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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.

2/06/2011

Bricks

This is one of those "abstract," "academic," kinds of posts that I get a huge kick out of.  I understand that this sort of exercise just baffles some of my readers, so if you dislike these intellectual rambles of mine, feel free to wander off somewhere else.  My feelings won't be hurt.  Really.

As we have operated, in recent months, to stop the "attack mode" commenters from accessing our space here, they have mostly found other places to do their thing, and we very rarely see that sort of salvo.  Certainly, as we've come through this last few months, the vast preponderance of comments have been supportive, encouraging, hopeful, concerned, gentle, friendly -- all the things that we could have hoped for, and all the things we have needed to feel cared for within this circle.  Thank you, friends!  That is a great testament to who you all are -- especially for us.

In fact, all through these long, difficult weeks, there has been only one, very terse, nasty comment.  Essentially, that person chose to use some part of the time they've been given on this planet to declare (in the face of Tom's change of heart and mind) that the odds are "ten to one" that He'll drink to excess again.

I sent that little gem right off to the cosmic bit bucket, but I've wondered about it, mostly from a mathematical perspective.  I am caught on that "odds" thing.  When we talk about the odds of an event, we are in the realm of mathematical language that has to do with probability.  Intuitively, and often without much real awareness of the nuances, most of us use the language of mathematical probability in casual conversation about the likelihood that something will or will not happen. 

There are really two basic ways to look at odds, in the study of probabilities:  the relative likelihood that an event will happen, and the second, the relative likelihood it won't.  The overwhelming everyday use by most people is odds of the form 10 to 1, 10-1, 10:1, or 10/1 (all read as 'ten-to-one') where the first figure represents the number of ways of failing to achieve the outcome and the second figure is the number of ways of achieving a favorable outcome: thus these are "odds against".

So, in my head, I am in debate mode with that one commenter.  Once I get past the fact that someone is so consumed with venom and bile that they are willing to take up their precious time to smack someone else down, then I start to wonder what sort of data backs up that judgment.   It isn't easy to find good, reliable data on the subject of alcohol recovery and treatment success.  It seems that it is very difficult to see the problem clearly, to quantify the variables, to do the long-term follow up that would outline the factors that lead to success or to failure.  Much of the "wisdom" that exists regarding the disease of alcoholism, and the treatment of the disorder, is anecdotal in nature.  People tell stories (either their own or some other person's), and we then pass the story around until it develops mythical gravitas.  Most of us never stop to wonder how it is that we know what we think we know about this subject.  I did find one seemingly well-run study, done by the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA), at the University of New Mexico, on the success rates for alcohol treatment and recovery:

Findings indicated that: (1) total abstinence at 1-year was a significant predictor of 3-year abstinence, and that 3-year abstinence was a significant predictor of 10year abstinence.  Post hoc investigation showed that 55% of those clients abstinent at 1-year also reporting abstinence at 3-years. Only 19% of clients drinking in year 1 reported abstinence at the 3-year interview.  A similar pattern was found between 3 and 10-year interviews: 58% of the clients abstinent at 3-year also reported abstinence at 10-year follow-up while only 22% of drinking clients at 3-year follow-up reported abstinence at 10-years.  This study has the significant strength of a long-term follow-up,  with reliable measures and an excellent follow-up rate. Findings indicated that ability to achieve and sustain total abstinence during the first year after treatment was critical for 3-year abstinence and, in turn, that abstinence at 3-years was critical for predicting total abstinence at 10-years. Noteworthy, at best, only 1 in 5 clients drinking at an earlier follow-up achieved total abstinence in a later follow-up.  Findings also indicated that, 10-years after formal treatment, total abstainers also reported significantly higher rates of a perceived purpose in life and a higher quality of life, suggesting that drinkers were not achieving non-problematic use of alcohol. 

Now, I can find, in that excerpted bit of information, the clear outlines of the work that lies ahead.  I can find reasons to feel hopeful that, as we go through these beginning days, weeks, and months, we might go forward exactly as we are beginning.  I can also see the clear delineation of where at least some of the cliffs are.  There are surely edges that we will need to steer clear of on this journey.

But -- ten to one odds?  Really?  I don't see that data.  I don't find evidence to support that knee-jerk reaction.  It has been pretty easy for me to dismiss the mean and nasty anonymous commenters most of the time, but the academic in me feels better about being able to provide some sort of  "real" evidence in the counter-argument for this one -- so critical in our lives together.  There.  Quod erat demonstrandum, Q.E.D., Which was the thing to be demonstrated.

