Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Was I Worried About

Well, following up, I went to dinner with the President and the people in the office. Actually, everyone had a really good time (me too).

While I didn't drink, three others didn't either. I wasn't counting - but I do recall this as I scan from memory around the table.

Today I am making a change - when you rent a house and the house is for sale - the house can be sold!

Well, I am moving. Moving is stressful. Divorce is stressful. Raising a child is stressful. Work is stressful. Or is it?

I need to make a mind shift. Whenever I get into this state, somewhere along the way I am able to shift my thinking.

Actually, all the above is - life. And many of the things are change and the change is always for the better. Each time - and I really mean this - I think God has forgotten about me and has heaped something else on my plate - is has - I believe - always been for the good.

I have found that each and every time something huge has come along - it always worked out for the better. Now with a program I can use the tools. I am using Step 1, 2 and 3 - on everyone of these. And I am remembering - "It will either work out or . . . . it will work out."

At Al-Anon on Tuesday I shared my plight at a meeting after I blogged. There wasn't a discussion leader and I was asked as I was walking into the meeting if I wanted to lead the discussion. Being a good helper I said "Yes, of course."

I was given the book "How Al-Anon Works" and I believe it is chapter 11 that discusses detachment and - I remember the word/term "becoming enmeshed" or "enmeshment." That is what I am feeling and sensing myself doing. I become wrapped up in work - and I see myself and work as one, the same. I am work. I am a person too who becomes wrapped up into someone else liking me. Even though I deny it.

I must work on detachment more. I thought I had this one - but obviously I don't.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Purpose of My Life

The purpose of my life is . . .

I used to think it to be a success; have money; have recognition; and this one is the scariest to admit - TO BE LOVED.

Hmmmmm . . . .

I am thinking about the "to be loved" part. I am writing free flow right now. I am letting my thoughts come through the typing. It doesn't work for me as well as "just writing in a notebook." I have to think where the keys are. What makes it more difficult is a I got a new laptop at work and going back and forth between the two laptops is making my typing a little fumbled.

Back to recovery.

I guess this might be true. Money is to take care of my self and feel secure. Recognition is to feel like I am worthy and worthwhile.

But I am changing. I can feel it but recently, with work, and the fact that maybe I have gone out with a "woman friend" with some other people. I will use "date" for shorthand. With the "date" thing - I feel I cannot be myself totally. I have to "entertain" - by being funny and interesting with the opposite sex and smart and experienced at work.

I am funny - sometimes. It is just hard to be funny non-stop. Maybe the word is "fun."

Regarding smart at work - well, I know my business. But as a manager, I have to coach and "cross boundaries" and get people to do things differently - because what they are doing is not working.

These two things are - I am afraid - keeping me from my true purpose - or what I believe my true purpose is today.

My true purpose is - and this is because of Al-Anon - to experience as many "highs" as possible. AND - if possible - stay consistently high.

To me, high is being is harmony with life, my inner thoughts, and my outer actions and behaviors. It means living the truth about me and who I am and what I believe in. Telling the truth about how I feel and what I want and frankly . . . I like seeing others laugh and seeing/hearing me laugh too.

Something about a good laugh. And at least a smile.

I am having a problem with a little couple of "white lies" I have told at work and on a date. I cannot tell about my wife's issue, and my "issues" - I am in recovery. While I don't drink, tonight I have to go out with a new boss and new colleagues for dinner. And they are going to drink. I was told this at the office the other day - "Expect a lot of drinking."

When I told my "date" this the other night and she said, "Pour a glass of coke and pretend you are drinking too." She meant no harm, but I prefer not to do this. So I heard her answer and I regret - frankly - opening up and revealing a part of me to someone else. I feel exposed. I sense, and feel, a little judged.

I prefer to tell people tonight, "No thanks. I am not drinking." And, frankly, go home around 9PM - at the very latest. Because the longer I stay out, the more exposed I am going to become to these "new people." They will drink. There guards will be down, and they will ask questions. I am worried. That's what I am, that they will cross boundaries and try to expose parts of me I am unwilling to expose. Hell, I don't even want to expose certain parts of me to me.

Also - my "date" the other night asked me how old I was. I danced around this several times. Why did I do that? Because I was trying to be funny. My answer was, "Between 17 and 75." She couldn't leave that alone. I said, "Okay, 17. Your a molester." That got a good laugh. But she pressed. I danced around it - why? I felt like I was being exposed again. I thought it was a "boundary crossing" question. But why? She was just trying to find out a "normal" item between two people. My dancing around the question made the question even more important.

