Tag Archives: Recovery

Left Behind

When I first came into recovery in 2009, I attacked recovery with all the fierceness and enthusiasm I bring to everything in my life. Old timers and literature told me that ‘Easy Does It’ & ‘One Step At A Time’, but I didn’t listen. I wanted to be healed, recovered & whole again. I wanted it right now, I was sick & tired of being sick & tired.

I believe that I made quite a lot of progress in my recovery. I worked very hard at it. I worked so hard that I had little energy, time, inspiration left for anything else. And eventually, after two years of ‘recovering’, I had had enough. I couldn’t stomach thoughts of being powerless, of letting go, of nurturing a relationship with God. I wanted to just be, I wanted to take hold and I needed some people in my life.

I left recovery behind. That means I let go my habits of daily gratitude, of prayer and meditation and I stopped watching my behaviour. I left my blog behind and my friends in recovery. Any time I thought about these things, I quickly killed the thoughts and distracted myself with busyness.

Now months later, I find that I need my program in my new life and I need to learn how to integrate its principles in all of my affairs. I have missed all the things I left behind, most of all myself. Right away, I apply gratitude, I let go of that feeling of being left out and I sit down with a cup of tea and tell God all about it.

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Daily Gratitude – Changes

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People say that a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots. They say that people don’t change. It isn’t true. People do change.

People change themselves if they want to. I have wanted to change, and with a lot of hard work and patience, I have changed. I am so grateful that I no longer feel about myself the way I used to. I am grateful that I’m not just a conditioned response.

I am grateful that in the 12 Step program, I found in myself the courage and strength I needed to admit that I’m not perfect and my way of doing things wasn’t working. I’m grateful that I was able to change and that more change is coming.

Change is often a very scary prospect, but with faith and perseverance it pays off in the end.

Back on the Wagon

Last year was the most intense year, in my recent history. My year was full of reasons to stay on the straight and narrow, to immerse myself in 12 Steps and to recover as quickly as possible. I had relationship challenges, partner challenges, family challenges, work challenges, money challenges. By time I got to the end of 2011, I was exhausted and sick of my own feelings & issues.

I took a little break from work and the stresses of life. I managed to have a perfectly peaceful Christmas & New Year. All the family birthday celebrations went off without incident. I thought I had recovered and that 2012 was going to be sweet. I resolved to be less intense, more happy-go-lucky.

It turns out that I only made it 21 days until I realise that recovery isn’t ever going to be something I finish. My feelings are a BIG part of me, and they are going to come, whether I like them or not. Life on life’s terms are going to be good and bad in cycles, I have to accept all of it.

Now that the holiday is over, I have to get back on the wagon. The work begins again. I am back in recovery and taking the very first step.

I admitted I was powerless over feelings – that my life has become unmanageable.

I’m grateful to be back in recovery and I am grateful that through this blog (and the others that I can read again) I am going to connect with other people in recovery – and most specially, my friend T.

 

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Daily Gratitude – Weekends

Today, I am glowing with the effects of having had a really great weekend. The weather was sun shiny and warm. I went out of the city to farm lands about an hour and a half inland to stay with a dear friend.

We spent the days visiting farmers markets, relaxing in the shade, talking for hours on end and eating & drinking to our hearts content. I talked to strangers, made some new friends and generally enjoyed the slow pace of the country side. In the evening we enjoyed the long sunsets and barbecued just in case (we hadn’t already eaten enough).

I am so grateful that I had two days at the end of a stressful week, to relax and unwind, to connect with friends and to recharge my batteries. And in just 5 days time, there will be another one. Rest and de-stressing is an important part of taking care of myself, which is an important part of recovery. So I am very grateful that I had the time to do that this weekend.

 

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Daily Gratitude – Choices

One of the things that I learnt from being in a Recovery Fellowship was that I had choices. Prior to being in recovery, I felt like I had no choices. I felt trapped, cornered, caged. Now I started to see that every time I kept quiet instead of saying what I wanted, I was choosing to not get my needs met. When I did nothing instead of doing something scary, I was choosing to keep things the same.

Having choice isn’t always easy, but it is empowering. It is hard to choose between staying miserable or doing something that scares me, but knowing that it is a choice, prevents me from feeling like a victim. I have preferences and I can choose those over choosing what pleases others. I can choose one thing one day, and something else another day.

I am really grateful that I have choices. I am grateful that I can feel empowered and that I am not a victim of my circumstances. I can choose how I treat people, how I treat myself, what I put into my mind/body. I choose how I spend my time and how I value it.

I am grateful for my choices.

Recovery for Non Believers

When I first came into recovery, I was definitely not a believer. I had worked through my supply of hope and was ready to give up the fight, that was my life. I felt abandoned by the world, my family, God. I vehemently believed that if there was a God (as per the stories that were regularly shoved down my throat), then God was a He and wasn’t around for me, because I was flawed.

