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"The one sure way to conciliate a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured." ~Konrad Adenauer~

We make a very great deal out of the need for "negotiation" in our BDSM relationships.  Whether we are talking about a single play session between relative strangers, or some long term intentional power imbalance created between life partners, our nominal approach is to clearly define wants, needs, and expectations.  We make contracts and checklists and ceremonies and protocols -- all meant to help us communicate precisely who and what we are
with one another.  

It is an important skill for players within the lifestyle.  There's been plenty of good material written about the subject, and I absolutely believe in the value of negotiating well at the outset.

Except that... for myself, I am really not good at doing that early on negotiation -- and that is true regardless of the nature of the relationship.

I did an abysmal job of negotiating on my own behalf when I entered into marriage at the age of 19.  Ideally, one would come to that discussion with a clear idea of who they were, what they wanted, what they needed, and what they could and could not accommodate.  I should have been clear, all those decades ago, about precisely what it was that I was bringing to the table -- both strengths and weaknesses, and I should have insisted on knowing what he offered in return.  Instead, I galloped off into sex and pregnancy and motherhood and marriage based on some vague sense of feeling "safe" and being "in love."  That marriage was very much about what I was getting away from, and hardly at all about what I was getting into.  It was a terrible mistake -- one I paid for for years and years and years (as did he).

Very many years later,encountering my bent toward masochism and BDSM; and then meeting and becoming friends and, eventually, lovers with Master -- you would think that I would have been wiser.  But... I wasn't.  He was intriguing, interesting, fun, exciting, intelligent, powerful, strong, determined, self-assured -- and yes, just a delicious little bit dangerous and bad.  I was hungry, needy, desperate, horny -- and I loved Him.  I didn't ask anything much; didn't make demands; didn't investigate; didn't contemplate that there might be negatives to go with the obvious positives.  In my late 40's, I was no more sensible or careful or cautious than I was in my late teens. 

Considering all of that, He and I have probably been remarkably lucky.  We've had nine real-time years together, and we've learned our way through all sorts of challenges and struggles.  What we didn't know and didn't define and didn't anticipate in the beginning, we've figured out together -- over and over and over in the moment.  It has not been anything like the carefully structured and clear-eyed sort of negotiation that most lifestyle practitioners would recommend, and probably, it isn't what I'd recommend.  Maybe there would have been less stress and less upheaval if we'd laid out all the therefore's and whereas's way back all those years ago...but I doubt it.  I suspect that He and I would have battled and wrestled and wrangled no matter the level of definition for our power balance. 

Now, it seems, we are at the beginning of whatever our future will ultimately be, and I am guessing that we will, between us, create a relational dynamic that expresses the realities of who we are together.  I see the potential for "doing it right" this time -- negotiating for myself with intent and deliberateness.  We might make up formal contracts and lists and agreements.  We might.  But I bet we don't.  He is unsure of this new reality, and I am still shaken and scared -- but neither of us are fundamentally different than we were "before."  Older and more battered, but not one whit different.

He will never bend to my will (no matter what all the AA cultists and treatment professionals preach), and I will be strong and sturdy and clear-headed until I don't need to do that any longer -- then I will give myself up to be devoured.



Color Me Surprised!

We are home, we are resting, We are comfortable.

Yea....Like I said, color me surprised.

Everything I have read about this total reversed shoulder replacement has discussed the pain with this procedure. That just moving the arm would be excruciating.

Nope. Tom had the procedure 3 days ago. Yesterday he was controlling the discomfort with Tylenol and Aleve.

He is back to walking, less, but still out there walking. He is showering with assistance. He is doing PT with little assistance.

The surgeon said his shoulder was one of the worse he has ever seen. There was a great deal of damage, and his rotator cuff was completely gone because of the severe arthritis. I am thinking that he has been dealing with so much pain prior to the surgery, that he has experienced a great deal of relief with the surgery. Not that this is going to be a walk in the park. And the restrictive nature of recovery from this surgery can be frustrating and uncomfortable for the unused muscles and joints of that arm.

Soooo the update is he is doing better than great! And we could not be more tickled.




We arrived home just after noon today.  Everything is going well -- much better than we dared to hope. 

He is in relatively little pain, eating well, tired, but otherwise good. 

We are all a bit tired, in fact, so I imagine that these next few days will be rounds of ice, pain medication, very passive and limited Physical Therapy -- and naps.  Lots of naps.



He is Good

The surgery went really well.  He was done in about an hour and 15 minutes, and out of recovery by 10:30.  His pain seems well controlled and all of the "plumbing" seems to be working just fine.  He's tolerating crackers and His fruit flavored drink and crackers, and there does not seem to be any nausea.  Vital signs are all good as well. 

So.  This part of the whole business is done.  Now we are on to healing and eventual reahab.  If everything continues to progress as expected, we should have Him home tomorrow.



Shoulder Replacement -- Tomorrow

The alarm clock is set for 3:45 AM.  We'll get up, grab quick showers, and head for the hospital.  He is to be there at 6 AM, and surgery is scheduled for 7:30.  We expect the surgery to last about an hour and a half.  Probably there will be another couple of hours in recovery.  So, by 11 AM or Noon, we should know how the surgery went, and hopefully have Him in His room and awake. 

We will let you all know how things go just as soon as we can. 



Walking In the Rain

Since school let out, we've been pretty consistent with our daily walks -- usually about an hour and a half during which we cover somewhere between 4 and 5 miles.  We walk in the heat and we walk in the dark (with our headlamps), and today we walked in the pouring rain.