Just before I revealed the "truth" about my age - she tried to guess. She thought I was about 8 years younger than I was. I don't think she was trying to "make me feel good" because I could tell she was not believing the truth when I told her. Is this good or bad? I am in pretty good shape. And I have all my teeth. I even have a pimple or two once in a while.

But still this bothers me. In fact, this dating question bothers me more than work stuff.

I am also afraid of becoming "enmeshed" again. I don't want to date someone and become dependent upon their feelings affecting how I react or feel about them.

I can almost feel my insecurities coming up - wanting to tell this person - we should probably not go out again. The enmeshment part bothers me. If I don't date - I know I cannot become enmeshed.

Back to the purpose of this post - the purpose of my life: These little "normal day-to-day" things are speed bumps (or roadblocks) to my purpose - trying to be in harmony with life stuff and/or be serene or have serenity.

I just realized - I am not living in moment. I am projecting ahead. These are my thoughts: will tonight be a pain? And will I reveal too much about myself? And the other with dating; will I be accepted?

Okay. If I remember not to run too far into the future. If I can remember I have a Higher Power who loves and accepts me no matter what. If I can remember to "Live one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time . . . " I will stay centered and in the Present.

I am breathing a little deeper now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emotional Dependency

I am reading about emotional dependency this morning. Yep. Me. Emotional dependency. If you met me you'd say, "He wrote that?! Are you friggin' kidding me?"

Yep. Me.

Here is what is ringing in my ears;

Emotional dependency comes from our need to right and our need for approval. It comes out our need to feel loved and the need to be taken care of.

I consider myself to be "self-reliant." Hmmmm . . . Am I?

I crossed myself up with the thoughts of being "rich" or "well-off" with "self-reliant." When I read Emerson's essay on Self Reliance I read it from the stand point of money. I probably need to go back to it and read it with some different eye-glasses this time.

Here's what else I am reading regarding emotional dependency;

Tension arises when we want something from someone else.

If I think about it this is true. If I want recognition for my work at the office, I can feel the tension. If they don't recognize me or praise me, then I feel this tension of being "dissed" or "forgotten" or "not approved."

What if I knew I was loved? What if I knew that no matter what, I was approved of? What if I felt this deep in my heart and soul, that no matter what, I would be "okay?"

When I think about these three questions and hold the thoughts and the feelings within me, I feel less tension. I breath deeper. In fact, I am breathing deeper as I type this sentence, since I just typed those three questions.

What if you wrote these questions out in your journal? (By the way; GET A JOURNAL!!!).

Well, try it and see. Hold the thought in your mind. Write the questions out again. What if . . .

Then respond to the questions; I would feel this way about myself. I would act this way toward others. I would not look to others for their approval or best - their opinion of my work or me.

Funny. I just wrote something in that last sentence; "their opinion of my work." I know this is wrong but I do it. I transfer "me" and my self-worth with my work or more truthfully, how others deem my work. I knew this before. But this morning it strikes me differently. Maybe it rings deeper in my head as being ridiculous.

What I know today and I am working on is that the answers to these questions for me involve my Higher Power. If my HP approves of me DEEPLY and if I truly feel this, I feel better about me. Same with the other questions. When I feel my HP is there, then I feel better. I know, I will be okay no matter what happens. My HP works, as long I give faith. I wrote "give" not "have." That is interesting . . . Hmmmmm again.

New Topic - Sort of . . .
I have heard in Al-Anon people saying "I always find people who are 'emotionally unavailable.'" Interesting statement. I think because the term "emotionally unavailable" sounds clever, we mistake that this is a correct statement then. Just because it sounds clever - does not make it right. Now here is where I am in boundaries bordering areas where I have no clue of what I am talking about - but here it goes . . .

What if . . . the "emotionally unavailable" is our issue? What if they are not supposed to give us "our emotional satisfaction" and that in fact, that this is healthy? What if we did find someone who was "emotionally available" and what if in reality - that this meant we got our supposed "self-worth" from them? I think this would be in fact, slipping out of recovery and into "emotional dependency" and therefore - MAYBE - this person IS right for us, it's just that they are different than people we "dated" or "hung around with" before. And that MAYBE, it is us that needs to change and realize that this is part of our recovery . . .? I put a question mark there because I do not know if this is true or not or accurate or not. But I am going to think about this today and throw this out in an Al-Anon meeting soon to see what I hear back.

