Copyright © Living with Confidence
Design by Dzignine
Monday, August 29, 2016
"Focus on the  Good"

Gratitude List
- sooo extremely grateful for my sweet little girls
- grateful that hubby is a calm man
- grateful for knowledge
- grateful for a check that came in early and is going to help us financially
- grateful for Philippians 4:8

We did so many things this morning and it's only 7am.  I started the morning preschool and oh my goodness, it's tiring.  Haha!  I can do this though and it will be soooo worth it!  Next is our nature walk, which is just as much for me as it is for them.  

Let's dig into some passages.

How many of my frustrations and disappointments come from expecting too much! It is good to set our standards high, but only if we are prepared to accept, with unperturbed serenity, results that fall short of what we expect.
We expect more of the alcoholic than a sick, confused human can deliver. Once he is sober, we expect a complete transformation. Above all, we make too great demands on ourselves.
Today's Reminder 
Let me learn to settle for less than I wish were possible, and be willing to accept it and appreciate it. I will not expect too much from anyone, not even of myself. Contentment comes from accepting gratefully the good that comes to us, and not from raging at life because it is not better. This wholesome attitude is by no means resignation, but a realistic acceptance. 
"What you have may seem small; you desire so much more. See children thrusting their hands into a narrow-necked jar, striving to pull out the sweets. If they fill the hand, they cannot pull it out and then they fall to tears. When they let go a few, they can draw out the rest. You, too, let your desire go; covet not too much. . ." (Epictetus)

**Phew!  Well, that was some food for thought!!  We are taught not to settle.  We are taught settling is a bad thing.......... Here is what I'm thinking.  Settling is something we need to do all day, every day to be able to appreciate our efforts.  That does not mean our efforts should go away or our boundaries should go away.  That does not mean we are not capable of great things or worthy of great things.  It means, we net to get rid of those planned resentments (expectations) and try and put ourselves out there bravely, knowing we will be happy with what we accomplish, even if it's not the highest of our secret hopes.  This passage says that it's ok to set our standards high.  I think that is in terms of reinforcement with boundaries.  
I was very disappointed yesterday because hubby didn't meet my expectations.  We received a check in the mail (a couple months earlier than expected) for $2700.  It was a settlement check from a company i worked for years ago.  Very much out of the blue.  I was trying not to be too excited, but thinking of places the money could go.  Then last night, hubby told me he didn't have money for rent next month.  He had told me previously (he doesn't remember this), but he had told me that he could cover next month if I could cover ___, ___ and ___.  Well, plans changed and he just didn't tell me.  So, I spent my money on _____ and we wouldn't have had money for rent.  So..... pretty much all of the check is going to rent.  I'm like the little kid with the hand in the narrow-necked jar.  I should be so so grateful that this check came just in time to save the day.  But, I"m resentful because of my expectation.  And YES, we need to figure out this  money thing.  But, how nice it would have been if I could have just given a Hallelulah for the money and been grateful it filled the lapse for hubby's mistake.  Instead, we got into a humongous fight and he ended up sleeping in the garage.  It was gross.  That hasn't happened in awhile.  Money is such an issue for us and for a lot of people with bipolar disorder (and just, in general, actually).  Anyways, not happy about the argument, but grateful in some changes that I saw in how we fight.  Oooh and hubby went to his first telephone SA meeting yesterday.  I felt super super inspired to start doing al anon meetings again, as well. 

Passage 2
Since childhood I have been nagged by those moments when I said or did something that brought pain to another person. These are ugly memories that I never believed would go away. With Step Eight, however, I discover a means to release myself from unrelenting guilt.
This Step says to make a list of all people I have harmed and to become willing to make amends to them all. Finally, I can put down in words all the memories and all the pain. When I see them written in front of me, they seem almost unmanageable, and I feel hopeful about freeing myself from their weight as I become willing to make amends. I need not take any further action at this point. All I am concerned with now is the harm I have caused others, the guilt I have brought on myself, and the desire to do what I can to clear it all away.
Today's Reminder 
Guilt is a burden that keeps me from giving myself fully and freely to the present. I can begin to rid my mind of guilt by quietly admitting where and when I have done wrong to people, including myself. 
"Al-Anon has shown me another way of living, and I like it. Life can either be a burden and a chore or a challenge and a joy. One day at a time I can meet the challenges of life head-on instead of head-down." As We Understood . . .

**Oh, I love this one so much.  It makes me look forward to Step 8 and want to get there ASAP.

Passage 3
In those early days of detaching with love from my mother meant setting limits on our face-to-face contact. For more than a year, our only communication was through notes sent by mail and gifts dropped off without seeing one another. This is what I needed for recovery at the time.
Today my mother and I have an honest and loving relationship based on mutual respect for each other's boundaries. When we speak, I keep the focus on myself and share my experience, strength, and hope rather than telling her what to do. My recovery has become healthier and stronger, as has my relationship with my mother. This is the miracle of Al-Anon in my life.
Thought for the Day
Detachment helps me set limits and untangle myself from the other people in my life.
"Choosing to set boundaries and create wellness for ourselves is our primary responsibility . . ." From Survival to Recovery, p. 204

Slogans for Today: Serenity prayer
Sunday, August 28, 2016

Last thought for the night

Philippians 4:8 - Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent and praiseworthy - think about such things.  

Worth memorizing for me.  Pretty much saying to make a gratitude list, haha!  May be helpful in getting my thoughts on the right place though.  Combats fear, combats self-pitying, obsessive thoughts.  Focusing on the good is extremely valuable!

Caught up on meditations...

My oldest daughter is three years old....

I've been thinking about this day for awhile.  I've had an idea in my mind that our informal home school preschooling will start when miss J turns three.  Something interesting has happened through these years, however.....

I've always been an early education advocate, but my priorities have changed dramatically.  When J was first born, my emphasis was on academics and physical ability.  Somewhere along the line, the focus changed to social emotional ability, executive functioning and household management.  This is a nice shift because school is supposed to handle academics anyways.

Some areas I want to focus on....