Walking gives us an opportunity to meet our neighbors as we exchange waves and smiles and the occasional quick comment about the weather.  For years, we've smiled and waved with an older neighbor lady who uses some sort of scooter chair for mobility.  She always has a friendly greeting and seems remarkably happy and independent in spite of the obvious challenges.  We've never gotten to the point of learning her name or telling her ours -- our walking tends to limit interactions to those that can be managed without breaking stride.

About three laps into our wet and soggy walk today, we came around the curve and there, in her driveway, was our friendly neighbor lady -- trying to maneuver into her van, while holding onto her umbrella.  It was obviously a struggle, and when we spotted her we immediately left our usual path and went to see if we could help somehow.  She'd tied a plastic grocery bag around her head to try and keep her hair dry, and so she could hardly see.  When I got to her and asked if I could help, she said, "who is that?" 

Laughing, we told her that we were the crazy walking neighbors, and introduced ourselves.  She smiled out from her grocery bag hat, and told us that she was "Shirley."  I held the umbrella for her, and Master helped her cover the seat of her vehicle with a plastic bag so that it would be protected from the rain while she lowered it out of the van so she could get into it.  She made the transfer, and we asked her what we should do with her scooter chair.  She rolled her eyes, and declared that it could stay right there; it was "the old one," and maybe the rain would clean it off.  Feisty lady! 

We tucked her in, closed her vehicle door, and waved her on her way.  We finished our walk, and went through a busy afternoon.  Later this evening, we drove over by her place and checked it out.  The scooter chair was gone and there was a car in the driveway, so we are guessing that Shirley made it home and is tonight warm and dry and safe at home.


Ummmm... No

One of THOSE people left this in the comments section recently:

It's not ... endearing for adults to spank other adults to 'teach them a lesson' either. I understand why you guys are always so snippy and iritable. I would be too if my boyf beat me and thought he had the right to.

I am going to assume (or at least act as if I believe), for my own purposes, that this is a glaring example of failure to comprehend anything about sadomasochism as a sexual / erotic orientation.  Maybe, just possibly, this poor person really doesn't understand any of this -- is confused and frightened.  Let's go with that, shall we?

We live an alternative lifestyle that includes elements of BDSM and polyamory.  Some of what He and I do together sexually and erotically (not all of it) falls into the category of sadism and masochism.  He identifies, mostly, as sadistic and Dominant.  I identify, mostly, as masochistic and submissive.  When it suits us, we switch roles and I play at Top while He assumes the bottom role.

Some definitions:
  • alternative lifestyle -- a term used to describe someone's preference to living outside the 'normal' constraints of society.
  • BDSM-- an acronym that refers to a wide array of sexual and erotic practices including Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism
  • polyamory -- a word coined to describe the practice of loving more than one person openly and with the knowledge of one's partners
  • sadomasochism -- a term used to describe erotic activities that involve dominance, submission, or the giving and receiving of pain

  • Dominant -- a person who possesses a dominating persona and enjoying taking control
  • submissive -- a person who enjoys giving control over to a Dominant and derives pleasure from serving that person
  • switch -- the practice of shifting between the roles of Dominant and submissive, or a person who assumes either role at different times
  • Top -- generally applies to the person who assumes control during a scene, usually the one who gives or creates painful stimuli for a partner
  • bottom -- generally applies to the person who surrenders control during a scene, usually the one who receives painful stimuli 

BDSM encompasses a wide array of activities.  Some like elaborate bondage while others engage in fire play or wax play or needle play.  There are those who like humiliation, and others who enjoy resistance play, or pony play, or objectification.  People do piercing and cutting and branding and kicking and punching.  Some play with scat or piss or vomit.  There are boot blacks and shoe fetishists.  People tickle and wrap each other up in plastic wrap.  Some like various forms of medical play, and others like playing with electricity.  A few of us are sort of old school and, perhaps a bit boring -- we like spanking, paddling, caning, whipping and various related arts.  Almost nobody gets into all of that.

As different as we are from one another; no matter the breadth of our disparate practices; the idea of consent is at the foundation of what we do.  It is easy for those on the outside of the lifestyle to see sensationalized representations of our kind of sexual practices, and assume that force and coercion is somehow part of the story.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  BDSM partners negotiate.  We talk about who we are and what we want and we design our sexual practices to suit ourselves.  Whatever it might look like from the outside, it is reasonable to assume that partners are acting upon prior agreements, checking in with each other as things proceed, and creating something unique between them.  We do what we do because we like it; because it gives us pleasure; because it connects and fulfills us in ways that no other type of sex can. 

Within the lifestyle, it is fairly common to hear references to "vanilla's" and "vanilla sex."  That is the community's way of designating the non-BDSM, so-called "normal" sex practiced in the mainstream.  We generally recognize that our way isn't for everyone, and I've never met anyone in "the life" who would attempt to prescribe our kinks for anyone else.  That poor frightened commenter needn't worry that the "boyf" will "beat" her, or think he "has the right to" because of us -- or because of people like us.  She ought to negotiate the sort of sex life that works for her -- just as we have.

And one more thing...  I am not feeling "snippy and irritable" because of our spanking play.  I like spanking; crave spanking, eroticize spanking.  Some BIG part of our intimate connection comes precisely because He and I are spanking regularly.  What can make me grumpy and edgy is when the spanking part of our life falls away -- and yes, in recent months, we've done way less of that.  Life happens and we've had a plate full, so "sex" and spanking have been less prominently part of our day to day lives.  It isn't likely to get better anytime soon.  He'll be in surgery on Friday morning and then we'll have weeks and months of rehabilitation and healing.  It is tough to swing a flogger or a paddle when you can't move your shoulder...  Busy is going to be part of the bargain for the next while; and tired; and maybe somedays even grumpy.  That is just the fact.  Don't look if you can't deal with my grumpiness.



