Learning to Let Go of the Defenses You Developed as a Child

4714974989_d0166cc6c2_z“In our lives we are faced with a set of core issues that resurface again and again in different settings, with different people, at different times. These issues involve our relation­ship with the world, with ourselves, with our Higher Power. These are our life lessons.” Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett

What are our core issues in recovery?

Dealing with alcoholism and depression means needing a different path than only doing the Twelve Steps for recovery. I don’t believe that my core issues can be solved by the Twelve Steps of any self-help group except ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics).

Having grownup in a home controlled by alcoholism, I was able to see my addiction very early into the disease. Thanksgiving, 1976, I told my family that I thought I was an alcoholic. I fully expected everyone to disagree with me because I had not had any outward signs. But, my mother said that she had been afraid of that. So I was stuck with the admission and being the “perfect daughter”, I never drank again and went to AA.

My third month into recovery, I had a radical conversion as described by William James in his The Varieties of Religious Experience. It was instant and I call it ‘”the moment that changed my life.” So I have been trying since 1977 to hear what God’s will is for my life. Many days I have followed my will and called it His. But there has been progress, too.

You tend to think that your beliefs are rigid or unchanging. When what your belief is, is only a thought that you keep thinking. It’s more like a habit of thought… Abraham-Hicks

“When the family energy is focused on the problem of the adult rather than on the needs of the children, the results for the children are the state of not knowing they come first, the state of believing that they have to fix the situation, and the state of believing that life is about surviving instead of enjoying and that the meaning of life is to get through the struggle of life.” Cathleen Brooks

When we were children, we often had to learn self-defeating or self-limiting behavior to appease our authority figures. Many parents confuse discipline with punishment. To avoid punishment, we often learn ways of avoidance or delay that rob us of our true being.

Our self-image is formed by allowing ourselves to be influenced by various authority figures. It is only when we take back our own power to define ourselves that we are truly free.

Our conscious mind is where thoughts are formed. Our subconscious mind is where our creative mind takes root. As we learn to harness the vast power and energy of the subconscious mind, we are tapping into our real source.

The defenses from our childhood were needed then. But we no longer need them. We need to spend 10-15 minutes daily to rid ourselves of these lies we tell our self.

Your mind, body and emotions either work together so you experience your life more fully or they are each one using avoiding behaviors energy. The way to control your life is to control your thoughts and words. From your words come your feelings.

The secret of gaining control of any addiction and/or problem is to learn to use your energy in a positive manner. Often this means relaxing into a situation or experience as opposed to “fixing” or “solving” the situation. We always have the ability to control our thoughts, words and deeds. No one else makes anyone feel anything. Our response is always our choice.

One of the best ways to gain control over your emotions is to teach yourself that it is OK to “lose”. A good reminder of this is: would I rather be right or be happy? If I have love to give and someone doesn’t want it, I have lost nothing. I still have the love to give to someone else.

Changing any core belief is easy–it is just a thought (not real). All you need to do is to change the thought by removing the negative memory of it. Easy but hard to do.

Photo credit.

Our Inner Voices are Running the Show Until We Learn to Listen to Them

I have written about the importance of using transactional analysis to discover which of your inner voices has the main track. Our feelings come from our thoughts. So if we are basically in our inner child, we may feel inadequate, angry, abused, etc.

TA teaches us that we have inner child, inner parent, and inner adult. Each of these three mind sets also have good and bad components to each of them. The components of each of these is explained very well by Dr. Claude Steiner. Dr. Steiner’s biography is here.

The components excerpts are from this page:

(1)   “Ego States and Transactions: People’s interactions are made up of transactions. Any one transactions has two parts: the stimulus and the response. Individual transactions are usually part of a larger set. Some of these transactional sets or sequences can be direct, productive and healthy or they can be devious, wasteful and unhealthy.”

“When people interact they do so in one of three different ego states. An ego state is a specific way of thinking feeling and behaving and each ego state has its origin in specific regions of the brain. People can behave from their Parent ego state, or from their Child ego state or from their Adult ego state. At any one time our actions come from one of these three ego states.”

(2)  The Inner Child is referred by Johnny Truant writing for copyblogger.com. His post is titled:  “What My Five-Year-Old Son Taught Me About Marketing”

“You know that “inner child” we hear so much about — the one that’s supposedly deep inside of all of us?”

“Well, I live with it. As a matter of fact, I call him “Austin.”

“In the five years I’ve been a parent, I’ve realized that the notion of the inner child is more than just a neat psychological construct. It’s very nearly a literal thing. As we grow up, we don’t change so much as drape layer after complicated layer of adult emotion on top of that inner child. The child doesn’t vanish; he just gets obscured and filtered.”

“You don’t get an evolved, new mature being. You get Austin with fifteen blankets over his head.”

“Because that kid always remains at our core (and if you’ve ever caught yourself playing kids’ games with genuine enjoyment, you know that it does), our base motivations remain as well. They just get a little harder to see.”

(3)  “Art of Attention: Awakening” by Elena Brower encourages self-observation:

“Self observation, leading to self mastery, is the most neutral scientific observation of one’s self in order to discover from which center [physical, emotional or mental] the current reactions are flowing. Translated: to see which part of your being is enslaved to some external circumstance right now. To do so, practice watching your tendencies with curiosity instead of dread or judgment; the slightest bit of agility with your attention is all you need to bring you back to what is really happening, and your heart becomes more nimble all the time.”

[Tangentially, an example for the parents: your child needs you to be unshakably calm. Through watching myself overreact with my child, I’ve learned that to be an attentive parent is just to offer the simplest, calm responsiveness – and that our calm is infectious every time. I write this so I will remember this.]”

Photo credit.