Archives for posts with tag: addictive behavior

hand held heart

Image courtesy of  Somchai Som/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, during a guided imagery session, my Higher Power made me aware of a  couple of insights.  One is my Higher Power’s love is always there, has always been there, and will always be there—-even if I have been hurtful to myself or others in the past. But the newest insight for me, the one that really got my attention, was I am able to feel and express that same type of love for those I love in spite of any hurts, real or imagined, that I  believe I have suffered at their hand. Thus, the important lesson I came away from today’s session with is this: Our love for someone is strong enough to withstand the hurt we attribute to that person, just as God’s love is strong enough to withstand the things I have done that I am sure have hurt him.

I’m not talking trivial, little transgressions here. The person I love and chose to bring into today’s imagery session had, when I was a child, tied our family dog to the back of our school bus and had the bus driver drive away so the dog would be dragged behind the bus; the rationale for doing this was to teach the dog not to chase the school bus so he would avoid getting run over in the future. That same person slapped me at the dinner table in front of company and at another time picked me up by one arm while  swatting my “behind” with his other hand—- I literally became a human pendulum swinging back and forth between blows. Remembering those instances of hurt I experienced as a child brought unbidden tears to my eyes—even after all this time. And then I knew that some of the things I have done in the past like driving while intoxicated, practicing addictive behaviors, and engaging in what at the time was  called “free love” must have hurt my Higher Power just as deeply as those childhood memories that are embedded in my soul.  Then I felt the blessed relief of knowing  my Higher Power loves me anyway—-just as I love the person who psychologically and physically hurt me as a child. Those embedded hurts no longer have the power to block the love I have for the person who hurt me. Love is stronger than the hurt.

My writing today is relatively short. Conversely, however, the message “love is stronger than the hurt” is a momentous one for me. Now when I think of perceived hurtful events in my life I can stop investing energy in resenting those instances.  I can, instead,  focus on the love God shares with me and all of us that overlooks and overcomes the hurt. Resentment will never again have the power over me that it has had in the past. To be honest, I don’t yet trust that the resentments I have “nurtured” during my life time to entirely go away, but I know that now I can overcome  the hurt and resentment by focusing on the love I have been given as a gift by my Higher Power. And for this I am grateful.

building blocks

Image courtesy of  sattva/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last  night at a book study we were talking about what it means to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power as AA’s Big Book instructs those who wish to remain in recovery to do. The group seemed to unanimously agree that it did not mean you turn everything over to God and then just sit there waiting for him to do everything. After all, we are humans who were given the gift of choice by God, and, consequently, that makes us accountable for our choices, actions, and  the subsequent consequences that occur. As a group, we agreed that when we let God’s spirit empower us we still have to do the footwork.

There are always, at least for me, a committee of rebellious “naysayers” having a debate in my head during conversations like this. One is saying, “Yeah, right. If I give up my life and my will nothing will be left.” Another is saying, “I gave up alcohol, cigarettes, compulsive eating,……why is it always about giving something up?”  Another is saying, “Yippee! Go for it! Let God run things, then you can do anything you want because it will really be God doing it—-anything you do will be God’s will.”

I could go on, but listening to my mind’s “committee meetings” can be tedious at best. Instead, I would like to try to answer my committee. I realize I will be defending my beliefs, much as I had to when I defended my doctoral dissertation to my dissertation committee when I was in graduate school. First, every time I have given something up, my God has given me much, much more in return. Relief, serenity, peace of mind—–all of these are inherent in realizing I no longer have to control everything and that it  is unrealistic for me to expect to be able to do so. What has been left for me at those times when I have voluntarily turned something over to my Higher Power is a strong faith that provides fertile ground for the growth of my emerging, evolving spirit. When I continue to let God be in control things go well—-or at least I am, with God’s help, able to handle whatever comes my way. However, when I “take back” whatever I’ve turned over to God,  things start building up into problems yet again. And again. Someday I hope to leave things in God’s hands permanently, and I am encouraged by the fact that I can now go for longer and longer periods without rebelling against the way “God is driving the bus.”

This brings me to the second question, why is it always about giving something up? For me, the answer is because I have spent a life time building an identity/ego that defines, in my mind, who I am. My inclination is to hold onto that identity tenaciously, no matter what. So naturally, I am reluctant to let go of anything that I feel is necessary to “stay who I am.” Again, in my case, many of the “blocks” I have used to build my identity are faulty. These faulty “blocks” cause continual problems for me, yet I hang on to them because I think I will not be me without them. For the sake of brevity, I have found that I have to let go of these faulty blocks gradually over time, and sometimes I have to do so more than once.  For me, it is about “giving something up” because I need to do so to not only survive but to build a better life. The good news is, I really like the new “me” who is evolving because this new identity realizes it is not all about me—-that it is about God’s love and sharing it.

And to the last committee member that thinks turning things over to God offers an invitation to “party hardy” I have to say, “In all due respect, Mr. Committee Party Man, you are a remnant of my ‘stinking thinking’ that got me into most of my life’s messes in the first place. I am still accountable for how I do the footwork and carry out God’s will—-and if I start practicing my old bad habits yet again, it only means I have purposively divorced myself from God’s guidance and help.” Perhaps this response is a bit harsh, but this is the point where I need to be hard on myself. I seem to think I can turn things over to God and take back bits and pieces of what I’ve turned over because “I’m better, I’ve changed, things are different now, and now I can handle it.” This is the type of thinking that always brings me back to being enmeshed in self-created problems.

