Archive for June, 2010

I’m Not Alone

 

I did speak with my sponsor about the aversion to the medical bills.  She shared that she has a similar aversion for other reasons. 

This is another opportunity for both of us to see that we are not alone in our cringing about this particular aspect of dealing with a part of life.  When she shared with me what she does, it was comforting to hear that I’m not the only one.  She offered supportive words.

When these examples of how honestly reaching out for help occur, they keep me in a state of being human rather than attempting to be super human or being in denial.  There are always opportunities for growth, and dealing with these bills is certainly one of mine.  Instead of feeling less than, my sponsor’s confirmation of the discomfort she feels helped me avoid judging myself, and then I could see this as a smaller and more manageable situation to address.  It could have magnified into a huge defect in my mind.  But thanks to confirmation from another human being, it’s possible to see that this is just a part of life. So, I will keep making progress and take care of what is before me to do.  I’m grateful for the awareness and the encouragement.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am in good company.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Peas

Our peas bloomed delicate small white flowers a week ago and already there are pea pods ripe for picking!  We sampled them last night for the first time with dinner, and oh my goodness – they couldn’t be any sweeter or more tender.  What a treat!

At first we bit through the shell and then realized that it was somewhat tough and stringy.  Not best for eating.  The protective shell is for just that –  protection.  The peas reminded me of how we come to the 12 Step programs, some of us all tough and tied up in our minds and hearts.  Unyielding to the rest of the world.  We come that way for safety’s sake.  For so long,  maybe decades, we’ve been protecting ourselves from hurt and sadness and the unknown because we don’t know what else to do.

When we arrive in our meetings and find our sponors, hearing the wonderful sharing of our fellows we, ever so slightly, start to soften.  Little by little, the shell of our protective shields are peeled gently back to reveal the genuine sweetness of our true nature – the tender, gentle creatures who came to this planet innocent and in wonder.  We gain courage daily to let that part of ourselves resume, a moment at a time.  We are really quite dear as souls on this earth – even all you big guys.  And we can reconnect to that true nature with the help of our Higher Power, and the fellowship of the programs.  What a great gift to remember ourselves and our natural state.  Sweet like the peas.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Aversions

There’s something I want to talk with my sponsor about.  It seems I have an aversion to medical bills.  Until just now it hadn’t occurred to me to ask where it came from.  And now that I’m thinking about it, there is an answer to that question.

Medical bills remind me of when my life was nearly completely out of my control because of the brain injury.  When I couldn’t read or understand much that was said to me because of the cognitive damage that was done by the injury.  When I lost my business, my social life, my career, my peace of mind.  It came to my attention that when thinking of paying medical bills, my breathing actually becomes shallower and nearly stops.  Woah!  Enough of this.  No need to go there.

I am safe today, and functioning well now regarding most aspects of my life.  Other than some ongoing challenges with organizing details (the big stuff is under control) my life is organized, clean, structured yet flexible, fun filled and progressing nicely.  Really, this topic of paying the medical bills is already becoming more palatable.  My health is good, and my ability to navigate through life successfully has been restored.  So, no need to stop breathing or sieze up.  All is well.  And my skills regarding paying these bills are intact and competent.  Time to get organized with these few pieces of paper, and get them paid.  And, my sponsor will still be hearing about this topic because I want the reinforcement and any suggestions she can share about her experience.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am making progress.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Transitions and Grief

One of my sponsees just moved to a temporary home.  She’s nearly through a divorce process (a big stressor for anyone).  The move means more driving for her, to and from work.  More stress.

She’s been in transition for about a year now, since she and her husband decided to divorce.  All of these changes are big stressors and she has found herself learning more about what works, and what doesn’t, when coping with the  life changes.  Initially, she looked for a quick fix by dating again.  Wayyyyy too soon!  It caused her difficulties.  Thus, even more stress.  And she already knew it would – which is why she didn’t tell me about it until she was already feeling confused and upset.  She’d just wanted to avoid the feelings of grief that were coming up about the divorce.  Very understandable.  Dating didn’t work, it just made things worse.  However, more meetings did help and made things better.