What Would You Call ... ?

As the firestorm of public (and especially media) outrage has swirled around  Congressman Anthony Weiner -- the now infamous sexter of lewd crotch pictures to some undefined number of women, I have giggled and snickered and rolled my eyes right along with everyone else.  There are so many words that one might choose to describe the enormity of Weiner's so-very-public misstep:  outrageous, disgusting, appalling.  Even if you are not inclined to convict the man and pillory him along with just about everyone else, it is pretty easy to declare that his decision to broadcast pictures of "himself" all over the place using a forum like Facebook was just monstrously STUPID. 

I, however, don't think that stupid equals criminal, and while I might question the ethics, integrity, and judgment of Congressman Weiner, I am not convinced that there is any legitimate reason to force him to resign his position.  As the poor, foolish congressman slinks away for treatment, I just keep thinking that those of us who have spent time in the lifestyle have some experience with the sort of character that behaves as Anthony Weiner did -- the ones who send penis pictures before they even manage to say "hello."  One of the best definitional pieces on these guys was written by MadSci Dom, and then re-published at Shogun Lord's Website:

"We call them Snerts.  We call them HNG’s (Horny Net Geeks).  We call them Wannabes.  We call them Control Freaks.  And sometimes, tragically, we even find some that can only be called rapists and predators... Snerts are basically looking for easy sex.  They are looking for ‘easy lays.’    They are typically middle aged to somewhat older men.  They are often married.    They are usually trying to bolster their flagging vanilla sex lives with some casual screwing around... HNG’s are usually harmless.  Most are teenagers and young men looking for some quick cyber-sex or even phone-sex...  Control freaks are what most psychologists and therapists call ‘controlling personalities.’    They are the type of person that wants to be in control of everything around them.   They want all their family and friends to behave exactly as they say.   They are extremely manipulative people...  As for rapists and predators, they are evil, and there is NO easy way to spot them.  Rapists can be anything from bums to bank mangers, and anyone from family members to total strangers.  Their motive is violence."

What would you say, given that list?  What would you call Anthony Weiner?  Is there a description there that works to describe the actions, choices, and apparent drives and appetites of the poor fellow?  

If I had to choose from that list, I'd pick the Snert.  Snert's are older, although not really wiser, than their adolescent counterparts -- the HNG's.  Clearly, Weiner is no kid.  He is definitely old enough to know better.  I don't know if he was looking for "easy lays," and I have no idea if he was trying to bolster a "flagging sex life."  It does seem that he wasn't trying to establish deep and lasting relationships with women for whom he had great respect.  

Yeah, I'd say that, if Anthony Weiner were "one of us" lifestylers, he'd be quickly and definitively labeled a "Snert:"  out looking for "easy lays" (because there's an app for that).



Since I've Started Down This Path

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the local big box hardware store to buy some chain.  I needed four 12-foot lengths of chain to complete the hanging of the porch swing (some may remember that the attempt to put that swing up last summer ended rather badly).  The place was wildly busy with people all over the place.  I waited for probably 15 minutes or so for the beleaguered employee working the area to finish helping a couple of other customers who were there ahead of me.  He apologized all over the place when he got to me, and went right to work dealing with a tangled up mess of metal links that was, predictably, the sort of chain that I needed for my project.  We chatted pleasantly about his plans to get away for the day on Sunday, and things were proceeding just fine.  Then, from the other end of the aisle, a woman approached; stuck herself in front of my nice chain guy; and demanded to know where she could find some sort of rubber end caps that could be put over the ends of screws.  Not an "excuse me," or even a polite nod to the fact that I was standing there, and no acknowledgment of the fact that the employee was busy -- just her self-absorbed requirement that her needs be met NOW.  I glared, but said nothing, and my guy (good retail service employee that he was), patiently pointed her back down the aisle and explained that she would find what she was looking for in the fourth drawer from the bottom.  Off she went, and we went back to our business.  Pretty quickly though, she was back having found a small plastic envelope of small black rubber washer-like rings.

"Will these keep my shutter screws from rusting?" she asked, thrusting her find into his face.

He once again, apologized to me, and then tried to explain to her that these would not prevent rust as the water could still get to the screw.  He told her of some other product that would work better for what she needed, and told her on which store aisle she would find what she needed.  Unbelievably, she put her hands on her hips, stuck out her chin, and said, "I can't figure that out.  You need to come show me."

At that point I'd had enough.  My drop dead glare was obviously not making the point, and so I asked her, "Lady, did you ever finish kindergarten?"  Well that caused her to wheel around and snarl -- "What?!?!"  And so I patiently explained to her that I knew that it would be kindergarten where she might have learned to wait in line and take her turn.  Predictably, she got furious; threw her baggie of black rubber thingys at my feet, turned on her heel and stomped off the way she'd come. 

I got my chains, thanked my nice young helper, and headed for the checkout.

Whatever you think about that story, here's my point:  That woman assumed that everyone owed her a level of respect and courtesy -- but felt no compunction about trampling everyone else in that regard.  Her face to face behavior is illustrative of the mindset that powers the commonplace response that I get whenever I confront bad behavior on the part of anonymous commenters.  They will, when called for their behavior always come back exactly as our most recent specimen did on that last post:

you snipe and whine and were rather ugly

Amazing.  Someone who spends good chunks of their time wandering around the blogosphere leaving nastiness in their wake, feels entitled to "nice" treatment from those they would victimize.  That would be funny if it were not so pathetic.  What it does do is identify that the anonymous types know what polite behavior entails.  Clearly, then, the move to be uncivilized is the result of a deliberate choice and not an error born of ignorance.


