Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Problems?

Al-Anon has given me a strength, that at one time I would have argued was a weakness. In fact, Al-Anon has given me several strengths, that at one time I would argued were weaknesses.

I want to cover one of these strengths. The strength is knowing that I need a Higher Power or God. That I cannot go through life alone and solve my big problems.

I left God years ago. It wasn't until about three months ago that I realized I was wrong.

How did I realize that I was wrong? In my heart I already knew but it happened solidly one day when . . . My qualifier's alcohol councillor advised me to read and study Step 1. He said, "Read Step 1. Study it. When you are done, study it some more."

I thought he was an idiot. I am dying here, I thought in my best George Kastanza immitation, and he wants me to study Step 1?! Are you friggin' kidding me???

So, against all logic I did. I didn't at first. I avoided it. Then I did and I went and read Step 1 over and over -from the book - "The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," a very dry book (you cannot convince me otherwise, but check in with me six months from now, for I may be eating these words. I have eaten a lot of words. I am now using ketchup and pepper to help the taste of eating humble pie).

I also read Step 1 passages from the "Courage to Change" and "Hope for Today" by looking in the index in the back of these books. I knew I needed something. Anything. Just help me. Help me now.

Then someone said, on this blog, in a comment, "God doesn't give me (us) problems that are we cannot get through." I think I would add, "eventually." And in his timeframe.

Knowing this does provide hope. And provide courage, at least to me. I know several of you, are going through very tough times. There is nothing more lonely than living with an alcoholic or dealing with one who is a child (or any family member facing an addiction).

I started from attending one Al-Anon meeting a week to five and 1o a week. This little thing gave me a lot of serenity. For only in these rooms, do the people who are there, really understand what we are going through and dealing with.

Also, I know in the middle of the night, when I think I am truly alone, God is there too.

I hope this helps you today.

PS - I am still reading Step 1, so I can "give up" control and know that I cannot manage the things that I have no control over.

PPS - "Wisdom to Know the Difference" . . . a line from the Serenity Prayer . . . and knowing we are all human and connected.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We're Controlling? Yeah, right.

I am learning that the more I try to control, that I am really being controlled.

This is the most powerful sentence I will write today. So I could stop right (write) there. But of course, I am codependent and I am verbose. A double whammy. What a nightmare.

Okay. What do I mean about being controlled? Well, let's face facts. Who has been called a "control freak" . . . ? Raise your right hand. Higher. A little higher. The curvature of the earth is preventing me from seeing all those hands.

Okay. That's established. 101% of us have been labeled this by our friends - the qualifiers. But if you dig deeper - past what you are doing to control, and look into how you started to try to control the situation, I'll bet you a dollar (Canadian or US, Euros too), that you can pinpoint it to an event or a statement that caused you to react.

To react.

Those are the two (2) key words. Count 'em if you like. Two.

To react. Yikes. Look and research. Go back over past "encounters."

Next time, try to replace your response with, "Is that so?" Or, "Hmmm." Or "I hear you." And stop. Don't react. Don't empathize (this is a gift and a curse, as I am a BIGGGG empathizer). Don't sympathize. The difference is; "I feel your pain" versus "I am sorry you have pain."

Just let it sit there - that statement or mood or their reaction or behavior. Watch it float around the room you are in, like a separate inanimate object. Try this. It may help you to picture it as an object that you know and that cannot hurt you, like an orange or apple. See it come out their mouths. When they (our button pusher friends), try to push our buttons and cause us to react (which feeds their pain and gets our pain up and running), watch the words, literally come out of their mouths.

I know this may sound a little weird. But it helps us to NOT identify with the harsh criticism or the provocation. It helps to make the words or behavior something a little odd in our minds, like an orange or an apple. See the orange come out of their mouths. "Plop." Right out of their mouths, onto the floor or table. "Plop."

Observe it, like a disinterested third-party. This will help you . . .


Remember, they are trying to push your buttons. If you can stop yourself from reacting, you are no longer being controlled. And the control we usually reply with, no longer needs to be . . . , well, replied with. This is a liberating feeling. And if you're into a little revenge, it pisses them off! :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Just For Today

What a life I have led or lived. I am grateful for all the help so many have given me lately, when I spoke and others sensed I needed help or reassurance at Al-Anon, I got a hug and asked by people to go to lunch.

I am starting to get my act together, slowly, but surely. I realize that after so many years, when I thought I had my act together and I was sincere, that maybe, just maybe, I had this thin veil over my life and over my struggles and my wanting to just be "accepted" and be "appreciated."

I look at the words I typed above, specifically, "get my act together." Jeez, am I being "unhumble" (is that even a word?)?

I am having a good day today. I have prayed all weekend. I had a tough couple of moments when my wife and I (wife = qualifier) engaged. Actually I did not engage, but she tried to. I was pretty happy to see that I could detach with love, and separate from her shots at me. Those shots are her pain. She doesn't want my love. It is strange. I wish she did. It would be so easy for me to fall back into my care-taking role.

Asking If You Want Help Before Giving It
The computer broke - the one we use. I tried to fix it. It was hard. My qualifier's email was not working. Some how I was blamed for that. I offered to fix it. She said, interestly, "no." I normally would have spent four hours trying to fix it - get pissed because computers and software are frustrating. Then fix it. And not a word of thanks. So now, after I asked if she wanted me to fix it, and she said "No" I walked away from it.

Interesting. I like asking if you want help now instead of just helping and not being appreciated.

I have done the same thing with our daughter. I offer help - or I ask, "Do you want me to help?" And when she says, "No" I am okay with it. Before, I would help without anyone requesting it. I would get sucked in, do it for someone, and never be appreciated.

What a relief. I don't have to help everyone! And, I now ask if they need help. What a difference! My life is a little (a lot?) simpler now. What a little tool, with such big pay-offs.

One Step Forward?
This post drifted a little bit today. I am making progress. Two steps forward, sometimes one step back. Sometimes two steps back, one forward. Sometimes I wind up going back to the same square, I guess to learn the lesson all over again. But . . .

If I am standing in the same place, at least I know where I am. (The same with going in a circle)

Friday, April 25, 2008

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Major Responsibilities

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Major Responsibilities

If you have found this website you are invited to join us in a weekend long, Al-Anon Meeting.

The on-line meeting starts Friday evening 4/25/08 and runs to Sunday 4/27/08 evening.

Note: To view this Post and the Comments at the same time, click on the link here ---> (click here). Or you can click on the title of this Post in order to get a better view of the Post and the Comments.

Here are some guidelines ---> Click for Guidelines. Bottom line; say what you want, when you want, as many times as you want, to whomever you want, about whatever you want. Cross-talk is allowed ("cross-talk" is talking to each other, not being "cross" to the other).

This is where we start:

Many of us started shouldering major responsibilities when we were very young. Having had to grow up quickly in an alcoholic or unstable home made us grown-ups faster than we would have liked. But because we had nothing else to compare it to, we did as we had to, and as we were expected.