Just because it is a clever saying - don't accept it as true - is all I can say that I know is true!

And - I am not saying "Hang out with people who make you feel like crap." I am saying, "Hang out with people who allow you to be you. Hang out with people that do not judge you or others. Hang out with people who allow you to pick up your own shit. Hang out with people that want to encourage you to grow - be you - and have a program."

That's all for today. Keep the faith. Hope for Today. Faith in the future. We are ALL going to alright.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"That's weird."

Okay. This may not be the place for this. But, hey, it's my story and it is a little interesting.

I went out the other night. Without too much detail, I had dinner with a woman. Yep.

So, she orders a glass of wine. Red wine. A Cabernet (is that supposed to capitalized?).

I order my drink. A big glass of ice water. With lemon. I sometimes order two. At the same time. I was trying to impress, so I only ordered one. I order two when I have been out for a run a few hours before any dinner to save the waiter/waitress the time going back and forth refilling my glass (a true Al-Anoner aren't I? Thinking of the waiter!).

So, this woman says, "Aren't you going to have a drink?"

I say, "Nope. I don't drink."

She says, "Why is that?"

I say, "I stopped about a year and half ago. I saw what it has done to some people that have become addicted to alcohol, and I didn't want to take the chance of it affecting me."

She says, "Do you have a problem drinking?"

I say, "Nope. Just don't want to drink."

She says, "That's weird."

In truth, she may have said, "You're weird." And in truth, she's right. I am weird. I have idiosyncrasies all over the place.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. Not the being called "You're weird" thing - but that has happened to me before too.

A few weeks ago, in Chicago, I was out to dinner with a group of business people who were looking at the wine list. They picked something expensive to drink and expense (which I have always had a problem with - the drinking an expensive bottle of wine and expensing it thing. I always felt like I was ripping off the company).

Anyway, the wine was brought over and the waiter/wine pourer guy, started his pouring job. I said, "No thanks."

One guy asked me after the second round, or second bottle, "Why don't you drink?" My reply was, "I stopped drinking about a year and half ago. It made me sluggish. And I didn't like the feeling the next day." This started a whole conversation on drinking and the effects of red wine versus white wine, versus drinking mixed drinks versus beer.

A few weeks before that, I went to dinner with a few friends and this lady sat across from me. She saw I wasn't drinking and offered me a sip of her beer. I have no idea why, although we were joking around with each other.

I said "No thanks."

She asked, "Don't you like beer?"

I said, (it was right before the Olympics), "I am in training for the Olympics. And I need to maintain a regimen of high calibre liquids."

She replied, "Oh really? Which event are you training for?" (She was definitely serious)

I replied, "Boxing. I am a boxer. And I am going over to Beijing for the boxing events and if possible a Boxer Rebellion Reunion ceremony."

I don't think my humor was catching on to her. But the guy next to her was starting in. He said, "Oh yes. How is the boxing training coming along?"

I said, "Good. But I misplaced my Gold Medal from the 2004 Olympics."

It was funny to me. Now, granted, if I have a glass of wine, beer or Scotch, it would have been in all likelihood a whole lot funnier.

I am now at a loss for making the excuse as to why I don't drink - that is, I can no longer use the Olympics as an excuse or reason as to why I don't drink any more.

I am being pressured by old friends saying, "Joe, you don't have a problem."

I make a lot of people VERY uncomfortable that I don't drink. And I of course, go out of my way saying it's perfectly okay for you to drink. It doesn't bother me if you do.

I stopped drinking when my soon to be ex-wife and I went to therapy and he asked her if she had a problem drinking. She of course said, "No, not I." He said, "Try not drinking for six weeks." In my Al-Anoner way, I said, I would stop drinking - to show my luv and support."

I thought she would blow right through the six weeks without a drop - proving that she was right although I knew she had a problem!!! It bothered me that it was only a six week test. It needed to be longer. I was wrong. Second day - she was drinking.

I - however - stopped.

I "kept it stopped" when my wife went to rehab and I heard a lady say this in the rehab center and it scared the crud out of me. If you get nothing else from this blog ever - this is probably the most defining thing I have learned about alcohol and it being cunning and baffling and how it still scares me.

It was when she said this:

"My father was an alcoholic. I married an alcoholic. I divorced him and remarried. My second husband became an alcoholic. I divorced again. Then my son became an alcoholic. I am, now 52 (she looked 72), and now here I am. In rehab. And I am the alcoholic.