You Know You WANT It

One of our most recent anonymous critters (the one from Des Moines, Iowa rather than the one from Plano, Texas), wrote this little gem in response to A Hidden Slave's objection to their anonymously nasty input:

If a blog owner sets their settings to accept anonymous comments, then they WANT them

Most of us who write blogs like this one have encountered the occasional anonymous stalker-ish hanger-on who just seems determined to show up day after day to spew garbage all over our comment pages.  I know that we've gone through various permutations of thinking about what to do about the whole phenomenon.  Most recently, we've opted for a "policy" of neglect.  In general, it just feels like battling to keep them out  of here is more trouble than it is worth.

But, WANT these kinds of comments?  Hardly.  We want comments.  I want comments.  It is way better to have feedback and reaction and response to what I write here; much better to know what readers think about what I think -- and so I do WANT comments.  I don't even mind "anonymous" comments that are civilized. You don't have to agree with me, but I am one who expects adults to mind their manners.  Silly I know.  In the end, because I appreciate the input of a lot of decent, intelligent, anonymous contributors, I continue to allow anonymous commenters.  So, to the arrogant bully who declares that we WANT their participation here, I am sorry to disappoint, but you are allowed to be here.  Nothing more.  

Let me be clear.  The anonymous commenter that annoys is the one that is ugly while hiding behind their anonymity.   Those cowards find it easy to say anything to anyone since they don't have to be accountable for their words.  They can snipe at someone elses life, history, background, intent, integrity, intelligence, or character with impunity -- after all no one is going to be able to call their invisible life into question.  They contribute nothing and offer nothing.  You can't engage an unknown and unknowable puff of smoke.  Cowardice indeed.

It is a rare anonymous creep that doesn't insist that they have some sort of right to say whatever they want because, after all, those of us who write blogs like this put our lives out in public.  We do.  By that weird logic, anyone should be able to do anything they want in any place that is public, right?  Doesn't it make you wonder if nasty anonymous commenters are the same cretins who drop trash all over the public space, engage in lewd and profane speech in the line at the grocery, spit on the sidewalk, talk on their cell phone in the middle of a concert or a movie, and on and on and on.  Why not?  After all, its a public place, so there are no limits or boundaries or expectations for polite or considerate behavior -- yeah.

The anony-mice are the internet equivalent to the playground bully.  They swagger and bluster and spread misery everywhere -- all of it  born of their own misery and emptiness.  Bullies seem to have a lot of power, but it is really power that is granted to them by the rest of us.  We can act, as a community, to disempower the bullies; to call them to account for their nonsense; to refuse to be pushed around by them -- and to refuse to allow others to be pushed around.

Of course, as demonstrated in this last exchange, sometimes anonymous commenters can be entertaining.  When they get their toes stepped on, and when their ox gets gored, then they get all puffed up and huffy and bent out of shape.  Then they are quick to point the finger at those who are not, in their opinion, behaving nicely.  Whine!!!!!

I don't know what the rest of us ought to finally, or ultimately do about the bully types, those arrogant cowards who insist that they get to do whatever they want because, after all, we really WANT it.  I just know that, for now, it works for us to not invest much energy in them, except where and as it suits us to do that.  After all, this is OUR place.



“I WISH” Sequel II, A Response To the Always Evocative Anonymous

In response to my last post I heard back from one of the ubiquitous anonymy as follows:
It's too bad you created a situation in your life where you are forced to participate in a program so contrary to your nature. It gives rise to your bitterness and cynicism, which were rampant before your arrest and "recovery". Sustained negative emotions make it harder to avoid drinking (or any other addictive behavor).

AA and its offshoots have helped millions of addicts find peace and sobriety. That being said, I understand that it doesn't work for everyone, for various reasons. I thought the adaptations of the steps as written by the agnostic group were beautiful and don't see why the concept should be controversial.

