Being Ready – Episode 189

Happiness withinWhy did I come to Al-Anon when I did? Or, to ask it a different way, why didn’t I come sooner? What made me ready?

Why did I come to Al-Anon when I did? Or, why didn’t I come sooner?

  • Not understanding alcoholism.
    • I didn’t grow up with alcoholism
    • I thought my loved one’s behavior was a choice
    • So she just had to fix it.
  • Denying the problem.
    • It was her problem.
    • Not mine.
    • She just needed to “drink normally.”
  • Not seeing the problem.
    • My behavior was out of control.
    • But I couldn’t see that.
    • I didn’t connect my behavior to the alcoholism
  • Resistance
    • Therapists at treatment centers suggested it to me.
    • “Not my problem”
    • 12 steps were off-putting
    • I’m FINE
    • Not relating to the video on codependency
  • Shame and isolation
  • So, what happened?
  • A “moment of clarity”
    • Yet another “friends and family day” at yet another treatment center.
    • “YOU didn’t cause it, YOU can’t cure it, YOU can’t control it.”
    • Recognizing that it was NOT mine to fix.
    • Recognizing that I was miserable.
    • The “20 questions
  • The “last resort”
    • What else is there? What can it hurt to try it? (Al-Anon)
    • Even then, I resisted. When a friend offered to take me to a meeting that night, I said “I need to think about it.”
    • I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds.
  • Did I get here “right on time”?
    • I’m glad I didn’t take longer to get here, anyway.

Upcoming topics include Alateen, slogans, and parenting. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

In this episode, I mentioned the Intimacy open talks from last year.

Several listeners wrote in about Steve L’s talk on fear, faith, and surrender. One asked if there are other talks by him available. I found his talk on the Recovery Radio Network, where there are other talks by people named Steve L. (But I haven’t listened to them to know if they are the by the same person.)

Seeing Clearly – Episode 157

I see you“Our sight, once clouded and confused, will clear and we will be able to perceive reality and recognize truth.”

Our sight, once clouded…

  • Implies impaired vision
  • Only able to see a short distance
  • Lacking perspective
  • Denial
  • Paradoxically living in the future
  • Guilt
  • Overcompensation
  • I had a very narrow vision, everything was black or white, all or nothing
  • Conflict or disagreement was threatening, I did not understand collaboration.

And confused…. How was I confused?

  • Impaired thought processes,
  • Clouded reality also makes me think of the four M’s: martyrdom, manipulation, mothering and managing
  • I was a fixer and manager, I thought that would help the situation
  • I believed I was responsible for everything, I had to do everything for my family
  • I had no understanding of boundaries, healthy relationships, how to nurture them,
  • Any feedback or criticism was interpreted as a direct assault
  • Others came first, always
  • I did not value myself
  • I did not believe myself loveable
  • Believing that I needed to control everything and everyone
  • Believing I had control over people, places, and things
  • Not seeing how my life, my behavior, my attitudes had been affected by this disease.

We will be able to perceive reality

  • We climb out of the clouds one step at a time
  • This is part of the process, it becomes clearer the more we work the steps and use the tools of the program
  • As I work the steps, I become more able to perceive reality
  • Decluttering my mind and life prepares me for future growth

We will be able to recognize truth

  • This is a spiritual concept.  We are spiritual beings, not just beings.
  • Recognize the truth of who and what I am – both positive and negative.
  • I can only do this when I believe in a higher power that I can count on to care for me
  • Looking at parts of myself that I don’t like requires it being balanced with acknowledging my assets
  • Like a tight rope walker with a balancing pole, have to put equal weights on either side or they will fall.
  • On the other hand, this cleared vision allows me to see the behaviors of those in my life for what they were – sometimes lies, sometimes attempts at manipulating me, unnecessary or inappropriate judging coupled with condescension, sometimes attempts at preserving the status quo as I was changing,
  • Allowed me to recognize the truth that my loved ones suffered from an addiction and deserved love and compassion, regardless of what choices I made for myself or what stage of their addiction they were in.

Readings in this episode are from the Al-Anon book Discovering Choices.

This is the third episode in a sequence on the “Gifts of Al-Anon“, which are described on pp. 268-9 of the book From Survival to Recovery.

Upcoming topics include Step 1 “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” How have you found power in admitting your powerlessness? How was (is) your life unmanageble? How does this step help lead you into recovery? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Roll Away the Stone – Episode 147

DSC_9877“Who will roll away the stone?”

The story of Easter is one of resurrection and recovery. But, we need help to roll away the stone from the tomb of our despair and denial.

In Al-Anon, we find that help. It might come from recognition that we are not alone, that others have been where we are, and have found serenity and happiness despite the unmanageability brought by alcoholism and addiction. It might come from working the 12 steps, and from the tools of our program of recovery. It might come from the love and support of a Higher Power that some of us name God. But however it might come, it does come when we seek it and work for it.

