1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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Open Letter to the people NOT getting better, or to those who want it FAST

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Baseball65, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    I find it difficult to know whether it's my 'intuition' putting me off doing things and I should heed its warning, or whether it's merely the 5 year old inside me playing up and I should take no notice. But I can see that, in becoming a 'passer-by', what I decide doesn't matter all that much, not in the great scheme of things as long as the concerns that I have are addressed (e.g. like you laying down some 'ground rules' in frank discussion with your GF and keeping your financial independence)...which might prevent or help stop my TMS symptoms. It would help though if I had a religious/spiritual belief...'This world is, as it were, a bridge. Therefore, pass over it, only do not lodge there.' Thanks, @Baseball65.
  2. Idearealist

    Idearealist Peer Supporter

    Refocusing from the physical to the emotional is surprisingly difficult when you first start this kind of work. I'm finding a lot of numbness when I try to check in and get in touch with my inner self.
  3. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is not surprising at all. Most of us have had that problem at some time or another, though it does get easier the longer you try.

    Remember, for simplicity's sake, Sarno converted Id/ego/superego to child/adult/parent

    I always explain TMS as an 'over evolved coping mechanism'. People who are good at what they do and are self-critical/hold themselves up to higher standards start blowing off stuff that their 'adult' and 'parent' mind decides is 'childish'. If I stopped to deal with every little distraction I couldn't focus on the task at hand.

    However, over time, this tendency to deny or ignore annoying and anger inducing stuff becomes the new normal and stuff that ought to make us angry, or at least be acknowledged is channeled off into the unconscious without us even having a choice in the matter.

    The more 'mature' I became, the more 'OK' everything got. More than once when I have had a mini-relapse out of nowhere I would sit down to think "what am I angry about?"and get ..... nothing? That's why I started using that list of questions for myself.

    If I ask myself "what's wrong in your life?" My first answer is always "nothing... My life is bitchin'. I have a great partner, great pad, great dog, great job, great sons, great friends...."

    But if I use that list and ask about one topic at a time, like;"Finances".... "Hmmm...welll, I did just have to shell out all of that money for my car..... oh yeah, they are renting my same unit down the street for 400 bucks a month cheaper than I am paying... Work has been spotty and my Boss is off goofing on a side project. He just hired some guys who get paid less than me and THEY are working all of the time."....ANGER.

    See? just one of the 7 or 8 questions provoked that many irritants. Throw in Personal relationships, sex and partnerships, family,Health and fitness, mortality, and any ontological musings you might have and the list can get long. I never stop reviewing the list until the symptom is completely gone.

    I don't necessarily have to ACT on all of them. Or any of them. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't but the AWARENESS of them is what defuses the TMS circuit. I am NOT the spiritual giant I wish I was... I am actually quite petty. But I don't have any more pain.

    Lainey, plum, TrustIt and 2 others like this.
  4. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    A young man recently brought that topic up on the forum. I have now written a LONG tract distilling Sarno's theory down to the way I drink it. I intentionally left out the 'spiritual' question because when I got better it was due to his very terrestrial scientific approach that drew me in and convinced me. Nuff sed on that for now.

    I once heard a man describe the difference between Religion and Spirituality and I have never needed a better description.

    Religion is for people trying to stay out of Hell. Spirituality is for people trying to GET out of Hell.

    I spent my young atheist/agnostic life immersing myself in all of the science based, astrophysics, cosmology, particle physics and psychology I could read. Coming from an atheist/Ivy league SNOB family, my Mother had assured me that God was just something for weak minded people.

    Than, having suffered a 'self imposed crisis I could neither postpone nor evade' (My alcoholism) I had a 'Saul on the road to Damascus' type of experience. But even after that, the logical, reasonable brain always wants to be able to explain away everything. Our ego and hubris knows no bounds.

    By the time I reached TMS, I had become extraordinarily scientific again, what with all the bitchin' new education I got from all of the Doctors. Hell, I could have taught a class on disc pathology and spinal aberrations.