Executive Functioning
Listening (really listening when someone talks)
Ability to advocate for self
Ability to say no (not a problem right now, haha)
Social Emotional Skills (a lot of the above falls under that)
following multi step directions

Meal prep
Managing money

Ability to read and love of reading
fine motor skills
phonemic awareness
story telling

language learning (spanish and Mandarin)
music (love of, vocabulary and possible instrument)

That's not much, eh?  And I'm sure I left something out.  L has stuff she needs to work on too....

imitating sounds
imitating gestures
body parts
following multi step directions
signing (if possible)


There is one meaning to the phrase "forgetting myself" that admonishes me not to lose my temper. When someone says something rash or ugly, we say they are "forgetting themselves," meaning they are forgetting their best selves in a sudden fit of uncontrolled anger.
Someone at an Al-Anon meeting spoke of this in telling how her mother helped her overcome a fiery temper when she was a little girl:
"Whenever I had a tantrum, my mother would say very quietly: You're forgetting yourself, dear; modulate your voice and then it won't hurt so much.' That always brought me up short and made me ashamed. Once I answered, All right, mother, I will remember myself, and finally all she had to say was; "Forgetting yourself? Modulate . . .' and we'd both laugh."
Today's Reminder
If I remember the kind of person I want to be, I won't forget myself and yield to an angry voice -- quiet always sets the stage for calm. "Forget not thyself in times of anger. . ."

**Now that I've been in the program for awhile, I am re-reading these daily meditations.  I remember reading this the first time and now again.  I'll share a memory that pops up once in awhile when I'm feeling resentful or hurt by my mom.  I was maybe eight years old.  My sister, mom and I were sitting on our sofas, in our usual spots, and my mom is saying, "You wouldn't really like it if I talked like that.." And then she starts imitating a sweet kind mom with a kind voice speaking in a nice way.  And I did like it and I nodded that yes I would like that and thought my mom might seriously try to be nicer.  And then my mom switched back to her normal voice, and said something like, "Well, that's not going to happen." And my little eight year old heart was crushed.  I have to remember that I'm not that little girl anymore.  And if I were with that little girl, I would give her a hug and comfort her and tell her that it wasn't her fault her mom was like that, but not all people are.  I would tell her that I would kind and loving towards her always.  
Anyways............. passage 2
 As I grew up it seemed that my parents couldn't see me at all. I felt invisible and voiceless.. I had no idea of my likes and dislikes, let alone what I would or would not accept in a relationship. I felt empty inside. When there did seem to be something inside me, it felt like someone else's experience.
Al-Anon changed all that. I heard suggestions such as "Keep the focus on yourself," and, "Take your own inventory instead of someone else's." These ideas perplexed me. Who was I? I didn't know myself. The person I knew was the teenager my mother considered a burden. My father criticized me incessantly. There had to be more to me than that.
By working the Steps, especially the first four, I came to know who I am. In Step One I experienced myself as someone who insanely tried to control alcoholism but couldn't. I came to know my powerlessness. In Step Two, I considered the existence of and possible help from a Power my senses couldn't define. I came to know my God as I understand Her. In Step Three I experienced my yearning to trust that Power, who was greater than me. I came to know my surrendered self. And in Step Four I experienced my ability to define myself rather than let others do the job. I came to know me.
Thought for the Day
In Al-Anon I can safely do the work of defining myself rather than allowing others to do the job.
"The real truth might be that we are far more valuable and loveable than other people have led us to believe." Courage to Be Me, p. 122

Coulda been Saturday's Post....

Passage 1
For some time I had difficulty detaching. When I tried it, my focus shifted to me, and I had a hard time just being with myself. I began to understand that my skill in detaching rested on my ability to accept my own thoughts and feelings and to become comfortable with myself.
As I felt accepted in Al-Anon, I grew in self-acceptance, which gave me courage to practice detachment. I tried it with the active drinker. When my spouse went drinking after work and was late for dinner, the kids and I ate and went to an early movie. I didn't stay home waiting with anger and bitterness.
When someone struggled with a dilemma at work, I learned to offer my experience and then to let go of whether the person tried my ideas. I didn't lose my focus or productivity by taking over someone else's problem.
Then I began detaching from my alcoholic parent as well as the sober one. When they argued, I learned to say, "I'm sure you'll find a creative solution," and then leave the room. To increase my self-care options, I rented a car when I visited them. If one of them tried to draw me into a disagreement, I got in the car and drove somewhere safe until I could calm myself enough to return.
Now with lots of practice, I find it easier to detach. The more I detach, the more time I get to know, accept, and spend time with a really wonderful person -- me!
Thought for the Day
Detaching from others and getting to know myself go hand in hand.
"Because my fate -- my very life -- was no longer tied directly to theirs, I was able to accept them for who they were and to listen to their ideas and concerns without trying to exercise control." Courage to Change, p. 199

Passage 2 
An interesting exercise, and one well worth a few moments of reflection, would be to consider the exact meaning of the phrase "to take offense."
These words describe an act of willingly taking into ourselves a hurt we feel somebody intended to inflict on us. We take offense. We don't have to take it. We are free to refuse to be hurt by a spiteful remark or malicious action.
So the whole matter really rests with us. The choice of accepting or rejecting an offense is ours alone.
Today's Reminder
It may not be easy at first, but if I keep reminding myself that I will not permit myself to be hurt by what anyone says or does, it can bring about an amazing change in my attitude and disposition.
Whenever I feel I am being hurt by someone, I will silently refuse to take offense, or take any action to retaliate. What a relief it will be to have such incidents vanish into thin air, leaving not a mark on me! I will not accept offense.
"What can words do to me unless I take them to heart?"

**The idea that I can choose whether to be offended is not a new one.  But, in the thick of it, that is a lot of control.  In fact, so much so, that I don't believe I could do it without higher power and some proactive and reactive strategies in place.  I spent time with family on Saturday and had a negative experience (only one out of 95% positive interactions).  I allowed myself to "take offense."  But, I wasn't prepared to act instead of proactive.  Next time, I hope to prep myself better. 

