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!



Anonymous said...

I tryed today to have solitude I took a walk to the park with my dog I wanted that peace for myself Well i prayed i was determined that i wasnt going to allow my qualifier to get to me. I have been so depressed all week not able to study not able to live right I decided to just be at peace Boomerang There he was with his pitifully self making up a story and i say story how he was sick and how he passed out on the floor from anxiety and he needed to go to the doctors Okay but i didnt want to take him then i wanted to just study Well one thing lead to another I believed him almost felt sorry for him Low and behold he spent or i should say our money spent eight dollars at the doctors sixteen for his prescription Oh good old oxycodone he is in pain at times with Hep C. I am sorry but anyone who is in recovery or is off of alchol need not take a pain killer opiate whatever It is addicting I just had it So i got literally sucked into this anxiety angry it just takes over He doesnt work he is a disable vet not totally oh he has Ptsd whatever I just think he has excuses So solitude i dont get it I shouldnt threaten but i have had it. Two days ago we went to counseling It was good but i still feel that deep in my spirit i have alot of angry towards him and it never ever goes away because he continues to do the same thing I am becoming this demon and i have so much angry and axiety that i am getting sick So i just cant I am asking begging literally for someone to say here do this give suggestion anything I have been in program but i am having a bad week I am financial strapped I just want to finish school but not once in my life can i find someone that i can count on I am literally looking for that break. So if anyone has any suggestions please write.

Anonymous said...

I read the entry today just before leaving my office to take my daily walk. Walking has been a form of solitude for me resulting in a form of meditation or a mental check listing of the day's activities and tomorrow's agenda. I get the added bonus of exercise which makes me feel better about myself. Your description of solitude coupled with meditation sounds intriguing. I am going to give the outlined exercise a try before this session is over and report back. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:32, I am so sorry you are dealing with so much. I don't feel qualified to give advice, but I'll throw my reactions to your words out there and you can decide if anything helps. The first thing (and I think Joe has written about this elsewhere in his blog) is about listening to your intuition. You started to react according to your intuition (you sensed he was making up a story, you didn't want to take him to the doctor) but then it's like you second-guessed yourself. I think those of us living w/alcoholics do that a lot, along with giving up our own wants and needs (your need to study, to save money, to not be dragged into his drama) in favor of what the alcoholic wants.

Is there someplace you can go to get some solitude, time & space to study? Even just the library, or a friend's house? Or just to McDonalds for a cup of coffee and sit there and study for a while?

I understand the anger and anxiety. I've gotten so that I'm angry at everything. I think the anger is a reaction to not having control, and also to not getting your basic needs met (need for stability, peace, reliability, safety).

You know how people talk about a cornered animal being dangerous? It's because the animal is being threatened. I think that not getting our basic needs met is a type of threat. Someone who is interfering with our meeting our own basic needs is a threat, and we react with anger and anxiety.

I think I know how you feel: You are helping him, but where is the person who is going to help you? I don't know the answer to that, except that in order to help ourselves, we have to reserve some energy. Which means helping the qualifier less. It doesn't mean they have fewer demands--they just have to find some other way to get their demands met.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 5:32pm:

I feel your pain and I know somehow things WILL get better for you. "Not once in my life can I find someone that I can count on"....I have walked in those shoes.

I finally learned to relax and let go of a lot of my anger/craziness when I drastically lowered my expectations of my alcoholic husband. I began to expect nothing in the way of help from him, because that was about all I was getting anyway, so it was merely a matter of me looking at my life through a different lens. As soon as I "detached" and stopped relying on him to do what I wanted/needed him to do (spend time with us as a family, help around the house, etc.), that one change opened the door a little crack and let a bit of serenity/peace of mind into my life. That in turn allowed me to listen more to my "inner voice".

The simplest thing I have learned to do to relax is to just BREATHE. When I find myself engaged in a repetitive circular pattern of thinking about possible negative outcomes, I find that my abdominal muscles are tight and I am holding my breath or I am not breathing properly. The simple act of deep slow diaphragmatic breathing for two to five minutes in a quiet place (turn off the tv at home, or radio if in the car) always improves my attitude at least a little. And then I ask myself, "do I need to take action on this now, or am I just Reacting?" Nine times out of ten it is something that I do not need to make a decision about right at that moment, and I am just Reacting. Most things in life you can say, "I need to sleep on it" before a decision needs to be made. And sometimes I "sleep on it" for more than one night. The right answer comes to me eventually now that I have figured out how to lessen (if not totally eliminate) that burning anger/craziness/sick anxiety so my inner voice can be heard. Oh yeah, I make myself do regular excercise (at least 30 min 3x week) and this has helped me A LOT.


Anonymous said...

Joe, I have to say that the idea of doing nothing kind of blew my mind. Seeing the topic was Solitude, I thought, well, I get time alone when I go running, or when I read a book... But as I read further I thought, There is never a time when I stop DOING. Even in a yoga class, I am still doing something, my mind is racing, I'm even impatient and find it hard to calm down the way that one should.

So the idea of doing nothing for a while is certainly a challenge. I'll give it a try.

Anonymous said...

I believe that I am going to practice this exercise everyday! I had a horrific argument this morning with my qualifier who at the time of the argument was sober. A lot of finger pointing was occurring as to who did what to whom and what each of our contributions were to a problem that needed resolution. The problem evolved into all problems we have ever faced including alcoholism. I made a proclamation that I would address my issues of organizing "stuff" provided he made a similar proclamation of addressing his alcoholism. I pointed out that we had never worked as a team to resolve problems. He agreed. I began working on my resolution to organize my "stuff" and took a break after several hours to do the exercise in the solitude posting. How about a flood of consciousness, if I may be so bold. Anyway, I am going to sit down tonight with my qualifier, if he is sober, and make a list of goals with a sublisting of how we should approach acheiving them. If he is not sober or is unwilling to engage in this activity I will be doing this exercise on my own. I have a sense that the list may take a different slant if I am in fact doing it on my own.

Patti said...

I am a newcomer to Al-Anon and am glad I read this blog. I have not attended an Al-Anon meeting yet but have ordered some books on-line. My husband is now 120 days sober. My mind is constantly racing and I feel at times that I am losing my sanity. I will definately try this exercise of solitude and know that I need to take the time alone to meditate. I feel like so much has changed in my life since my qualifier has been sober and am trying to deal with it but am finding it hard to concentrate at home or when at work. Although I know it is a daily struggle for my qualifier and will do anything to help I feel so alone and out of sorts. Maybe through this exercise of solitude I will find some strength and answers.

Anonymous said...

I went to my first Al-Anon meeting 2 1/2 months ago out of sheer desperation. I was a wreck after 18 years of marriage to an alcoholic and discovering that my 37 year-old son is a raging alcoholic.

Like most everyone, I was looking for answers to helping me cure those around me. I also had some very snobby preconceived notions about what Al-Anon is. I was wrong on both counts.

The best thing I have ever done in my whole life was to walk into that meeting and keep going back. Between going to meetings, reading the books, and participating in this blog, I am rapidly making peace with my life. It's a fast start which is sure to slow down, but will always move in a positive direction as long as I keep going back.

There's nothing to lose by going. You are not alone. Good luck to you.