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Going Forward (with clarity)   Sobriety/Recovery Journals

Started 2/16/14 by Elsie (Elsiek); 49225 views.
MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

3/13/20

Another lover of The Commitments! I also agree  with Lessing on the whole but I know that I have rejected some award-winning books and difficult reads that I later went back to try and found extraordinary. If a book is  wildly recommended or wins all kinds of awards and  is said to be unreadable, I tend to be wary -- it might be over-rated, pretentious, obscure, a herd favourite , all those kinds of prejudices. And then I struggle through a chapter and years later am astonished, wish I had read it at 27, glad I rediscovered it. And there are authors I wouldn't have chosen myself (Montaigne, Proust) but had to read as part of a syllabus and am glad I did so. Love Austen, have read Emma about six times in my life. Like George Eliot's Middlemarch, always a new angle as I get older. Or Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano.

Camus' La Peste is one of them. I might  sit down with the English translation (The Plague) and see if it gives me a different perspective on our current crisis.

xMary

MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

3/13/20

Foodie deluxe -- yes, I follow all kinds of chefs and articles and food supplements  to see what they are cooking and what new ingredients they might discover. It is pure indulgence because I'm not going to craft some of those mousses or sorbets or do any sous vide cooking, but I like knowing what is happening and what flavour combinations and techniques work for others.

xM

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/13/20

Elsie,

Rants are fine.

I've always liked Jane Austen but my view of her changed when I read a book called, I think "Virginia Woolf and her Servants" which is about Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West and how they treated there servants.  There were two liberal, enlightened, progressive  women who just didn't see their servants as people.  There is a scene were West, who has just had a baby, tells her nanny, who has a young child, that she will have to send her child away so she can take care of her (West's) baby.  What I took from this is that we are all limited by the sensibilities of our times and it is very hard to get beyond them.  Then somewhat later I read Longbourn by Jo Bakker which tells the story of Pride and Prejudice from the servants perspective.  It's just amazing that Jane Austin was so blind to many of the things that were happening around her.  But I will still go on reading her every couple of years.

Brian

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/13/20

I'll put The Commitments of my list of movies to watch while we are trying to avoid the corona virus.  Watched Room with a View last night.  Any more suggestions would be welcome - spending a lot of time of Amazon and Netflix.

I read the Martha Quest series in my early twenties and I will always be grateful to Doris Lessing for them.  I think I read them all in a couple of weeks - I should go back and read them again to see how they fair - but I am a real sucker for and books about running away from home.

Brian

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/14/20

I studied 'La Peste' at French A-level. I read it first in French, then in English, then in French again.  God I was keen!! I don't think anyone else in the class ever attempted it in French, but then I was the kind of student who set themselves four essay questions and timed a mock exam in my bedroom on a Saturday morning. I was a bit the same at University. I think I burnt out at 22...

Some of my favourite books have been ones I taught- especially Mansfield Park and Tess of the d'Urbervilles.  Those class discussions were very happy times for me in fact.  I reproach myself for being a bad teacher because discipline and admin were not my strong points, but I do believe some of my A-level teaching was really good because the lessons went in a flash and there were ideas flying all over the place. I was also a meticulous essay marker for A-level and delivered a lot of personal attention to students like that. 

Everyone is different though and I have had to learn that whatever her capabilities my daughter isn't that interested in academia.  My son is more so, has a great love of History, but felt that he wanted to study something with more obvious job prospects, hence Computer Science. I really can't argue with either of them.  All the promises that life would be easy if I achieved straight As came to nothing. Or maybe they left me accomplished in an up-to-date Jane Austen kind of a way and enabled me to marry well. Harsh but probably true. I may not be a great earner but I'm a good conversationalist. 

I have to say I am finding Emma rather hard work, partly I'm sure because I haven't read anything that antiquated for a long time. But I find myself thinking 'well I suppose they must have thought very deeply about matters of not great consequence and spoken in really long elaborate sentences because they had so much time to fill. ' Or simply 'cut to the chase!'I have a habit of projecting myself into my children as well, as you may gather, so my worries about my daughter potentially struggling with it are affecting my pleasure. Years of trying to select books and films that are appropriate for them is a habit that's hard to drop. If I have chosen something to see or read and rave about it, I find it difficult when something turns out to be off the mark for them. 

Back from an early wedding. I wasn't quite awake for it, but the poor bride had been up since 2am, at her make-up person by 4am, and has a whole day ahead of her with an Indian wedding and evening reception. I just hope the adrenaline keeps her going. I had a laugh with my colleague because being so early my filters weren't quite in place. I said before meeting the groom that I wasn't going to shake hands, when he offered me his hand I said, 'sod it!' out loud and shook his hand! I had to then explain. It just seemed incredibly rude not to shake a bridegroom's hand when offered. But probably equally rude to exclaim 'sod it!' as I shook his hand! The world is going quite mad with this virus stuff. Anyway, I was remembering the other day that when I went to elocution lessons ( all part of becoming accomplished I suppose) we had exams which amongst other things used to mark us for 'naturalness and spontaneity'. Even at the age of 10 or 11 I used to find it funny that you could be marked for this, that you learnt a poem by rote and then had to make it sound as if it was truly off the top of your head. I was good at it though. My colleague said that I certainly am not lacking in spontaneity.  