    But pain is quite persuasive. My failure to find a solution made me desperate enough to do anything. I even let Pentecostals pray over me! Then two weeks later, I was brought even lower and was finally willing to go and read that wacky "Sarno" thing I had been offered. Wow. How the mighty have fallen.

    ..and of course the rest is history. 21 years and counting of being pain free. The Pentecostals were actually more effective than a legion of specialists, if you wanna look at it that way. I do. I don't understand it. But I could understand Sarno and God does not make difficult terms with people who seek him honestly.

    so, I am still not religious. But I look for God under every rock and leaf. Inside and outside. Anywhere but ME.

    "If you take two steps towards God, He runs to you " -Sufi saying.
    Lainey, plum, Northwood and 4 others like this.
  5. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Is awareness always enough to defuse the TMS circuit, @Baseball65? Do you have any tips regarding how to become (or keep) TMS-free when faced with things that we don't like (things that anger us) that we can't change as they are beyond our control?
    plum likes this.
  6. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I talk about them. I pay close attention to situations I am in and don't 'blow off' details. I have out loud, real time discussions with myself. If I am really pissed, I go out and hit balls off a tee imagining I am destroying the person or principle with which I am angry. Every now and then I intentionally break a plate or chuck a brick. It's incredibly cathartic.
    I write about them as they happen. I use the 4th step 'inventory' from the 12 step program. That's where I got most of the topics I listed. However, that is done to get to a section entitled "Where were we to blame?" and "where were we selfish, dishonest and self seeking?" . I'd NOT fill that portion in... It is of paramount importance to me being an alcoholic, but to most TMS inclined people, they already "PRE-dismiss" their anger like "well, it was sort of my fault to, so I suppose so and so being a dick to me is just my come-uppance" "Oh well, you can't win them all" "That's the way that person is"
    Those may be true and high minded, but the TMS is a 5 year old and gets high on justice porn.

    I make those part of my conscious being. Then over the course of months and years, I have been able to grow. Things that used to enrage me only mildly annoy, or don't bother the 5 year old at all,But most people just getting here are still in complete denial about the depth and intensity of their anger.
    Sita, plum and BloodMoon like this.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's why that Quote from the gospel of Thomas is so powerful.

    “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
    Lainey, Sita, plum and 3 others like this.
  8. Sumol

    Sumol New Member

    I'd love a copy of whatever you sent them if possible! I've had moments of improvements, but seem to slip back every couple weeks.
  9. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow, thank you so much, @Baseball65! I have printed off just the first 3 pages (to avoid the "Where were we to blame?" etc., part) of this 4th step guide https://www.infiniterecovery.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TheBestStep4Guide.pdf and I'm adding 'autonomy' and 'freedom' to the list of choices as to what my anger/resentment may be affecting (as a previous forum discussion with you brought to light for me that my inner 5 year old doesn't like being told what to do by others and loves her autonomy and freedom)...And I've now started doing this 'inventory'...I like the fact that this method kind of 'organises' and 'simplifies' recognising and thoroughly examining things that otherwise can often feel overwhelmingly huge and complex to tackle and comprehend in their entirety. I like the fact that this method is so comprehensive in homing in on the anger/resentment plus the associated fear(s).
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    Sita likes this.
  10. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I will add as an exclamation point..... I began to do these inventories when I was about 25. I was homeless, having a heart problem from drug abuse and had drunk myself to the curb and was living in a state run home for alcoholics. Using this and the rest of the steps, by a couple of years later I was sober, married with children and had a passable career as a set painter in the movie industry. My health had completely returned.

    Then... I got bored. With myself. So many of the resentments I had were redundant. I felt like I wasn't getting any better and it was just a waste of time.... I was spiritually 'mature' and no longer needed to do this. Plus the weight of being responsible for others and my quest to perfect my new role as 'super dad/husband' didn't allow me time for much else. Why waste 15 -20 minutes every morning?

    ...and about 2 months later? Hey! My leg is numb and my Hip feels weird!.... the rest is history...completely overwhelmed by symptoms....TMS!!!!!