I am wondering what you intend to do after this next year to maintain your sobriety. I think it's difficult to impossible to do it alone. Have you considered starting your own group? It could incorporate parts of AA or be completely different. If you are committed to remaining sober you will need a plan for accomplishing that.
Anonymous, it is always good you are out there for me. You (and likely others who share your self-identification cowardice) have evoked, or provoked, so much here that has been growth inducing and worthwhile. I would have agreed with you that I was responsible for creating this situation in my/our life but I have been re-educated by my rehabilitation program and by AA to know that is wrong-headed "stinkin' thinkin'" to quote a frequently cited AA/rehabilitation euphemism. You see, I am afflicted with a terrible disease called alcoholism and cannot help myself, and besides you see, the majority of the disease has nothing to do with drinking. I am powerless. The only hope I have is to turn my life over to god ("may I find Him now".....I am required to always say that as a good rehab client.). If I fail to find god, my situation is totally hopeless. Even if I never drink again, the disease of addiction can never be cured. In fact, whether I drink again is irrelevant. "The disease is alcoholism and drinking is only a symptom," is what we are taught to recite over and over. I likely will relapse repeatedly, as part of my entirely predictable disease process, and will likely have to go back through treatment 3 or 4 more times (at $8000.00 to $10,000.00 each time through, unless inpatient treatment is required, then likely it will be more like $50,000.00 each time). There is nothing I can be responsible to do to prevent that. It is inevitable. I AM responsible now, though, to find god and turn my life over to him. Unless I do that I have no hope of sobriety anyway. If I do find god, and go to AA, and provide employment for dozens of rehab. professionals, and court fees, jail fees, and returns on capital investment for treatment center investors (I am buying some of that stock after all is a gold mine), and of course attorney fees (so far mine are like $8000.00), and then if I go to weekly meetings reciting the Big Book and encouraging others to hold up this end of the economy, I TOO CAN BE ONE OF THE "MILLIONS SAVED BY AA" all praise to my higher power(s) as I know him (never her).
It interests me that I managed on my own, with the help of our T, to quit smoking. I had a terrible nicotine addiction. I smoked two to three packs a day. I had difficulty going twenty waking minutes without a cigarette. All behavior cued me to smoke because I smoked continuously while I did everything. I was hugely addicted. When I even cut back I had huge withdrawal symptoms and terrific cravings……cravings so severe that they affected me both emotionally and physically. This is not surprising. The clinical literature indicates that nicotine is our most highly addictive substance. Its withdrawal is worse than alcohol, heroin, and cocaine withdrawal....all the other addictive substances. Hell, they have documented cases of prisoners whose nicotine habit was so extreme that they starved to death while incarcerated trading their food away to get tobacco. They so valued their tobacco that they quit eating to the point of death to satisfy their habit.
There are no twelve step nicotine addiction programs. There are no nicotine addiction treatment centers. There are not tens of thousands of smokers’ anonymous meetings all over our communities meeting at all hours of every day and night... There are no certified nicotine rehabilitation counselors to help you learn that your nicotine addiction is a disease over which you are powerless, and that you must find god to permit you to find a way to live with it one day at a time. But then there is no legal, and rehabilitation, and health care industry to flourish helping poor helpless powerless smokers, to find a way to get through their lives 24 hours by 24 hours, one day at a time and throwing off hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The interesting thing is that most of my peers in the rehab. program, who have found god to get them past the alcohol/drug addictions they are powerless to deal with on their own, leave the rehab. program as often as possible to suck down cigarettes, as rapidly as they can, just as do most AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) members. In fact many of the alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation counselors I have met, most of whom are addicts in recovery themselves, all smoke tremendously compulsively….despite their higher power’s control of their lives.
I bet before I die I will see marijuana legalized and nicotine prohibition, then we will have twelve step programs and huge religious programs so that god can reveal himself to and remove the horror of the disease of nicotine addiction from those poor powerless souls it has in its grasp. They will have to wake up each morning and pray to be delivered from smoking, and will cycle through jail periodically to renew their motivation to be in “recovery” when they relapse as their disease will inevitably cause them to do.
I haven’t smoked since January 2000. I don’t want to smoke…ever. It no longer even occurs to me. If god helped me do it he failed to reveal himself to me, or I was just oblivious (perhaps that is how I failed to notice my alcoholism withdrawal symptoms and am now not noticing my cravings to drink………..similar obliviousness). I don’t find I have to wake up each day and make a decision whether to smoke or not for the next 24 hours. In fact I don’t think of it at all. Yet nicotine is chemically and clinically a far more highly addictive and insidious a habituation than alcohol and the other drugs we tend to become addicted to. How is it our higher power missed this one I wonder?
Anonymous, yes, I am cynical and negative. I would have thought the result of my situation might have been that someone would suggest that I behaved badly, and need to find a way to correct this behavior, and go forward. That is the antithesis of alcohol rehabilitation and of alcoholics anonymous. You see, I have a disease. I am powerless. There is nothing I can do alone. I can only be saved by my finding God. Without Him, there is nothing I can do.
This would be ludicrous were it not such a huge and well developed travesty and waste.
I know that supposedly I will have to have a plan and a support group for what I will do after I finish my probation to keep me from drinking, since I am, you know, powerless without the help of god and a support group. Yes, I could form my own support group of other addicts to meet with and compound our powerlessness exponentially, so we can more effectively summon our higher power (I imagine the poor beleaguered higher power dude as busy as he is with everything, is awfully grateful that all of us powerless addicts are gathering in powerlessness groups and covens, to make his effort to save us more efficient). But I bet I won’t. If I feel some overwhelming need to drink that would be avoided by my attending a meeting of a whole group of devoutly powerless people discussing their powerlessness and how god has saved them, AA meetings are still all open and I know where they are. They are generally not terribly unpleasant and sometimes there is some really great humor there. I attended one last week with a woman who recounted her last ever drinking episode during which she went out to mow her lawn in nothing but her high heels, and her matching purse and hat, (this is a somewhat obese, not particularly attractive middle-aged woman) at 2:00 AM. It seems that she tried to convince the police the neighbors summoned (too bad she didn’t have an old fashioned rotary push mower she might have gotten away with it) that they shouldn’t arrest her in that her purse, hat and shoes all matched perfectly, but they just wouldn’t “get it” and leave her alone. In her case I have to say thank God and Praise Jesus that she has been saved……but I digress.
I could attend AA meetings anytime I choose, and there are good people there, and fellowship, and who knows I may just go to some occasionally just because……but my plan is to do what I found effective when I quit smoking. I didn’t smoke. I think what I will do this time is I will not drink………..just as I am now even without having done my step work, and without having had my powerlessness supplanted by God.



"I Wish" A Sequel By an AA Heretic

I've remained silent here for some while. Sue's previous post "I Wish" has been rattling around in my now almost five months sober brain and this only adds to my ongoing aspiration to, at times, think I'd like to write about all that has, and is, going on with me, but I never can seem to bring myself to do so. It is interesting as I type this, how good it feels to do so. Maybe I will now come to write more as a result of writing this post.

