Copyright © Living with Confidence
Design by Dzignine
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
It's late..............but, I have a lot on my mind.

Thinking about divorce, legal separation, keeping my family together, addiction and bipolar and the trauma bond.



I think my heart is leading me towards divorce.  I listened to a really helpful video on the biochemistry of the trauma bond/ "loyalty bond."
http://www.posarc.com/blog/why-do-i-stay-the-biochemistry-of-the-loyalty-bond



Even though, it's earlier than I had planned to divorce......  I'm not 100% certain.  Not at all.  I chanced upon some photos of our old house on my ipad.  I was looking for photos of L for her upcoming bday party.  And we have photos going back to more than a year ago.

Photos of our little messy house.  The blue walls, the comfy green couch.  The mountain view, rose bushes.........our chalk room office/play room, the carefully painted white board paint in the kids room.... the walls decorated with artwork.  And the joy.  So. much. joy!

I still have a lot of things --- so many beautiful things ----- but, I left a lot to come to a place where we aren't wanted or appreciated.  Our family together........ our pets together....... friends the kids had since birth........ba job I adored......




I understand why I left, but it shocked my system to see those pictures.  I have tried to help Jules move forward, but I am still quite hurt.

Then.................... probably 10 minutes after I started sifting through pictures.  I found porn.  Lots of porn.  On MY iPad.  Apparently, my iPad got synced with Hubby's phone at some point.

REMINDER - that's why I left.



I'm going to be working on my step 4 again.  After the tears came from missing and the shock came from the realization (again) that my husband is very sick........... I read some recovery stuff and looked through a lot of inspirational and healthy memes.

As I mentioned, the video above was very helpful in the biochemistry aspect.  And the denial which folds over quickly.  My brain is so scared of getting hurt and so desperate for reward.  It's a mess!  That wasn't really the gist of the message.  But, it's a mess.  And a trend... and I've got to separate from it.




I do believe that it all starts with self care.  And those memes helped me realize I want to get back to the steps and my beautiful blue book that's just been waiting for me on my desk.



And a meme for now.........




Monday, June 5, 2017
Journaling on the first two meditations this morning was super peaceful.  The third has been stressful.  I took a painting break with the kids.  Painting is often stress relief, but we had a glitter accident in the house and although it is calm now, I still feel hot blood racing through my body.  Luckily, I can be intentional about shifting my attention.  The glitter is cleaned up, except for a few specks that will make life more sparkly, J is cutting out a rainbow she drew and L is sorting markers and crayons.  And I am cuddled into the arm of the sofa with my laptop and a meditation.  My heart rate is still going a little fast. But, it's calming with awareness of my sense.

5 things I see:  Bubbles, a shiny silver plastic bracelet, flower pajamas, an organic red bell pepper, yellow kid scissors that don't even work on paper.
4 things I hear: A bird occasionally tweeting in the yard, the sound of a crayon clicking against other crayons as L returns it to the box, sequins rubbing against one another, an airplane (this is a 5th, but my breathing)
3 things I a touching: smooth keypad on my laptop, upholstery of the sofa, thick cotton of my sweatshirt on my skin
2 things I smell:  my lotion, glue?? (I think I need to make some nice mint tea)
1 thing I taste: ??/ saliva?

Anyways, just took a call to get the kids on another wait list for child care.  So, fingers crossed.  And I'm pretty regulated.......and ready for some tea.   

10-20 min later............ my last meditation.  :)

CTC - Step 3
The Third Step talks about placing my will and my life in the care of a Higher Power. For me, this Power is a presence that loves me as I am, that accepts me with compassion on the bad days as well as the good. Once I have accepted that the destructive presence of another's alcoholism has affected my life, I need the benevolent influence of a Power untouched by this disease. What I do in turning over my will and my life is to become receptive to guidance; I become willing to accept the care of a Power greater than myself.
I think of this care as a source of love and support that surrounds me in my daily life. I do not need to earn it or to work for it; I need only be receptive to it. I continue to have a will to exercise and a life to live, but I do so bathed in a light of love and understanding.
Today's Reminder
When I open my heart to a Power that fills me with love and acceptance, I can begin to extend those qualities to others. I may not do it perfectly or even consistently, but I can recognize my progress one day at a time.
"God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame." Elizabeth Barrett Browning


**
When I open my heart to a Power that fills me with love and acceptance, I can begin to extend those qualities to others.  I truly believe this!
ODAT
"Nobody," said an Al-Anon member, "seems to give us credit for the courage it takes to live with an alcoholic." 

Of course it takes courage, just as it takes courage to face life under any circumstances.

We need courage to believe that no situation is hopeless, to keep cheerful when we have cause for despair, to resist the impulse to complain to others about our sorry lot. It takes a lot of courage to resist the temptation to take over the alcoholic's responsibilities, until we accept the fact that we are only hindering his recovery by doing so.

Above all, it takes courage not to appear courageous as so many do, hoping for sympathy from relatives, friends and neighbors. "Poor brave little woman" may be food for the self-pitying ego, but it weakens character and destroys dignity.

