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Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Feeling Grateful!!!

1.  I am only working a couple of hours on Wednesday (I may not go in, at all!!).  I am off from work Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  And I'll be paid my regular 40!!  I worked on Sunday, so that's why I don't need to work on Wednesday.  It all works out for a fantastic holiday and so much family time!!

2.  My leg is almost all better.  I am so grateful for modern medicine.  I had a spider bite or eczema or SOMETHING that got infected.  I went to the Emergency Room twice (mainly because I didn't want to miss work), but it got to the point where my foot was swelling........ and despite me playing it down, it could have gotten dangerous.  They gave me five different medicines to take.  This morning..... I took my last pill and I'm all healed!!  Very grateful!

3.   I am grateful for the wonderful people at work. 

4.  For the volunteers I work with.

5.  For the people in my al anon group.

6.  For work, itself!

7.  For health!  (I already said that, but I'm saying it again).

8.  For my sweet daughters!

9.  For my comfy green chair.  I am soon to get a sofa, and I'm nervous about change.  You think I'd be thankful.  But....... nervous, haha.  I'm sure it will be fine.

10  Thanksgiving.  I'm excited and grateful for Thanksgiving.  Hooray!
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Time to confront reality.

For so long, I felt overweight when I was perfectly healthy.  I knew I was in pretty good shape, health wise, but I had parts I was self conscious of. 

Recently, i have been feeling great about my body.  When I went shopping for interview clothes, they put me in a size 8!!  That's pretty much the size I was before I had kids.  Woo hoo!  And people have been telling me I look slimmer.  And I've been feeling slim and great.

Well, the person who led our meditation retreat last night posted some pictures......... and reality hit.

My body is not healthy right now.  I am so glad that I still feel comfortable in my body.  I do for the most part.  I feel small.  And I feel healthy.  And I can't imagine being 15 to 20lb smaller.  And then I look at those pictures..... and it was very noticeable that I am not a healthy weight. 

I am grateful for the wake up call.  I really didn't realize I was so big.  I was thinking I would be happy with 10lb less.  But..................  I am looking at an overweight person there.  So odd!  Anyways, on to get healthy again. 
Saturday, October 28, 2017
I've been journaling on paper a bit, recently, since my schedule has been out of whack and I don't always have time to get to the computer before work and after. I have been so tired.

I am so grateful for my new Solutions Family.

Last night, at my "Home" Al Anon group, was my first time acting as Secretary.  The group started out mostly all older men and women.  But, my Solutions family has started coming too.  So, I had the old friends I've been making.... my sponsor..... the previous Secretary coaching me through, and 6-7 of my new Solutions Family.  All women in their 20s and 30s.  They are getting sponsors and learning to work the program.  I come in to the group to lots of hugs.  It makes my heart smile.

I also have people to call if I need a babysitter.  I'm going to try to get an OA meeting into circulation. 

And yet, my life is disorganized.

I think there is a progress, not perfection thing going on. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I went back to read some posts from October 2016 to see my growth.

And Guess What?????

I was in a better place back then, recovery wise.  Sigh.  I know that recovery is like a spiral.  But, I definitely feel like I've moved backwards in my recovery.

Back in October 2016.  I had a growing support system at my old house.  I was working.  I was very grateful and I was spending a lot of quality time with the kids. 

I also get the sense that I was being my best self.  I saw things in the past blogs about O drinking and spending the night in garage.........  about having to drive around for hours because I didn't feel safe to come home..........

I was concerned about the kids exposure to him.  And the normalization at that kind of chaos. 

That still rings true today.  But, to be honest, things aren't necessarily better.  And the kids DID lose both their parents. 

I am not the patient loving mama they once had. 

I am in front of other people.  It's difficult to say this, but it's true.  But, at home, I keep losing my temper.  I'm tired.  And I overreact to little things. 

My life had a very poor foundation before.  But, it's almost like we have no foundation now. 

I'm not giving up.  I'm going to keep working on it. 

The kids are not exposed to alcoholism.  They aren't in physical danger.  We are working on building a schedule and things are looking up. 

---------------------

When a codependent focuses on themselves, I think it is often difficult.  When comparing myself to an active alcoholic, I can feel great about myself.  And, oddly, even act calmer and nicer to make a clear distinction.  Right now, it's just me.  The accountability is gone.  Maybe I need to set up an accountability to someone else other than God.  I think I do. 

I have grand ideas, but my priorities are out of whack.  My self care is out of whack.  I do have much to be grateful for.  Ok, that was my "brain vomit" for this morning. 

I'm meeting with a friend in about an hour and we are doing a play date with the kiddos.  Then, maybe the Farmer's Market.  Then, maybe, visit with Papa.  Then, I may be babysitting another kiddos' child so she can go out for the first time EVER, since her baby was born.  I am grateful she has chosen to trust me and hope she gets out.  I know they were both a bit sick yesterday, so that may be cancelled. 

I can see what I'm doing.  I need to get my priorities in order.  Higher Power, Food, Exercise.  I need to say no to seeing friends.  I need to schedule time for the absolute basics.  Sigh.  And I do need accountability.  I think that is something important in my life.









Monday, October 23, 2017
I just checked the weather report and it's going to rain today 100%!!!!  I am elated.  :)
It is Monday.  I am tired.  But, I have a good day ahead of me, I'm sure.

Self Care.

Sleep.

I need to put sleep first.  The weekends are often difficult for me.  Which i kind of sad.  I haven't been the mom I want to be.  I don't know if it is my new situation.....with me being a single parent.  I don't know if having a 2 and 4 year old is a challenge that would have brought this out of me anyways.

I think the right question, however, is not "why" but "how."

