“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)




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Are You Wondering If You Really Have a Drinking Problem?

""Have you taken the quiz? Have you read the definition of alcohol use disorder? Have you Google “How do I know if have a drinking problem?” Have you compared yourself to your friends, the ones that seem to drink much more than you and still are OK? Have you woken up feeling hungover and ashamed and swore that you will never drink again?

If you have, then you have most likely struggled with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) in some way.

If you are in the midst of your addiction, you may feel stuck in an empty life. You may feel alone, depressed, hopeless, lost, and angry. However, there is a solution, and it is sobriety and recovery.

Most individuals with alcohol problems do not resolve to make a big change unexpectedly or transform their drinking lifestyles overnight. Recovery is usually a more gradual process. In the early stages of change, denial is a huge obstacle. 

I think that is the worst part of the addiction; it is like living in some delusion. You can always find someone who is much worse off than you are. You can always say I am not that bad, and my drinking is not that bad! However, for many of us it is the personal bankruptcy that finally get us — the empty hole in our souls, the loneliness, and the despair. 

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I was in a huge amount of denial. I did not consider myself a bottom drunk. On the outside, my life seemed quite normal, at least to me. Well, I had the DUI, but I completed my sentence and got my license back. I lost a few jobs but then I got new ones. I was behind on my mortgage but I still had a home. I did not have much money but I had enough to buy booze. I had to get through some legal problems, but the judge was on my side, and only ordered me to go to outpatient rehab classes!

So in my view, I could not relate to the bottom case, and the horror stories I heard in the 12-step meetings and at the rehab. I even remember calling my step mom after completing the first week there, and telling her how “they” made a mistake, and I just did not belong there.

But your life does not have to be that way. You never have to feel this way again! You can change it and you can get sober! You can have a life with millions of moments that fill your heart with joy. When was the last time you felt real joy, or happiness or even noticed that the sun was shining?

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Even after acknowledging you have a drinking problem, you may make excuses and drag your feet. It is important to acknowledge your uncertainty about stopping drinking. If you are not sure if you are ready to change or you are struggling with the decision, it can help to think about the benefits of this choice. 

Today is the day you can make a decision to get sober! Today can be your start! It only takes one decision and one day. You only have to do it for today. Stop thinking about yesterday and pondering tomorrow, and make the change today!

If you need detox and many people do, go to your nearest hospital — detoxing by yourself can be fatal. You can also Google “drug and alcohol services” for your local city and contact a professional or the nearest rehabilitation facility. You can also contact the Alcoholic Anonymous hotline in your area. You can go to your primary doctor who will be able to give good advice on how to proceed.

However, do it today, make the decision now. YOUR future is in your hands!



The Willingness To Try Something Different

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Often, in early sobriety life may feel sort of dull, boring and absolutely blah at times. Alcohol seemed to have had a powerful effect on creating things superficially exciting for us. Sometimes alcohol gave us the invigorating reward feeling for living this super hard life. Many of us had romantic thoughts about the glamorous drinking days, and how everything felt so spontaneous and exciting when we were drinking. Once drinking is no longer a part of life, it may take some time for the fun activities to have the same exhilarating effect.

This can be one of the hardest parts of the changes in sobriety. In fact, it was so hard for me that I was clinging to it for many years!

Unfortunately, my need for a return to thrill-seeking and escape had often led me right back to drinking. I attempted to hang out at bars, go to parties and other drinking events and not drink. This proved to be extremely hard because cravings are physical pains, and brutal on the psyche. However, it was just what I needed to finally realize that I could no longer be a part of that lifestyle if I wanted to get and stay sober. When I finally decided that this was it and I was quitting, I had to come to terms with the end of that way of life.

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Recovery is not meant to be the end of all fun, or adventure, or thrill-seeking, however, it does require more effort to integrate not drinking into those activities especially since we are so used to doing everything while drinking. It also means doing new things, getting out of the comfort zone and opening the doors to the willingness to try something different!

In the beginning, I just had to stop and not be involved. That meant parties, bars, concerts, wine festivals, and beer tastings and such, were out! Then I had to start integrating activities where drinking was not the main attraction.

I started going to museums and art galleries and visited places that I have never been to. I also watched a lot of educational TV like the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel; it opened a whole new world of knowledge to me.

I also found that being part of a 12 step program allowed me to socialize with other sober people. Most groups organize numerous events like movie nights, picnics and dances. When you meet other sober people you will also be able to get even more ideas from them! If you are interested in becoming a part of a 12 step program please visit their webpage and look for meetings and events in your area.

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Other options may be taking a fitness class or a painting class. There are also activities you might try like the Photo a The Day challenges, like this one at FatMumSlim. I know, I know… all these may seem a bit boring or somewhat intimidating, but once you start doing few things you will find that the excitement will return and you will keep finding new interests things to do which do not involve drinking!

Believe me, the enjoyable activities will once again have an exciting effect and maybe even be more exciting because the enthusiasm will be all-natural! I remember my first sober concert and it was amazing. I had a blast and it was even more exciting than I have imagined.

The process of integrating these none-drinking activities into sobriety may take some time and practice, and eventually, you may feel comfortable enough with going to a party, or a bar for a special occasion, or a concert! But give yourself the best chance of sustaining your sobriety by being willing to try new things that do not include drinking!

What sober activities do you enjoy?