“12 Truths”·Anne Lamott·TED2017

Anne Lamott is an American novelist and non-fiction writer. She is also a progressive political activist, public speaker, and writing teacher and a person in long term recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Her nonfiction works are largely autobiographical. Wikipedia

 In 2017 Anne Lamott recorded a Ted Talk about the 12 Truths that she knows for sure, or almost for sure. 

Here is the short list:

  1. The first and truest thing is that all truth is a paradox. Life is both a precious, unfathomably beautiful gift, and it’s impossible here, on the incarnational side of things.
  2. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.
  3. There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you’re waiting for an organ.
  4. Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared, even the people who seem to have it most together.
  5. Chocolate with 75 percent cacao is not actually a food.
  6. Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair.
  7. Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from.
  8. Families are hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be.
  9. Food, try to do a little better.
  10. Grace is spiritual WD-40, or water wings.
  11. God just means goodness. It’s really not all that scary.
  12. Wow and yikes. It’s so hard to bear when the few people you cannot live without die.

Here is the Ted Talk – it is funny, heartwarming and very insightful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

12 truths I learned from life and writing

“A few days before she turned 61, writer Anne Lamott decided to write down everything she knew for sure. She dives into the nuances of being a human who lives in a confusing, beautiful, emotional world, offering her characteristic life-affirming wisdom and humor on family, writing, the meaning of God, death and more.” (Ref: YouTube Ted)

ANNE LAMOTT social:

Twitter: @ANNELAMOTT

Facebook: @ANNELAMOTT

Website: Barclay Agency

Books: Amazon

The DEFINITION of ALCOHOL USE DISORDER (AUD)

What was once called alcoholism, alcohol abuse, or alcohol addiction is now classified as either Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), focusing only on alcohol use, or Substance Use Disorder (SUD), focusing on drug and alcohol use. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists the diagnostic features of all recognized mental disorders, including AUD and SUD.

AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences, and a negative emotional state when not using. An estimated 15 million people in the United States have AUD. 

Ref: NIAA-NIH Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

ALCOHOL USE IN THE UNITED STATES

  • People Ages 12 and Older: According to the 2019 NSDUH, 14.5 million (nearly 15 million) people ages 12 and older (5.3 percent of this age group) had AUD. This number includes 9.0 million men (6.8 percent of men in this age group) and 5.5 million women (3.9 percent of women in this age group)
  • Youth Ages 12 to 17: According to the 2019 NSDUH, an estimated 414,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 (1.7 percent of this age group) had AUD. This number includes 163,000 males (1.3 percent of males in this age group) and 251,000 females (2.1 percent of females in this age group).

TREATMENT OF AUD IN THE UNITED STATES

  • According to the 2019 NSDUH, about 7.2 percent of people ages 12 and older who had AUD in the past year received any treatment in the past year. This includes about 6.9 percent of males and 7.8 percent of females with past-year AUD in this age group.9 According to the 2019 NSDUH, about 6.4 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who had AUD in the past year received any treatment in the past year. This includes about 6.4 percent of males and 6.4 percent of females with past-year AUD in this age group.
  • According to the 2019 NSDUH, about 7.3 percent of adults ages 18 and older who had AUD in the past year received any treatment in the past year. This includes about 6.9 percent of males and 7.9 percent of females with past-year AUD in this age group.9
  • Less than 4 percent of people with AUD were prescribed a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat their disorder.10
  • People with AUD were more likely to seek care from a primary care physician for an alcohol-related medical problem, rather than specifically for drinking too much alcohol.

Ref: NIAAA-NIH Alcohol Facts and Statistics

Information last updated 9/2021.

Seven Days Without a Prayer Makes One Weak

I have never been a religious person. I used to consider myself an atheist but now I consider myself more of an agnostic. Religion still boggles my mind and makes me feel uneasy. I think it’s mostly because when I was a child no one actually explained it to me and what was its purpose. Therefore most of my life I did not have any beliefs, or spirituality, or a version of a Higher Power, but I always knew that there was a spirit looking over me – how else was I still alive after so many alcohol induced disasters.

Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. Who are you to say there is no God?–AA, Big Book, pg 47

When I started my recovery journey, I couldn’t stay sober for more than a few months at a time. I kept thinking that I was missing something very important. Being part of a 12-step program I was often reminded that I needed a Higher Power, a God of my understanding, or a belief in something greater. I needed a spiritual path, and a faith of some kind. This was quite a tall order for my skeptical mind, and was not having any part of it.

But after many relapses I changed my mind and I was ready to try anything. I knew I was missing some kind of spirituality and I decided that if I couldn’t just believe, I would try accept it. I decided to let go of all my old beliefs and bought a little necklace with a cross pendant. It felt really uncomfortable wearing it at first because it symbolized all that I didn’t believe in, but then again, what could it hurt I assumed, it’s just a necklace, like a rabbits foot, a favorite shirt, or a crystal with special powers! 

We had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?–AA, Big Book, page 77

Then I started praying. First it was just a simple “Please help me stay sober.” and “Thank you for keeping me sober.” Then during the night when I could not sleep, I repeated the serenity prayer until I fell asleep.

I found myself praying in times of hardship, and asking for patience, acceptance and forgiveness. When I was faced with difficult people, I asked to be compassionate and caring. When I had financial troubles, I asked to have my worries taken away. I often used lines out of the Lord’s Prayer when dealing with my own wrongs and forgiveness; “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

God grant me the serenity , to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.–Reinhold Niebuhr

This simple act of praying had became something much bigger than I would have ever imagined. It became my hope and faith! I even noticed that my urge to drink was lifted and life started to bloom around me. My heart got softer and kinder. I was smiling more often and I began to feel happy!

My spirituality has grown to something quite amazing since then, and today I truly believe that there is a Higher Power that cares for all of us. I still don’t believe in socialized religion but that’s OK. I have admired many Christian prayers and I have been able to rely on many Buddhist teachings.

For all of you who are still not quite sure, and are still looking for some scientific proof, I found this interesting article on WebMd, about a scientist who has spent many years studying the power of prayer.

For the past 30 years, Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted his own studies on prayer. He focuses specifically on meditation, the Buddhist form of prayer, to understand how the mind affects the body. All forms of prayer, he says, evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing.

As an individual goes deeper and deeper into concentration, intense activity begins taking place in the brain’s parietal lobe circuits — those that control a person’s orientation in space and establish distinctions between self and the world. Benson has documented a “quietude” that then envelops the entire brain. The mind-body connection dissolves, Benson says.

Full article: Can Prayer Heal?