I am challenged.  This is a fact.  HOW am I going to deal with it?  Am I going to be "honest open and willing?"  Am I going to use this opportunity to grow as a person and take the help of my higher power.  Let go and let God?

Right now, I feel a little worried. So, I'm just going to do my gratitude, get some tea and get ready for work.  I have confidence that today will truly be lovely.  A lot of good things to look forward to!

Quick Gratitude
1) bells!!
2) a green and gold chair for my apartment (I lucked out!!)
3) painted pumpkins
4) my daughters' giggles
5) sound...................
HFT
The concept of “God as we understood Him” was hard to grasp. My family believed there is only one way to view God. My parents used religion to keep me in line. I believed we went to the only true church. There was a list of do’s and don’ts. I was afraid of God, viewing Him as a severe judge just waiting to punish me.
By the end of my first meeting, I was impressed with the acceptance I felt. There was no gossip or criticism. People were friendly even though they had differing opinions and beliefs. No one tried to change others by telling them what to think or how to feel. In Al-Anon I felt for the first time as if I could be myself. I could relax and let a Higher Power of my understanding evolve.
I realized the God of my parents had come in a very small box, not expansive enough for me. I fired that God and hired a new one. My new Higher Power is much bigger than the old one. He doesn’t live in a box. He lives in me and in those around me. He loves me, cares for me, and accepts me just as I am – a work of art in progress. He is a God who wants the best for everyone. My Higher Power can trun tragedy into something positive, because out of my difficult childhood has come a God I no long fear, but treasure.
Thought for the Day
Does my concept of God fit the new, recovering me?
“In Al-Anon, we can come to understand the nature pf a Power greater than ourselves in a personal, profound way and many of us have been amazed at the difference this understand makes in our lives.” As We Understood…., p. 71
CTC
When the alcoholic I loved got sober I was sure that the nightmare was over! But without the tranquilizing effect of alcohol, she became verbally abusive. She accused, attacked, insulted, and I always defended myself. It seemed crucial that she understand. But that didn’t happen, no matter how much I argued, pleaded, or insulted in return. I felt trapped and hopeless.
Sobriety brings change, but it doesn’t always take away all the problems. Al-Anon helps me learn that I don’t have to accept the unacceptable, nor do I have to argue back or convince another person that I’m innocent or right. I can begin to recognize when I am dealing with alcoholism’s insanity, and I can detach. I certainly don’t have to respond by doubting myself.
Today’s Reminder
When cruel words fly from the mouth of another person, drunk or sober, Al-Anon helps me remember that I have choices. Perhaps I can say the Serenity Prayer to myself, or refuse to discuss the topic any further. i can listen without taking the words personally; I can leave the room, change the subject, make an Al-Anon call, or explore other alternatives. My sponsor can help me to discover options that seem right for me.
“We may never have the choices we would have if we were writing the script, but we always have choices.“ . . . In All Our Affairs
ODAT
Sometimes, it is good to examine a commonplace familiar phrase, meditate on it, take it apart and explore its inner meaning.
We hear someone say, “He is standing in his own light.” How clearly the picture emerges of our shadowing our own happiness by mistaken thinking .Let us stand aside so the light can shine on us and on all we do, so we can see ourselves and our circumstances with true clarity.
If we have Al-Anon, there is no need to stand in our own light and try to solve our problems in darkness. The ways and means that Al-Anon offers have lighted the way for so many thousands of despairing people that no one can question their power.
TODAY’S REMINDER
When I am faced with a problem that seems impossible to solve, when I feel trapped in a situation and can see no way out, let me ask myself whether I am standing in my own light. I must find the vantage point where I can most clearly see my difficulty as it is; then, answers will come.
“…and the light shall shine in the dark places and make all clear as day.”


I was not familiar with this phrase and really really like it.  It goes with "let go and let God for me." 
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
HFT
The guidance embodied in the Serenity Prayer was a foreign concept when I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting. I soon realized it must be important because every meeting I attended since has used it as part of the opening. Applying it to my recovery seemed a worthwhile endeavor.
In the Serenity Prayer I ask my Higher Power to grant me "wisdom to know the difference" between the "things I cannot change" and the "things I can." Before Al-Anon I was unable to distinguish between the two. In fact, I think I had them absolutely backwards, often struggling to manage events that were beyond my ability to influence, let alone control. Such behavior usually led to mental, physical, and emotional fatigue as well as feelings of depression, failure, and worthlessness. These feelings became familiar as I matured in my alcoholic family, and I grudgingly came to accept them as normal.
Now, thanks to Al-Anon, I know I'm powerless over alcohol and alcoholic behavior. I know I'm a valuable, worthwhile person whose struggles resulted from the seemingly senseless events in my life. My illusion of control helped me survive, but I don't need it now.
Although uncomfortable feelings and the urge to rule crop up occasionally, I remind myself that this is part of my disease and that feelings aren't facts. I admit my powerlessness once again and turn my unhealthy reactions over to my Higher Power. Not only can He manage my life better than I can, He can also restore me to sanity.
Thought for the Day
When I take the hands off the controls and "Let Go and Let God," my life runs smoothly, and I feel serene.
"Let Go and Let God, He sees the world true, Rely on Him, and you'll never be blue . . ." Alateen Talks Back on Slogans , p. 15

I had forgotten about feelings aren't facts.  That is a great one!!
CTC
As we pursue recovery, we may encounter opportunities to deepen learning we began long ago. Perhaps we once learned to detach form a particular problem. Now, months or years later, when we once again need to detach, it can feel as if we’ve forgotten everything we knew. It’s important to remember at such moments that, although the feelings may be the same, WE are not the same.
My recovery matters. All of the experience, strength, and hope I have accumulated is within me today, guiding my choices. I may not recognize it right now, but I have made progress, and I continue to make progress with every step I take. Perhaps I am learning something I have learned before; I must need to know it more deeply. I may go through the process this time with greater awareness, or turn to my Higher Power more quickly and easily, or reach out to an Al-Anon friend without hesitation.
Today’s Reminder
Instead of assuming that I have failed because I am learning a difficult lesson once more, I might embrace the experience as part of a long-term healing process that requires repetition and practice. I can trust that eventually I will learn it so well that it will become an automatic, confident, and healthy response.
“The human mind always makes progress, but it is a progress in spirals. “ Madame de Stael