    Then...when I read Sarno, I instantly realized that quitting the writing of these inventory's was a part of the inundation of anger, both conscious and unconscious. I began to write, feverishly.... In conjunction with the other tools (refuting the diagnosis, returning to activity, studying TMS, the daily reminders,etc) I was TMS free in about a month, back at heavy labor in 5 weeks. Apparently I had a very, very fast recovery. Well.... I would be less than honest if I didn't say that using THIS tool was a HUGE part of that speedy recovery.

    I also learned that my substance abuse was a sort of TMS. I have never been able to drink very well....almost no experience of doing it successfully....so whenever I was doing that, the attendant drama and pain made TMS unnecessary. But as soon as I got a sober breath.... OUCH

    ..and LATER when you have honestly admitted your anger (most don't)and seen What it affects in your ego, That fourth column portion is where all of the spiritual freedom comes from. I have learned that My anger, conscious and unconscious is a sort of Bear Trap set in the woods. Whichever Bear steps in the trap sets it off. It's not the qualities of that Bear...any Bear will do.

    Which means that my anger is pre-disposed inside of myself. That means deeply held beliefs of right and wrong, fair and foul and what Should and shouldn't happen are the cause. That also means I do not need the world to change for me to be OK. I need to get OK inside and the world just is... And that also means that the Job, the task, the offender, the Girlfriend are not to blame! Now ,if I can only get some freedom from myself, I can be free indeed. I don't need anyone else's participation and THAT is true freedom.

    But... for now, write columns 1-3.We can set aside for a moment that high road and be really spiteful assholes. The purer the vitriol, the better. God will forgive you. He forgave me and I am an assholes asshole. Just ask anybody who has known me! That's why spiritual process' are in order. I can't fix something until I have a really good idea of what is broken. God's patience is infinite!

    Lainey, Sita, plum and 4 others like this.
  11. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    I think reading all the stuff about neural pathways made me feel like TMS was some kind of "diagnosis" and I became much more symptom focused than I ever was before... I'm one of the people you described - 2 years of reading TMS info, meditation, journalling about my past. But I also feel like I don't have any reason to be stressed right now, my life is good except for my symptoms. BUT:
    - I stopped working cause of TMS = reliant on my husband for money
    - I recently got married and moved away from my family and friends
    - I just found out I am pregnant
    Sita and Baseball65 like this.
  12. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Miller.

    I keep seeing that term "neural pathways". I have no clue what it means. Pain free 21 years and dumb as a 2x4. Every time I have seen that term on this forum it is always being quoted and discussed by People who are not getting better.

    I assume it was introduced to the TMS lexicon by some 'TMS doctor'.. might have even been well meaning BUT, Sarno's explanation was enough medical world speak for me and I am pretty demanding about facts.

    In "Healing back pain" after the chapter on physiology he prefaces the portion on psychology by pointing out that further discussions about symptoms and causation are part of the problem. I knew more about disc pathology when I got to Sarno then I would care to admit....and I had to delete that whole file in my head and get down to the true causes.....like;
    I had the male equivalent of all of those... Unconsciously angry at being dependent on an Industry I thought was evil, Giving up MY hobbies and plans to be a good father, and having a second child.

    Getting down into those 'uncomfortable to talk about of even think about' real life dilemma's was far more effective than expanding my knowledge of possible physiological theories. Those are infinite and I am sure there will be 10 new diagnoses for chronic pain this decade. The larger medical world's complete failure to look into psychosomatic work precludes them from ever finding the answer...and even if they found it, they would have their own crisis. How can they charge us money for all of their fancy shmancy toys if we can go off and get well without them???

    I would have made this same statement in January of '99 while I was rolling into surgery. I think from your own post here you know where the real deal is hiding. As a fellow searcher I can assure you that the looking is 99.9% of the cure. I still had the same wife, family and job after I got better.... I just knew a little more about myself.

    Lainey, Sita and Idearealist like this.
  13. Miller

    Miller Peer Supporter

    I was pretty bad before I found this forum, but MAJORLY worse ever since, with many many detours into different programs, methods, meditations and exercises.
    I swear most of what I need to "undo" mentally was caused by my obsession with reading about other people's problems on here, and focusing more on my symptoms.
    For some reason, "TMS" sounded like a diagnosis to me, like there was something wrong with me that needed fixing
    I've gone about this in the WORST way possible I think.... damn.