Today's Reminder 
Do I lack the confidence and the courage to do the things that will improve my situation? Am I afraid to let go of another person's obligations? Can I refrain from doing what can only hinder improvement? I may not have the necessary strength and confidence, but I can find them by turning to God and asking for His guidance. 
"Prayers for courage and guidance never go unanswered. But I must be ready to act on that guidance."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yah......  When Hubby had a rough day yesterday, I experienced confidence in myself and clarity in my own life.  His disorder affirmed my calm.

That is something I need to recognize in myself.  In one way, I think this is super natural.  I made a big decision based on his disorder, that's been tough for me, and then I rarely see that side of him.  It makes sense that it would affirm my big decision.  In another, I feel that I may be seeing an unhealthy side of myself.  I wish my mom's disorder affirmed my calm.  Yet, everything is under the surface with her............ murky, at the root of my life long issues.  

Regardless, living with my mom has been more difficult than living with Hubby.  And I see this despite the drama with hubby.  And I haven't faced it with the courage that I wish I had.  I took an experience and have made it worse than it needed to be.  I haven't remained joyful and cheerful in the face of despair.  In some sort of way, I have.  In others, I have felt hopeless and despondent.  This three days of space has given me so much opportunity to explore this.  It hasn't been that long.  Yet, it has felt like the longest 6 months of my life.  It has been long enough for my confidence to go into hiding.

And I'm rambling.  But, I'm going to keep this stream of consciousness going.  I don't feel the need to complain to others on the outside.  I complain on my inside, at times, in wonder.  How did this happen?  In the clarity of the morning, it doesn't appear so horrible.  But, i typically feel like the dregs of society.  The lowest of the low..... a parasite.  With my mom gone, I just feel like me......... not working for a stretch after separating from my husband.... no big deal.

I love the strong words about "acting courageous" and inviting pity.  This is a character flaw that I truly appreciate al anon pointed out so frequently.  I don't want to be like this.  I don't know that I invite it willingly, but people naturally want to paint you as such.  I hate pity and I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me.  I think this is an attitude that makes me want to isolate and not share my story.

And lastly, prayer.....  "Prayers for guidance never go unanswered. But i must be ready to act on that guidance."  I must be ready to act on that guidance.  A I ready????  I think I am today.  Trust God for 5 minutes.  I can do this!!  Maybe some meditation is needed. 
Feeling like blogging this morning.  I blogged on my private blog a lot last night.  And I came to some old passages due to an eventful evening.  

If it brings me back to my daily meditations, i am grateful.  Here we go................

HFT - Step 2
If there was nothing else I could do, I always prayed: "Dear God, please make sure that is not true," or "Help me find my keys." I took care of the rest. I did not tax God unnecessarily because I was a capable person and I didn't think He could achieve anything better. The possibility He would spend time on my problems was unimaginable. I was convinced the answer would be, "You can do it yourself" or "It's your own fault, so accept the consequences."

After a few years in Al-Anon, I came to accept my powerlessness over the alcoholic in my life. However, because I could not bear the powerlessness for long, I sought help in the Second Step. At that point I became aware that I perceived God as a cold, merciless being who could not spare time to help anyone as useless as me.

I heard some members talk of God as gracious, loving, and supportive. Could this be true? The Third Step asked me to do something new – to hand over control of my will and my life, not knowing exactly who this God was or whether He would help me. At that time in my life, I was drowning in problems. I figured God couldn't slip up too much in just one day. I tried Step Three and turned myself over for the first 24 hours. I paid close attention to how I was feeling that evening. I felt good, so He got my will and my life 24 hours. Each new day I turn myself over to God's care because what He does is well done.

Thought for the Day
I need only turn myself over one minute, one hour, one day at a time.
"I began turning my life over five minutes at a time and watching God very carefully to see what happened." From Survival to Recovery, p. 34

I think some of the mindsets in the first paragraph fit mine implicitly.  I do believe that God is loving and powerful and so much better equipped than I to deal with anything.  And yet............... I am trying to dispel this "It's your own fault, so accept the consequences" idea.  I think I need to blatantly tell myself that is not true.

Hi!...........F.............  It's not your fault..............  You are giving yourself a bit too much power there.........  And even if it was.......... you can best accept your plight/consequences by giving your life to God (not running in shame.)  

So, maybe, "It doesn't matter if it's your fault.  It's your story and......... run to God."

Maybe, I need to work a bit on being concise.  I've never thought that before.  ;)   

Anyways, I love the idea of giving my life over to God for an operational amount of time.  1 minute, 5 minutes, etc.  
Sunday, April 23, 2017
I was given some information the other day......

Something to the gist of you don't have to wait to be the woman you want to be.  You don't have to wait until you have enough money or the right support or the right education.......... you can start being the type of person you want to be TODAY.

Obviously, it was a motivational message.  

It got me thinking.  Who do I want to be today?  What do I need to do to be a person I am proud of?