I like that last quote!!
ODAT
A brief study of some intangibles:
Our attitudes are usually conveyed to other people by what we say and do – and how, if the attitudes really reflect what we feel. Gentle actions and soft, courteous words may only counterfeit our true feelings. We may even think we have overcome resentment, self-righteousness and self-pity, but if they are still there inside us, they will, in some mysterious way, emanate from us and deny what we try to convey by our play-acting.
“How can he tell?” asks a confused wife, “I never raise my voice, never argue, try to do what he expects, and yet he’s always challenging me!”
TODAY’S REMINDER
Merely to change my behavior, and what I say and do, does not prove a change of inward attitude. I am deceiving myself if I imagine I can completely disguise my real feelings. They will somehow come through, and prolong the hostility in my family. I must root out entirely the troublesome emotions I’ve been trying to hide.
“There are more things in heaven and earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – William Shakespeare

Hmmm.  Today, I am likely going to be talking to some people at work about putting myself first and not taking on extra and unnecessary commitments.  

I'm feeling all my al anon receptors go on edge.  Yet, I'm not looking forward to the conversation.  I have acted like I am excited about all of it.   And.......... I am, to an extent.  I have communicated excitement despite my feelings of it not going well or being planned in a way to preserve my time.  But, I need to come first!  So, it may be surprising or disappointing to the other person because my feelings and actions haven't lined up (lack of integrity due to desire to please).  Most likely though, it will not be that big of a deal.  And, it does not show respect to someone to people please and then become overcommitted and unable to demonstrate excellence.  
Friday, October 13, 2017
In my current program, we focus on 1 of 13 servant leadership behaviors a week.  We spend 15-30 min talking about it in the morning.  It has been positive in my life and I want to formalize it as a part of my kiddo's experience.

Today we are finishing up.

Listen First
Listen before you speak.  Understand.  Diagnose.  Listen with your ears - and your eyes and heart.  Don't assume you know what matters most to others.  Don't assume you have all the answers  - or all the questions.

We've talked a lot about assuming this week.  We've also talked about listening to ourselves first, meditation.  And then active listening, listening to vents, etc.

I think a good thing for my kids on this could be my poem that I so love to quote by Mr. Shell Silverstein.

"There is a voice inside of you that whispers all day long.
I feel that this is right for me.
I know that this is wrong.

No teacher, preacher, parent, friend or wise man can decide,
what's right for you, 
Just listen to the voice that speaks inside."

I think I'm going to have J memorize it.  You can't be a good servant leader, if the behaviors don't begin with yourself.


CTC
Al-Anon meetings opened my eyes to something I had never thought about before: Shouting and slamming doors were not the best way to handle an already difficult situation. While there may be no harm in occasionally letting off steam with a raised voice, shouting can become a destructive habit. I’d never thought to ask myself if this was how I wanted to behave. Did this behavior get me what I wanted or encourage me to feel good about myself?
When I took a good look, I realized that the answer to this questions was, “No.” Loud, angry words and actions demonstrated my frustration and pushed away all hope for peaceful solutions to my problems.
The slogan that helps me back to a rational state of mind is “Easy does it.” When I use this slogan to quiet myself on the inside, it is easier to quiet the outside as well.
Today’s Reminder
I am seeking a saner approach to everything I encounter. The slogans can be valuable sources of sanity in chaotic situations.
Today, if I am tempted to act out of anger or frustration, I will remember that “Easy does it.”
“I will try to apply “Easy Does It” t every incident that might increase the tension and cause an explosion.“ One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
ODAT
We come together in an Al-Anon group for the purpose of sharing experience, strength and hope with each other. This we do by attending meetings, discussing, listening, counseling, and telephoning each other for comfort and renewal of confidence.
It is wonderful to know that this close communication, this keeping in touch, is not limited to the members of a single group; it embraces the whole world! This message came to the United States from the publication of the Al-Anon groups of South Africa:
TODAY’S REMINDER
“Learn to face things as they come, and when they come, with calm deliberation. We may not be able to control events, but we can control our attitudes toward them.”
This clear message from a faraway continent will inspire Al-Anon people everywhere in their search for serenity. It demonstrates how closely akin we are in our loving fellowship.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind….for we are members one of another.” - Ephesians

Ok............ So, this gave me some inspiration, actually to set up a system to talk with al anon folks during my commute.  I used to speak with my mom, back in the day.  I decided this wasn't healthy, at some point.  But, THIS is the time that I have to check in with healthy al anon people AND my sponsor.  This has been on my mind and I feel like it's a sweet little epiphany that just came to me and I'm very grateful for.  <3
Thursday, October 12, 2017
CTC
Sometimes I become so bogged down with dissatisfaction that I can’t see where I am or where I’m going. When I take time to “Think,” I realize that negativity keeps my life at a standstill. Al-Anon has helped me to discover that, while it’s good to acknowledge whatever I feel, I have a choice about where to focus my attention. I’m challenged to find positive qualities in myself, my circumstances, and other human beings. As I attend meetings, list the things I am grateful for, and talk with other Al-Anon members, these attributes become apparent – if I’m willing to see them.
I believe I have a beautiful spirit that has been created for some purpose. The people and situations I encounter each day also have beauty and purpose. I can begin to look for the positive in everything I do and see. The perspective I’ve gained by doing so has shown me that some of the most difficult times in my life had produced the most wonderful changes.
Today’s Reminder
It may be difficult to break a long established pattern of depression, doom-saying, and complaining, but it’s worth eth effort.
I’ll replace a negative attitude with a positive one today.
“Sometimes I go about pitying myself
And all the while
I am being carried across the sky,
By beautiful clouds.”