Having to place the children in an area where they were needed, and put a lot of burden on a young child or children, perhaps made some parents feel guilty and remorseful. Not knowing how to deal with the guilt and the shame, or perhaps dealing with the chaos of an alcoholic, you as a child maybe were treated unaffectionately or you were made to feel unappreciated. This is probably because the main, stable parent was doing all he or she could at the time.

The chaos was too much for the parent. The burden of you the child, may have been stressful, but as children, children are well equipped to "adjust" their little selves to the chaos and pick up the slack around the house. Children are excellent at trying to adjust and cope.

As we grew older, and we no longer needed this skill of "picking up the slack" or "shouldering major responsibilities," this once productive skill set, an asset as a child, turned into a liability as an adult.

So, when we grew up, our little goal seeking mechanism, that is, our mind, or perhaps our subconscious, sought out new situations that provided a safe haven for our ability for shouldering major responsibilities could be put back into use. So, we looked for another person, that could bring us chaos, and allow us to "help" and become the major contributor to fixing the chaos.

What we soon learned, and felt, is our unhappiness of finding us in a situation similar to the one we grew up in. Soon, we become despondent. We become angry, at ourselves and our qualifier, for having to go through this all over again.

We have become great fixers. And we feel we are powerful enough to "fix anything."

But we need to find out, and realize, that we CANNOT fix everything. There are jobs too big for even us to handle.

This is the reading Al-Anon's; "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions."
Others among us, having shouldered major responsibilities, may have found it difficult to let go and to admit powerlessness, over something in our live that we felt must be changed.

This is where I started to find serenity. When I realized I did not have to solve all the problems of the world or the house or the business I am in. That no matter what others problems are, they are really not mine to solve.

And that problems too big for me, are also not mine to solve. These are God's.

Added Later After Initial Post;
I am very, very grateful for Al-Anon. I didn't know how affected I was by my qualifier's drinking and how I had fallen into a caretaker role, insteading of just being, well, caring. I had lost myself. Not totally, but somewhere I was buried. Some may scoff at this, if they heard me say this. But I have, and had put on a great, "I am okay" front. I was dying on the inside. I was lonely, alone, and felt, well, I hate to admit it, "unloved." Now I am beginning to see, life is not supposed to be this way.

I am also grateful to the first steps, that I can get some help. And I don't have to solve every problem. What a relief when I can say, "Okay God, this one's for you to work on."

I was not a big believer in God or a Higher Power before Al-Anon. Wow, have I changed. I just feel a little guilty in saying that, "Because I needed God, I now believe in God." I think I need to rewrite what I just wrote, because this is a profound revelation for and to me;

"Because I needed God, I now believe in God."

I think I needed God's help before. I just didn't want to ask for help, because I would feel like a phoney, since I wasn't sure there was a God. But because my problems had become too big, I had no place else to go and no one else to turn to, who could actually help me. So, I read and reread Step 1 material by looking in the index of the back of the books "Courage to Change" and "Hope for Today." This has helped me quite a bit. And I am forever grateful.

And this is where we begin.

Please post your comments here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Your Own Worst Critic

Thursday's Post - Created Late Wednesday Night
We think that our own worst critic is the alcoholic. Or we think it is the alcoholic's relative(s). We may think it is someone at work. Or someone else.

In all of the above people, the worst critic is none of these listed above.

Our own worst critic is . . . drum roll please!!!

Our own worst critic is, you guessed it, ourselves. It is that little voice we have going off inside our heads trying to remind us that we are "less-than" - and winds up beating down any self-esteem and confidence we have. It goes like this;

"How could you have done such a stupid thing?"

This voice is our voice, but it can be someone elses words. No matter, because it wears us down. And it can replay it over and over. It is this voice and the mental mental images that also get played out in our mind, that make us less-than what we are capable of being and less-than what we want and deserve.

Let me ask you this;

If you had a friend who talked to you the way you talk to yourself, would that person continue to be your friend?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Do I Think? Or Is It Just Happening To Me?

Do I think? Or does thinking just happen?

We all have a little voice going on in our head. Sometimes the little voice runs rampant, depending on the circumstances. Many of us allow the little voice to run around shouting words of fear, anger, worry, pain, and the like. It runs around as naturally as blood circulates in our veins. "It just happens."

In Al-Anon, I have learned that much of the program is "quieting" that little voice or controlling the voice and thought patterns. I hate the word control word now, but I really think the word is a great word in reality, but we can "CONTROL" the voice in our heads.

Obviously, "control" has negative connotations - because we are called "control freaks" and "controlling." I want to say this, about that . . .

Control is a natural outgrowth and coping tool in the chaotic environment we live in, with active alcoholism or inactive. So, first don't allow yourself to feel guilty about this. It is okay to have been controlling. Unfortunately, it slipped into other areas of our lives, and it slipped into areas where we really have no control over. In Al-Anon we learn to recognize this and we learn that it frustrates our relationships, dampens growth in others, and we learn it actually hurts us. It gives us a false sense of self. But . . .

We can control the voice in our head. And we should try!!

Our mind is conditioned by the past. our past is how we were brought up; religion, political party, our thoughts and beliefs about money, sex, people, race, where to live, how to live, cars to buy, clothes to where, hair cut to get, food to eat, food to cook, places to eat, and so on. Can you see and think back to where we got the silliest of ideas and notions?

The Toilet Paper Example (I have your attention don't I?)
These thoughts and previous programming comes even right down to which side of to the toilet paper we hang on the bathroom wall? You know, with the end or beginning of the roll facing toward the wall or away from the wall. Would you believe that I an away from the wall hanger of toilet paper, whereas my qualifier is an in/toward the wall hanger and we EVEN had a discussion that I should hang it her way! AND to tell you the truth I DID! Because it was SO important to her! I laugh now. But, think about our crazy habits and conditioning. We all have them!

So, because our mind is conditioned and conditioned means "habit" to a large degree, we tend to reenact the past again and again. EVEN when we know the desired effects are not possible and the typical effects of the past behavior and thoughts are or can be disastrous! So why not learn to control your mind (or your thoughts)? The term of reenacting the past is called "karma." You know it from Eastern religion/ or philosophy.

Identification With The Voice
We are identifying with the "voice." And often the "voice" is someone we have learned or know to dislike! For example: the voice may be one of our parents. What they said to us when we were small. We now know it is wrong. But we have replayed their "voice" and their "words" in our head for so long that the words are automatic and!!!! - devastating. It can be a voice from a past boss we didn't like. Or a past "friend" who "evaluated" us, and although we knew it (whatever they said, to be untrue, we learned to replay the words over and over again, until we started acting it out. Here are some ideas that might be floating around in your head:

1. You never finish anything you do.
2. You can't cook.
3. Look what you've made me do!
4. How come you can't do anything right?
5. Why are you always late?
6. You're not the brightest bulb in the drawer.
7. How come John can do this and you can't?
8. You're just not good at math.
9. You can't sing (play sports, play an instrument, etc)
10. You're too old (too young, too . . .)

