Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Examined Life and Recovery Socrates on Addiction

Dr. Jim Seymour

Lately I have been interested in ancient philosophy and have been struck by how much the old philosophers have to teach us about recovery. My interest in this came about because of self defense. My older daughter is a graduate student in Philosophy and I love to argue with her about a variety of topics. She is a great person to argue with as all our arguments are friendly and usually result in my learning new things. My big problem though is that she is a lot smarter than me and her knowledge is much greater! I realize how woefully ignorant I am on a lot of subjects so have been reading the ancient Greek philosophers to catch up and to not always be on the losing side of our discussions.

"The unexamined life is not worth living" says Socrates and I have been thinking about what that means. I am coming to see that one of the reasons for self examination is so that we don't continue to engage in actions which are, unwittingly at times, harmful to those we love. We often don't do the good things we want to do but continue to engage in addictive or compulsive behaviors which hurt the ones we most care about. This is one of the joys of working at Cottonwood. On a daily basis I get to work with men and women who are doing the very difficult task of self examination to better their lives. It is a privilege to be a part of someone's journey in self knowledge and self discovery.

Thought for the day

" It is our choices , Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities".

Albus Dumbledore


  1. I too love the classics. "Aristotle for Everybody" and "Ten Philosophical Mistakes" both by Mortimer J. Adler are fun reads to brush up on the classics and the thoughts they inspire.

    It is remarkable the amount of daily wisdom we can gather from ancient philosophers, even more so when we see their struggles are not that different from ours. The classics could almost be considered the original "self-help" text.

  2. It's nice to know I have another reader!


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