Ojibway Indian Saying
I was all ready to blog tonight.  And then I just felt........... well...... tired.

I've been doing a parenting journal for classes at work.  It is helpful to reflect each day and look for the patterns of when I am the parent I want to be and when I am not.

I'm trying to get in a regular healthy proactive schedule.  There is no significant other to blame or take up my energy.  The kiddos papa takes up some energy.  I saw him today and he called me "boo," told me he loved me frequently and asked if he could kiss my forehead and played our songs in his car.......... and overall made me super uncomfortable.  I've told him this before.  I feel like my boundaries are not being respected and thus unsafe.  I am still not convinced that he is hearing me.  I tried to have a few conversations about the kiddos too and it was apologies and defensiveness.  I hope and believe one day, it will get easier.  :::::fingers crossed:::::  In good news, he is helping out a tiny bit with the kids.  And boy did we need it!!

Good Habits:
I exercised for 30 minutes tonight.  Stairs and jogging.  My body feels good.
I'm keeping the house clean
I get to decorate in a way that works for me.

The classes we are taking are: emotional intelligence, servant leadership, empowerment, codependency, finance, communication and parenting.

@ Servant Leadership today, we had to circle a list of words that represented our values.  We then had to choose five that were the most important.  It was tricky weeding it down to five, because I probably circled 20-30.

I chose:

Joy
Creativity
Community
Compassion
Excellence

There are seven of us in classes.  It was interesting to see how each person chose values that they live out every day.  Mine too.

It has been interesting finding my identity in a group again.  Everyone knows everyone in the program.  There are maybe 20-30 of us (or less) at the morning meetings and most of us went through the shelter together.  I have a similar reputation as I did in High School, surprisingly enough.  I'm well liked (I believe), people often mention how bubbly and happy I seem, I contribute to discussions often and am a goodie goodie, always following the rules and leading projects for the community.

I feel like I have a family there and am not ridiculously excited about leaving it.  The culture is very positive.  Everyone says hi to everyone when we walk by, even if we see them 5-6x a day.  I often run over and hug people that I haven't seen in a couple days (also like high school, actually).  It is so nice to be around people who sincerely want to be better.

Probably time for sleep now.
Monday, October 9, 2017
CTC
I used to think of God as my adversary. We were engaged in a battle of wills, and I wasn’t about to let down my guard. You can imagine how quickly this attitude led me to hit a hard emotional bottom! I came to Al-Anon, but I was reluctant to admit that I was powerless. I knew it was true – I had obviously failed to conquer alcoholism – but I wasn’t going to submit to my enemy!
I’m so grateful to Al-Anon for helping me to learn to surrender. It took a long time, but I finally realized that surrender does not mean submission – it means I’m willing to stop fighting reality, to stop trying to do God’s part, and to do my own.
When I gather flowers, or marvel at nature’s wonders, I do not lose face when I concede that I am not in control. So it is with everything in my life. The best way I’ve found to invite serenity is to recognize that the world is in good hands.
Today’s Reminder
Today I can be grateful that the earth will continue to revolve without any help from me. I am free to live my own life, safe in the knowledge that a Higher Power is taking care of the world, my loved one’s, and myself.
The First Step prepares us for a new life, which we can achieve only by letting go of what we cannot control, and by undertaking, one day at a time, the monumental task of setting our world in order through a change in our own thinking.“ One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

A new favorite.  I am grateful for this, this morning.  I will be attempting to read it throughout my day. 
When we speak of miracles happening in Al-Anon, we often include among these the entry of a spouse into AA and sobriety.
This is indeed a miracle, but it is not our miracle; it is the alcoholic’s. It is not our business (nor has it ever been!) to watch over him, worry about his sobriety, see that he doesn’t drink, that he goes to the right number of AA meetings. If we continue the techniques of management and supervision that did so much to make a mess of life during the drinking days, we’re headed for trouble.
We can and should be grateful on his behalf, but our business is with Al-Anon and ourselves. This wonderful program will help us make something of our own lives. Our responsibility to the alcoholic is to let him manage his own sobriety, and to be gentle, courteous and cooperative.
TODAY’S REMINDER
The AA member, however close to me, is the concern of his friends in AA. He must be left free to follow the program in his own way. IF I am truly grateful, I will keep hands off.
“Study to be quiet, and to do your own business.” – Thessalonians

This definitely resonates with me.  I still try to assess, the program of my girl's Papa.  How to truly focus on myself?  So tricky!
I have internet again!!

6:11am and I am excited for this beautiful day!!  (can't you tell with all the exclamation points?)


Gratitude List
1) Internet
2) Yogurt
3) Music
4) Lollipops
5) Friends
6) Work
7) Learning
8) Dress Pants


Today there is no school for my kiddos, but still work for me.  So, I am relying on my family for childcare.   I was so grateful that my Sister In Law stepped forward to help.

It takes a village.

I just want to give back, now.


Yesterday, I set up a little painting project for the neighborhood kids and it got me inspired.  I love doing crafts with kids and there are so many things we can do for Halloween, Autumn nd Dia De Los Muertos.

This is a part of me that I haven't gotten to explore since leaving the children's Papa (my new name for him) this December.

Children's Papa wants to get together again, yet continues to display chaotic behavior.  Yet now, I am also noticing a difference in our values.......... how he treats other people........ etc.  Things that I didn't pay attention to, because I was paying attention to the fairy tale, not the reality.