Get it?

But this voice, and these words, are NOT you! You have allowed them to BECOME you! You have allowed the voice to program you thoughts and control your thoughts and control your interactions with others! These are crazy voices - words that are UNTRUE. But because you BELIEVED them to be true, the words fit the patterns and you behaved in a manner fitting these words, and actions and interactions reinforced these words and made them believable, or more believable.

Does this make sense? Does this describe anyone you know?

Positive Affirmations
Would you like to change these patterns? Once you know this - "the past = the future" - you can change by interrupting the mind, and the words, and replace the old words with new words. You can do this by rearranging the words above - and AFFIRM the new positive behavior or thought;

1. I complete the projects and the things that are important to ME.
2. I can cook. I cook great meals.
3. I don't make anyone do anything. People do things on their on accord.

You get the idea? Positive affirmations are excellent.

Going to Al-Anon meetings and discussing the voices and words in our head enlightens us and reminds us that we are not the past. We are not the voice we hear. We can become, positive, more fully functioning human beings.

I hope you see and sense that we have extraordinary possibilities.

I am going to leave this post up a few days, as I think this is key to our recovery.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let Go

Yesterday at an Al-Anon meeting, we talked about "Letting Go." There was a lot of great discussion about how we become "mired" (my word) in the past.

After some reflection and a little reading I came up with a couple of more thoughts. Hopefully these thoughts are a lot more clear than the thoughts I threw out at the meeting.

We all have old habits and old thoughts that are not working for us. They have become so ingrained in us, that they are automatic - like a reflex. First we have to recognize that thought pattern. Once we recognize it, stay in touch with it and see where it pops up during the course of the day. See what triggers this thought. Is is a response to some accusation (real or imagined)? Is is fear? Is it a reaction to a form of anger or non-acceptance?

Typically, we lock onto a belief. We discard other beliefs (usually from other people) that may contradict our belief, which allows us to be "right" - rather than "accurate." There is a huge difference in being right versus being accurate. Right is the ego wanting not to be destroyed. Being accurate is what really is . . . as much as that is possible.

I must examine my thoughts objectively - to see which ones support me in where I want to go, and what I want to become. And discard the ones that are holding me in my older self.

Friday, April 18, 2008

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Step 2

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Step 2 - Came To Believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

If you have found this website you are invited to join us in a weekend long, Al-Anon Meeting.The on-line meeting starts Friday evening 4/18/08 and runs to Sunday 4/20/08 evening.Note: To view this Post and the Comments at the same time, click on the link here ---> (click here). Or you can click on the title of this Post in order to get a better view of the Post and the Comments.

Step 2 suggests that there is a Power greater than we are that can restore us to sanity, whether we are living with active alcoholism or not. Step 2 reaffirms that we may be powerless, but we are not helpless AND WE ARE NOT ALONE. (this comes from Pathways to Recovery, with the caps for emphasis being my own).

For so long, I did not believe in a Higher Power. I did believe that we were all connected some how. I know I have been the beneficiary of goodness, and luck, or synchronicity.

But with alcoholism affecting me and my family (I am the spouse of an alcoholic), I needed some one - some thing - to lean upon. In many ways, I had given up. I began to feel unconfident. I began to get down. My spouse would say mean things, be selfish, and insincere and deceitful.

If I would gain a moment of sanity, I would have 30 moments of insanity with the alcoholic and the ensuing chaos. Soon, with the advent of this program, the numbers started to reverse. I would have more moments of sanity than insanity. I still regret and get bummed out about what is going on in my life and my family's life - and how it is affecting the entire family structure - but I know now I am not helpless. And I have focused on the "I AM NOT ALONE."

I have learned I can call friends in Al-Anon. And I can tell you, there have been some of the kindest and nicest people I have ever, ever met here. They will bend over backwards to help you - they have me - or at least offered. I am still a "newbie" - and therefore I am not good at accepting their help - but I have at times, but clearly not enough.

I learned that when I am truly alone, I am still not alone. I have learned to turn over to God or my HP, things that are just to big for me to be concerned with. I have asked God for forgiveness - for I still make mistakes. I pray for my qualifier, because she is the mother of our child and believe, under the shroud and layers of the disease, a good person. I pray for her to get well. I pray that others see the issue and help us. I pray that our daughter can see what a sane house and family looks like. For this prayer, I ask God for help, several times, at all hours of the night, every night. I also pray that some day, I will be able to stop asking him for help.

I have learned, too, that I am not helpless. And that believing in a power greater than ourselves, and being powerless - is not the same as helpless. Helpless, to me, is just learned hopelessness. Helpless, is giving up. It is becoming, well . . . feeble and weak. This is not to be mistaken with arrogance or a "false self" or being filled with ego.

I realize as it points out in this book, "Pathways," that there are others who too, have experienced these same problems and issues, and that over time, we all can find answers to our own dilemma. The same as other have done.

Step 2, is all about gaining help and sanity through asking for help through a Power greater than us, whether call him God or a Higher Power or a God of our understanding.

I never realized in the beginning of this program how spiritual Al-Anon is, how warm and accepting the people are, and how, if you allow yourself to be worked by the program, how enriching to the human spirit Al-Anon can be.

So, with Step 2, I leave you to comment and post your thoughts, feelings and prayers. And this is where we begin our discussion.

Right versus Wrong

I have been reading - a lot lately - about our "ego." I have seen almost the same words in different books talking about our "ego" - what I would call "our false self." I am not sure if this term is something I just made up, or something that I read, so with apologies to anyone who recognizes it as from someone or some writing - please know that I am not "stealing" or trying to take credit.

"False self" is to me a really good term for our ego - the part of us that wants us to identify with another person, another thing (like money, car, prestige, role, etc.) or a situation and being right. Typically this ego - our false self - gets caught up in a "right versus wrong" approach to life. More accurately - it can come down to this; "I am right and you are wrong."

And it carries to this, if you are right and I am wrong, I am "less than" or "I am bad." Our ego gets us caught up in "positions" . . . and not just "being" . . .

Our true self, is wrapped up or cloaked in our ego. Our ego is a "filter" in which we see the world, and presents us with false information that continues to bolster our "position" or beliefs and tries to make us "right."

If we can "surrender" our rationale for being "right" and not fear that being "wrong" makes us less than or not complete, maybe we can live better lives.

Of course, living in a world encased in alcoholism is difficult, because the alcoholic cannot surrender the ego. In fact, arguing makes their ego stronger and in effect emboldens them to carry on. This is a great reason to detach and not engage. Because not only does it make their ego stronger, it makes our ego stronger. Except when it makes our ego stronger, this actually keeps us from achieving serenity, which is really what we want.

This strengthened ego now affects us and how we deal with people on the outside (not in our home and our children), because of the tension and our frustration of dealing with the alcoholic.

We have to remember this too, that until the alcoholic really reaches freedom from working the Steps, they cannot surrender, and their ego, their false selves, are running their lives, making them "right" and never wrong - because they are in denial and wanting to protect the ego and their addiction. And they are great at making us feel "less than."