I said, to myself, "Holy SHIT!!"

I asked the rehab counsellor "how this could happen?" He (a member of AA himself) "I don't know."

I asked, "Could this alcoholic button switch on for me too at some age?"

He said, "I don't know."

I said, "Should I keep off the alcohol?"

He said, "I don't know."

"Damn", I thought. I don't want this to happen to me. So, I stopped.

That's my story. Albeit - a long one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts. Some of these quotes came directly from Al-Anon meetings this past week.

  • "It will either work out . . . Or . . . It will work out." I love this quote. It is the ultimate to Steps 1, 2 and 3. It is NOT an Al-Anon slogan
  • "Figuring things out, is not an Al-Anon slogan." In other words, we don't have to figure something out, why someone acts a certain way or what they think, etc. It is letting go!
  • When we where a certain smile, act a certain way, we maybe do this to please others. We need to examine this. If it impacts us or suppresses us . . . and it almost certainly does, it may not be good for us.
  • Sometimes we set up "little Gods" in our lives, and they become authority figures for us. We tend to "look up" to them, and secretly seek out their approval, by telling them what they want to hear, trying to behave and speak a certain way and/or wonder what they want or think about us.
  • Remember: What we do and what we have is separate from what we are inside.
  • We think if we do enough, have enough and get enough, we will be OK (or whole, complete, perfect). But we are already OK. We are already whole, complete and perfect - because of our HP.
  • "We are perfect" (spiritually if you really have a problem with this statement). However what we do may not always be perfect.

Have a good day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Getting Approval

Day before yesterday, my soon to be ex-wife and I were supposedly talking about finances - actually taxes.

She began blaming me for the divorce and actually started accusing me of making her drink. She went on to citing an example of me trying to create stress that would cause her to drink.

I listened and my defensiveness started to rise. But another part of my disease, the desire to seek approval and be deemed as "worthy" and "nice" and "good" also kicked in.

In my disease - I want to be "accepted" and deemed "a good person." In my heart, most of the time, I know I am a nice/good guy. I know intellectually that I do not need to be "accepted." But old habits are hard to break.

As my wife went on a rage on the phone with me, I was pretty calm - a surprising thing as I type this to you. In the past, I would have raged back - I think. But still, I tried to interrupt and tell her she was putting perceptions of what occurred and making them facts in her mind. I tried several times to tell her that I did not do those specific things and certainly did not do them with the intention to drive her to drink. (This is the first thing I did that I didn't have to do)

I told her - then and there - that this is part of the disease, blaming someone else and not accepting responsibility. (This is the second thing I did that I didn't have to do).

She hung up the phone.

In my disease, I was now hooked. So I called her back. I was getting obsessed with fixing this wrong perception and trying to show that I am OK (not right - I am 99% sure I wasn't trying to be right).

We spoke briefly and she hung up. It was like she knew she had me.

I - of course - redialed. She did not pick up and I left a message on the answering machine.

I started to call her cell phone, when the program kicked in. It said, "You are obsessed. Stop. You are trying to gain acceptance from someone who can't give it. Second and more importantly, you don't need it - you are already accepted and okay."

But there was an anger underneath the surface too. So the program kicked in again and said, "Call your sponsor."

So I called my sponsor. As soon as I started telling him what had happened, I was laughing at my behavior.

I get hooked each time by not getting some one's approval. Maybe not always. But it is there - right under the surface.

Damn. I want to be liked by everyone and thought highly of. Well, at least I recognize it and I have a program!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts are being posted here today. I decided a while ago that sometimes statements without explanation may be a good way to get and achieve serenity.

Here are some random thoughts and statements I have pulled from one of the books I am reading - that I believe can be aligned to Step 1 - Being Powerless and Unmanageable.