In other news, another little girl introduced some sexually inappropriate "games" to J.  It makes my heart sad.  I'm not obsessing over it, but I need to meet with the teachers to talk about it tomorrow.  When it comes to facts and J, it is tricky to tell what is going on.  Her fantasy world is so blended with her real world.  But, I think there is a possibility that a little girl is being abused.  Very sad.  Either that, or someone is doing it to J (other than this girl).  Sigh.  I hate how ugly life is at times.

Back to some better news.  I'm starting classes today at Solutions.  I decided, along with some other ladies, to dress up.  Now I'm wishing we hadn't decided that.  But.......I don't have these ladies numbers.  So, dress up it is!

Going to get at least one of the meditations in.  Again, so grateful for the internet.  My health.  My fingers for knowing how to type.  Sparkly nail polish.  And the precious little souls I get the privilege to raise.  #perspective.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017
My head is aching, but other than that I'm filled with health.  I wanted to update on the situation with the childcare that I wrote about this morning.

I read the comment on my blog this morning and had several other opportunities to get feedback.

I had the opportunity to speak to my sponsor about it today.  She listened.  She didn't comment directly.  I am going into this sponsorship with much less pressure on my shoulders and I think it will make all the difference.  We are just two people working the steps....... no need for perfection.  One thing my sponsor said that her sponsor had her do (30 odd years ago), was put a sign on her mirror that said, "I am enough!"  She encouraged me to do the same.  I reminded myself of this throughout the day.  I am not better than or lesser than anyone else... I am enough.

I also shared the situation with a colleague who is just filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is one of the first things you notice about her.  We were talking and I decided to spill.

She asked me, "So you are trying to get validation from another human and it's stressing you out?"  Ummmm... Yes!  She reminded me that I am a child of God and precious in his eyes.  That I will never be happy trying to get validation from people.  But, I need to trust in God and let him love me.  If he loves me (which he already does), who cares what anyone else thinks.

Once again, "I am enough!"

So, I walked in to the childcare to pick up the girls, ready to be confident.  "I am enough."  "I am enough."  "I am enough."  My mantra was ready....  But, the teacher wasn't there.

Oh well, I feel blessed today.  We had a Bible study tonight, where we went over Luke 5

 “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Again.  "I am enough."  In fact, Jesus, may 
ODAT
Today let's review some of the sayings of an Al-Anon founder:
"Smugness is the very worst sin of all, I believe. It is difficult for a shaft of light to pierce the armor of self-righteousness." 
"Many of the things I thought I did unselfishly turned out to be pure rationalizations to get my own way about something. This disclosure doubled my urge to live by the Twelve Steps as thoroughly as I could."
"In the early days I was deeply hurt that someone else had brought my husband to sobriety, when I could not. Now I have learned that a wife can rarely, if ever, do this job. I found no peace of mind until I recognized this fact."
"The word "humbly" was one I never understood. It used to seem servile. Today it means seeing myself in true relation to my fellowman and to God."
Today's Reminder
"It is easy to fool oneself about motives, and admitting it is hard, but very beneficial." 
"Bargaining with God and asking Him to grant my wishes is not the highest form of prayer. It is very different from praying only for knowledge of God's will for me. . . ."

Praying for knowledge of God's will for me.  This sounds like a good goal!!


Perspective

-  Big things happening.  I'm hopefully off of restriction today.  I meet with my new sponsor today.  I may move today or tomorrow.  Phew.  I think I need to automatically grant myself some grace because of the emotional toll that change takes.  

This morning after I dropped my kids off at school, I felt anxious.  I am finding myself feeling like I am trying to please their teacher.  I feel like she is not in awe of me or possibly does not even respect me that much or possibly even thinks poorly of me or talks about me like I'm a bad mom.  It is very likely in my own head, but it is a bad feeling, all the same.  It could also be true.    

I feel that I need to pray for her.  And pray for myself to treat this situation with perspective.  After praying for a couple weeks, I may confront her if nothing changes.  My hunch, though, is that things will change. 

Either way, I came home ready to journal, but was feeling stuck in my own head.  My old housemate came bouncing in the house.  She was just here to say hi.  This girl is a blessing.  I told her what was going on and felt immediate relief.  L has been sick and I missed CODA last night and I haven't been allowed to go to dinner the last two nights because of her fever.  I think the isolation is also playing a role in this.  Once I move, I won't have people bouncing into my house.  Or at least, I won't have the same people.  I am going to need to make a conscious effort to get this healthy contact.  I am very grateful to be back at work.  I'm also grateful that my baby is feeling better!

Friday, September 22, 2017
ODAT
When I concentrate on little things that annoy me, and they sprout resentments that grow bigger and bigger, I seem to forget how I could be "stretching" my world and broadening my perspective. That's the way to shrink troubles down to their real size.
Worrying about trifles saps my spiritual energy which I could certainly put to better use. Am I willing to waste my life in this way?
When something or somebody is giving me trouble, let me see the incident in relation to the rest of my life, especially the part that is good, and for which I should be grateful. A wider view of my circumstances will make me better able to deal with all difficulties, big and little.
Today's Reminder
I refuse to let my serenity be drowned out by happenings that are in themselves unimportant. I will not be made uneasy by what others do, whether they intend to hurt me or not. I will not clutter up my thoughts with resentment; it would not profit me but, worse, it would hurt me.
"Why do we accept things that trouble us, when we could do something about them?"


This is so timely!!  Right now, I just got upset over a good intention, but poor delivery that O had.  It was a minor inconvenience, but I was upset and already making it into a bigger thing than it was.  I read this (by the grace of God!) and almost immediately was able to find the gratitude and correct my atittude towards him.  Super grateful right now!!