We need to not engage and remember we are never "less than!"

Some of the information contained here is derived from The Truth About You (Robert Anthony), The New World (Eckart Tolle), Al-Anon literature and a few others.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Total Forgiveness

What if you forgave everyone who has trespassed against you? Today? What if you forgave everyone, no matter what they did to you?

Why would we do this? Because, we hurt ourselves more, by carrying the resentment around with us.

In releasing everyone, how would that feel? What weights would be lifted off your shoulders?

So, what if you totally forgave everyone, today?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Worry - Part 4 (Self-Fulfilling Prophecy)

Today - you get double WHAMMY. Two posts for the price of one!

Okay, as you all know, my favorite term in the world is, "self-fulfilling prophecy." Every time I see this term I realize how significant a role this plays in my life up to now and every single day.

Your subconscious believes the information you pick up (from sight, smell, sound, etc) and stores is true, whether it is true or not. And each time you replay this event or thought in your head, it gets recorded as reality all over again. This rerecording each time you play it in your head, creates and reinforces a dominant belief. You see, you see things not as they are, but as you perceive them to be. That is, because of past conditioning (what you learned to be true from parents, church, school, politics, etc.), you see things through a lens or filter. You interpret the information based upon your beliefs and this reinforces and supports what you already believe in. Does this make sense? THIS IS SO TERRIBLY IMPORTANT.

In other words, if there is conflicting information that goes against what you already "know" as true, you discard it. You discard it out of hand. In 90% of the time, you discard it so quickly, you don't even know that you've tossed it aside, no matter how much you believe you are "open to new ideas."

And so with worry, we tend to look for the worry situation, and act out, and look for the "events" or "patterns" that would reinforce the thing we are worried about.

Here is an example; Let's say your believe your boss does not like you. So, you watch her eyes. She doesn't look at you. Now you know she doesn't like you. Now you ask her how her day is. She says, "It's fine." as she scoots past you in the hallway. She really doesn't have time for you - you say to yourself. This reinforces your nervousness. You now begin to worry about it. You replay the event over and over. You tell your friend of this matter. And of course, not being a trained therapist, they say something like, "Maybe you should look for another job" or "Maybe you should have said, "Hello" this way or that way. This doesn't help because now you are really screwed up. You practice saying "Hellow" now. You sound like a moron. You say "Hellow" now to her and she looks at you wondering if you swallowed a cat, because this doesn't sound like you any more. You see her face and you interpret it as "Jeez I sound like a moron." Now you replay this event in your head.

You don't ask her how she is the next time, because "she doesn't have time for you" or "you don't want to sound like a moron" - so your thinking goes. She (the boss) now wonders, "What the heck is up with her?" You now see that face and interpret it negatively of course.

Now you are insane with fret. So of course you do the next logical thing, you don't look at her at the next meeting. She (the boss) wonders, "Why is she so obstinate?" Now it comes time for you to present to her. You know she doesn't like you. She now thinks you don't like her.

In another meeting it's your turn to present your stuff. She doesn't like what you are presenting, or she says something that you interpret as not liking the entire presentation and in reality, it's just the one message, and . . .

"Voila!" You are now in trouble, because you redo the entire prez. And she now doesn't like any of it. And, again, "Tres voila!" You be in trouble girl-friend.

Do you see this in your life - any where? I do!

Worry - Part 3

Worry is a choice. Did you ever think of worry as being a choice? Or did you think it was automatic and natural?

Worry is a choice, that we select, and maybe, have selected for years. Many of our thinking patterns are choices, but have been selected so many times that the thinking pattern such as worry, occurs "automatically."

We need to break the worry habit. And we have to stop the hamster wheel in our brains from running out of control.

What we worry about just about never occurs that way we think it will turn out. What we are doing is projecting the past, on to the future. Our previous experience makes us worry what could happen.

How can you prevent worry? Or reduce worry? First, recognize it as a thought pattern. Stop right then and there and see it as such. Look at it detached in your mind's eye. See the worry as a "thing" or an object. This will help you detach from it. This actually helps.

Second, decide if there is something you can do about it. If there is, take the preventive measures that it does not affect you (or your loved ones).

If it is someone else's worry, you cannot worry for them.

If you cannot do something about the worry, then, turn it over to God or your HP. He will worry about it.

One more thing about worry from the Orient. "You cannot prevent birds of worry from flying around your head, but can stop them from making nests in your hair."

Got it? Fleeting thoughts are normal. Having them roost in your brain can be disastrous.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Worry - Part 2 (My Formula to Eliminate It?)

At Al-Anon we are provided tools and new thoughts to deal with the worry we sometimes have. At one meeting we talked about "Change" and dealing with "crap." I think "crap" was the euphemism for "Problems." Although the word, "crap," may be a more offensive word - I think it is more accurate.

I was surprised how many people spoke of getting up in the morning and dreading the day. They got up thinking about problems. I thought about this several times over the past week or so since this meeting. Why was it that people got up in the morning thinking about problems and worrying about the crap? Why was this their first thought of the day?

And, did I used to think about the crap or dread the day? Truthfully, I think I did. I think I used to think about the problems I was faced with.

But more importantly, why didn't I think I think about problems or dread the day any more?

These questions are extremely personal - and what I mean by this is - I am not judging myself as better than those who think about problems when they first get up in the morning. I am just trying to figure out when and where I made that shift - from thinking about problems to thinking about and doing - "jumping out of the bed" excited about the day.

Yes, getting out of the bed has been a little tougher lately, due to the problem I am facing.

But, I do not worry or dread the day. Why?

I am thinking this out loud this morning - "Why?"

I think I do a few things that may help you. It is important that I recognize that when I don't do them, my morning is off kilter (what the hell is a kilter?). My morning is like the static on an old TV (remember before we had cable?). These two sentences are meant to reinforce to me to make sure I do these. The most important one is the subject of today's post.

Read Something Inspirational for One Hour Each Morning
First, and I know this has been a life saving event for me, is that I get up early, every morning, including Saturday and Sunday. I mean, by 5AM (sure, some days are tougher, especially when there is real chaos in the house).

So why do I get up soooo early - some may ask. I do this to start my day out with reading of something "inspirational" - something "personally motivational." I reprogram my mind. I get up and study or read - if you prefer -something that is "enlightening" for at least, and I mean at least, an hour. This one thing, has turned my life around from negativity to being positive and optimistic. It has helped me build my self-esteem and my bank account. It has provided me new friends and new thoughts and views of the world. I cannot say enough about it. I can also say that humbly, I still make make mistakes and do and say stupid things. I just don't do as many as I used to - and - I feel good about myself!

But this one thing, has allowed me to gain peace. In some ways it is my meditation. It has allowed me to see the world of one of problems, to seeing the world of one of opportunities.

I first started this about - 18 years ago? I cannot remember exactly. But, I can tell you I was too poor to buy my own books, so I used to go to the library and take home five to 10 books at a time. I would first study books on leadership, management, time management, sales, marketing and self-help. These were my subjects that I was trying to improve in.

