developed sufficient moral authority in some sectors that maybe more people will listen. Redesigning our energy infrastructure isn’t exactly the same as going to the moon as he suggests, but there are some powerful parallels.

For

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Alcoholism and the Canary

In the late 80s, Anne Wilson Schaef and Diane Fassel wrote a book called The Addictive Organization. While I have a very different experience and theory than what they were proposing, I think their metaphor was perfect. For me, the idea that an organization or society can become ‘addicted’ is not a metaphor. I believe, like Charles Horton Cooley, that “Individuals and organizations

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Explainers Anonymous™ – II

By Charles E. Smith |Bio

=&0=& is for people who can’t help explaining they are dedicated victims of circumstance.

Explaining,
like taking a drink, need not be not a problem. Telling a story to
entertain or teach is wonderful. Sometimes explanations are really
useful (such as in telling the doctor why your hand is bleeding) or
when they warn you of something (such as in looking both ways before
crossing the street because you might get killed). Sometimes they are
useful as long as everyone understands it’s an explanation—and only one
out of a hundred thousand possibilities.

It’s

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Explainers Anonymous™

By Charles E. Smith
Bio

Explainers Anonymous
is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help people addicted
to explaining everything. My name is Charlie. I started it.

It began in 1997 a few months after I retired. I woke one morning and said to myself:

"I now have no work, no place to go, no future source of earned income, no people telling other people about me. The phone doesn’t ring and too many of my e-mails are ads. I diet until 6 o’clock and then

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Angst

I like this word. I don’t know why…perhaps because it is one of those words that seems to express itself in speaking of it. The word means ‘anxiety’—a kind of generalized anxiety with being alive.  The existential philosophers talked a lot about angst. In fact, we normally associate angst with existentialism—existential angst. The word is usually associated with a negative mood such as depression or what Thomas Merton characterized as "the dark night

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