Thursday, September 21, 2017
CTC
Trying to follow a suggestion I heard in Al-Anon meetings, I dutifully wrote lists of things for which I was grateful. I listed such things as my health, my job, and food on my table. When I was finished, I didn't feel very grateful; my mind was still weighted down with the negative thinking that had resulted from living with alcoholism. But I had made gesture, and the seed of gratitude was planted.
I gradually learned to appreciate the small accomplishments of my dailylife. Perhaps I was able to avoid a pointless argument by reciting the Serenity Prayer, or my sharing helped a newcomer, or I finished something I had been neglecting. I was beginning to change. I made a point of recognizing small changes, and my self-esteem grew. The daily application of Al-Anon principles helped me to deepen my sense of gratitude and replace those nagging, negative thoughts. Eventually I was able to go back to my original list and be truly grateful for those things I had taken for granted.
Today's Reminder 
I need to nurture myself with gratitude. Today I can practice appreciating myself, my world, and my Higher Power. 
"I would lie in bed at night and say the alphabet, counting all the things I had to be grateful for, starting with the letter A . . . This made a great change in my life." As We Understood . . .

I still do the ABCs of gratitude.  I appreciate the honesty that gratitude lists or any tool in our recovery tool box does not always work immediately.  It does, however, plant seeds!
Gratitude
1) Breath in my lungs - Good health
2) To be alive
3) To have a safe, positive place to live
4) My housemates
5) The cooler weather

Hmmm.  I woke up a little tired this morning.  I had a dream that I got evicted from the shelter.  Despite the feedback that I'm doing fantastically here by almost everyone, I guess the worry is still in my mind.  They couldn't tell me why either, in my dream.

It wasn't a nightmare, but it wasn't a good dream.

I have been the at the shelter the longest out of everyone, thus far.  It has to do with me moving directly to permanent housing, rather than going to transitional first.  The paperwork is just taking time.   I like the shelter, but I can't stop the anticipation almost every day that TODAY may be the day that I move.  This morning, I am wondering if it is today.  We will probably find out who is moving to transitional this morning at morning meeting.  We typically do on Thursdays.  So, that will be really exciting, regardless.  Things move quickly here.  The people who moved into the shelter at the same time as me, moved out 2 weeks ago...... 3 weeks ago?  It is a really exciting experience when people move back and they are excited and we all cheer.

Anyways.................  I think today will be a lovely day.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
HFT
Growing up in an alcoholic family, I did not escape without experiencing various forms of mistreatment, including sexual abuse. By the time I came into Al-Anon, I felt like a victim and I had become an extremely angry, resentful person.
Whenever the subject of forgiveness came up at our meetings or in our literature, I shut it out. I thought resentment would prevent me from ever being hurt again. It took some time in the program, and a lot of work learning to love myself, before I began to understand that living my life under the heavy burdens of rage and resentment was hurting me. It affected every relationship I had, including work contacts, friends, family, and social acquaintances. I knew it was likely to color future connections as well, yet many of the people I resented weren't even alive. I surely wasn't hurting them! However, in my vehement determination to no longer be a victim, I held the hostility that perpetuated my pain.
Once I realized this, I experienced a spiritual awakening in the form of a deep desire to let go of those feelings that were poisoning my life. I accomplished this by going to extra Al-Anon meetings, praying, sharing with my sponsor, and working Steps Four through Nine. Thanks to Al-Anon, I gave up my bitterness and regained my life.
Thought for the Day
Today I see forgiveness as an action I take to love myself more fully.
"No one ever found serenity through hatred." How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 86

I have resentment towards 2-3 people.  I created a page in my prayer journal, but haven't actually started praying for them consistently.  I often find comments I make about my mom to be in resentment.  I think it's healthy to be aware that the resentment is a form of protecting oneself, but it turns into hurting oneself.  Especially because it just feels bad when these comments come out of me.  Or the tone of voice I use, when I say them.

At a meeting, someone shared this strategy to end resentments and it's been on my mind every since.  I want to do this for myself and as a model for my kids.    

"'If you have resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it everyday for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate, understanding and love.'


CTC
In making a list of all the people we have harmed (Step Eight), some names come to mind at once, while others require more thought. Our Fourth Step inventory can help to refresh our memories. We can ask ourselves about situations in which each character defect might have led us to act in a harmful manner and add the names of those concerned to our Eighth Step list.
We can also look at names already on the list and ask ourselves if we have behaved in similar fashion toward others. Many of us discover previously hidden patterns of destructive behavior as a result of putting this list in writing. Even when our defects were not involved, we may have harmed others despite the most honorable intentions. Their names also belong on the list.
Once we are clear about the harm we have done, it becomes possible to make changes and amends so that we can feel better about our behavior and about the way we relate to others.
Today's Reminder
An Eighth Step list helps me to let go of guilt and regret I may be carrying from the past. I will approach this Step with love and gentleness because I take it for my own freedom.
". . . Our actions have consequences, and sometimes other people get hurt. By taking Step Eight, we acknowledge this fact and become willing to make amends." . . . In All Our Affairs


ODAT
An Al-Anon member with a particularly serious problem was told by another at a meeting: "I just wouldn't put up with it!"
The answer came: "I am not, as you say, putting up with it. I am trying to correct my own faults, keep my mouth shut when I am tempted to yell and scream at him, and keep hands off his problems. You see, I never want to forget that I have a commitment to my husband. I want to live up to that commitment which I made, willingly and solemnly, when I married him."
Today's Reminder
Any marriage made in expectation of lifelong bliss and freedom from care is bound to bring us to some shocking realizations that life just isn't like that. An adult point of view recognizes that alcoholism and its train of troubles is only one of the disasters that can happen to a marriage. We would face others with courage; why not this? The commitment to the person we married demands that we do everything we can to correct our problems. What to do we learn in Al-Anon. How we use it is up to us.
". . . in sickness and in health, for better or for worse . .