When I stopped crying in fellowship meetings long enough to hear the words that were being spoken, I was disappointed to hear talk of Higher Powers because I thought that if I didn’t have a God, I also couldn’t have recovery.

The talks went on and I came to understand that although I had suffered great pain and abandonment as a child, the one inflicting the most pain & abandonment on my grown up, was me. I came to see that I didn’t take good care of myself, I allowed others to treat me badly and I joined in (or led) the devaluing of my work, opinion, time, body, mind, etc. I did all of this because that’s what I learnt to do as a child growing up in a home wrecked by alcoholism & dysfunction. As a grown up I had to take responsibility to parent myself in healthy ways of behaviour & belief.

I began working the steps and while it was really simple to see that my life was unmanageable and that I was powerless to change it, I hit a brick wall at step 2. I didn’t believe that a power greater than myself a) existed or b) cared about me enough, to restore me to sanity. If that was possible, why was I in the situation I was in? If I had not wanted change or something better so desperately, I would have abandoned recovery and carried on my miserable way.

I needed help so badly, that I kept coming back. Anyway, it felt good to be with people that understood what I was feeling. Through listening at fellowship meetings and reading the writings of others in recovery, I realised that I didn’t have to believe that a Higher Power could restore me to sanity, I just had to be willing to believe. I also realised that I didn’t need to know how I could be restored to sanity, just that I could be. It took a few months but eventually I got to a place where I believed that being restored to sanity was possible.

Here I came upon another barrier, I had to turn my life and will over to a God that I really didn’t understand. Some say that the understanding is part of step 3, but I say, even without understanding, we can still progress in recovery. I got a beautiful box out of the cupboard and started writing notes to my ‘higher power’. I asked for strength and clarity and help (with the mosquitos that were keeping me out of sleep that I desperately needed). Slowly, the things that I asked for were being delivered to me. I started getting more sleep at night, I was feeling stronger and started seeing more clearly how to recover.

About a year after I took step 3 for the first time, I revisited the step (read it here) to work out again what I understood about my Higher Power. I also worked out what I could physically do to strengthen my connection to HP Source and the way I do that is by keeping a gratitude journal, leaving notes in my God-box and being out in nature. Through being connected I am developing my belief that I am good enough to love, to save and to be happy.

I am really glad that I didn’t abandon recovery because I didn’t believe in God. My connection with my Higher Power is one of the most precious things in my bag of tricks. I keep revisiting the steps and every time my connection & belief grows stronger.

 

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Advice

A few days ago, I read an article titled The Worst & Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten and it got me thinking about the advice I’ve received over the years. Susannah writes specifically about advice relating to work. I’m thinking about all kinds of advice I’ve received and this is the conclusion that I am coming to:

1) Most often, I am not looking for or asking for advice. Mostly what I want is to be seen, heard and acknowledged. I want someone to say: “Yes, I see that you  feel like that” or “Wow, that really is a difficult problem to solve” or “Oh, would you like a hug?”

2) The reason that I share my challenges and problems is because putting things out of my head into the air (or onto this blog) is how I work it out. I need to say things or write things to know how it feels. If I need to convince someone (read: myself) that I’ve come to the ‘best’ decision, I might need to go over the same ground a few times, until I am sure that I understand how I feel and what the possible reactions will be.

Not everyone does this. Some people work everything out in their heads and then put it out to the world. That doesn’t make me wrong, it makes me, me.

3) About 2 weeks ago I wrote about believing in myself to have the best answers for me, in a post titled Believe. I wrote about how often I take other peoples advice over my own, because of my generally feelings of unworthiness. The crux is that because we can’t possibly know the difference between 2 or 3 outcomes ahead of time, we can’t possibly know that one is better than another, the best that we can hope for is a decision that we can live with. My bottom line is that I have God given wisdom inside of me (Gut Feeling) and the better I get at acting on it, the stronger those feelings get.

4) Sometimes the problems in my life get me so down, and I really would love a knight in shining armor to come in and save me. No, actually this feeling is with me most of the time, and sometimes I surrender to its omnipotent pull. In these times, I look out into the world for other peoples strength, to have the answers for me. I want them to have advice for me and the irony is that in these times, I usually don’t like what they offer, because mostly it requires that I stop being a victim 😦

This is the wounded child in me, the part that needs to be healed, and that is work for a lifetime.

5) Baz Luhrmann gives some great advice on advice:

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.

6) The best advice for me is my own. As I recovery in the 12 Step program, I become more aware of my preferences, I get to know myself. I take responsibility for my choices and decisions. I do the best that I can, and I learn to live with it, because I love myself.

I also learn to love others, which means keeping my advice to myself, unless I am asked for it. I learn to see, hear & acknowledge others and I give them space to work out their problems while I listen respectfully.

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