Woulda Been Friday's Post

Passage 1
Looking back, I have often reproached myself, "How could you not have known what was happening?" Alcoholism left messy tracks all over my life, yet I didn't see them. How could that be?
Denial is one of the chief symptoms of this family disease of alcoholism. Some of us deny that the drinker has a problem; others are all too willing to blame him or her for all our problems, denying our own participation. Why? Because we alone can't defeat this disease, so we invent ways to survive the constant crisis, broken promises, lost hopes, and embarrassments. One way to cope is to deny the unpleasant or terrifying reality.
In Al-Anon we learn more productive ways in which to cope with alcoholism, ways that don't cost so much in loss of self. With the support of other members, and with tools and principles that offer direction, we become able to face what is really going on. We go beyond mere survival and begin to live again.
Today's Reminder 
At all times, I have done the best I was able to do. If my only way to cope with a difficult situation was to deny it, I can look back with compassion to that person who saw no better option at the time. I can forgive myself and count my blessings for having come so far since then. 
"Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in." Katherine Mansfield

**One thing which was difficult for my sister and me was the fact that we believed we lived in a good family home.  We grew up without identifying ourselves as coming from a "problem" home.  Our parents were still married.  We thought the arguments were normal and that everyone struggled with a problem.  I do think everyone has their own strengths to embrace and weaknesses to identify and develop.  But, by believing that what we experienced was normal or not that bad, we set ourselves up for future misery.  Seeing things as they are hurt very badly. But, it is necessary to healing!  

Passage 2
It wasn't a coincidence, but a miracle of Al-Anon, that I began my Fourth Step and undertook a major overhaul of my garden on the same day. I had moved too late for planting, but I decided to remove all the overgrowth in preparation for next year. I removed weeds, leaves, and dead plant material. Then I began to dig, turning dirt over to loosen it. My progress was halted by a clump that had once been a tiger lily. I dug around, delving deeper, to reveal a tangle of roots binding the mass to the earth. My attempts to remover it in one clump proved futile. I tugged, pushed, and kicked, but it refused to move. My frustration mounted and I regretted embarking on a project that seemed impossible to achieve.
I took a break. I rested and thought of using a different approach to removing the tangle of roots. I got up and went back to work. This time, slowly and meticulously I began disentangling the mass on tiny piece at a time. After I had finished, leaving behind a large hole in the ground, I filled the hole with new earth. I gazed satisfied at the result of my persistence -- a garden prepared for new growth.
That's when it came to me. This is how Al-Anon helps me today. Al-Anon showed me how to detangle myself, sift through the debris, and humbly ask my Higher Power to prepare me for new growth by removing the clumps in my way.
Thought for the Day 
If the work of sorting myself out in Step Four seems daunting, I'll ask God to show me a different approach.
". . . New weeds will sprout and some plants will forever need pruning. The Steps equip me with weed control and garden manuals."
From Survival to Recovery, p. 201

**I absolutely love this analogy.  It really resonates with me. 
I have gotten out of routine and umph I have felt it.  Ok, back on schedule.

I was so excited to write about the success of J's birthday parties and how they reflected on my growth.  The playdate party, which was on Thursday, was the most marked difference from the Valentine's party last February.

And then a successful beach party on Saturday and then an uncomfortable situation, which I will hopefully learn from and will likely write more about later.  

Now, I'm feeling the need to get into passages though.  I am off my game and I need some wisdom....

Ok.. I'll go day by day....
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Last night's sleep was pretty bad.  I'm grateful that I will get a chance for some good sleep tonight.

Today is J's third bday. .  Three years ago, after laboring through the night at home, we made our way to the hospital to meet our little girl.  It seems like it was so long ago.  

I should probably write down some milestones J has hit.  Just in the last month, she's learned to ride her tricycle and swim about three foot distance in water.  She can read sentences made up sight words only.  mmm.  What other milestones do you track at this age?  Her speech therapist, said she is at a 3.5 year level for speech, so that's good.  She can do a forward roll and jump really high.  She can eat food pretty neatly.  

None of that really matters though.  We are just so grateful to have her sweet presence in her life.  She is so bubbly and joyful and creative!  Life is so much fun with the J girl in our life.  :)

Ok, let's get to some good ol' passages....

Passage 1
Have I ever accomplished anything good while my emotions were churning with hysteria? Am I aware that reacting on impulse -- saying the first thing that pops into my head -- defeats my own purposes? I couldn't lose by stopping to think: Easy does it. Wouldn't any crisis shrink to manageable size if I could wait a little while to figure out what is best to do? Unless I'm sure I'm pouring oil on troubled, and not on raging fire, it might be best to do and say nothing until things calm down. Easy does it.
Today's Reminder 
It may take a bit of self-control to back away from conflict and confusion. But it's wonderful protection for my peace of mind. Unless I can say or do something to quell the storm, I'll only be inflicting punishment on myself. And each little battle I win -- with myself -- makes the next one easier.. Take it easy, for easy does it. It will all seem much less important tomorrow!
"Quietness is a great ally, my friend. As long as I keep my poise, I will do nothing to make bad matters worse."

**This is an area I've improved upon and still can improve upon further.  I grew up hearing not to go to bed angry.  It's even in the Bible, right?  Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.  I used that mistakenly to understand that we needed to solve any arguments before the day ended.  All conflicts needed to be solved, regardless of whether we were hungry, angry, lonely, tired or overwhelmed and if the other person didn't want to solve them, then I needed to "make" them with an urgency to the matter.  Of course, that worked BEAUTIFULLY because we can certainly control others, right?  Ok.... so it didn't go so well.  And then, there I was....early in our marriage... before any addiction troubles made it messy... thinking, "Why do I have a husband who won't finish our argument before the sun goes down."  
Phew.  What a way to misinterpret!   And mess up my boundaries... and not respect my spouse...  Hubby is a patient man!  So, program taught me to respect others if they don't feel ready to talk at the moment.  Not only to respect and accept others when they don't want to talk, but to feel ok with that.  I also know that Ephesians says, "Let not the sun go down upon YOUR wrath."  They aren't talking about making someone else do anything.  I am responsible for my own anger and diffusing it.  A great way I've learned to diffuse anger??? Boundaries, self care and gratitude!  And what the passage talks about...not making any decisions until calm.  Knowing that it will feel better tomorrow and having the poise to refrain from action until I take care of ME.  