Here they are;

  • Don't minimize preparation or the importance of believing in your abilities. Lack of faith in yourself, manifested by the inclination to minimize your abilities, accounts for the difference between capability and performance.
  • By relaxing and controlling nothing but yourself, you can deal with the most complex situations.
  • Problems arise when you seek specific results by trying to control and manipulate others.
  • Thoughts precede events. In fact, events are panted in advance in thoughts.
  • Explaining circumstances as results of your own thoughts, rather than saying they are due to fate or outside forces, reduces dependency and gives you options to change your life.
  • To overcome difficulties, you need only concentrate in what you have done that may have brought about specific events.
  • Only effort will increase your strength and awareness of your potential. In time, you may realize that your impact on the world often derives not from what you do but from what you don't do.
  • You maximize your capacity to influence the world around you by gaining awareness and control of your automatic responses to the demands of others.. By delaying your responses, you can consciously decide how you will act. Action, not reaction, becomes the secret of success.
  • Concentrate on the resources you have, not on what you don't have or lack, in order to develop your potential and talents.
  • Learn to trust your intuition and follow you hunches.
  • Only you hold and have the answer to the meaning of your life. You need not seek solutions from others in matters where you and only you may have the answer.
  • Don't assume others have better qualifications to determine your objectives.
  • Study and preparation helps you by making you more aware of what is happening and how you are consciously and unconsciously perceive the world.

Have a great day and peace to you today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Increasing Our Dependence On Others

Dependence, Self-Reliance, Opinions of others, Focusing outside ourselves

In my recovery, looking back, I have seen how I increasingly depended upon others opinions and feelings about issues, and frankly about me. I fell into a trap. I was stuck. I did not know what to do.

Now, here comes my ego. I am - not a dependent person - as I say this (write this) - I wonder if this is really true. In my business life, I have run consulting organizations with 300 and 400 people nationally. BFD! BTW. (translated - it is BIG F Deal, by the way).

I write this only because I see how this disease has tricked me into thinking "I am less than." Hell - f' n - O. Is anyone home? My head went into overdrive, into thinking "I was wrong." My perceptions were right - but because the disease is so strong - I lost confidence to trust myself. So, I sought out the opinions of others - or worse - I worried about what others thought of me. My self-confidence was at an all time low.

Now, I am regaining ground.

With this disease, I want to write about what I read this morning. It comes from Ari Kiev - and it is not about alcoholism and its effects. But it is about dependence and self-reliance.

"The increase population and an apparent scarcity of the jobs, residences and rewards, which creates a vicious cycle of increasing dependence on the opinions of others. Stop accepting the necessity of obtaining the things you feel you must have. Th moment you begin to live below your means or at a level where you can maintain control over your life without economic dependency and insecurity, that moment you gain personal freedom.

Don't discuss your decisions to change with anyone who has an inclination to resist change. He will prove insensitive to our desire. Even listening to the "experts" may weaken your courage to act. This would attest only to your suggestibility; it would not mean that your original decision was invalid. Sounding out others for reassurance does not eliminate anxiety of decision-making. In fact, if you discuss crucial matter with unqualified people, you may create more anxiety and confusion for yourself. You have added their uncertainty to your own."

Interesting thought for me this morning. With alcoholism, I was more uncertain. Well-meaning people gave me advice. They gave me looks too, - that I interpreted as positive or negative and this made me more uncertain.

And now with the economy a little crazy right now, it is easy for us (me) to become more worried and more uncertain.

I need to remember:
Focus on myself
Control what I can control
Let go of what I cannot control
Turn over what I cannot to my Higher Power
Have Faith. Hope for today. Faith for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Training My Mind

Al Anon, Self Help, Mind Training

I have always been a firm believer that I can just about anything if I train my mind. Yes - train.

Think about that for a minute. Usually when I read words like this - I say, "Yes, of course. I can train my mind." Maybe you do to. Think about this a little differently today. And I hope by using this analogy, I will help you.

Think of a puppy. Yep. A dog. Think about this puppy yipping, running a little wild, and - I'm sorry - but here it comes - peeing all around your house. Yep. Peeing. Going to the bathroom. All over.

Well - that is your mind. Running around, yipping and peeing (or worse - but let's not get vulgar) all around your house - er, your mind. Now sometimes this little mind of yours (ours/mine) is very playful and I believe that's okay, but it would be better if you could control your mind to be playful WHEN you wish it to play - not at random.

I read - somewhere - that "The mind is a great servant, but horrible master." Think and reflect on this statement.

A great servant. You mean, it is my servant? It does not order me around? Yep. That's right. But we've never been taught that it is our servant. We've been taught - maybe not directly - that the mind is in control. Well, that maybe partially true. But there is a big part of our mind that runs rampant, out of control. But there is another part, that wants to control that part of our mind - or should I say - CAN control. We just have to make it a habit - to control and eliminate this crazy thinking, random thought process.

This crazy part of our minds, worries, conjures up fears, and worse, plays these out in our minds. I am sitting in a hotel now, but there is some quote from I think it was Mark Twain, that talks about 90 percent of my fears never occurred.