What an interesting series of exchanges Sue's "I Wish" elicited. Nothing brings polarization to the fore like being critical of a cult, and that is borne out here. Having been forced to live within AA now for five months, I feel much more qualified to confirm my perception that AA is in fact, a cult. Unlike other cults, it is not intended to control its members for exploitative ends. It truly is intended to do good for many people who are suffering with drug and alcohol addiction. It is not exploitative unless you are subject to a provider of the huge industry of U S. drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, or one of the thousands of "professionals" who provide treatment within that extremely lucrative system, which relies on, and feeds the cult in collusion with funding and mandates from our courts that everyone who has drug and alcohol involvement in any issue before a U. S. court, receive "treatment" which entails religious conversion. AA as a collective organization truly intends to help and save poor, worthless drunks and help them to experience a life of redemption.....a sort of spiritual do over. It is, as far as it collectively perceives itself, a benevolent and helpful network of souls all working to save others by having them delivered by god.

There is no surprise that the response of the AA hierarchy in Toronto to the formation of non-god based AA groups was to expel them as heretics (thank you, Selkie, for passing this onto us in the comments to "I Wish.") The folks who tried to establish secular non-God based 12 step AA clones in Toronto confirmed the truth essential to AA. AA is about god first and foremost. If you remove God, there is no AA. Every meeting begins with the serenity prayer and ends with the Lord's Prayer. It is not about recovery, or sobriety, or a healthful lifestyle, or healthy families and communities, or any of the many side effects that many of its cult members would cite as the rationale for AA’s value. AA is a religion, requiring huge adherence to participation in worship services, and continual recitation of prayers, maxims, parables, and dicta from its holy scripture, "The Big Book," which is memorized, ritually read and studied, complete with its “How It Works” substitute for the Nicene Creed, and its twelve steps and traditions (proxies for the Christian ten commandments and beatitudes) which begin each and every meeting everywhere AA meetings occur. And occur they do. There are over 10,000 of them about the U. S. with millions of adherents participating weekly most of whom are, or once were, required to be there to stay out of jail or prison.

I have been depressed about my participation in all this. I took all this seriously and allowed them a foothold in my head……..heck all three of us in this family did. I was scared. It kept me out of jail, and my continued ability to have them believe I am a new convert to the cult will continue to have me “free.” My family was scared of me, and for me, and wanted our love to be borne out to our family’s continuing to have a long, positive future. I have been depressed at buying into their dictum that I am nothing but a worthless drunk like all drunks, that my sobriety is not about me but is simply a miracle granted me by god, and that my intellect and analytical reasoning mind are not assets but liabilities, preventing me from wholly accepting the truth of god’s plan for me if I will only pray to him morning and night, and accept his plan for my life into my heart so that I may be saved despite my being captured by Satan in this evil disease.

But being free has nothing to do with spending several hours each week worshipping The Big Book and testifying that I am a grateful recovering worthless drunk, who is sober today because I have been saved by god from the demon of drink.

I have to pretend to buy this for 33 more weeks in my continuing care group after I recover from my surgery. I can’t participate for some weeks after my surgery, because as it was once explained to me by one of the treatment counselors, “They can’t have me in here (i. e., any aspect of the treatment program) while my brain is poisoned by drugs of any sort, and the pain medication I will be on after my total shoulder replacement qualify and will “poison my brain and prevent me from receiving the truth.” It astounded me as she presented this to me with a totally straight face………she who is supposed to be an educated mental health professional -- but these professionals are the priestesses and priests of the cult and believe this, or at the least support it without question or equivocation.

It is clear I cannot drink, nor will I again. It is clear the only way for me to get through the legal aspects of this is to pretend to become a staunch adherent of the cult for 9 months further after I recover from my surgery and I am determined to do so.

I do feel devalued and worthless as I go forward from here. As I listen to 12 steppers, some of whom commented on the previous post, they make it clear that the only hope I have for a future is adherence to AA’s dogma, discipline, and lifestyle, or jail. I find myself more convinced that, if those are my options, I will chose not to continue to live.



I Wish...

Master is in the midst of His court-ordered rehab and "recovery" program.  Each week, He attends a continuing care group -- phase two of the intensive outpatient rehabilitation program that meets on Tuesday mornings.  He is required, as a condition of that program to attend two AA meetings each week -- one on Thursday evening and one on Saturday afternoon.  In addition, He chooses to meet with His therapist on a weekly schedule.

He goes to continuing care and to AA, and He really does work to participate fully and consciously in the goings on -- even though there remains a very great part of the whole business that is entirely contrary to His belief system and His intellectual understanding of the world and universe.  He has learned that He does not need to try to battle with others about their acceptance of all that AA religiosity and cliched mumbo jumbo, but He often feels oppressed and beleaguered by the pervasive "god" based responses He gets to whatever He expresses.  If He struggles, if He is sad or depressed, if He is confused or frustrated, if He is scared -- the forever and only answer seems to be to "pray and turn it all over to god."  He comes home from meetings and from group feeling worse than He was when He left home; and they make it clear to Him that His feeling that way is His fault because, in their view, He isn't "doing it right."

I want to be supportive and I want to help Him through these days and weeks and months, and I am frustrated that the resources which we are required to use to navigate all of this are so completely unresponsive to the FACT that their view of life doesn't work for Him, or for us.   He comes home and He seems so sad and so wounded and so hurt by it all, and I just want to grab them all and shake them.

