I’ve tried reading books on philosophy, but I largely find them incomprehensible, unreadable, and fairly far removed from the reality of my day-to-day life. They’re not very practical to me. But, as Socrates said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Drifting through my life without some kind of mental foundations didn’t work out well for me at all, I only ever ended up drifting into trouble.
I was brought up by Scottish parents, so my moral compass was fairly strictly set, and I was left in no doubt about what was ‘right’ and what was ‘wrong’. This didn’t stop me from quietly testing these boundaries, and maybe this is just the journey I had to take. I started drinking when I was 14, by 15 I had been in trouble with the police, and by 17/ 18 my consumption of drugs and alcohol was pretty much beyond my control.
Finding recovery in 1998 provided me with the time, space, and opportunity to examine my life and to come up with my own rules for living. I spent 10 years attending various 12 step fellowships, and my philosophy on life borrows a lot from the 12 steps.
I would describe myself as a moral/ spiritual anarchist. I believe that the rules I set myself are the rules I am more likely to follow. I believe I have a spirit within me, and the strength of this spirit is dependent on my behaviour. If I behave in a way that aligns with my spiritual principles, then my spirit is strong, if I behave in a way that compromises these principles, my spirit is weakened. I visualise this spirit as a flame.
I try to be honest, open minded and willing. Personal and professional integrity is vital to me. I also need to be mindful that I am seeking progress, not perfection. I can, and do, make mistakes and when this happens I need to gently make amends to myself and others. I also need to try to not keep on making the same mistakes expecting different results, as this would clearly be a mad thing to do.
My family is the single most important thing in my life, and I suppose my motto for life would be ‘strive to survive causing the least suffering possible,’ a quote from the old punks, Flux of Pink Indians.
These are my rules, and a respect the right of others to live according to their own rules.