Wow! I did not mean to write for so long this morning. If you have stayed with me and plowed through all this, I thank you. May God bless and keep you.

.

Ripples

Image courtesy of winnond/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Back in the day, I would thought that title referred to a cheap bottle of wine that was being passed around a circle of friends who were engaging in a bit of “social drug use.”  Today it has a totally different meaning for me. One of the Facebook  “posters” I shared this morning (accessed 1/1/2014 at PreventDisease.com) urged people to spread happiness as a candle shares light. A wise friend replied to my posting with this comment: ” It [happiness] just spreads like ripples from a thrown pebble.” That left me wondering, how can I live my life so that I create at least one positive ripple a day? Today’s blog will be focused on trying to answer that question for myself.

I hope what I write and share with others in these blogs and on my church Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-Episcopal-Church-Cape-Girardeau-MO) will be able to create a positive ripple here and there. It is harder for me to spreading happiness with my actions—-by what I say and do. Since I am a “professional communicator” I sometimes prefer introverted solitude when I am not focused on helping others. Granted, I need a certain amount of that for “self-maintenance.” But,  when does self-maintenance turn into selfishness?

Obviously, I need to take  a quick inventory of actions I’ve taken in the past few days that have had the potential to block or create positive ripples. First of all, on the “negative” side of this inventory are the actions I took that isolated me from others even after I had sufficient time to “re-energize” myself. There were calls to friends I did not make because I did not want to let them know I was feeling just a bit depressed after this last trip home.  Although I did not drink, I found solace in  eating pistachios alone in my self-imposed fortress and rationalized the entire time  I was eating them that they were full of healthy antioxidants and fats. Some would say my refusal to do laundry, clean house, or wash dishes  were expressions of negative energy that blocks “positive ripples.” Others would say I was demonstrating signs and symptoms of a mild depression.

On the positive side of this inventory are the twelve step meetings I’ve attended and in which my presence and comments actively supported recovery—-as did everyone’s there. Giving my phone number to a new comer, offering  long distance solace via telephone conversation to friends experiencing emotional anguish, meeting a friend for lunch and “catching up” on our friendship, writing these blogs, and, finally, calling a friend this morning and admitting I am depressed—-all of these actions were related to positive ripples/outcomes…..probably more for myself than anyone else.

Looking at this inventory, it is obvious to me that I spread more “positive ripples” when I socially interact with others and less when I indulge in my character defect of isolation. One important insight this “exercise” has given me is the knowledge that meeting face-to-face with others allows their “positive ripples” to have a positive effect on me.  Granted, interacting with my four dogs can have that effect to a certain extent, but not to the extent talking to another human being face to face can.

I abhor New Year resolutions. I prefer  relating to one day at a time outcomes. So, today, I accept that I need to seek the company of my fellow two-leggeds on a regular basis even when I feel a very strong urge to isolate. I need to do this every day, one day at a time or my retirement will become, as it does for many, a descent into isolated depression. Yes, I will be attending a sixth step discussion group tonight.  Happiness is a choice, and if I want to continue traveling a spiritual path, I need to do what it takes to support that choice. For me,  that means besides seeking the company of others and continuing to take my anti-depressant medication as prescribed.

Thanks for letting me do a little “self-therapy” in regards to this “spread happiness” idea. May God bless and keep you.

microwave oven

Image courtesy of Supertrooper/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today my microwave talked back to me. It called me a child! Not once, but several times it blinked  the word “child” at me. Now, I could take this as an advent message that a child is coming. I could take it as a warning that I am close to entering my second childhood. Mostly, I wondered what was going on with my microwave——until I realized I had punched the start button multiple times rather than the 1 minute button.  My error had indicated to a computerized machine that a child was playing with it. I suppose the microwave is pre-programmed to warn parents when they need to watch and teach their child to stay away from the microwave.

Yesterday a friend told me about a new bra that is supposedly out on the market with electrodes in it to detect when your heart rate elevates because you want to eat something you shouldn’t. That brought all sorts of silly thoughts to my head. Ones such as, “women who wear this should stay out of the rain” or “it would be awkward when your ‘battery is low warning’ started chirping.”  Then I wondered how on earth such a contraption could differentiate between causes of a rise in heart rate…..like would it warn me my heart rate was elevated after I’d climbed three flights of stairs or watched a good looking, tanned, muscular man with a gorgeous smile walk be? Granted these were all flights of fantasy, especially the last scenario.

Seriously, what earthly good would an electrical warning that your body was turned on by something unhealthy have on stopping addictive behavior? Didn’t God create a conscience in us that lets us know when we are contemplating something we shouldn’t do? When did that ever stop someone with an addictive personality from eating, drinking, drugging, etc.?

By now, you are probably wondering what the “topic” of today’s blog is. Basically, although camouflaged by my circuitous  writing style, it is the topic of “warnings” and how we respond to them.  Most of the time, I already realize something I am contemplating is not healthy for me or someone else. Fortunately, trying to follow a spiritual program of recovery helps me respond positively to those whispered warnings from that “still, small voice” that comes from deep within my soul. Sometimes, I ignore such warnings, and proceed anyway. Usually such willful, self-directed action forces me into what those in recovery call “teachable moments.”  That is why I am glad God loves me enough to forgive me and once again help me handle what I cannot handle by myself if I am only willing to allow him to do so.

Well, that is enough meandering for this morning. Please comment and share your thoughts about how we receive and respond to warnings. Be warm, dry, and safe. May God bless and keep you.