I do think this is where I went from dreading the day and thinking about problems to literally jumping out of bed with excitement that this time was mine and that I would have this all to myself.

Try this and see if it works for you. Again, I do this every day, so it has become a habit, a ritual, in my life;

Here are some finer points;

  1. Set your clock 30 minutes earlier than you typically wake up. Then a week from now set it another 30 minutes earlier than this. You'll get used to it. You may have to go to bed a little earlier at night. I now get up without an alarm clock.
  2. Find some very exciting book you think you would enjoy. Don't read something fictional, or something that is a downer. This is the "rudder of your day" time. It is the time of the day that you can determine which way to sail - north or south. I say - "go North" (i.e. positive).
  3. I do this before the sun comes up. I love to watch the sun come up. It is a thing of beauty. I try to sit near a window facing the sun coming up (this is my little deal - may not apply to you.).
  4. I sit with a spiral notebook and take notes. It's a cheap notebook. But what this does is a double whammy - I read and write. It focused my brain on the subject and forces me to see and think things I normally would skip over if I was :just" reading. This in and of itself is SUPER powerful. Even if you never go back and reread your notes, you will be surprised how this little thing helps you!
  5. The notebook thing - #4 above . . . this also keeps your mind from wandering. Even if you rewrite whole passages - verbatim - from the book. Try it.
  6. I drink coffee and ice water. The coffee gets me going. The water, I am not sure why I drink so much water. I just do. This one here - #6, is purely what I do. Probably not important.
  7. I do this before anyone is up in the house, or the hotel I am staying in. I do not have a problem going to a McDonald's or Starbucks - even when there are 20 people running around - it's different than when people are running around you that you know, however.

I get such a kick out the morning now. Try this and see.

By the way, the book that I would recommend is a Robert Anthony book. See over to the right of this blog for the titles. Also, any Brian Tracy book. A good one is Maximum Achievement. This is a book about thinking and the universal laws of life.

There are many other books. Perhaps, you can share your books you have found enjoyable.

Good Luck this morning!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Worry - Part 1

At Al-Anon we learn to try not to worry. As I posted before, there are several things that have helped me from "attempting to predict the future, negatively." This - "Attempting to predict the future, negatively" - is my term for worry - that does nothing but make us upset, causes stress in the present, (the right now), and perhaps, even causes the very thing we are worried about to occur (more on this later).

A worrying consciousness helps create a future of sickness, lack and limitation and even poverty. Worrying is "mind poverty." It is poor thinking. It is thinking in the present about the future in a negative manner.

Problems Thrive In the Past and the Future
As a side note, while worry looks forward about the future, we also have the evil twin sister of worry which is "blame." Blame is negative too. However, blame looks backward. Blame looks backward at the past. Looking backward and blaming someone or something that happened to you, is destructive, because it looks at something that cannot be undone. Blame feeds its sister, Worry, because now, Blame whispers to Worry, "What if this happens again?" And the sister, Worry takes over and begins to project the perceived negative past on to the future.

Take a moment and reread that before reading any more.

Does this describe anyone we know? How about, "anyone you know?"

Crazy when we think about this isn't it? We are spending the present thinking about stuff that hasn't happened yet and thinking about stuff that already occurred that cannot be changed.

Constructive Tools To Eliminate Worry
Here are some tools to help you over come "worry" or negatively predicting the future;
1. Look down at you feet. See that they are firmly planted in the PRESENT. Do what you can and think about - those things you can do right now.
2. Reframe the past. What problems occurred that you can REFRAME to be considered opportunities of learning (a.k.a. lessons learned) that will help you in the PRESENT?
3. It will work out. Remember this one? An Al-Anon colleague said, "It will either work out, . . . or, . . . It will work out." When I say this I am able to stop thinking negatively, and breath a little deeper. It works for me. I hope this works for you.
4. God, or if you prefer, your HP, has the plan. He is going to run the Master Plan as he sees fit, for the advantage and benefit of all involved. If you turn your worry over to him, he is big enough to handle the worry. It's his job. It's a 24 by 7 duty, that he has assigned to himself.
5. We worried yesterday, about what? Have you ever looked back at what you were worried about yesterday? Can you remember a year ago? How about five years ago? Do you recall all those things you thought you could never get through? Now, what about these things today?
6. Practice "constructive worry elimination." This is my term for thinking about worry in a more positive light. Such as; "If I lose my job, maybe I will get a better one, and this will be my chance to do what I love to do." Or, "If I lose this relationship, maybe I will have a chance to meet someone and do some things I would never have been able to do." Do you get the drift? You can even be more specific, such as; "If I lose this account, I know it will be tough for a few weeks, but it will free up two hours a day, to allow me to try and win over these other, better accounts (clients)."

Give up worrying. Worrying is negative goal setting (more on this later - perhaps tomorrow). Worrying has no future in it.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Al-Anon Online: Solitude

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Solitude
If you have found this website you are invited to join us in a weekend long, Al-Anon Meeting.The on-line meeting starts Friday evening 4/11/08 and runs to Sunday 4/13/08 evening.

Note: To view this post and the comments at the same time, click on the link here (click here) in order to get a better view.

I do not practice meditation enough. I do cherish my quiet times. I have a crazy schedule at work, and sometimes - if I allow it to be - a stressful life. When I do "go into the silence" I can find some sanity.

This weekend I would like for us to talk and discuss what we do or can do or better WILL DO to gain more control around our mind and our reactions. Those of you in an active addiction home, may find this interesting, that many who are in similar situations, are find time for themselves. Meditating or going into the silence may seem or sound weird, but it is really very therapeutic.

I am going to go off track here and bring in a guest speaker by the name of Brian Tracy. He has great programs for business professionals. I have known of Brian Tracy for years. I am not trying to sell his programs, as he has none for people who are living with the disease. He does have programs for becoming excellent in Leadership, Work, Management etc.

However, and I mean this - the only reason why I am placing his words here is because of their therapeutic value for us who are living and coping with the disease and looking for strength, courage and hope.

Here is our guest Brian Tracy
The greatest men and women of all ages have practiced solitude regularly. They learned how to use silence to still their minds and tap into their superconscious powers for answers to their questions.

The Magic of Solitude
Your feelings, your emotions, are the access point to your inner powers of mind. The most important part in the process of getting in touch with your feelings is to begin to practice solitude on a regular basis. Solitude is the most powerful activity in which you can engage. Men and women who practice it correctly and on a regular basis never fail to be amazed at the difference it makes in their lives.

Most people have never practiced solitude. Most people have never sat down quietly by themselves for any period of time in their entire lives. Most people are so busy being busy, doing something-even watching television-that it's highly unusual for them to simply sit, deliberately, and do nothing. But as Catherine Ponder points out, "Men and women begin to become great when they begin to take time quietly by themselves, when they begin to practice solitude."

And here's the method you can use.

