What would happen to our recovery if it depended completely on one or two well-intentioned but fallible human beings?
How Al-Anon Works, p. 123 (tradition 12).
My recovery would fail, that is my answer to that question. I think that is why I used to be so “unserene” before my recovery program. I used to make people my Higher Power and in doing so, I idealized them. I would expect perfection. I did them such a disservice, but doing this. I did myself a disservice, too. I refused to accept them as human. I put them up on a pedestal and, in doing so, placed the responsibility of my serenity and happiness upon their shoulders. So, when they fell short of my expectations as was inevitable, I felt betrayed and hurt and that my needs weren't met.
The flip side of this is that I wanted to be this to others. I wanted to their Higher Power. I wanted to fix their lives, I wanted to meet all of their needs, I wanted the responsibility of their serenity and happiness to fall on me. When this was the case, I felt validated and valuable. But, when I felt short of my expectations of perfection, I felt guilty that I had failed others and fearful that this meant I had no value.
In all ways, forcing the responsibility of my recovery and my serenity on others or taking that same responsibility from others and placing it upon my own shoulders only serves to separate me from that serenity that I so desperately sought. Even when I did feel serene in these circumstances, it was often short-lived. Now, in recovery, I know that I was looking externally for a fulfillment of an internal emptiness. In the end, all that could fill that space in me was a Higher Power of my understanding. Thanks to working the Steps with my Sponsor and continuing to practice these principles in all my affairs, when I lose my serenity today, I am able to regain it again when I shift my focus back to my Higher Power and my serenity. Now I am able to do this and as such, I can love and accept the humanity in myself and others and not seek validation from those relationships any longer.
A meditation for June 21, 2013.
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Fear is the path of the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
I used to be afraid of angry people. I used to be afraid of manipulative people. I used to be afraid of liars, too. How funny that I felt I could not feel any compassion for them when I found out, in recovery, that I have engaged in all of those behaviors, myself!
As soon as I found out about this, I feared that I was a bad person, so I got angry and then tried to manipulate people and lie so that they wouldn't find out about this. My Higher Power works in strange ways because it was at this moment that I realized that angry people, manipulative people, liars, etc., are just people that are reacting to their fear. For the first time, I was able to feel compassion rather than fear for others. I was able realize that that my fear of people that display this characteristics often leads to my choosing to display those same characteristics. And by doing that, I continue a cycle of suffering and lack of acceptance.
Today, I will try to accept fear that is mine and fear that belongs others. I will try to accept and have compassion for people (including me) that react to their fears in unhealthy ways – through manipulation, addiction, anger, etc. But I will try to remember that because of my self-awareness, a gift of my recovery program, I can choose differently for me.
A meditation for June 20, 2013.
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For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalms 91:11, King James Bible
I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend when I heard this quote. I was feeling a little insecure and lost in life at the time. While we were in the restaurant, my friend noticed “Pslams 91:11” written nearby and we asked what it referred to. That is when I first heard this quote. In that moment, I felt my Higher Power was reaching out to me to remind me that I am safe and protected. I felt so loved and connected with my Higher Power in that moment that I immediately wrote the quote down.
I begin to seek out addictions (whether that be work, or control, or substances, or what have you) in an effort to fill the hole inside of me that is filled with fear. This quote reminds me that my Higher Power will never lead me where my Higher Power will not protect me. But it also reminds me that when I am scared, I need not reach out to unhealthy avenues to feel fulfilled. If I just allow myself to be open to it, my Higher Power is always taking care of my needs and sending me love and comfort when I most need it.
A meditation for June 19, 2013 Continue reading “protection – a meditation”
Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.
I have a fear of showing my weaknesses. I have a fear of letting others know when I have been less than perfect. I fear that my flaws will set me apart as “less than” and verify that I am not good enough. But when I walked into the meeting rooms of my recovery program, I realized that the only thing that sets me apart as different is when I identify myself as different. It is my own judgment of myself and others the spurs my decision and fear that if anyone really knew me and really knew I was human, I wouldn't be enough. Now that I have worked the Steps (especially Steps 4, 5 and 6) I realize my weaknesses, fears, and vulnerabilities and accept them for what they are. I realized I can accept myself as who I am, for my feelings, fears – everything. And then I can make the conscious choice as to how I act. When I am able to do this, my they are no longer areas which, if pointed to by others, can hurt me. Now, those same characteristics that I used to hide, I use as tools to reach out to others. With my own experience in these ways, I am able to reach out to another person in pain and, by sharing my experience, strength, and hope, help another realize that they are not alone, either.
A meditation for June 13, 2013
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It is not selfish to live the life you want to live, it is selfish to tell others to live the life you want them to live.
– Oscar Wilde
I am often afraid to live my own life. I am afraid of the consequences. I am afraid I will be shown to be wrong. But it is so easy for me to see what others should do in their own lives. I used to think “what bad luck! If only my friend's problem was mine, I'd know EXACTLY what to do!” I find it quite funny, now, because I see that no matter what “problem” I had, I would have felt overwhelmed by it. The reason for this is because I was so emotionally involved in my own life and the consequences of my actions that it was difficult for me to make the right choices.
Now, that I am in a program of recovery, I have learned other tools with which to address my life rather than my old go-to's of denial, avoidance, or control. I am able to see now that when I was trying to control others and tell them how to live their lives, I was measuring their choices by the standards and priorities that I want to apply to my own life. Those standards and priorities only have a place in my own decisions since others have their own standards. That is why I try to stay in my hula hoop and try not to give advice but rather give suggestions when asked. Only I am able to make the right choice for myself just as each person is only able to make the right choices for him- or herself.
A meditation for June 11, 2013.
Continue reading “selfishness – a meditation”