I found this one from Mr. Twain;
Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. ~Mark Twain

Anyway - how do you stop fear and worry?

Answer? Easy - look for the initial signs as the thought enters your mind. And then - recognize it (Awareness) - and - eliminate it through self-talk. Say "Stop. You are not going to enter my mind." And then laugh at it. And say, "There you are!" Making it a joke or laughing, and doing this one little thing - as a habit - can help you recognize this coming in. Seeing - visualizing - this part of your mind - the voice coming in from someone you don't care for - and visualizing their face and then taking a Sharpie Marker (you know - the one that never erases off furniture or the white board) and drawing a clown's face on the person as the person is talking fear and worry in your mind - (draw a big clown's nose, Bozo red hair, and BIG ears etc.) will help you. TRUST ME on this.

And laugh as it tries to enter.

Then turn away to something else more positive or a list of actions you have to get done in the next hour.

Getting busy - one of the key terms in Al-Anon - is what leads us to happiness, for happiness is a by-product of doing something else. If you aim for happiness - in my little opinion and what I have read and researched - you will have difficulty in finding it. If you focus on the efforts of the things you have to do - aiming toward what you desire - but again - focusing on the efforts and finding joy in the efforts - this can lead to happiness.

Eliminating negativity starts with training your mind. Yep. Training. Back to the puppy analogy. Maybe not my best analogy. Maybe it is. But you hopefully now understand, you are the MASTER and no longer have to be servant to it getting fed bad food (thoughts).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Getting A Sponsor

Al-Anon, Sponsor, Sponsorship

When I first came to Al-Anon, I heard about this "sponsorship" thing a lot. I didn't want a sponsor because I thought "I was waaaay too smart for anyone to teach me anything." Plus, I thought - deep down - I don't want to "burden" anyone with my feeble foibles. And, how in the world would I explain what the hell is happening in my life.

Well, one day, a guy raised his hand when they asked who was willing to be sponsors. I heard him talk before and so I asked him later to be my sponsor. When we talked I was appalled to find out "how different he was than I." He was; a stay at home dad for the main thing, never traveled in his job, not in the"corporate world," and he was - well - physically different - as I am very tall.

This difference - was my ego talking - basically saying - "This is not going to work Joe. What the hell are you doing???"

I never called him. The "burden" of calling - and sharing my "troubles" were too much for me to allow myself to share what I thought would be things I could address "ALL BY MYSELF." For I am not a weak person - "I AM STRONG and POWERFUL." And - could HANDLE ANYTHING.

He called me one night. Amazing. I was dying. Under the burden of alcoholism - I was; lonely, tired, frustrated, and frankly - lost.

Four months later - maybe six - from the night he called me - I called him asking for advice about what to feed my child and get him/her off of pasta. I was on my way to an Al-Anon meeting at the time when I called and we talked. I had separated from my spouse a few months before, and I had joint custody. He explained what he had done and what he was doing. He said - "Every Wednesday is pasta night. This way they know what to expect and when to expect it."

The solution was so simple - of course - I thought. Then I thought - "Isn't this interesting." Seven or eight months ago when I first met him - I thought "we couldn't be more different" . . .

Now I thought - I am a "stay at home dad too" and my higher power or God - had placed this sponsor in front of me eight months ago and I had no clue how this would turn out. AND fortunately, it turned out for the good.

It turns out we are more similar in other areas too. I trust my sponsor. Even when he "criticizes" me in some form, I know he is doing it in a loving way - and he has the best interests for me and no hidden agenda. I say "criticizes" - only to mean this - I do something or I am about to do something - well - frankly - stupid - he asks me some pointed questions. I go - "oh yeah . . . that is not being honest or acting with utmost integrity." I figure it out by his questions and also - listening to myself "think outloud."

I am indebted to my sponsor. He is beginning to know me. I am beginning to admit things I never could or would admit to someone else. He gives me guidance sometimes, but most of the time, he listens, and when I talk, I hear myself and I hear the answer or I hear where I am steering off course.

Here is my message; If you do not have a sponsor, get one. Find a temporary sponsor, if you have to. They are free. They are invaluable.

AND . . .

We wind up helping them as much or if not more than they help us!! And we all are fixers and helpers - and that can be our "reason" to getting one and being honest - in order to trick ourselves into getting help for ourselves!!!

PEACE today. Hope for Today. Faith for Tomorrow