I like how this passage approaches our responsibility to correct our own problems throughout a marriage.  Also, how it broadens our perspective that there can be a multitude of "disasters" in a marriage.  I also don't get the sense that just because THIS person stayed in her marriage that she is right or wrong.  I thoroughly appreciate that point of view!
Gratitude

1) The teachers at my kiddos new school
2) The new friends I've made
3) Toothbrushes and toothpaste
4) My case manager
5) My health!

Sitting here this morning and I'm tired.  Aunt Flo has come to visit.  And apparently, I have the desire to call her Aunt Flo again.  I've been expecting her for awhile because I've been so emotional.

I feel off.  I feel a bit tired.  And....... I'm not entirely sure how to let go of that feeling.  I'm hoping these meditations will help and then, if I have time, I'll do some deep breathing.  Drop off has been difficult, as J has been pretty hysterical.  It upsets me.  Yesterday, I lost my temper and yelled at her, as I almost never do.  I felt horrible afterwards.........  horrible!!!  Almost the whole day, I felt horrible about it.  I had a lot of difficulty moving forwards.  A few days before that, I got in the car and just cried afterwards.  She is going through so much.  I have to remember that this is a typical part of development though and not something for me to overthink.  I have also been on edge waiting for my apartment.

I'm going to relax now, though.  Time takes time.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Recovery through the Bachelorette

I don't think I've written about this before.....  But, one of my avoidance mechanisms is the show, The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  I don't like all the seasons and haven't watched all the seasons, but occasionally, I get sucked in.  This happened recently with the last bachelorette.

At the end of the show, the lead had to choose between a handsome, dependable and emotionally mature man, who was confident in their relationship the entire time.................. or, the handsome, push/pull relationship of a man who was not confident and used subtle emotional manipulation.... oh and this man was her "type."  She's dated many men like him before and the excitement of the push/pull, tends to draw her in.

The man with the push/pull, kind of distant, emotional manipulation was the fan favorite.  But....... she chose the mature man with no drama after a heart wrenching and LONG breakup (this happens when someone doesn't accept your "no."


She said this in a recent interview.

Interviewer: "What advice would you give to college girls in regards to finding love?

RachelAs women, we make excuses for men. In the “Hunger Games,” President Snow is in the field of roses and he asks the guy what is more powerful than fear and he says, “Hope, hope is more powerful than fear.” That’s exactly what we do: we hope for something better and that we can fix it if we do this or that he will change and be better, but know when people show you who they are, that’s who they are. Do not try to make excuses for them when it comes to relationships, it will save you so much time. You have to know who you are, almost like a mental exercise, you have to know who you are and be strong. Of course my feelings get hurt and I have weak moments, but you have to tell yourself, “It’s not me, it’s him, he’s a waste of my time, onto the next one” and just train yourself to start thinking like that and it starts now, in college.  

Anyways............. the season turned out to be therapy for me, in a way.  I really loved watching this intelligent woman make a positive decision to change her trajectory.  I have no idea if the couple has lasting power.  I hope they do.  But, regardless, I really appreciate and felt inspired by seeing someone be aware of her old patterns and choosing change (which can be scary, but rewarding!)

Geographic Cure

"Even though we were whipped emotionally, we held out hope that a new relationship, a new job, or a move would be the cure, but it never was."  BRB p.334

We gave our all to other people.  We were trained to do that.  Who we were as people, our hopes and dreams, were not important.  We found ourselves in old situations again and again, with different faces.  We moved to a new city to get out of messes, we changed jobs and we ended relationships.  But our parents continued to appear in different forms, or there was the destructive relationship we had with our uncle or sister, but with a different face.

Some ACA meetings use this version of the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity 
to accept the people I cannot change
the courage to change the one I can
and the wisdom to know that it is me. 

It hurts when we start to come out of denial, but it doesn't hurt forever.  We hold on to our program and to our Higher Power.  We learn to nurture those parts of us that need attention in order to grow.  We bring light where there is no light by shining the love in the universe onto those wounded parts that still hide inside us.  They want to come out and tell their stories and heal.  

On this day, with my Higher Power's help, I will focus on myself to find the solution that will keep me from repeating my past patterns.  



This last phrase is super powerful to me, right now.  "I will focus on myself to find the solution that will keep me from repeating my past patterns."

I think that will be a prayer for me.  I do find myself wanting to start over.  But, perhaps a different view of this would be more accurate.  I want to start again, but with new knowledge and new tools, therefore resulting in new actions.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Today was a long day.  I feel like it was three days fit in one.  It began with dropping the girls off to visit with Grandma and Grandpa, while I went to church.  While mostly positive, there was some anxiety involved and it was mentally straining.  Mid day, I had wonderful moments of quiet time with J, while L napped.  And then moments, later, where J was so unregulated and I got so frustrated, that I strapped everyone into the car and we just ran the engine, pumped up the air conditioning and listened to music.  By dinner, I was exhausted.  Yet, after, came a lot of great moments.  L dancing with our housemate's son K.  They started super timid and when J joined them, L went from tapping her foot awkwardly to throwing her whole body up and down with abandon.  I laughed so hard, I believe it counts as therapy.  I ended the day making name tags with my fellow housemates......... glitter, glue and laughter.  The day ended with immense gratitude.  