To get the full benefit of your periods of solitude, you must sit quietly for at least 30 to 60 minutes at a time. If you haven't done it before, it will take the first 25 minutes or so for you to stop fidgeting and moving around. You'll almost have to hold yourself physically in your seat. You'll have an almost irresistible desire to get up and do something. But you must persist.
Solitude requires that you sit quietly, perfectly still, back and head erect, eyes open, without cigarettes, candy, writing materials, music or any interruptions whatsoever for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.

Become completely relaxed, and breathe deeply. Just let your mind flow. Don't deliberately try to think about anything. The harder you "don't try," the more powerfully it works. After 20 or 25 minutes, you'll begin to feel deeply relaxed. You'll begin to experience a flow of energy coming into your mind and body.

You'll have a tremendous sense of well-being. At this point, you'll be ready to get the full benefit of these moments of contemplation.

The River of Ideas
The incredible thing about solitude is that if it is done correctly, it works just about 100 percent of the time. While you're sitting there, a stream, a river, of ideas will flow through your mind. You'll think about countless subjects in an uncontrolled stream of consciousness. Your job is just to relax and listen to your inner voice.

At a certain stage during your period of solitude, the answers to the most pressing difficulties facing you will emerge quietly and clearly, like a boat putting gently to the side of a lake. The answer that you seek will come to you so clearly and it will feel so perfect that you'll experience a deep sense of gratitude and contentment.

Trusting Yourself
When you emerge from this period of quiet, you must do exactly what has come to you. It may involve dealing with a human situation. It may involve starting something or quitting something. Whatever it is, when you follow the guidance that you received in solitude, it will turn out to be exactly the right thing to do. Everything will be OK. And it will usually work out far better than you could have imagined. Just try it and see.

You must learn to trust yourself. You must develop the habit of listening to yourself and then acting on the guidance you receive.

Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

  • First, select a specific time and place to sit quietly and practice one full hour of solitude. Don't put it off.
  • Second, take small periods of silence and solitude during the day, especially when you feel overwhelmed with problems or responsibilities.
  • Third, take action immediately on the ideas and insights you receive while in solitude. One good idea can save you months and years of hard work. The key is trust.


Here is where we can begin. If you have ways that you focus on yourself and try to relax, release and let go, or other things that you have learned that have helped you, please make you post here.

Or if you have a burning desire or burning issue, please ask for help here as well!



fForgiveness - In Al-Anon this is one of the tools we use to help us. Sounds strange doesn't it? "To help us."

A Simple, Effective, Powerful Tool
Forgiveness. A powerful tool that if used properly can fill you with abundance, joy and peace. You see, forgiveness is the opposite of resentment. Forgiveness allows us to release the anger and the trespasses that we feel people have made against us.

Hanging on to the anger, the feeling that we have been trespassed is another powerful addiction. As soon as we hang onto one feeling of anger and allow it to reside within our bodies, we soon find another person's actions or words have harmed us. And we allow it to reside there too. This action becomes easier for us each time. Soon it becomes a habit.

Sow a thought; reap an action.
Sow an action; reap a habit.
Sow a habit; reap a character.
Sow a character; reap a destiny.

A Sack of Poison
Soon we are carrying this sack full of poison within us - despising our so called "enemies" for what they have done that has "harmed us." The problem with this is our little sack of poison starts to leak. It leaks into other relationships. It make us see the world with distrusting eyes. And soon, we begin to see actions that just "are," as actions meant to harm us.

The resentment poisons our bodies. It causes other illnesses. It causes our blood pressure to go up. It causes us to be anxious, stressful and tense most of the time. We become frightened and fear what others "may" say to us. Or we may fear what others will say about us to someone else.

Give up resentments this morning. Practice forgiving and forgiveness's. Let the past bury the past - and let the dead bury the dead, as they say. What happened in the past is the past. Not a thing you can do to change it.

Wipe the Slate Clean
Today, decide to wipe the slate clean of all past grievances. Say, "I give up and release everyone and anything that I felt hurt me." See the picture of a slate or chalk board in your mind, with all those grievances written on the board. And then, one by one, give them up by erasing them, saying, "I release everyone and anything that I felt has hurt me. I let go of the past, and what cannot be undone and I look to today, at what can be done."

Actions to Get Rid of Harder Past Grievances
If you have a grievance that you cannot just let go, here are three actions that I think can help;

  1. Go to the other person and let them know you were hurt. And tell them, that you harbored anger toward them. And that you love them just them same and you have let go of the anger (or trespass.)
  2. Write a letter saying how you were hurt and how you harbored the hurt/anger. And how you are releasing it. You can write it and decide whether to mail it.
  3. You can write these on a piece of paper. Go to the backyard and put a match to it. As it burns, watch it burn away and symbolically, feel your resentment dissipate.
Sone people may recoil when you tell them. Some may say, "What are you talking about?" And they may really have no clue they said something that was hurtful. Others may say, "You are weird." And others, those who are in the active addiction, may not care or understand what you are talking about.

You don't have to tell anyone who you are doing this for and in fact shouldn't. It loses it power AND your telling other why you are doing this, is another form of our "disease" of needing to justify our actions and get validation/approval from others. But this is the another topic!

Knowing the reactions going into forgiving, may allow you to see and understand that you are not doing this for them.

Just for You
Forgiveness, if you like, is a purely selfish act (by the way, selfish is OK in this case!). It is for you, the forgiver. It is not for the other person. When you let go and release, you will feel better and closer to your God or your Higher Power.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Recovery

Revised afternoon of Wednesday
As I recover, I am seeing how much I am dependent on another person's acceptance of me. I am beginning to see how much I try and have tried to gain this person's acceptance and try to have this person care for me. I see there is little caring about others in this addictive relationship, there is only the ego - or the will of this other person and the will to be seen by others outside the family as good and caring. It is an unfortunate situation this addiction and the need for both of us to have validation from others. In certain ways, in truth, I wanted her to get her validation from me, and that validation would be love and acceptance and recognition that I am a worthy and good person. My excuse could be, "that is what marriage is about, isn't it?"

I work hard. I do my best to be a good husband and my best as a good father. But I am not in a normal relationship. The addiction of my spouse has made me sick in a way. And that sickness was trying to gain acceptance and love she could not give. Now that I am gaining clarity, I am seeing more of the issue and how this is now affecting my daughter - our daughter - and how she is looking for acceptance and love. The issue of addiction is not understood by the layperson, the person outside the sphere of this addiction.

I am seeing that for the first time, how my gut is twisted when my wife, my qualifier, is not there for caring and compassion. And that the less she gave, the more I gave. The more I gave, the reciprocity of love and compassion and giving turned my caring into "caretaker" and no longer being caring. I kept on giving until the relationship was so lopsided that everything revolved around my qualifier.

Now I am trying to make sure that my daughter does not fall in the same cycle. This is a cycle of co-dependency and looking for love and acceptance from someone who may not be able to provide this in the normal way. This in turn could create an unnatural response creating the same cycle I got caught up in.