Happy Easter, and may you find the recovery you are seeking. May you find the help you need to roll away your stone.

The opening reading is from the blog Nancy’s Chutney, titled Resurrection from deadness.

Upcoming topics include meditation and another of the “Gifts of Al-Anon.” We will discover that we are both, worthy of love and loving. We will love others without losing ourselves, and will learn to accept love in return. How do you see this coming true in your life? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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letting go of denial – a guest meditation by Beth

Eye_Of_The_World1
Image source: http://carlprox.theworldrace.org/blogphotos/theworldrace/carlprox/Eye_Of_The_World1.jpg

 

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world,
The heart has it’s beaches, it’s homeland and thoughts of its own.
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings,
But the heart has it’s seasons, it’s evenings and songs of its own.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own,
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home,
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone,
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

 

Grateful Dead — Eyes of the World

 

Nothing inspires me to wake up and enjoy this glorious day and to take my rightful place in the world like this rejuvenating song.  Step 11 conscious contact with HP to the max.

Denial is something I am having a hard time letting go of.

In meditating this week about why this defense mechanism continues to creep back into my life, when I have long outgrown it, some very interesting things were revealed to me.

By admitting my powerlessness in step one, and asking god for help to accept the things i could not change by repeating the serenity prayer, i opened my heart to a new way of living. As a newcomer this was a dramatic and cleansing awakening. It was fall then too, and I saw that the leaves falling slowly down to earth were just like my worries, each drifting gently away as I let them go, one by one. Over time, I found the courage to see my character defects for what they were, and became willing to let them drift away too.

Today I can see clearly where I want to be, and understand very well the inescapable correctness in striving to live life on life’s terms, always aware of reality as it actually is, living in this moment and this moment only. Continually seeking to improve my conscious contact with the god of my understanding, to me right now, means striving to stay in that space where I see what IS, and accept true reality without judgement or argument. Practicing gratitude is an excellent tool to bring me back into the present as well.

I know I am returning to old bad habits when I am struggling inside, exhausting myself in an internal mental wrestling match. I am usually trying to change something that is not in my control, avoiding acceptance at all costs, or resisting seeing something i am denying. After a while, when i am good and tired, I stop. Because of the good habits I have learned over time from the good people in these rooms, from readings, and from time spent being truly honest with myself, I can see my struggle for what it is, and let it go. But see, often i don’t just go there in my head. When i am in a bad place mentally, i can say or do something I regret, and hurt someone I love very much.

That is why maintaining conscious contact with the god of my understanding is so important for my recovery. I need to over and over remember to see things as they ARE, and accept them, not fight them.
I came to these realizations because I was suffering, upset with myself for a hurt I caused while in denial. Denial for me is sneaky. It creeps in without my knowing it, and I learn painful lessons again and again. My denial comes in twin forms. I convince myself that things that are not present are really, definitely there, or I pretend something right in front of my face is not there at all.
Sometimes denial can save your life, because the reality of what is actually true is too painful to bear at that moment. And other times denial is just a bad habit easy to fall back into, a crutch I don’t need anymore, which hurts me more than the pain of seeing life for what it really is. I want to banish my destructive habit of denial, and replace it with loving acceptances once and for all, and striving for mindful, conscious contact with my higher power feels like a real solution, so that’s what I’m working on.

A meditation for November 7, 2013.

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Guest house – a meditation

guest house

 

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Rumi

I keep coming back to this poem. Recently I have been faced with some challenges in accepting aspects of myself. Rumi reminds me that whatever comes will have value, even if I can’t see it today, and that I ought to welcome it as a guest.

A few days ago, I dropped my son off to begin the next phase of his young adult life, in a state almost 1000 miles away. He has made some choices about how he intends to live. I don’t agree with those choices, and I fear that it will go badly for him. I was not accepting that fear, but was pushing back against it, not wanting to welcome it into the guest house of my humanity. Through listening and meditation, I have come to realize that this inability to accept my fear cut me off from being able to hear any concerns and fears that my son might have about his choices. And also makes it hard for me to share his excitement about this new venture he is embarking on. I am harmed, and our relationship is harmed.

Another “visitor” that I am having trouble welcoming in, is my fear around my mother’s failing health. When I am sitting in my fear, not accepting it and welcoming it in, it is hard for me to be with her. I deny her my presence and I deny myself opportunities to be with her during however much time she has left on this earth. If I avoid the potential pain of seeing her decline, I am essentially saying goodbye to her now, pre-grieving her eventual death. I cannot visit her frequently, as my parents live a day’s drive from me. I had an opportunity to visit recently. I handed my fear and anxiety to god, held in compassion and love her struggle with simple tasks, and had a good visit.

It is not easy, when a “dark thought, a shame, a malice” comes to my door, to “laughing invite them in”. But when I do, I often find that they have “been sent as a guide from beyond.”

A meditation for August 14, 2013.

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