    (Totally get why this forum is great and am not criticizing, but for someone like me it has been spectacularly confusing)
  14. jamejamesjames1

    jamejamesjames1 Peer Supporter


    If you don't mind answering, to what level of anxiety/panic attacks have you dealt with before during and since working with TMS?

    I'm interested to see if the answer is "not much." I'm starting to think there might be a few different ways people end up in pain.

    I've tried slogging through emotions for a long time to no avail, but a meditation often brings me relief (well, at least in the short term). Im wondering if that's because I've had panic attacks for fifteen years.. maybe my "primary" emotion is fear and I need something soothing. Perhaps yours is rage and you need to smack things around (although I certainly have those days from time to time!)

    Just curious!
  15. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Going to the emergency room...a few different times.. Then following up getting a 13 point ekg thinking I had a heart problem.... leaving work because I felt like I was going to die at any minute and literally curling up in a ball on the floor at work..multiple times.. being put on rounds and rounds of different medications.

    The panic attacks ended when my pain showed up.

    I also suffered from OCD from age 5 to age 32. Part of my TMS recovery was acknowledging that, getting help and it left. Fast. the same tools that banish pain in TMS are the tools to abort an OCD episode.

    All of that crap ended when I forcefully and willfully used all of the psychological tools of confronting myself. STOP therapy. Getting some insight into what it was trying to distract me from.
  16. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle


    The same 'toolbox' of the Big Book of AA , from which I gleaned my main anger search list,also has a fear inventory. I have been looking at Fear for as long as I have been looking at resentment. After writing them for awhile I saw that my base fears were never what I consciously thought they were

    Most of my fears, when put to the question "WHY are you afraid of THAT?" end up with the same answers over and over.

    "Because then I'll be alone" "Because then I won't know what happens?"

    Loneliness and the unknown... Now I don't have to worry about the guy who looked at me funny, or my GF leaving me or Going broke. Those are all surface fears.

    I am afraid of going broke, being homeless, and nobody wanting to be around me because I am a loser. Alone.

    I am afraid of the guy who looks at me funny. I am afraid of getting in a fight,escalating and drawing weapons and getting shot... The unknown.

    Regardless of your religious or spiritual persuasion, when I remember that I am just passing through and this is NOT my life... just the one I GET to have, it's a gift not a curse, My fears get put in perspective and eventually substantially diminish.

    Most people think they are afraid of dying, but they are not... they are afraid of the unknown. They are afraid of LIVING.

    Bill Wilson wrote ;"We think fear ought to be classed with stealing". I didn't understand that when I first read it. I was full of all sorts of fears. (I also stole a lot of shit LOL) . When we let fear take over we are throwing away the gift God gave us and we are withholding what he gave us to give to the world. The Carpenter told the story of the Talents.

    Fear stole my early life from me. I am not letting it get any more. I'd rather have courage for a day than live a hundred years in fear.

    I don't think I am particularly violent. I do think God made particularly sensitive so I respond(ed) very quickly. Having been involved in a lot of violence when I was young, it was easy to see how that prevented TMS. But, after working with a lot of other men, I have found we aren't much different.... I just had a quicker trigger, but we all felt the same stuff. Nothing to be proud or ashamed of, just different.

    Fear and anger are married at the primal level in our brains. One will always lead to the other. We just need to expose them and do something to take back the Temple.

    "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled he will become astonished and he will rule over the all." -the carpenter
  17. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle


    Is the inventory @BloodMoon links to above the one/approximate enough to the inventories you speak of?

    (My mum had an emergency CT scan last week...waiting on referral to a neurologist for results...husband’s ‘Parkinson’s’ has been fucking awful...feel like throwing my co-depedenent goodist off the nearest cliff)

    Mostly feel like doing some digging. I guess a spade is a spade but I value your opinion. I have been doing a fair bit of journaling and independent of reading this link had decided to do a moral inventory. Nice bit of synchronicity.
  18. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle


    Yep, that's it. From the font that even looks like it might be from AA "sanctioned" literature.