Passage 2
When students first learn to play the piano, they are usually taught to use only one hand and include very few keys. Then they move on to using two hands, eventually learning to play all the keys, the high ones as well as the low. In fact, part of the pleasure of playing lies in hearing the rumble of the lowest bass notes and the light chiming of the high treble.
Today in Al-Anon I am learning to play a new instrument -- myself. I am a person with the capability to experience a wide range of emotions, from love to joy to wonder. I am profoundly grateful for laughter and light spirits -- and also for anger and fear, because all of these feelings are part of what makes me whole. I believe that my Higher Power wants me to be fully alive and fully aware of all my feelings: The crashing crescendo of great anger, the sold chant of serenity, the heights of wonder, and the new insights that stretch my heart and mind just as my fingers stretch to reach all the keys in a challenging chord. I am learning to play richer sounds than I ever thought possible.
Today's Reminder
Today I will appreciate the full range of feelings available to me. They make my experience of life full indeed.
"I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable . . . but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." Agatha Christie

Slogans for Today - how important is it, let go and let God, First things First

Gratitude List
1) health, health, health
2) family
3) friends
4) my doggy
5) yellow helmets with orange suns on them.  ;)
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
My body is tired today.  I'm going to need to be cognizant of that fact, throughout the day.  Lots of water, possibly some tea packets... healthy snacks.

I stayed up late to work on my ad/webinar funnel.  I really want to get that going as soon as possible.  Today I have a full day of work.  This morning, I am going to try to clean and rest (those two things go together so well).  Tomorrow is J's birthday.  We are having a casual play date party with three of her and my good friends.  I have learned so much.  I have had the opportunity to invite at least 3 more families and purposefully chose not to mention it.  These women don't care if my house is messy, they don't care if it's a fancy party and J has known their kids since she was 6 months old.  They are actually HER friends.  The other parents are more MY friends.  Julianne has only played with their kids a few times.  Plus, our place is not large and everyone has two kids.  If I add more people, it will be too crazy and J won't enjoy it as much.

Contrast this to when I threw a babyshower for a friend and had over 20 adult guests (not counting the kids).  I've learned much.  This is for J, not to impress people.  That being said, I am making it party ish.  I am hanging balloon rockets across the living room, will have some party food and party games.  We will decorate a pinata and then destroy it.  And then do cake.  Typical party.  :)  Family party is on Saturday.

Let's move on to quotes......

Passage 1

Holding on to anger, resentment, an a "poor me" attitude is not an option for me today. Growing up with two alcoholic parents created many painful memories. However, until I was able to let go of my past by forgiving my parents, I was unable to enjoy the present.
Among Al-Anon's many healing tools, I found learning about alcoholism as a disease and how it affects families to be particularly helpful. It enabled me to see my parents in a different light. Today I know they were unwilling victims of the disease of alcoholism. I have no doubt that had they been given a choice, neither of my parents would have picked up that first drink and continued on such destructive paths. I saw them try to fight the disease in countless ways as I grew up -- making promises, going through rehabilitation, etc. -- but the disease won. My parents suffered, and my siblings and I shared the outcomes of their suffering as a result. In the battle with alcoholism, no one wins, not even those who seem to be "perpetrators."
Today I know in my heart that my parents were the best mother and father they could be, considering what they went through. As I imagine what they must have endured, I have gained empathy for their struggle. I have envisioned walking a mile in my parents' shoes, and I now have nothing but compassion for both of them. I am grateful to Al-Anon for helping me fully forgive my parents, and for helping me accept and enjoy them for who they are.
Thought for the Day
Remembering that alcoholism is a disease helps me see the person struggling beneath the burden of illness. 
"With the help of friends in Al-Anon, I could see my parents as . . . two people gravely affected by a disease." From Survival to Recovery, p. 170

**I wasn't sure whether to post this one today.  My parents are not alcoholics (although a case could be made for my dad - functional alcoholic/moderate)......... but, there was a lot of dysfunction.  My mom and hubby are the two people I am resentful towards (at times).  I've grown leaps and bounds at releasing that resentment.  I first released it with hubby and am now working on it with my mom.  The reason why this passage spoke to me is that my parents had their own problems.  They were doing the best they could at the time.  For sweet little impressionable children to be mistreated is a heartbreaking thing and to think about how I was molded to d be dysfunctional, it is quite sad.  But....... it is my life.  It was in the past.  My parents still do not choose to "get better."  But,..... that is their decision, their journey.  I get to control ME, not them.  When I learn about boundaries, I realize it is their choice whether to get better.  I also know that if I can lovingly detach, I can be the kind and loving daughter I want to be and provide unconditional love (despite their issues).  Anyways, I can see myself chipping away at this resentment and these posts on parents are especially helpful.  Despite the person who wrote the passage having a very different experience than me, I find the passage relateable and helpful!

Passage 2
"We can pave the way for calm, reasonable communication only if we first find healthy outlets for our own negative feelings." The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
**Let it begin with me.  It is absolutely life changing how one person's change can affect the entire relationship.  And if it doesn't affect the entire relationship, it at least changes the person doing it.  (that was a bit of a tongue tie).  I chose to communicate kindly and respectfully.


Is it Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary and Kind?

Even if the other person doesn't respond, I am being kind and wise.  That is worth so much!

Gratitude List
1) Grateful for my sweet new clients (and the money they bring in)
2) Grateful for my expertise in my field
3) Grateful for al anon literature being ONLINE
4) Grateful for my new schedule working out.
5) Grateful for vaccinations.
Monday, August 22, 2016
I take such pleasure in Monday mornings.....  

This week marks a lot of endings for us.  The end of speech therapy, the end of OT Gym, the end of J being two.  The mornings are darker and we are making an obvious shift into the months of Fall.  While Autumn has always been my the season I claim as my "favorite," I think I may be switching it to the Summer.  What fun we've had this Summer.  Our trip to Zion/Vegas, my 30th birthday, L turning 1, my friend J's wedding, high school friend reunions, and so so many days in the pool.  

What the Autumn brings is a bit of a mystery.  More days at the nature center, for certain....

Alright, time for me to get to business. 