Having disposed of that business, at least in my mind (the joys of being the Blog owner), I can now turn and focus on ALL the rest of the amazing comments that have been lavished on us in these months.  It has been awesome to read, day after day, the flow of words gifted to us in our struggling.  Somehow, I have come to equate each positive, loving, caring, supportive, encouraging comment with
bricks.   

A brick is such a simple, elemental, uniquely human product.  Anthropologically, it is the brick that appears, almost universally in human society, whenever people move up from dwelling in caves and tents.  Wherever we are, whatever the environment provides, we find a way to mix up some sort of mud and straw and fashion the humble, functional, ubiquitous brick.  Truthfully, a single brick isn't all that remarkable.  It is the aggregate of many bricks that allows a human, with intent, and industry, and imagination, to build -- a home, a school, a monument, a bridge, an arch.    With that image in mind, here is my (and our) "pile of bricks" supplied by all of you, our blogging friends.  If we are to build something new and sturdy and beautiful for ourselves, then this is our store of material to use in that endeavor:

There will always be ups and downs.  But each good day is a reassurance  and a comfort.  Enjoy it!  I'm sure there will be more.  That’s nice to hear.   Nice to hear good news.  Thankful for the one good day. Small gifts...  One good day at a time!  So good to hear about good days. I'll pray you get them more and more frequently.  Hugs to all of you. Cling to the good days.  I wish many more days like this for you in the future.  soon - before you know it - there will be more good days than bad....  I'm so glad you all had a good day.  i hope there will be many more soon.  sending positive thoughts your way.  Glad to read of a good day a well, and wishing safe paths to all in your family.  May peace and happiness abound for you all. 
Good luck as you work things out from day to day.  My on-going support and encouragement, and COURAGE for all that you are dealing with.  I wish you and T, and Tom, the best.   Wishing for peace.  "this too shall pass."  Warm hugs and continued supportive thoughts.  hope your troubles pass soon, having someone to love is the hardest and easiest of things...sometimes both at the same time.  Stay together. Stay strong.  Wishing all three of you strength and love.  glad that you are having bright encouraging moments!!  Each moment of hope and light is something to hold onto, and to be treasured in the difficult times ahead.  Much continued support and positive thoughts.  I Hope each day has a new silver lining and that each of you is able to find a way back to a better place. Sometimes it comes breath by breath, moment by moment, because to think too far ahead too soon is just...well, too much. Please try not to overwhelm yourselves either as can so easily happen in traumatic times.  You can do it. All of you, all 3 of you.  Take things one day at a time, and if that is too much do one hour at a time.  And if one hour at a time is too much, survive minute by minute....  I hope you find the oars in that little boat of love and row yourselves to shore.  Sending you caring thoughts and a warm embrace.  Maybe its just enough to say that today, as you all are every day, you are in my thoughts and prayers.  I so hope for good things for all three of you. Best wishes.  it is joyful he'll be home soon.  Good to hear you are back together.  Manifest, Reinvent.  On-going support, encouragement, and courage for now, today, and all the todays still to come.  Going through more, though we would never choose it, often means we have become more.  "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ~~- Eleanor Roosevelt~~  I will be one of many people here who will be standing by you.  The birds are singing in the South. I'll have them sing you a melody today.  HAPPY REBIRTH DAY!  Ask for what you need and tell us the best way to support you. We are here...pulling for you.  I can see there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you all, and that you see it as well.  It has been a difficult journey with a steep and rocky path. But if you all help each other over the rough parts, I am sure together you can climb to see the bright and clear horizon shining for all of you.  All the best to all three of you as you regain strength together and trust in each other.  the journey seems so much more hopeful and cheery now.  huzzah! and welcome to the other side of the worst of it. welcome to the beginning of the best, long walk you'll ever take. stay focused on your goals. hang on to the positive. choose joy every chance you get.  Bravo.

swan

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:47 PM

    I have been wanting to comment on your blog for a long time, but I haven't. You've all been suffering quite enough!

    I am glad that Tom has finally realized that he is an alcoholic because it was very clear to read that in his writings.

    The question I have for you, and I also realize you may read this and delete this, is this:

    BDSM exists on a delicate power structure. One person gives another person power over them. One person exerts power over another person. Tomato, tomato.

    When the events of the fairly recent past transpired, you usurped his power. Clearly, you also demonstrated that if he goes to far over the line, you will do it again. For a relationship that exists on the perception that he has the power, how is it possible to repair that perception?

    Please understand that I am not judging you. Him. T. You did what you felt was right for your safety and well-being at the time. I do not participate in the lifestyle nor polyamoury, but I think people are entitled to live however it makes them happy and as long as it is consensual.

    And I will understand if you feel the need to delete this comment as I also feel you tend to romanticize your relationship, particularly since you share much of it here on the really, really big 'silver screen,' and may not want to deal with/believe in/agree with what I am suggesting.