    I read it over and the only comment I would have is that a lot of times I think "Oh... I have a few things to write about" and after I get writing, I might realize I have other issues.

    e.g. My ex-GF. I start writing about my issues with HER and all of a sudden In the writing I realize I am harboring resentments about her family for ignoring her poor behavior and encouraging it. I resent the college she works at for for the ridiculously PC stuff she's brainwashed to believe and tries to put into effect in our lives. I resent her ex Husband who's opinions are more valid then mine because he's a professor and I am just a proletarian construction worker.

    But by and large it's spot on.

    1. Who or what I am angry at?
    2. Why?
    3.What does that affect in me?

    and then the 'magic' one.....

    4. Where was I selfish, dishonest, self seeking or frightened? Where was I to blame?

    All of the freedom comes from that section.... If the world is a bad place with bad people doing stuff to me I am a victim. I am stuck.

    If I can honestly look at my own part, clear my side of the street and allow that person to be wrong.... I am free and nobody's prisoner.

    Very few people, even in AA proper have much stomach for #4. Funny. They named their meetings AFTER the book that teaches this, yet the majority of people in the fellowship think that attending the meetings named after this book is sufficient. In the whole 164 pages it never ONCE recommends going to meetings but it does insist on the necessity of doing this work.....

    'Messiah pointed to the door , but No one had the guts to leave the temple' -the who
    Lainey, Sita, Lizzy and 2 others like this.
  19. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I note this from the inventory:

    “While writing about your self esteem: If you truly had low self-esteem when the person in Column One did Column Two you would not have been resentful at them, you would have believed you got what you deserved. You will experience your difficulties easier in this area writing from a point of high self-esteem. It will take writing and seeing the fears bracketed along side a few of these to understand this.”

    This is completely on the money. Having low self-esteem and nonexistent boundaries leads to a host of victim-oriented delusions. It’s one area where I was totally myopic and subsequently have done a lot of work.

    This is Beautiful.

    This is Exquisite.

    Thanks so much for this link.

    THIS is exactly where I need to be. I’ve done the rest to the point where they are threadbare stories but this fourth column has my full attention.

    Maybe I needed to build stronger self-esteem before I could see it, let alone face it.

    It’s interesting to me that so many people go on a grail quest for the thing that happened to them (aka the Helen experience Sarno wrote of) but they miss the point entirely. I say this confidently as one who missed the point entirely.

    We’re not looking for a psychological unicorn but rather unearthing relics so that we may stand back and with the gift of hindsight view the constellation or emotional pattern it creates.

    For me this is co-dependency with its myriad of attrition, attention-seeking, approval-seeking, people-pleasing, fear of rejection, fear of being alone, fear of abandonment, needing to be needed, needing to be liked, self-sacrificing to my detriment, rescuing others while neglecting myself, trying to keep everyone happy/keep the peace, NEVER feeling good enough, guilt, shame, blame, Perfectionism, victim-mentality/self-pity, a need to be recognised, being a "fixer" and problem solver, giving advice when people don't ask for it, attracted to and by users, abusers, addicts and self-centered people and taking on responsibility of others.

    Holy Mary.

    How can anyone be oblivious to the amount of tension this generates?

    And so now, I’m at a familiar emotional crossroads where if I tread the well worn high road I feel like I’m doing pretty much all the heavy lifting, emotionally and physically. Where I’ve run myself ragged countless times, crashing when compassion fatigue and burnout hits. Where there is no one to pick me up and dust me down, or even notice what a wreck I am.

    I also realise that in diving in to rescue people, I am denying them the opportunity to grow. (@BloodMoon this is what I meant by spiritual thievery.)


    I see and feel this whole pattern ramping up as we’ve been endeavouring to get my mum tested for dementia or whatever it is. But now, I get to choose. The 4th column truly is the road less traveled.

    Thanks @Baseball65
    You’re a gem.
  20. Grimbo

    Grimbo Newcomer

    When you say you got help - where did you get help from?


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