Passage 1
If a sharp thorn or a splinter pierces my hand, what do I do? I remove it as quickly as I can. Surely I wouldn't leave it there, hurting me, until it festered and sent its infection throughout my body.
Yet what do I do with the thorns of resentment and hatred when they pierce my thoughts? Do I leave them there and watch them grow, while I suffer increasingly from the pain?
True, resentment and hatred are more difficult to pull out of our thoughts that the physical thorn from a finger, but so much depends upon it that I will do my best to eliminate them, before their poison can spread.
Today's Reminder 
If I really do not want to be hurt, and if I am sure that self-pity isn't giving me a certain secret satisfaction, I will take all the steps necessary to free my mind from painful thoughts and emotions. the best way to do this is not by grimly exerting will power, but by replacing those hurting ideas with thoughts of love and gratitude. 
"Thou has not half the power to me harm, as I have to be hurt." (William Shakespeare: Othello)

Passage 2
My Al-Anon recovery involves becoming aware of what motivates my choices. I was appalled to discover that fear ruled my life! I seemed to be afraid of everything! I was afraid to say. "No," to show hurt or anger, to be confused. With clenched teeth and a painted-on smile, I'd say, "Oh no, everything's okay," while thinking, "There'll come a day when I'll get even." Even that scared me because I was afraid of my own anger!
Many of my Al-Anon friends used the slogans to deal with their fears, but when fear engulfed me, all I could think of was "Came to believe . . ." I couldn't finish the rest of the Second Step, but that one phrase was enough. So when the telephone rang and I was startled and beginning to imagine the worst, I would take a deep breath and say to myself, "Came to believe . . ." Then it became possible to pick up the phone. And I always hung up feeling so much lighter because we had handled it!
Today's Reminder 
Before taking any action, I need only remind myself that I am in the care of a Higher Power. Whether the words I use say, "Help!" or "Let Go and Let God," or "Came to believe," I know that my Higher Power and I can deal with whatever we are facing. 
"We turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understand Him. A Higher Power is like a friend who really cares about us and wants to share our problems." Alateen -- a day at a time

Gratitude List
1) Grateful for health
2) Grateful for a Higher Power that loves me
3) Grateful for the capacity to learn
4) Grateful for health
5) Grateful for nutritious food!

Sunday, August 21, 2016
"Get messy!  Make mistakes!  Get out there and explore!" - Ms. Frizzle, the Magic School Bus

**The girls are watching a Magic School Bus episode in the other room and I heard the quote above I was getting ready to write.  There is absolutely no reason to take life so seriously.  "Get messy! Make mistakes!  Get out there and explore!"  I agree with Ms. Frizzle 100%.  That is also growth mindset right there!

Quote/Passage 1
I am not at the mercy of a cruel or capricious fate, for I have the power to determine what my life will be. I am not alone. I have the confidence and faith of all Al-Anon to support my efforts, as it is expressed by the loving concern, and help of the friends in my group. I am not alone, because God is with me whenever I make myself aware of Him. 
"To be without hope is to deny the wonderful possibilities of the future."

I was excited to see this passage pop up in my meditations, as it aligns with this morning's thoughts.  The past couple days, I have been very aware that I am hard on Hubby for not making that much money.  As a young adult and teenager, I wanted to avoid choosing a husband based on how much money he made.  That was not a quality I was going to value.  It wasn't until I was in my older 20s that thoughts about marrying someone who was more successful or financially able started popping into my head.  Part of this is likely due to my own limitations - wanting to work and be with the kids, but also my tendency to want to blame everything on Hubby.  This was modeled for me again and again in my family of origin and is my codependency.  A few men have been showing me interest lately.  And I've run into a few men that I've seen on and off throughout the years that I have some sexual energy with.  My first thought is, "I wonder how much money they make."  Wow!  That was difficult to even write out.  But, it's true!  And then, I wonder if their wives are happy with how much money they make.

It's a resentment I've been holding against hubby.  On one side, I know that he is doing fantastic!!  I am so excited for him.  He gained a lot of weight during his addiction and then on the medication.  He is running again and losing weight.  He is focusing on health and trying not to miss work appointments and sharing the child rearing duties with me.  He is funny and makes me laugh.  I have so much to be grateful for.  And yet..... I've been holding the thought that if I had met someone when I was older, it would be more likely to be someone at my level career wise (this is a complete speculation, but it's possible!).  Also, when Hubby asked me to date him, I said "no" 3x.  In fact, I never said, "yes."  He thought I meant yes when I said no, the last time.  And he took my hand and looked at me with so much excitement.  I was attracted to him and liked him and didn't want to hurt his feelings.  I thought, "Here we go!" and didn't correct him.  I considered it a cute story until I realized how it is evidence of my dysfunction.

All of that to say that, I am aware that if it didn't happen with Hubby, it probably would have happened with someone else.  And I am sure I would have put the blame on them for something else (because that's my disease and dysfunction) and would have missed other red flags (because that's what I know from my family of origin.)  Anyways, I am getting off track.  The point of this is to say that I've realized I need to be responsible for my own financial situation.  I need to release my resentment, know this is my power and responsibility and take action.  I also need to remember that my Higher Power is with me.   I am not at the mercy of a cruel or capricious fate, for I have the power to determine what my life will be.

Passage 2
In my family, my parents were always telling me what to do. My response was usually angry compliance or rebellious refusal. Either way, I was reacting, not acting, and feeling controlled.
I had the opportunity to change when I came too Al-Anon. As a new group representative headed for my first area assembly, I wanted to vote the way my group told me. We discussed the issues on the ballot. Members spoke in favor and against the issues. Before it was time to choose, the outgoing group representative made a motion to let me use my best judgment. He said I would receive more information at the assembly, and I wouldn't have the opportunity to check with my group on every matter. Several members reminded us of Concept Three, "The Right of Decision makes effective leadership possible." I couldn't believe my group trusted me to speak for them. Nevertheless, I "Let Go and Let God" and trusted myself to make good decisions, at the assembly.
When I returned, I shared how I had voted. Not everyone agreed with my decisions, but no one wanted to vote me out of office. They thanked me for my service and paid me for my expenses. After my term, I offered the same support to the group representatives who succeeded me. 
The support I receive form Al-Anon goes far beyond what my parents were capable of giving me. Today I know there is something more important than always doing, or refusing to do, what I am told. Instead, I can learn to trust my own judgment and let others trust me, too.
Thought for the Day 
Al-Anon service gives me the opportunity to make decisions, which helps build my character. 
"Being allowed to make appropriate decisions, to act freely without being hassled or second guessed gives dignity to the person who is doing the job. The Concepts -- Al-Anon's Best Kept Secret?, p. 8