In reality, I think, if my qualifier recovers, the addiction may subside. But the addiction is so, soooo, powerful, that it takes over everything, like weeds in a garden, and eventually strangles every other plant and robs others of their nutrients. And we, the other flowers or plants, die of malnutrition or starvation of love and acceptance.

What an addictive cycle. The more we don't get or receive, the more we give. And the more we give, the more we expect. Still no change - we get no more, but we continue to give, expecting, hoping, needing, wanting, a return or reciprocal relationship.

The power of this addiction results in an out of balance family, with the focus and center of attention on the addict. A "normal" family is where both parents are working together and the center of attention is on the children -but not such that the children are given everything asked for, which breeds entitlements [my opinion].

We must stop by removing the addict and addiction from the center of our attention. This is the only thing we can do. So, to do this, we must focus on ourselves, focus on our children and allow the addict to, well, this might not sound compassionate, focus on whatever they tend to focus on, and not allow it to become any of our business.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Al-Anon gave me detachment. As I have been practicing detachment I have learned that I can be indifferent to what someone says. I used to "react" to what everyone or anyone said. I would react either in a verbal response or I would feel a response within my body.

But lately I have had some very different reactions . . . or should I say, "non-reactions."

When I can keep "me" from being "attached" to something, I find I do not react if someone says something negative or distressing about it. That is, if I keep myself detached from the object or what is being said, I find I can look at what is said, and what is being said about the "object" of discussion, and who is actually saying it, in its proper perspective.

I find there are two triggers in not being able to detach.

  1. First, there may be someone that I just don't like. When someone I don't like, or I view as negative or attacking, I could have a negative reaction to whatever they say. It would not even matter what they said. I would just associate whatever they were saying - as negatvie. There is a second side to this. If there was someone I liked or respected, whatever they said, I would find this positive.
  2. A second trigger could be something - an object - as some part of me. Usually this is because I put some effort or some time or my passion into the object. The object could be a letter, a proposal, the paint color I chose for a room. Some how I could get my "pride" or "ego" involved and the object would become part of "me." Now this is impossible physically as we all know. But who has not felt this at one time or another.

If I can be calm, look at what is said and who is saying it, and see what is said as not "me" I can be detached and not be offended.

Being detached is an interesting thing. You can almost literally watch words go by you. You can sit objectively and say, "Isn't that interesting. I am not being hit with these words. They just go by me."

I picked up a book everyone in the world has apparently read but me. I picked up Eckart Tolle's A New Earth. It talks about detachment and how the ego makes us "one" with certain objects. A great book. It provides information on how we become "attached" and how we can never find peace.

Now, this New Earth book, is not a book for people who are in the strife of alcoholism. But it does help in detaching and understanding how we can detach better.

I also have found that just because someone says something about me to me or about me to others, I am less likely to feel bad. This detachment thing is pretty cool. I do have my slips however, as I found my button(s) being pushed the other day by my qualifier. I only attached though, when I responded (reacted). That is, I felt emotionally charged when I responded. The response made me attach to what was said. Interesting . . . The next time, I will not respond. Therefore, I will not have attached to what was being said.

I hope this helps with detachment - More on this later -

Monday, April 7, 2008

How To Improve Your Attitude

I am writing about something that we all know. We may have lost this little gift, along the road of recovery or trying to gain sanity.

It is the simple and free concept of gratitude.

I studied happiness a little while ago. One of the books that came out of the study was from the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Martin Seligman. He studied and researched happiness along with his students, assistants and other colleagues and found something startling.

It wasn't money that brought happiness. It wasn't success at work. It wasn't a certain religion. Or a certain nationality. Nor was it a lot of other things.

But the major factor contributing to happiness was this one word and attitude. It was . . .


Gratitude. An attitude of being thankful for the things we have, had, and can do. Gratitude for the life that we have, even though it might be hell on earth for some who are dealing with immense pain, it is the ability to get away and count your blessings.

An Al-Anon friend told me to create a list of things I am grateful for. Starting with my arms. My eyes. My ears. The roof over my head. The ability to see, think, hear, talk, and so on.

It is the small things that really are large that we take for granted.

While some of us are not in the same place others are in, that is we have pain in terms of our emotions, finances, and family, this concepts may seem like a bunch of malarkey right now. I can tell you truthfully, at the time my Al-Anon friend told me to do this, I couldn't.

But now I can. I started my list. I am amazed at how small it is right now. I am still working on it though, adding things to it on a daily basis.

Peace to all this week.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On-lIne Al-Anon Meeting Topic: Fear of Losing Something

On-line Weekend Al-Anon Meeting on; Fear of Losing Something
If you have found this website you are invited to join us in a weekend long, Al-Anon Meeting.

The on-line meeting starts Friday evening 4/04/08 and runs to Sunday 4/06/08 evening.

Note: To view this post and the comments at the same time, click on the link here (click here) in order to get a better view of the original blog post and the comments.

Recently I came across a meeting that spoke of Fear. It was from a recent Men's Meeting. I want to read this passage from "Hope for Today," April 13.


Before I came into Al-Anon, my attitudes were based on fear. I cast all my doubts and feelings of unworthiness onto other people. I set myself up as a victim. I always acted upon my anxiety, and I was forever reacting. Most times my reactions came in the form of blaming, running, or freezing. When I blamed others, I didn't have to feel my deep sense of shame. I ran because facing my fear and hurt seemed too difficult. I froze because frozen hearts cannot feel pain.

Al-Anon gave me a fresh way to view my life. I no longer choose to be a victim. Now I choose how I act, how I think, and how I feel about any situation that arise. I can choose fear, or I can choose love. Fear keeps me shut off and unhealed. Love opens me up and heals me. Today I choose love.

Choosing love means I stay away from physically, emotionally, or spiritually unhealthy situations. I no longer accept unacceptable situations. I no longer accept unacceptable behavior. I love myself enough to walk away from hurtful people and relationships. I look at my part in situations, own mistakes, and change my behavior. Choosing love means I accept and embrace my humanity and that of others. Then, with my Higher Power's help, I can see the defects and weaknesses with compassion, which brings me release, joy, and serenity.

Thought for Today
If I look for fear, I'll find fear. If I look for love, I'll find love. Which one do I choose to seek today?


In the Men's Meeting I referred to above, one of the men pointed out that Fear can be fear of getting what I want or fear of losing what I have. Two, opposite and opposing thoughts.

Another man said, "I can't be afraid of losing something I wasn't supposed to have."

I notice when I act out of fear rather than love, I am out of balance with people. Fear is negative. Love is positive. The definition of "love" that I am using doesn't mean the love we know from romance. I am using "love" in the sense of compassion and caring, giving and knowing that when you give, you have an infinite supply, not a limited supply.

Fear causes us to react. And usually in a negative way.

So, this weekend's on-line meeting is about fear, and how perhaps, we can all benefit from changing our fear-based reactions to love-based compassionate acts.