Having upped my tablets and also with an upturn in the weather I feel I have had a sudden surge of spring fever, which I imagine is reflected in my posts.  It's a relief, I must say. I'll probably level off at some point though. 

E x 

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/14/20

Hi Brian

I loved Longbourn. Unlike West though, Austen did not marry.  She wasn't considered good enough for someone she had fallen in love with when she was young, and at an older age actually turned down an offer of a 'good' marriage, one suspects because she knew marriage would probably stop her writing. She spent a fair part of her life rather on the margins of the kind of society that features in her books. She only really enjoyed the fruits of her labour for the very last few years. If you have BBC iplayer, Lucy Worsley has just presented a really good account of her life which is well worth watching ( and from which I gleaned these facts!) 

There's no doubt that for the most part her novels look out from one fine country house to another, only referencing Bath and London apart from that.  But there are exceptions, and Fanny Price definitely broke her usual mould of heroines coming as she does from a branch of the family that has fallen on hard times.  What strikes me reading Emma is that in some ways she developed a formula that worked; her books are somewhat variations of the same theme. The preoccupation with marriage is obvious. Another example is that of an unsettled character being a big warning siren- Wickham, Henry and Mary Crawford, Frank Churchill.  I'm ticking lots of others off as I read Emma. But in fairness, who had time to read in 1814? Who could  read? I think Austen just knew her audience and had a very good instinct for what would sell. 

On the plus side I've been adopting a rather Austenesque mood this week.  I even sewed seven buttons on a quilt cover opening. That's probably more Longbourn though. 

Catch you soon x

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/31/20

Hmmm.  Second week in lockdown has begun and I'm starting to understand Austen's long debate about the ethics of Jane Fairfax walking to the post office DAILY.  It certainly isn't the thing to do at the moment! when I take the dog out we head to the fields where I don't see anyone. 

I hope everyone is well. I actually feel I have a reasonable emotional skill set for coping with this situation, but I'm mindful that a nice house, plenty of fresh air, and a partner in reliable long-term employment all help massively. Although as a doctor he is at some risk. He strips off each night and puts his clothes straight in the washing machine. we are studiously avoiding drinking from the same cups and glasses ( we often do in normal life) and washing our hands so often I'm amazed I've got any fingers left to type this. 

Take care, keep safe, stay at home...

E xx

MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

4/3/20

Good to hear you're safe and coping well, E.  We're under severe lockdown but  this is still the calm before the storm, cases at 1 500 and rising nationwide, five deaths reported so far.

Hanging in there, glad of sober virtual company!

ML

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

4/8/20

Checking in to see how everyone is. I am doing okay here, my husband is off work because we were supposed to betakind a trip to Budapest this week. Today he has woken up feeling absolutely knackered, like he's sickening for something.  So I wait with bated breath to see if this is coronavirus.  He has had to come into contact with some patients who have tested positive, although not on ICU, they have been admitted for something else but turn out to have it. Some people may also be contracting it in hospital. I hope hope hope it doesn't ripen up into anything but this is how it is right now, every tickle in the throat and feeling of weariness is noted and makes me nervous. 

Bojo being in intensive care has shaken us all up. It is pretty clear that the government in general and Boris in particular were far too cavalier about this situation.  But then again, so was I. We just didn't think this kind of thing could happen to us.  So I hesitate to be too critical of the government, hindsight is a wonderful thing and I think the value we put as a nation on keeping calm and carrying on really has caught us out this time. 

I suppose it's good news that I feel not one jot of a desire to drink. Eat? Oh yes. The shops are clean out of flour because everyone is baking. 

I'll keep you posted. Unfortunately if my husband gets it I'm not optimistic about swerving it myself. 

Meanwhile, stay in, stay safe...I know I'm teaching grandma to suck eggs saying that though. We are a sensible bunch on here aren't we? 

Virtual hugs

E xx

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

4/8/20

Glad to hear everything is going well.

"Bojo," hadn't heard that before, that's great.

We are hunkered down hear, usually only going outside for walks in the neighborhood.  It's a time of the year when I love to be outside.  It's been a cool spring, which means all the trees and flowers come out in their normal sequence - not all jumbled together.  Every time you go out you see something new.  Redbuds just came out in the last week.

My wife sewed some masks for us to wear.  We will make or biweekly shopping trip today - quite a change, I used to walk to the market almost every day.

Doing lots of reading and watching old movies.

Good luck to everyone.

Brian

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