A few things I'm grateful for:

1) My babies are not sick - Grateful for their cool fever free foreheads.
2) Homework assignments
3) Glitter
4) Internet
5) Farmer's Markets
HFT
As far back as I can remember, fear has clouded my vision. To cope with the active alcoholism in my family, I became a worrier. Worry gave me a false sense of being in control. I tried to fret my way out of the maze of alcoholism, judgment, and lake of support that characterized my upbringing. When I was able to leave my family and establish a home of my own, my habits came with me. Worrying soon became characteristic not only of my childhood but of my adult life as well.
In Al-Anon, I learned it's fruitless to worry about things I cannot change. However, simply knowing that didn't help me quit worrying. I had to find a positive behavior to replace the fretting. Today if I catch myself worrying, I write down my specific fears, no matter how preposterous they may seem. Once I get them out of my mind and fix them on paper, I ask my Higher Power to show me which ones are real and which I have imagined. Then I ask for clarification regarding which ones I can change.
This process reminds me of wearing my sunglasses inside a building. The glasses are useful in the sunshine, but once inside they make everything look dark and gloomy. So it is with worry. It helped me growing up, but today it can make even a bright, shiny gift look tarnished. Small shadows become big monsters, and I waste my energy worrying about nonexistent problems. When I invite my Higher Power to help, it's like saying, "God, please hold these sunglasses for me. Help me to see as You do."
Thought for the Day
God, please clear my vision so I can let go of fear and worry.
"He is a God of my awareness who serves as a guide in all areas of my life." As We Understood . . ., p. 93

I love this practical tool for dealing with FEAR!!
I'm baaaaaack!!!

Someone gave me an internet password and everything has changed.  Oh, it feels so good to have consistent internet back.  I am very very grateful.

It is also an interesting phenomenon.  I feel so confident as I pound out the letters.  I enjoy the sound of the keys tapping.  It just feels so right.  This has probably been the longest time, since I was three years, without a computer.

I need boundaries, though.  Perhaps, only when the kids are in bed.



Anyways..........  It's a beautiful, cloudy, Sunday morning.  The kiddos are sleeping in (it's already 7:40am and I am sitting on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed across from my sleeping beauties.  I'm leaning up against a multitude of stuffed animals, with my laptop on my lap.  It feels great!

I have so many updates.  But, a good starting point are my areas of study for probably the next year and a half.

EDUCATION FOR WORK
Structured Word Inquiry
Advocacy
Growth Mindset
Business

EDUCATION FOR LIFE
Al Anon
Bible
Spanish

Ok........ onto some meditations.
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Bathroom - CHECK!  15 minutes in and the bathroom is cleaned!  That was the easiest place to start and so I started there.

It's all packed up and shiny now.  My mom has her guest bathroom back and that feels good.  A couple more things I'm going to pack in there (including vitamins, cue tips and first aid).  Then I'm printing out a label and into the car it goes.

Ok...................... moving on!



Our Past is an Assset



"We may have been alone as children, but now we have our fellow travelers."

"On this day I recognize that my past provides a unique opportunity to grow in self actualization."

  



Well, apparently, I am just really wanting to procrastinate packing.  I am often the person who has a thorough list and likes checking off the boxes.

Perhaps, there is something bigger that I don't understand, such as fear, preventing it.  But, it is the last moment now.  It is time for action, rather than procrastination.

This isn't a  case of perfectionism, procrastination, paralysis.  It's just a matter of doing it and getting it done.

And...................................... this afternoon, we move into our new place!  Yay!






Today, I have a vision appointment, a root canal and then, check-in at the shelter.  But, first, I have to work through the night to just pack everything.  Luckily, there is truly not much to pack.  Going to do a meditation and just start.  I went to sleep very early, so I already got around 4 hours of sleep.  We are in good shape.

Ok, that's all for now.  :)
Gratitude
1) Dental care/insurance
2) Overall good health
3) Opportunity to go to this shelter
4) People look out for one another.
5) Storage Bins :)
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
CTC
In Step Six I contemplate my life undergoing change -- tremendous change. The great fear is this: If I shed many characteristics that stand in my way, what will be left? It is as though I face a great void, a terrifying unknown. Yet when I acknowledge how far I have come, I can see how much I want to change. The desire to grow and to heal has brought me to this uncomfortable point, because I am tired of the way I have been. My Higher Power is there to guide me when I am ready. 

I find solace in the fact that in Step Six I need not change anything; I must simply prepare myself for change. I can take all the time I need. Such manageability is what I set out to find in the first place. Now it is a part of my life.

Today's Reminder
I need not judge the rate at which I change old habits or ways of thinking. If I am uncomfortable with old behavior, then on some level I am already moving toward changing it. Change will not be effective unless I am ready for it. I need only trust that, when the time comes to move forward, I will know it. 

"Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed. Let me look upward into the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well." Orin L. Crain


--------
mmmm, I love that quote at the end by Orin L. Crain.  It might be worth memorizing.  Change is uncomfortable............ but look at where I have come.  I had a powerful therapy session today.

My therapist talked about my toxic mother, my toxic father (who I normally don't like to think of in that way) and my toxic husband.  She also talked about how I was trained to be emotionally abusive, as a young child.  Sigh.  And that she thinks I accept bread crumbs, rather than "steak," in regards to my father.  I was also called a "good codependent."

I appreciate her blunt analysis of my situation  This is my couples counselor, yet O was out today, so I did a single session.  I told her of the pressure I felt last week.  She told me that she was just asking me to not divorce in three months, but that it would be unwise to lower my emotional walls.  There was a lot of validation and truth spoken.  She thought it was meant to be that O couldn't make it.  

Very powerful session.  

"The desire to grow and to heal has brought me to this uncomfortable point, because I am tired of the way I have been."

Toxic mother, toxic father, toxic husband.  If I don't change......................... I believe my kids may call me toxic one day, as well.  Just a thought.  Perhaps I have already changed enough to avoid this.  That being said............ I look forward to inching towards being the person I want to be.