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Friday, September 23, 2016
I went to a Life Group last night and it was just what I needed!  Small group, all women in late 20s, one other woman who was 30.  Only one other married woman and noone had kids.  Talk about perspective!  Most of my good friends have been in relationships for a long time.  The single women who were in relationships were not in serious relationships or long term relationships.  Everyone was so so honest and open and it was just fantastic. We also did a fantastic meditation exercise on reviewing our day openly honestly and without judgement.

It re-introduced me to a part of myself that I haven't seen in awhile.  I was bubbly, vivacious and really fit into that environment.  I didn't feel self conscious, at all!  The groups topics are perfectionism and shame.  Talk about spot on.  I paid $37 in babysitting fees to go to this group and it was absolutely priceless!  I feel like I saw myself and the world through a much wider lens. 

It also made me realize that I haven't lost my social skills, I just have blocks (like perfectionistic blocks) to socializing like that in the parenting world.  

Other quick update and then I've got to jump into my passages.  I drew up boundaries, based on hubby's regression, and my comfort level with what is happening. I wrote up a formal agreement, but the gist is that he will no longer be able to watch the kids alone and he can drink as much as he likes, but if he continues with emotionally abusive behavior, then he will need to move out or we will.  Boundaries are usually crossed, so I hope that doesn't happen.  It's going to get expensive fast.  But, I know this is the right move and I know we will find a way to make it work financially!  I budgeted for $1200 in babysitting fees next month and so it's officially part of the equation.


Passage 1
One of our delusions is that we, as spouses of alcoholics, are "running the show." This form of self-deception can only increase our frustrations. It makes the home a battleground in which the alcoholic has the best chance of winning every encounter. We are often outwitted by the alcoholic's lightning changes of mood, his promises, challenges and other maneuvers. This is the best reason for detaching our minds and our emotions from the minute-by-minute conflict, and seeking a peaceful, orderly way of life within ourselves. If we stop fighting out every incident that happens, absence of an active adversary is bound to bring about wholesome changes in the home environment, and everyone in it.

Today's Reminder
I will not try to outwit or out-maneuver anyone else, but will proceed quietly to live my life so I will have less reason for self-reproach. I will withdraw my mind from what others do, and think of what I am doing. I will not react to challenging words and actions.
"When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger." (Epictetus -- Greek philosopher)

*There are so many quotes/passages I have read that remind me of Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"  That is the codependent's verse, for certain.  And mine.  
This also made me think of HALT.
Passage 2

One of my character defects is to respond in kind to behavior that is directed at me -- to react to insults with more insults, to rudeness with rudeness. I never thought to act any other way until I began traveling to work with a long-time member of Al-Anon. Each day, when my friend would stop to buy the morning paper, the person behind the counter was surly and hostile. No matter how rudely she was treated, my friend consistently behaved with courtesy. I was outraged! Doesn't Al-Anon tell us we don't have to accept unacceptable behavior? Finally I asked her about it.
She told me that, since this is the only newsstand around, she would rather detach form the behavior than do without her morning paper. She explained that she is powerless over other people's attitudes, but she doesn't have to permit them to goad here into lowering her own standards for herself. To the best of her ability, she chooses to treat everyone she meets with courtesy. Other people are free to make whatever choices they prefer.
Today's Reminder
Today I will "Let It Begin with Me." I do not have to accept unacceptable behavior; I can begin by refusing to accept it from myself. I can choose to behave courteously and with dignity.
My freedom and independence do not depend on any acts of defiance or confrontation. They depend on my own attitudes and feelings. If I am always reacting, then I am never free.

*** I really loved this example!!

Passage 3
I suffered from the compulsive need for perfection that I developed while growing up with an alcoholic mother. I found that trying to be perfect was the best defense against her anger. There was no way of knowing what would upset my mother next, and I believed perfect behavior and achievement would protect me from her dangerous responses.
A friend who often witnesses my destructive habit of criticizing myself told me of a mistake she made one morning. Instead of pouring her orange juice into a glass, she poured it into her coffee as if it were cream. She knew if I had made the same error, it would have been occasion for intense self-derision at my imperfection, and she was right. I was completely mystified by her casual dismissal of the mistake. I envied her ability to simply pour the coffee and juice mixture out of her mug and start over again. How could she laugh off the incident so easily? I had no idea how to treat myself in such a gentle, forgiving way.
A particular Al-Anon tool showed me how to apply the lessons of my friend's story to my own life. The repeated hearing and reading of the slogan "How Important Is It?" helped me to work this question into my daily experience. I finally understood that no serious damage is done when orange juice is poured into coffee. I learned to distinguish which behaviors result in consequences that need serious attention, and which ones do not. I came to understand that actions are about responsibility, not judgment. I have now learned to be as gentle with myself as I am with others.
Thought for the Day
What is my barometer for determining "How Important Is It?"
"Most of the time I find that what I might have viewed as a disaster is really insignificant." Courage to Change, p. 228

**This is a great question.  What is my barometer for determining "How Important Is It?"  I want to come back to this in more detail.....


  1. I loved Passage 2! I can relate to the concept of Passage 3, though that example didn't apply to me. I can laugh about inconsequential mistakes I make ("DOING!" lol), but with the bigger stuff I still self-judge.

    1. Yes! I agree. Pouring juice into coffee, definitely would garner a laugh. But, still get upset over some middle of the ground type stuff. Yesterday, I got so upset (or almost did) because Hubby took down a painting when drunk and wouldn't help me put it back up (it's very heavy), but said I was doing it wrong (and I wanted to do it right, so it wouldn't fall on the kids).

      I went into the kitchen, took some deep breaths and asked myself, "How important is it?" It was laughable, that I was willing to lose my serenity about HANGING A PICTURE! He told me, "I feel like you're mad at me now." And I could honestly say, no, I'm good. I then explained how funny that I would get upset about not knowing how to do the picture and got myself some food.

  2. p.s. I forgot to say yay for finding a great group you fit into! Why is it that you only feel blocked by perfectionism in the parenting world? Again, I wish I were there to watch those adorable girls for you! It would only cost a weekly girls night out.