    However, you are too smart to not to have thought of this yourself...

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  2. Good day family,

    I am sorry that there are folks in the world who seem to feel it their duty to try and undermine others from their healing paths by tossing bags of poop in the way. Now they may think they are helping, but it's something in them that they are stuck in. Those 'stats' they threw out at you seem a no hope worse case scenario. I know many who have turned their lives around in-spite of the 'nay sayers'. But you have the right idea for sure swan! Use good bricks donated with love, and your building will be much sturdier then theirs made of poo!

    Continued well wishes and hugs,
    Mystress

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  3. Swan, I always enjoy your "heady" posts. I think often your reasoning process is close to mine. I have studied recovery process and also worked with recovering substance abusers. I find that studies differ widely and often do not take into account variables that predict success. Some of those variables are the individual and the strength of their will. It seems that Tom has a very strong will when he puts his mind to something. Another is if the person has come to the realization themselves that they have a problem and then made their own decision to address it. Though It took awhile (as it usually does) Tom did make that connection and decision for himself. I think one of the biggest variables and predictors is a person's support system. Though this is something he has to do for himself, having the support of people who love and care about him is invaluable. Those things considered, regardless of what studies show, I think that Tom has a better odds of success than most. I am not saying it will be easy, but the three of you would not be a family if you all had been looking for easy. That you all were willing to choose a lifestyle out of the norm, and make it work, is a testament to your resolve. I wish you all the best and I feel that the new bricks you use to rebuild will be stronger than ever.

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  4. Thank you for writing this post today. Its a good reminder that, when we allow them to be, the bricks of support build strong walls of friendship on foundations of love and care.

    much love and hugs to you all

    xxx

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  5. Wow. They really are like bricks. Good post Swan.

    It's interesting isn't it, how, taken individually, the mean comments seem bigger than the nice ones? It's a good thing then that the good so far outsripped the bad. You have nice supportive friends here don't you?

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  6. Impish14:43 PM

    What a remarkable way to look at it. I think each of us that wrote here wanted to help in some way, support you all in hopes that it would help until things improved and you were strong again. The bricks analogy speaks so well to that. I'm so glad it helped.

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  7. Such strong foundations :)

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  8. I have been reading quietly for over two years now and have come to learn quite a few things. But the thing that does stand out for me, as it should for everyone (in reference to the first comment) is that the sub/slave shares the responsibility and also has the responsibility to act in a way that is in the best interests of everyone involved in the relationship. No Dom is a God and no sub/slave is without choice. And adults must act when they see something that requires immediate attention! Even if the relationship is one of Daddy/baby girl there is still the expectation of adult decision making and thought processes. Be well.

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  9. I struggle with comments, never wanting to say the wrong thing. Always wishing I could wave a magic wand and make everything be OK.
    I'm glad that any small offering I shared was able to help sustain you.
    You remain in my thoughts and prayers for that which you need to help you in each moment.

    Tapestry
    xoxo

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  10. Anonymous9:53 PM

    I think that the point is not what the numerical odds may be for in the long run. The point is also not who stands the "best chance" alcohol is completely nondiscriminatory and allows each person an equal chance at addiction as well as recovery.

    The point is - he did not drink today. Tomorrow, he can spend that 24 hours not drinking. The next day the same. Wash, rinse, repeat. Master has been sober 21 years in March. He never looks at the future, all he looks at is that he did not drink today. Tomorrow, he will worry about - tomorrow.

    If I may respectfully address anonymous - from a slave POV, I also wondered if those types of actions would be considered usurping his power and my opinion is that they are not actually. First and foremost is that the slave serve the master, if that includes doing things to protect herself and him as well as others, then it is within the "boundaries" of being slave. Master has been ill this year, many times I had to "tell" him to eat something or do something, or take care of decision making for him including his medical care- I never felt I was usurping his power or authority. I was acting in his interest, directed by the values and wishes he has taught me over the years. WWMD is my catch phrase. I understand and respect
    your thoughts, I am only expressing mine on that same subject.

    One day at a time and sometimes one hour at a time for some people it is all the same - the numbers have no meaning except for right now.

    Congratulations on today, best wishes for tomorrow.

    magdala~

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  11. Anonymous10:54 PM

    The ten-to-one comment could be seen as a brick someone tried to throw through your window. You did a fine job of tossing it back, well done.

    I would have interpreted the ten-to-one comment not as a statement of what the odds ARE, but rather an assessment of his belief of what they are. He's offering a wager based on his lack of faith in Tom. Given the demeanor of Tom's most recent post, and your information from the studies, I would say that fool and his ten dollars may soon be parted.

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