Passage 3
Some Al-Anon suggestions, such as getting a Sponsor, were easy for me because I'm good at following specific instructions. But I didn't know what to do with the slogan, "Live and Let Live." Al-Anon helped me to let live by teaching me about detachment and helping me to see that many of my problems stemmed from minding everyone's business but my own. But how do you turn your eyes on yourself and "live" for the first time in your life?
When I put this question to my Sponsor, she asked me one in turn -- what had I done earlier that day? Although I'd had a very busy day, I could barely remember what I had been doing. My Sponsor suggested that I begin learning how to live by becoming more aware of my life as I was already living it. Then I would be better able to make choices about how I would like to live.
Searching for the real me, living according to my needs, and loving myself as a new-found friend have been the most rewarding benefits of the Al-Anon program. Strangely, they're the last ones I would have imagined receiving when I began.
Today's Reminder 
Today I can choose to take responsibility for my own life. If I stay out of others' affairs and become more aware of my own, I have a good chance of finding some serenity. 
"Each man's life represents a road toward himself." Hermann Hesse
I'm reading through a book on gratitude today and plan to be posting a lot on that.  I'm not sure if I'll publish it today.  I guess, I'll tart it off with some gratitude.

Gratitude List
1) So grateful for food, shelter, the necessities of life 
2) Grateful for access to nature
3) Grateful for the internet and social media and the resources and connections it provides
4) Grateful for time and for the day
5) Grateful for Al Anon

Feelings aren't Facts

**I am so surprised.  I wrote quite a bit more to this, this morning.  It was wonderful and I enjoyed writing it and it gave such clarity.  I'm wondering whether to rewrite it or just let it be.  Despite me pushing the published button, it did not publish.  Ok, I'm rewriting it.  Half of this was written a couple days ago and half this morning (twice).  I am feeling full of hope this morning.  I believe I was starting to feel tormented when I stopped writing this previously.  Too much focus on situations out of my control (like my handsome husband).

Quote/passage 1
There was a piece of reality that I never wanted to see: I loved someone who couldn't be trusted. Again and again I suffered the disappointment of broken promises, contradictions and outright lies. Each time I felt crushed, betrayed, outraged. Nevertheless, hours or sometimes days later, I put the incident out of my mind. When the next promise was made, I trusted without hesitation and with my whole heart. 
I continue to find it hard to accept that I can't trust the promises of someone I love. Yet I see that most of my heartache has come from my own refusal to accept reality. Al-Anon helps me to trust my experiences more than the inconsistent words of others.
I'm learning not to depend on someone who has been consistently untrustworthy, but at the same time realizing that that is no excuse to give up on the whole human race. Facing reality means accepting that many of my experiences in Al-Anon demonstrate that there are people upon whom I can rely. 

Today's Reminder
Today I make a commitment to be honest with myself. By facing reality, I become someone I can depend upon.
"Awareness is so much better for me than closing out all feelings, shutting out people, withdrawing from living. No matter how hard the truth is or what the facts are, I prefer to know, look at, and accept this day." As We Understood . . .

This was my experience!  When it comes to the disease, it's a disease of lies and shame.  An active addict will do whatever he/she can to protect the addiction.  Hubby would tell me while he was slurring his words that he didn't drink.  He would say, "I would tell you if I was drinking," despite hidden beer bottles around the house.

So, here I am..... same house.  I have already incorrectly believed an addict 100x before.  How do you know what to believe??  You trust your gut and your intuition and higher power completely.  You know his/her words are not to be counted on, only actions.  He still says, "I would tell you if I was drinking."

But, there's a twist!  Your hubby is bipolar!  And now he's on medication.  And sometimes he has moods that you don't recognize.  Your gut tells you they are "off."  And "off" used to mean drinking and danger.  But, maybe they don't mean that anymore.  And you are triggered.

Feelings aren't facts.  It's an al anon saying and it's very relevant to my life.  So, that is why we look at actions.  And what a relief it is to rely on something so objective!  In fact, if I want to cut through my very own denial, I also need to discard words and look at my actions, as well.

Lately, I've been enjoying some blogs from al anon members.  I enjoyed this entire post on the subject from F.I.N.E. -Non blog, but am posting only an excerpt.

Passage 2
I hear the statement that feelings aren't facts at meetings frequently.  But as was shared in the meeting last night: “Feelings aren’t facts, but it’s a fact that I’m having my feelings”.  And that surely is okay because for so long emotions are often repressed around alcoholics.  They are repressed until they boil over in anger and resentment.  So feelings are a good thing.

But where does the phrase "Feelings aren't facts" come in?  To me this means that some of my thoughts are really fabricated projections and aren't based on reality....  (more on link above)

****This was just posted in one of my online al anon groups as advice to someone else.  I thought it was fantastic!  Just part of a larger answer, but right on target to my dialogue this morning.

  " Accept how you are feeling today (it's just a feeling and it will pass) and be kind to yourself."  I think this should be my new mantra!
Friday, August 19, 2016
Quote 1/Passage 1
It's an illusion that depleting myself will help someone else. ". . . Making a life for ourselves, regardless of what others are doing or not doing, must be a top priority." How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 75 age.

label: self care

Thursday, August 18, 2016
Al anon slogan: Take your own inventory - Not someone else's

- I heard this at a speaker's meeting awhile back.  It made a lot of sense to me!  Lately, whenever I start to think about something I don't like that someone else is doing, I remind myself to take my own inventory.

Professionally, I've been doing a lot of work on growth mindset.  The idea is that we retrain the way our brain works.  The more we build up a pathway (by practicing a certain technique), the more automatic the technique becomes.  Same thing with Awareness, Acceptance, Action.  When we are aware and we act, we are changing how we work.  At first, it will feel awkward, but eventually it will be automatic.

