take a quick survey please! :D

so La Sabrosona reblogged a bit from Just Plain Ol’ Vic about a survey that Public Insight Network is putting up.  ::phew!!::  that was a lot of linking!

anyway, it’s to help with a book about mental illnesses.  which is great and all.  but it’s even better because it’s for MARYA HORNBACHER‘S NEW BOOK!!!

I own (and have actually read) all five of her books.  The Center of Winter is a nonfiction piece.  Madness and Wasted are respectively about her bipolar and eating disorders.  Sane is about working the 12 Step Program with a mental illness; Waiting is about working the program without having to endure all the God-talk (or for “non-believers”, as she says).

anyway.  Marya is one of the women I was supposed to become: a crazy, fucked up writer with tales of adventures and misadventures, who eventually got her life together and even got published.

I remembered after I finished reading Madness and Wasted, I emailed her about connections I noticed between the two and how she and I shared similar behavioural patterns.  she actually responded to the email fairly promptly (and it seemed legitimately like her, and not a lackey).  anyway, it was rad.

so I looked further into the aforementioned survey, only to learn it was open:

Author Marya Hornbacher is working on a book about mental illness. Her book will profile the lives of people who have a mental illness or who work in the field, and she’s trying to develop a deeper understanding of how the public views mental illness.

Please answer the questions below to help Marya with her reporting. There aren’t any right or wrong answers, and she appreciates all responses.  If you know very little about mental illness, she’d love to hear from you. Or, if you are personally connected with mental illness, she would love to hear from you as well.

Marya won’t publish any of your responses without your permission. Marya or a journalist from the Public Insight Network may follow up with you for help with reporting.

and I decided, “what the fuck, let’s fill it out.”  and I’d really appreciate it if you filled it out too.  

my answers are below.

Continue reading

AA: Step One

Step One:  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.


Alcoholics Anonymous – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

“Few indeed were those who, so assailed, had ever won through in singlehanded combat.”   ~ p22


Joe McQ – The Steps We Took

“When I’m trying to put something together, I may be trying to drive a tapered be into a hole wrong end first.  I keep hammering and hammering, but the thing won’t go.  I drive and force and maybe I’ll finally look at the peg and say, ‘This peg won’t go that way.’  Then I’ll turn it around.  But I can’t turn it around until I admit that I’ve been trying to do it the wrong way.”   ~ p20

“We humans are not meant to depend on our individual selves; we are meant to rely on each other.”   ~ p20

“[…] we will never be everything or know everything.  When we realize our powerlessness, we can seek a source of Power.”   ~ p22

“We’ve got to learn the value of saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘what I’ve been trying doesn’t work.'”   ~ p23


Joe McQ – Carry This Message

“Bill Wilson reminds us in the Big Book that suffering alcoholics are very sick people.  We are dealing with very sick, undisciplined people.”   ~ p27

“Step 1 is the foundation of the principles.  The second Step is believing, the third Step is deciding, and Steps 4 through 11 are action.”   ~ p32

“In Step 1 we don’t really know what we are going to do next.  We just have to say, ‘What I’m doing is not working.  I give up.'”   ~ p33


Marya Hornbacher – Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps

“To the practicing addict with mental illness, a life up there in the light seems almost as frightening as a life down her in her own private hell.”   ~ p2

“When I first came into the program, I found the idea of admitting defeat insane.  I already felt defeated, by my illness, by my addiction, by my entire life.”   ~ p2

“[…] we aren’t admitting powerlessness as an end in itself.”   ~ p4

“Sobriety is not something that can be found alone; we need the help and company of our fellows.”   ~ p7

“Neither mental illness nor addiction can be willed away; they both require serious action proportionate to the  seriousness of the disease.”   ~ p8

“Step One does not tell us we are failures; it shows us that the way we have been doing things has failed.”   ~ p9


Marya Hornbacher – Waiting

“That uncertainty may be the most painful part of not knowing a God; no one is there to reassure us that a God will take the pain and confusion away.”   ~ p6-7

“The notion that we are powerless is powerful, and for many of us painful.  We have suffered under the delusion that we were in control of our addiction for a long time, and the realization that are under its control is very hard to accept.”   ~ p7


What I’ve Learned

I’ve tried all sorts of things to control my Addictions — only one drink per hour, not drinking alone, no cutting when I drink, speed no more than 15 mph over the limit, call Brian before I cut, must eat at least 400 calories a day, only speed during the day, only speed during the night, can’t eat more than 2000 calories a day, drink only beer, etc.

I have addiction.  it is a disease, a mental illness just like depression or OCD.  and just like those, I can’t control it based solely on willpower.

I will start with my alcoholism, as that is the most severe; it is my MER — most effective reward, or drug of choice.  but as I work through this program, I will keep in mind everything.

I really do think I want to get better.  at least, for now.  maybe down the road, I can learn to manage it again.  but for right now, I can’t.  right now, I have become powerless against alcohol and addiction, and my life has become unmanageable.


I like reading.  I don’t do it as often as I would like, but I do enjoy it.

I’m also major all-or-nothing kinda of kid.  like, I can’t just have one spoon of whip cream; I need ten.  and if I’m going to dress up, I’m going all the way.

so now that I’m reading again, I’m fucking READING ALL THE BOOKS.


I keep track of what I read via my Goodreads account.  my “Currently Reading” shelf, via which I update to the social media universe on what page I am of a given books, says I’m currently engaged in fourteen books at the moment.  don’t believe me?  here’s the list:

  1. David Wellington – 13 Bullets
  2. Cory O’Brien – Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints – Addiction Recovery Programs
  4. Joe McQ – The Steps We Took
  5. Joe McQ – Carry This Message
  6. Marya Hornbacher – Waiting
  7. Marya Hornbacher – Sane
  8. Galen A Foresman – Supernatural and Philosophy
  9. Stephen R Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  10. Stephen R Covey – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook
  11. Joe C. – Beyond Belief
  12. Alcoholics Anonymous – The Big Book
  13. Alcoholics Anonymous – Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
  14. A Alvarez – The Savage God

now granted, some of those are 12 Step support books, others are workbooks, and some are just casual reading every few weeks.  but seriously.  I have a bookmark somewhere in every single one of those.  O_o

that also excludes other books that I’ve started and set aside while I do my addiction recovery reading.  and it furthermore excludes books that weren’t mass-produced, or at least aren’t in Goodreads’s collection.


^ this is me with books

why do I do this to myself?