On-lIne Al-Anon Meeting Topic

Anyone interested in hosting this weekend's online Al-Anon Meeting? Anyone have a good topic?

Welcome all ideas.

You can leave a comment.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It Will Work Out or . . .

At Al-Anon meetings we keep the focus on ourselves, and not the alcoholic. This can be hard to do, especially when we are living with the disease and it is active. It is harder even still, when there are little children involved. This - I know - firsthand.

So, I hope I can provide you with strength, hope and courage - every morning and every day from my posts. Today I want to post a comment I picked up and wrote down from a recent meeting.

One wise man said, "When I was worried about something I had no control over, I called my sponsor. He listened to what I was worrying about and then said, 'Here's what will happen. One of two things will happen. It will either, work out . . . or, it will, work out.'"

Interesting. If we know things will just work out, that we have no control over some things and that, the God of our understanding, will oversee this for us, this can be freeing.

In Step 1 we learn and relearn - we are "powerless over alcohol" and that our lives have become "unmanageable." Once we know this one thing, once we have admitted and committed this one thing over to memory and not react or respond to everyone and everything, we can begin to see we need something greater than ourselves, to turn all this stuff over to. We can begin to see that there has to be a God (or a Higher Power if you prefer). That God, or our HP, doesn't care what we call him or her. That the God of our understanding is there - always there and doesn't get caught up in the petty words we chose to call him or her - i.e. whether we call him God or our HP. He just is.

This is new to me, this turning things over to God or our Higher Power. I am realizing for the first time, that I have carried too much, for too many people, for too long. I couldn't possibly be and do everything for everyone else. I used to think everything was my responsibility to solve. Now, I admit, I did draw the line when it came to politics, world hunger, and foreign affairs. But in matters surrounding work and family, I was there, ready to carry the whole ball of wax.

Whether we go to church or not, God is there. He is always there for us and waiting to help, if we ask and we just allow ourselves to ask for help.

He may not answer our call exactly as we want it to be and may not answer it in the time frame we desire, but it will be answered in the way it is supposed to be.

After all, either it will . . . work out or, it will . . . work out.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Self-Esteem & Your Problems

In Al-Anon we learn to focus on ourselves. We learn that taking care of ourselves in not a selfish act in a negative way. That taking care of ourselves means we can become better and help others differently than the way we were taking care of others before Al-Anon.

I talk a lot about self-esteem in this blog. Self-esteem is about you feeling good about you. Or said another way, "I like myself, I truly like myself." Now try and say that 10 times a day before going off to work!

Say it! Repeat it in the shower! "I like myself. I like myself. I truly like myself!" This may feel uncomfortable at first. But after a while you will find that this really feels good. Say it in front of a mirror in the morning and you can't help but smile.

This little "trick" or "tool" really does work, by the way. Keep it simple as Al-Anon literature says. And this is really simple.

Let's get back to self-esteem and it's definition. I think you'll find these next section interesting, because it will provide insight into us and how we think or at least remind us, how we can think differently, if not better when we go forth into our day.

Our Problems
What if I told you, that, almost all our problems are a result, directly or indirectly of how "YOU feel about your SELF?"

It has been proven that you can never feel better than your own self-esteem. This means how you feel about yourself in relation to others, is based upon your level of self-acceptance. Here are a couple of thoughts around problems in our self-esteem;

  • You hang around the people you feel worthy of hanging around.
  • You do things for yourself less, when you don't feel good about yourself.
  • You tend to replay negative events in your mind AFTER they already occurred if you are not feeling good about yourself.
  • You tend to replay events negatively BEFORE they occur if you are not feeling good about yourself.
  • You tend to put others feeling first, before or even at the sacrafice of your own needs.
  • You tend to think how are other people going to react today or what are they going to think about this or that or you and them.

Interesting couple of bullet points. I am sure we can all relate to these. And I am sure there are some that are not there that may be playing in your head today or even right now.

But what if you just eliminated these thoughts? That's right. ELIMINATE them right now.

If you did, would your day be a little more peaceful? A little more calm?

Well, let's start with the, "I like myself" mantra this morning, and in fact, this mantra every day. Emile Coue - a French psychologist curing tuberculosis patients had his patients say, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better." He had all his patients say this over and over. Now I am not sure if he had them chant in unison or not (that was a little joke), but his patients got well faster than the other groups of patients.

So, if this worked for his patients, why not try "I like myself?" What have we got to lose? A few words spoken. Say it out loud with enthusiasm and you will gain a major impact. You may not want to say this in the elevator on the way to work this today. Or you may, because it might be interesting and entertaining to watch the reactions of others!

And let's start ELIMINATING the negative thoughts we have - starting with those in the bullet points above.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You Are Perfect

In Al-Anon one of the messages is to focus on yourself. Another message is be kind and compassionate to yourself.

I have stated several places in this blog that who we are is perfect. You may be saying to yourself, "No I am not! Look what you did this morning. Look what you said yesterday. Remember that nasty little thought you had, what about that?"

These messages play in our heads all the time. These messages play in a lot of peoples' heads, not just Al-Anon members. These are negative messages that derail us and make us feel inferior or inadequate. We need to STOP them. We need to eliminate this habit of thinking negatively about ourselves. We have been programmed to think that this is okay to think this way. We've done this type of thinking for so long that is natural for us to beat ourselves up.

So stick with this: you are perfect. Still feel this is impossible? Okay, well listen up.

What you DO may not be perfect. Separate who you are from what you do. You are not your project at work. So if your project bombed, it's not you who bombed. If your day yesterday was crappy, the day is not you. Maybe your relationship sucks. You are not necessarily the relationship. There is no rule out there that says your relationship is you and you were meant to make this work.

Sometimes we are stuck in this thinking because we leave our inside voices and get into the heads of others and start playing what they may be thinking of us.

Read that one again!

Sometimes we are stuck in this thinking because we leave our inside voices and get into the heads of others and start playing what they may be thinking of us.

How in the world are we going across the room or across the city or state or country and putting ourselves in other people's heads and having us put our thoughts of their thinking about about us in them? What?!

And, oh by the way . . . why does it have to be negative?

And, oh by the way . . . who cares what they think about us?

Now, someone may say, "That's not right. That's uncaring!" So I would ask, "For whom?" "Is it uncaring for them or you?"

I think, when we beat ourselves up, by saying , "Look what I've done . . . ", we start in our heads by thinking about what others might be thinking about us. We worry about their thinking, and why? Because they might not accept us. And then everything we do is aimed at them accepting us (liking us; saying "We're OK").

Now, if you want a guilt trip, I am going to give it to you. If you are so worried about what other people think, and therefore start doing what you think would make others think better of you, is that truly "authentic?"

You see, I know a secret about you (us).

We desire to be authentic. Genuine. Trustworthy. Real.

The only way for us to be authentic, is to do what we can, the best we can, without harm to others and without harm to ourselves. Be yourself. You are perfect. We may not always do things perfectly. But hey, tough darts, that's the fun and beauty of being on this little round, hairball planet, called Earth.