Great video on "growing your mind" by Khan Academy

Quote/Passage 1
Some of us had a long list of grievances against the alcoholic, especially while the drinking was still active. the worst possible thing we can do is to remember them, dwell on them, and polish up our halos of martyrdom. The very best we can do is to erase them from memory, so each new day becomes an opportunity to make things better.
It is not my assignment to keep an inventory of my spouse's faults and misbehaviors. My task is to watch for my own and root them out, so that what I say and do will help to make things better for me and for my family.
Today's Reminder
Storing up grievances is more than a waste of time; it's a waste of life that could be lived to greater satisfaction. If I keep a record of oppressions and indignities, I am restoring them to painful reality.
I've found they're surprisingly easy to forget, once I start using the Al-Anon program each day.
"The horror of that moment." the King said, "I shall never forget." "Your will, though," said the Queen, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." (Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass)

Quote/Passage 2

Steps Four and Five healed my shame. Steps Six through Eight healed my guilt. Shame is about my thoughts and feelings, my inner self. My shame says that who I am is not okay. Guilt is about my words and actions, my outer self. My guilt says that what I do is not okay. Before Al-Anon, I dragged around so much shame and guilt I couldn't imagine that these emotions ever would help me. I didn't learn healthy, consistent values. Shame and guilt were used to punish and control me. I ended up feeling ashamed and guilty about almost everything.

Al-Anon and my sponsor helped heal my shame by providing a safe atmosphere in which to share my thoughts and feelings. When I took my Fourth and Fifth Steps with my sponsor, I received the gift of having someone I trust and respect see my whole self and love me anyway. I never dreamed this would happen. The Sixth through Ninth Steps healed my guilt by giving me guidelines so I could identify my part in situations, discern my mistakes, and make amends. Now that I've admitted my mistakes and shortcomings to God, to myself, and to another human being, my normal feelings of guilt and shame guide me in Step Ten, where I continue to take personal inventory. Those uncomfortable emotions let me know that I may have said or done something contrary to the values I've developed in Al-Anon. Then I can make appropriate amends to protect my self-esteem.
Thought for the Day
Have I considered that normal feelings of shame and guilt might help my recovery instead of hinder it?
"What we do with our feelings and how we respond to them is what's important. Alateen shows me how to respond." Alateen's 4th Step Inventory, p. 32

*I love this description of the program.  Reminds me of "feelings aren't facts" a program slogan I think would be very helpful to me as I am reacting to triggers regarding Hubby watching the kids.  I think I'll post more on this tomorrow.

Gratitude List 
1) Grateful for an easy day yesterday
2) Grateful for (hopefully!!) an al anon meeting tonight
3) Grateful my fall schedule for work is coming together
4) Grateful for warm water with lemon
5) Grateful for training in behavior (helps me dramatically with being the calm and loving parent I am).

JOY - playing with my kids with nothing else on my mind.  Being in the moment with them!
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
What a twist - our babysitter cancelled last minute today.  Poor thing has an infection and is taking care of herself.  We had noone else to watch the kids last minute and Hubby's client has made it clear that he is not to be cancelled on last minute.

So, I was stressed.  I called my new clients and rescheduled for Monday.  They were extremely understanding.  And I got what I really needed.... to relax.  I could have taken today and done a gazillion things that maybe I "should" have done.  But, I relaxed and I played with the girls and I got to watch L walk the furthest she ever has!

Seems like higher power had different plans after all.  And Hubby was himself, as he usually is, when he woke up, and the man I love.  So, my finances aren't solved.  But, I feel taken care of and so much better.

J is asking me right now, "Is it Christmas time yet?"  "Is it time to put up a Christmas tree?"  "Is it time to hang ornaments?"  "Do we have a Christmas box?"

My sweet little girl!

Well, I'm struggling this morning.  It IS an absolutely lovely day.  I can see that.  I am grateful for it.  And I KNOW in my heart that higher power is in control, not me.

I can't.  He can.  I need to let him.

Hubby and I were depending on a $3000 check this month.  And I don't think it's going to come until next month.  Also, Julianne found my wallet and took everything out including a $300 check and I now can't find it.  I have no idea where she put it.  (Of course I can ask the person to reissue, but I would prefer not to do that.)

From my limited mindset, I feel in trouble.  Well, that's why we put our trust in a loving higher power, right?  From my view, things look bad.  But, He can conquer any limitation with ease.  I'm going to do my best to take care of my self today, be gentle with myself today, do things that make me happy (maybe a walk at the nature center), reach out to others and know that God has it under control.

God, Grant me the Serenity 
To accept the things I can not change, 
The courage to change the things
And the wisdom to know the difference.  

Living one day at at time,
enjoying one moment at time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to Peace.
Trusting that You will make things all right
As I surrender to your will.

I have an Al Anon meeting later today, but may give someone a call earlier.  Speaking to someone usually gets me on track more quickly then an internal dialogue.

I am also feeling concern over a situation that happened yesterday.  Hubby took the girls to the park while he was watching them.  I was at work.

That is the entire situation.  That's what I'm experiencing a physiological reaction to.  Trauma.  When Hubby was active in his addiction, he used to take the girls out as an excuse to stop by the store and buy beer.  I honestly don't know the whole situation, but I believe possibly also to get attention from women.  He really used to love the attention he would get from women when he took them out.  I hope he never took them to another woman's house or anything like that, but I truly don't know what he did before I got my boundaries in place.  There has been a lot of deceit.

So, yesterday while he was watching them(something I already don't feel good about when he is anxious) he took them to the park without telling me before hand or preparing me.  I noticed they also went to the store.  The problem is that he acts the way he used to act before he would "act out" or have an episode.  He acts anxious and if I ask how he's doing he says, "good."

The solution is that I shouldn't let him watch the kids if I don't feel it is right, 100%.  I know this.  But, I'm so torn because we don't have the money to pay a sitter.  I mean, it's just not there.  I guess I could ask my mom, but it adds up very quickly - hundreds of dollars a week that she does't have.  So, another option is just to stay home.  That is the option that feels best, but then I cancel on my clients which is extremely unprofessional.  And if having to do it on a long term basis just sets me up so we REALLY don't have money, instead of getting  me in the situation where we can afford a sitter.

It's overwhelming.  I come home to the girls bathed, teeth brushed, in bed.  There is no evidence of neglect.  So, I am starting to sometimes let him watch them on days where he seems "off" to me.  Sometimes I cancel.  On days that he is the Hubby I recognize, I have zero doubt that he is the best babysitter around.  I won't know if he is (in my opinion) off or on until the hours before I leave.  The situations stinks and I'm not going to dwell on it.