So now she’s stopped the dating and has upped her meetings.  She probably attends 3-4 meetings more per week than is normal for her.  And it’s been working.  She’s more calm, and although she experienced/felt more of the grief from the move a few weeks ago, she pushed through it.  She experienced the sadness and bereft feelings that we all go through when transitioning from one way of life to another if loss is involved.  When we spoke yesterday she sounded like herself again, only stronger.  She’s through that pass of emotion and as deep and chasm-like as it seemed, with no end in sight, it only took her a couple weeks and she’s through it.  The grief is diminishing, and she actually sounded somewhat enthusiastic about this next stage.  Although she’s in a bit of a holding pattern, it seems she’s over the worst of the emotional upheaval and commencing the next stage in her journey of personhood.  And she’s committed to using the tools of the program to navigate these next adventures – because it works.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing what works.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Privilege

Yesterday I was privileged to present a medallion or “chip” to a woman in the program.  It was her 23rd Anniversary in AA, and it was a great honor to have been asked to make this presentation to her.

We trust each other.  And we are learning together on the journey about compassion, fear, self esteem, courage, forgiveness and trust.  These aspects of the human condition, and human relationships, surface for most of us.  Learning how to discern between the different and sometimes quite subtle nuances of how they may appear in our lives takes practice.  And as always, life gets better when we do the simple basics to address these conditions.  I need to be reminded regularly.  Not because I forget, but because it’s so easy to be distracted from what really works.

So what my sponsees hear from me, I hear as well – Go to meetings (more when life is more challenging), read the Big Book of AA, work the 12 Steps, call your sponsor, use the phone list to reach out to others for help too, pray the Serenity Prayer/Third Step Prayer, do Service Work, write a Gratitude List each day.  These are basics that keep me in line.  They work for AA, and they work for Alanon.  It’s by reaching out for help that my anniversary friend and I connected.   We share many similar experiences on this journey and it’s a privilege to share it with her.  We who have found 12 Step programs are very blessed and privileged indeed.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am sharing with others.”

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Jumping In

Some people really seem to jump into the process of the 12 Step programs in their first years, while others seem only to test the waters.  They wade in the shallows or just dip a toe in to gauge their own comfort level.

Well, we don’t have to be comfortable with any of the 12 Step process.  We are only encouraged to work through the process and open ourselves up to the possibilities.  It’s about trust, not comfort.  We know that what we did before wasn’t working.  It took many of us way too many years to admit it. We lost so much life time by resisting the obvious.  When we hit our bottom and acknowledge that we don’t know how to do life, the next obvious thing to do is start learning how to live well. 

My hope for the newcomers, or those just wading for a while, is that they’ll take the risk and jump right in from where they’re currently at.  It’s so refreshing to start making the progress that we’ve been hearing other members share about in meetings.  To actually experience it ourselves is a whole other level of learning that is second to none.  Sure it seems scarey, or uncomfortable, or threatening.  But the evidence is pervasive.  People can and do recover, if they have the willingness and take action.  It’s so simple – just a bit daunting. Many new things are – that’s okay.  We are supported, encouraged and celebrated by our sponsors and other members as we take the risk and go forward with the process of the 12 Steps.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to do what it takes.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Higher Power

In one of my classes last week I heard an innocent misrepresentation of 12 Step Programs and our Higher Power.  The remark was actually passed on from a third party and represented their very individual experience at a meeting somewhere in the upper midwest and the idea of a Western idea of God (vs. Eastern concepts of God, or any other representation from other parts of the world).  No harm done as it was clarified that this was just someone’s own experience – not a general example of AA or Alanon.

What I love about 12 Step programs is that all of us can have our own idea of a Higher Power, without judgement.  What I also love about 12 Step programs is that we don’t talk about religion.  Religion absolutely is NOT a part of the 12 Step programs – despite the confusion about this by many outside the programs, and unfortunately even a few people inside our meetings.  My idea of a Higher Power is different from what I grew up with.  In fact, it’s different from my idea of a Higher Power when I first came to the 12 Step programs.  And that is fine. 

I am different.  I keep changing.  And as I grow and change, so does my idea of a Creative Energy, a Spirit of the Universe – it becomes more inclusive, universal, compassionate, accepting and especially, loving.  That seems like a desirable turn of affairs.  The fact that my idea of what loves us all, connects us all, empowers us all is developing more loving qualities, more generous qualities through the years is very attractive to me.  And it fills me with more wonder and excitement about what new awarenesses and understandings of a Higher Power are yet to come.  Thank goodness there is not a stumbling point, which religion could be, that keeps anyone from hearing the message of hope and possibility that is available through the 12 Step programs.  We are so blessed by our Higher Power, whatever we call it.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am grateful for my Higher Power.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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