Category Archives: Blogs
One of the things that helps me most in recovery is reading how other recovering bloggers work their program. We each work the 12 steps but our journey is an individual one. I am so grateful that in 1976 when I went to a home for recovering females that I was forced to work as a group each day on step work. We also had individual therapy, group therapy, AA meetings in the home, AA meetings outside the home, and did all the physical work of making the home work. I like to include excerpts from 3 different bloggers to widen the opportunities for others to find new blogs and ideas to keep the recovery journey alive.
1. From Sharon W, one of my favorite bloggers, writing on her blog, codependentlife.com, “Fighting the Attitude Disease“:
“To me, my recovery journey is all about the transformation in me, in my thoughts, and how I live my life. Over the years I have learned and relearned many things about myself. Without a doubt one of the most difficult things for me do is to retrain negative thoughts or feelings into something good. Their has been many situations that I have analyzed, prayed about and believed that I had overcome, and then out of the blue, something will happen, and stinking thinking will broad side me when I least expected it too.”
“I use to beat myself up when that happened. As far as I am concerned living it the first time was more than enough, and I did not want the hurts of my past sabotaging my life anymore. I have come to realize that when I am ambushed like that that it is a conditioned reflex of what I call temporary insanity. The reason I call it temporary insanity is because it is temporary. I can usually work myself out of it in a short time whereas in the past it consumed and obsessed my whole life.”
“This happens to me when I am most vulnerable; when I am physically exhausted, when I am under a lot of stress and I have not had an opportunity to recharge my physical and emotional batteries. My husband’s disease is alcoholism. My disease is stinking thinking, (attitudism), distorted thinking, (beliefism & perceptionism). But most people called it codependency.”
2. From Art Mowle, another favorite, writing on his blog, Drinking for a Lifetime, “Simple Things“:
“Last night, after a beautiful lunch with family and loved ones for my sobriety “birthday”, I couldn’t help but wonder how had I made it for 8 years? What had I done to stay sober for this amount of time? Was it just luck? Had I just had enough? What was the secret, so I can share it with everyone tomorrow?”
“The most important thing that I have done is, giving my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. When I do that regularly I seem to feel better, in the same way it does for others. Letting God run the show is much easier than doing it myself.”
“After that, it’s simple. My sobriety is actually dependent on me doing simple things over, and over, and over again. Sometimes this might mean every day, or it might mean on a regular basis, or it could even be that over the years I have had to consistently fall back on the same set of crutches when the going gets tough.”
“I think it is because I am human. Part of the human condition is that I am what I think about and what I do on a regular basis. When I am musing over my life, I often discover that I am usually doing much better than I like to give myself credit for. If I think like that often enough, I can have that realization that I am fine be a larger part of my day. When I read the 11th step prayer I have taped to the back of my Big Book, I am less inclined to be a self centered jackass, as I make my way in the world during any given day.”
3. From Erin, a new blogger for me, writing at her blog, littlesacredspace, “Practicing Gratefulness”:
“A practice of gratefulness affirms that our worth is not based on our own failures or successes but upon God’s gracious and everlasting love for us. Being grateful in the “nothingness” teaches us that despite the in betweenness of life, God’s love is constant. Instead of doing, being, and having it all on our own and for us, we rejoice in our own need for God, the beauty of relying on others, and the wisdom of finding joy in the everyday.”
“So often I am astonished to stop and realize the things I working so hard and aiming for (a job, a house, stability and security) will not actually make me all that happier in the long run. The danger of this kind of thinking is that by focusing on future happiness and success, the gift of the present passes us by. Instead, at this moment, praise God, I really have all I need–a God who loves me, faults and all, and people around me who feel the same and who I am blessed to love. Isn’t that what life is really about?”
“As you can see, gratefulness, for me at least, requires great practice. It’s a mental practice that requires turning from the things the world preaches to the things that God teaches. It’s a practice where God quietly reorients my will to God’s service and God willing, I obey.”
Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935 and has spawned over 200 different types of twelve step meetings. One of the first to deal with feelings was ACA–Adult Children of Alcoholics. It was a formula designed to touch on a lot of emotion–adult, children and alcoholic. Our reality is in our feelings. Our emotional patterns are established in our childhood. I believe that addiction starts from these patterns begun in childhood.
Codependency means being part or dependent on someone else for our emotional completion. Being reared in a home with frequent emotional strife means being reared with emotional healing issues.
At some level we have each experienced feelings of abandonment, difficulty trusting others, having boundaries, trouble standing up for ourselves or feeling shameful because of others’ actions. We may have learned these emotional choices in our family of origin.
ACA’s main book is my 2nd favorite book in recovery. It is for sale at the ACA world service organization here.
Ths site also lists meetings available woldwide here.
From this site:
“Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.”
“We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors, rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.”
“These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us “co-victims”, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.”
“This is a description, not an indictment.”
“Adapted from The Laundry List”
“As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find freedom to express all the hurts and fears you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carryovers from the past. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions. You will recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.”
“The healing begins when we risk moving out of isolation. Feelings and buried memories will return. By gradually releasing the burden of unexpressed grief, we slowly move out of the past. We learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect.”
“This process allows us to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence. Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery.”
“This is the action and work that heals us: we use the Steps; we use the meetings; we use the telephone. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We learn to restructure our sick thinking one day at a time. When we release our parents from responsibility for our actions today, we become free to make healthful decisions as actors, not reactors. We progress from hurting, to healing, to helping. We awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.”
I recently met a classmate from high school–we graduated in 1958–and I was sharing some of my growing up experiences. She said that it was hard for her to believe what I remembered about my core family as she viewed us as the perfect All-American family. I guess we were better at the cover-up than I thought. I remember feeling so guilty in grade school as I cried on the way to school that I couldn’t save my mother from the arguments my parents had. It never entered my mind to wonder why she couldn’t save herself. Or me.
I have been asked to publish a link to the ACA Arizona Retreat to be held Sept.11-13 on Mingus Mountain. Check it out.