Tonight, as I lay in bed with Him snuggled in beside me, reviewing the last couple of weeks and all of the times He's been disappointed and rejected by groups that are supposed to be "helping" Him, I found myself formulating a vision of what I wish could happen the very next time someone lays that "pray and turn it all over to god" voodoo on Him.  I wish it could all go something like this...

AA groupie -- All you have to do, for whatever obstacle or worry or pain you are experiencing, is pray everyday and turn it all over to god.

Master -- I don't pray.

AA groupie -- GASP!  What?!?!?  How can you say you don't pray?

Master -- I don't pray because I don't believe in your god.

AA groupie -- but you have to turn your life over to your higher power.

Master -- My higher power is the Great Blue Heron totem and the spirits of the Mohican people from whom I am descended at the very root of my being.  I have learned who I am, and I intend to learn to follow their ways.

AA groupie -- How can they help you learn to be a good old drunk?  How will they help you when you relapse?  I think you are just fooling yourself into believing you are something better than the rest of us -- but you will regret that thinking.  You are nothing but a drunk and that is all you will ever be.

Master -- No.  I am not a drunk.  I am sober.  I have chosen to be sober, and I intend to remain sober.  I am not a drunk.  I am a man, and I am in full possession of my faculties.  I am healthy and strong and good.  I made mistakes, but I have learned and I will live my life in keeping with the strength and majesty and wonder and beauty of the Native spirits who speak to me across the centuries and the powerful totem of the Great Blue Heron.  I do not begrudge any one of you the path that you have chosen, and I wish you well, but I will follow my path to my own life and the reclamation of my sanity and my power. 

I doubt that conversation will happen that way.  It probably isn't prudent for Him to do that with these narrow minded and sometimes vindictive and nasty folks.  He is in a position where He has to play their game for the next number of months.  Still, I wish I could hand Him that script -- or one very like it -- that would give Him back His voice and His vision and His life.  The words they are teaching Him are destructive and untrue.  I want to give Him back His best and truest self.  Sadly, I am only one woman.  Sadly, I am labeled as a "normal" by those AA groupies.  I don't talk the talk and I won't walk the walk, and they would declare that I am a codependent mess.  I've worked really hard to see the world the way they see it; to translate their weird religion into something I can use.  It doesn't work, and it is destroying the Man I  love and serve.  I am done.  I will tell Him the story that I believe from now on, and I will not echo their nonsense any longer.  If that is wrong in His view, then perhaps He will tell me that.  Until that happens, my voice will be heard around here.



Shoulder Replacement

We are getting closer to His scheduled shoulder replacement surgery -- scheduled for Friday, June 17.  The needed medical sign-offs are beginning to be completed -- today we got the cardiologist to confirm that there is no evidence of a heart attack, and so we are good to go from that end of things.  Tomorrow, He has an appointment with the primary care doctor, and hopefully hopefully that one (the doctor who will be replaced as soon as we get through all of this business) will now be satisfied and just sign the necessary release. 

T has approval for time off from work, so she and I will both be able to be around for the day of the surgery and for the week following.  If all goes well, it is possible that He'll only spend one night in the hospital.  The recovery and rehab from this surgery is lengthy -- 3-4 weeks of total immobilization and then months and months of physical therapy to help Him regain as much use of the arm as possible. 

The surgeon is very clear that the reasons for doing this reverse total replacement of the shoulder joint is ALL about relieving His pain.  He is very careful to delimit the expectations we might be harboring around the actual use of the arm.  So that will take some time to get clear.  He never was into rock climbing, and He's not a golfer.  The big question for us (which we have not actually asked the surgeon), is "how long will it be before He can swing a flogger?"  Probably six months or more, but maybe someday...

However that all goes, for right now we are focused on getting prepared for the actual day of the shoulder replacement.  Wish us luck.



Cherry Blossoms?

I've never really been crazy about tattoos. 
My kids both have "ink," and I always tried to remain neutral about their choices in that realm -- but the truth is that I always thought they were just perfect exactly the way they came into the world.  I never thought that the tattoos improved their looks one bit. 

So.  It was a surprise to me when, in response to a post that kaya made about searching for a suitable tattoo a little while back, that I got caught by my very own intense tattoo frenzy.  Me.  Wanting.  This tattoo (or one very like it):

I somehow cannot get that lovely piece of bodyart out of my head.  Probably an old lady fantasy.  But wow.  Just wow!



M/s and the Dangers of Ego

Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent. ~Sigmund Freud~

Morningstar reminded me of a piece that has floated around the BDSM-oriented parts of the Internet for years and years.  Written by a fellow who goes by the name of Jonathan Kay, the 128 Basic Slave Rules would be laughable except that I imagine they are taken seriously by a fair number of people as they try to figure out how to live this lifestyle and actualize their own inner drives and erotic needs.  To be fair, Kay doesn't prescribe his rules for anyone, nor does he suggest that anyone try to follow all 128 rules.  Still, I'd think a person would be hard pressed to find a dozen that don't presume that the Master will be viewed as "god-like" by the slave who devolves to object through the training the rules suggest.  I'm really not interested in pointing out all the "Oh, please!  You have got to be kidding" elements of the 128 rules.  I am, instead, thinking about the risks (for both partners) inherent in the perspective represented there, and yes, I DO think I have a bit of hard earned wisdom to share.