I'm going to table it for the moment, as there is currently no better solution that I see.  I'm going to focus on one thing at a time and just do the next best thing.  I need to work and I need to make enough money to get us in a better situation.  I have a good plan for the future.

After I finish writing this, I'm going to take the girls to the nature center, see some beauty, get some exercise and then run to the bank.  I have a service that just turned off and I need to pay that.  Then al anon meeting and a full day of work.  The clients that I just assessed are starting today - as soon as they possibly can, so back to back clients until 8pm.

Goal today is to "Let Go and Let God."  I am so incredibly blessed.  We have free passes to a great kid center nearby and I think we will make a day of it on Friday.  I will say it again..... I am extremely blessed.  Self care and no big decisions today.  

Quote/Passage 1

Keep it Simple. Cut my day down into bite-size chews, and that way I'm not faced with a mountain I think I need to devour within the next ten minutes; I can take it one step, one day at a time. 
- Through an Al Anon Filter

Quote/Passage 2
When I'm tired, driving myself to accomplish more in this day is not self-care. It's not laziness to rest when I need rest, or sleep when sleep is what I require - my Higher Power has granted me relative health, and for that I'm grateful, but I need to give this corporal body the same attention that I would give any machine in my care. When the vacuum overheats, I shut it off and allow it to cool down, I don't try to keep on vacuuming until the motor blows. Yet how many times have I tried to drive myself past overwhelming fatigue, determined to conquer the annoying needs of this body which carries me around?
Self-care is not selfishness, it's good sense, and it feels good to give ourselves some pampering and loving.
- Through an Al Anon Filter

**Note - just found blog "Through an Al Anon Filter"   It is not an active blog, as the author has passed from cancer, but it is filled with a wealth of on topic posts and sorted by labels.  None of my daily meditations were on target for me today and I did a google search on al anon passages self care.  What I found was so valuable to me.  

Gratitude List
1)  Grateful for all of the wonderful resources in our area.
2) Grateful for al anon
3) Grateful for a hubby that WANTS to take the kids to the park and WANTs to spend time with them
4) Grateful for a healthy working mind.  
5) Grateful for my little munchkins, who have been all over me as I write this.  "Are you done yet?" says J.  Nooooot yet, haha!

Well, now I'm done.  Off we go to explore a beautiful day! 
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
I saw this on a response for business related material, but I think it applies to recovery too...

My best advice is to take imperfect action.. Then adjust for improvements.. Best of luck!

Quote/Passage 1
During stressful periods it can be tempting to skip a meal, push ourselves until we are totally exhausted, and generally ignore our basic needs. In the midst of crisis, taking time out for an Al-Anon meeting, a call to a Sponsor, or a breath of fresh air may seem like a waste of all-too-precious moments. There don't seem to be enough hours in a day, and something has to go. But are we choosing wisely?
At the very time we most need to take good care of ourselves, we are likely to do the opposite. If we decide that our needs are unimportant or that we're too busy, we sabotage our own best interests. In times of crisis, we need to be at our best. By making an extra effort to get nutritious food, sleep, Al-Anon support, relaxation, and quiet time with our Higher Power, we strengthen ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This can make a difficult situation a little easier.
Today's Reminder 
I am the only one who can make my well-being my top priority. I owe it to myself to pay attention to the needs of my body, mind, and spirit. 
"Putting 'First Things First' in troubled times often means finding whatever way I can to set aside my burdens, even if just for a moment, to make time for myself." . . . In All Our Affairs

Labels: crisis, self care, program tools

*When I left hubby to go to my moms for a few months, my sponsor told me that I should not do any decision making the day after.  She said to treat it like an emotional hang over.  Drink lots of water, rest and be kind to myself.  This type of thinking was completely novel to me.  I loved it though!  What a kind way to go through life!  I think taking a moment to call a recovery friend in crisis is something that I want to do much much more of.  One of the most beautiful things I've learned on this journey is not to go through the difficult parts of life alone.  By reaching out to a recovery friend you are likely helping them and yourself.  

Passage/Quote #2
It may be that the harsh words and accusations we use to whip the alcoholic for what he has done, or failed to do, leave no mark once the battle is over. But how can we tell? How can we risk hurting another person who is already so deeply wounded by his own guilt?
Does the voice of God have a chance to be heard over my angry shouting? What is the purpose of letting myself fly apart in reckless tantrums? To punish the drinker? To relieve my pent-up feelings?
Today's Reminder 
I cannot punish anyone with punishing myself. The release of my tensions, even if it seems justified, leaves dregs of bitterness behind. Unless I have deliberately decided that my relationship with my spouse has no further value in my life, I would do well to consider the long-range benefits of quiet acceptance in times of stress. 
"How shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?" (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)

labels: codependency

Sooo, yesterday.............. I had such great hopes for the day, but they kind of flopped.  I was so overwhelmed.  I asked Hubby to take J to OT Gym, skipped the pool and considered taking off work.  I really just wanted to lay in bed.  I wasn't quite sure what was overwhelming me, but I had a hunch it was a meeting with new clients to share the results of their students' assessments. I wasn't ready for the appt.  I wanted things typed up and printed and the day just seemed long.
When trying to get my head straight, I came across the THREE P's in Al Anon - Perfectionism, Procrastination and Paralysis.  It made perfect sense to me.  Despite being a fairly capable person, I have procrastinated to an extreme.  Part of this is because of a fixed mindset.  Fear of not being perfect results in me wanting to procrastinate.  At times, instead of facing the fact that I am imperfect, I get paralyzed.  That was yesterday - paralysis.  Well, I got myself to work and it went very well.  I will be able to help these students tremendously.  The parents are very eager to work with me and despite the fact that I did not have the presentation ready to my standards, it was ready enough for them.  I had the solution to their problem and I am excellent at getting student's results.  Grateful I went.  

Today is a much less stressful day.  Hubby is supposed to watch the kids and I have been struggling with trusting him lately.  However, I think part of that is my disease.  He has been very consistent lately.  I'm going to try to ready myself for this.

Speech therapy, pool and work.

Slogans - Let it begin with me, Live and let live,  Let go and let god, how important is it.  

Gratitude List
1) pretend play
2) almost walking babies
3) clean water
4) beautiful mountains
5) love