The "rules" are meant to teach women who would identify as slaves to define themselves and learn their place and role within a BDSM Master/slave relationship.  If one assumes that partners, entering into something as intense as an M/s relationship, are mature, self-aware, competent, loving, responsible, sane, intelligent people (and I understand that may be a bit of a stretch) -- then it is reasonable to believe that they have a lot to offer to each other and to the relationship between them.  Ideally, they know one another well, and have spent time learning about things outside of the sexual and erotic realms encompassed by scenes within the context of BDSM.  Both partners would, presumably, take the time to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, character, temperament, reliability, integrity, and trustworthiness of their opposite number. 

That, of course, would be what happens in a perfect world -- but we humans are notorious for our ability to walk right into a potentially "perfect" situation and turn it into a spectacularly fucked up mess.  Driven to some large degree by ego, we do the dumbest things.  We do.  One of the ways WE do that, inside of an intense power exchange relationship, is to make the mistake of forgetting that the players are human.  One may be given the capacity to decide and direct while the other takes on the obligation to accept, honor, and obey.  The humanity remains.  That agreed upon power imbalance does not, and should not, deify one and objectify the other.

The slave WANTS to be controlled; WANTS to feel owned; WANTS to experience the ecstatic state of total surrender; WANTS to live in continual and unceasing awe of her Master; WANTS to be recognized for the depth and breadth of slavish accomplishment.  It is ego.  Even as an otherwise and formerly strong, independent, capable, intelligent, sensible, wise woman gives up her freedom, loses her voice, ignores her best instincts and intuitions, and denies her capacity to think and perceive and judge -- it is her ego that is driving the apparent descent into nothingness.  A whole list of "shoulds" inform every decision, and she slowly (or maybe quickly) abandons all the skills, abilities, and talents that made her a good and valuable partner in the first place.  Incorporating all of those rules, or some other set of foolish rules, is dangerous precisely because it deprives the relationship of her fully functioning participation.  Bit by bit, and piece by piece, she stops contributing to the success of the shared relational endeavor and becomes a dead weight that must be carried along just like some kind of interesting piece of luggage.  Should the partnership encounter difficulties and challenges (and what relationship doesn't), she is, at best, handicapped in her ability to respond.  I know because I made those mistakes and fell into those traps.  I let my ego and my own wants seduce me into acquiescing to decisions and demands that nearly destroyed us all.  When it came down to it, for us, I had nearly lost the capacity to offer any sort of counter argument even as it became more and more clear that He was wounded, lost, frightened, and in need of something more than my poor efforts at some sort of idealized slavery.

On the other side of the power equation is the Master.  The Master/slave interaction is a duality.  It really does take two to dance this tango.  Whatever the inclination, in the absence of a Master, slavery is only an elaborate imagining.  In just the same way, the one who claims to be Master without one who would choose to serve, is a naked Emperor at the head of a parade that exists only in his own mind.  One who would assume the control of another person, who moves to own the choices and options and the very life of that person, steps out into territory where very few have the courage to venture.  For most of us, the act of making choices and decisions for our own lives is quite enough of a high wire act.  Taking on that responsibility for another is an enormous undertaking.  Within the context of the BDSM Master/slave dynamic, that choice is most often made within an elaborate social construct that requires the assertion of ultimate power, complete control, unwavering certainty, unshakable self-confidence, and a sort of god-like perfection that cannot ever sit easy on the shoulders of a fallible human.  It takes gigantic ego to even begin such a journey.  That is the fact, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Whatever great and grand things humans have accomplished throughout our long history, it is a good bet that somewhere in the mix is a powerful and healthy ego driving everything forward.  Without that sort of engine, nothing much gets done anywhere -- ever.  But even the strongest, most sure, most controlling and confident men have their weak places; their secret fears; questions for which they do not have the answers; private demons.  To whom do they look for clarification, the sometimes necessary gut check, the moderating second opinion?  If a Master makes a mistake, who can He trust to tell Him that He's gone down the wrong road?If Master insists that His way is ALWAYS the right way; if His every decision comes with the presumption that questions and challenges are unacceptable; then who will offer the sometimes necessary counter argument - or just a straightforward "no," when things go off the tracks?

I have never lived with a list of "rules."  I've never been asked to maintain formal protocols or rituals.  I speak as plainly with Him as I do with anyone else.  I sit on furniture, eat from plates, and wear the same kinds of clothes as any other woman of my age.  Those 128 rules have never been more than an interesting oddity from my perspective.  Still I lived with all of those unwritten and unspoken "shoulds:"
I should be quieter
I should be more trusting
I should be more respectful
I should be more graceful
I should be more obedient
I should be less angry
I should be less jealous
I should be more focused
I should work harder

On and on and on.  Not rules but expectations created by us but also impressed upon us and upon me by the social milieu of our Internet blogging pecking order.  Today marks the date when, nine years ago, I got in my car, turned my back on the life I'd had, and headed east to begin this life.  I can look back at good times and bad times; at hopes and dreams turned into life lived in love; at fears and sorrows and faults and failings -- and I know there have been mistakes and miscues along the way.  It hasn't been all one thing or the other.  Life never is.  I am glad I came.  I am glad I'm here.  I'm glad for what we have, and for who we've come to be.  I wish we'd managed to avoid some of the pain and heartbreak and struggle, but I wouldn't trade the good days and nights for the chance to do that. 

In the end, I guess I've rambled on and on to get to the point of saying that I believe that, even when the dynamic runs on a non-traditional power exchange, partners owe each other the best they have to give.  When we create rules and structures that prevent the full giving of the gifts of the Master or the slave, we hamstring them both in the service of their relationship.  Life is too tough and too unpredictable to tackle it with our hands tied.  In the view of this one, old lady, no one should ever agree to do that.