My immediate reaction is that I'd like to to have a good paying career that allows me to be with my kids.  I think I have tunnel vision.

There are so so so so so so many more things that I want to be than that.




I want to be kind.  I want to be generous.  I want to be someone who takes care of herself, who rolls with the punches.  I want to be a good friend.  I want to be a nurturing mama.  

And there are other things to that I would like.  Things involving home cooked meals, less media time, more organization.  But, I can start that today.  I am up at 1:30am because I have a tutoring client in CHINA.  After going back and forth on the idea for a long time, I am up and running.

I was very worried about it, actually.   Last night, I got home at 6:30pm.  I had run a 5k, driven, probably 4 hours to the 5k and then to a family get together (opposite directions) and I'd been awake since 1am the previous morning.  But, at 7pm, I had a tutoring client.  And then at 7:30pm I had one too.  My longest stretch to sleep was from 8:00pm-10:45pm.  And tomorrow, we have a hike planned and we are visiting Papa, so another 4 hours of driving.  It sounded like too much.

Well, it's going surprisingly well.  I have half hour to 1.5 hour stretches throughout the morning to sleep and I seem to be able to sleep.  And I'm not having to prep much for these sessions.  So, I'm just waking up, straightening my hair and putting on my headset, pretty much.  I've also had a few no shows.  So far, so good.  

I'm also a little concerned because I'm booked to 6am and my kids are going to wake up.  And I don't think I really thought that through.  Who knows..... maybe they will sleep.  We did run a 5k yesterday.  
ANYWAYS.................... I'm going on and on.  I'm waiting out a no show right now and then another 45 minutes of sleep.  I may just have to schedule some naps in during the day, that's all.  Very very grateful for the work.  And 4 more minutes.  I think I'm going to work on my "being the woman I want to be" goals on another document.  

Carpe Diem 
Saturday, April 22, 2017
So....................

I was talking to a single mama who is getting her Masters and rocking two direct sales programs (and meeting bonuses).  I told her she seems like a super star...... or rock star........ or all star........ or something like that.  And she does!  And she said something like, "You seem like something of a rock star yourself."   Hmmmmm.

That had NOT occurred to me.

I had to pause and think about that a little bit.

Because...........

I used to think I was a rock star/superstar/allstar.  But, at some point, I had decided I wasn't anymore.  I would guess it was sometime back in January or February when I realized I wasn't finding work and just couldn't seem to stay focused on a certain trajectory.

I forgot that................ I used to consider myself someone who "made things happen."

And then I tried (and for a very short period) and nothing happened.

I also realized that I carry shame about my situation.

I carry shame about my decision, despite the fact that I think I'm doing the "right" thing for me.  Sooooo interesting, this mind of mine.

I need to drop that shame.  Claim what I am doing.  The hard thing for my family, the right thing for my family, the best I can possibly be.  And just....................... do!
Friday, April 7, 2017
Gratitude

1)  Sisters as best friends
2)  New things
3)  Strawberry picking
4)  Easter
5)  Crafts
6)  Organization
7)  Washing machine
8) Cold mornings
9)  A backyard
10)  Glitter
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
J woke up at 9pm today and said, "My body is well rested.  It doesn't need anymore rest."  So she is up with me while I write this.

Grateful for:

1.  Sponsors
2.  Wildflowers
3.  Play dates
4.  Tangerines
5.  Gardening
6.  Health
7.  Joy
8.  Joking with my daughter, J
9.  balloons
10.  sparkling water.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Wanted to pop in with a quick gratitude list

1) Yoga
2) Pet snails (Snaily and Laila)
3) Science experiments
4) Comfy cozy beds
5) Floss
6) Artistic expression
7) Social media
8) Chocolate Milk
9) Babies
10) Community 
Monday, April 3, 2017
ODAT
The Al-Anon program really works because it helps us to get away from ourselves. When we think constantly about our grievances and the "faults" of the alcoholic, our minds are too confused to accept new ideas.
I will drop this fruitless worrying and concentrate on strengthening myself to accept each day along with whatever it brings. With my mind and my emotions refreshed and cool by working one of the Twelve Steps for a slogan ("Let go and let God," for example) I will be better able to see my difficulties in their correct perspective.
Today's Reminder
As I become less self-centered, I will have stronger defenses against being hurt by slights and injustices. Minor crises will not loom large because I will not allow myself to magnify them out of proportion in their importance.
"I pray that I may grow in my ability to use each day with poise, wisdom and a touch of humor. With God's help, I can teach myself not to turn little troubles into big ones."
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Sigh.  So, I guess I'll be honest and blog about this.  Busy busy busy weekend.  It surprises me that I haven't blogged since Friday.  I think it is because my mom was off Friday and on her days off, we try to stay out all day long.  What did we do Friday.....................

And why can't I remember!?  I would like to say we went to the beach, but I'm pretty certain we didn't.  Oh, I know.  It was an odd Friday.  My mom actually did a lot of babysitting for us, which I haven't responded well to because of her comments after, before and during.  I worked in the morning because my students were on Spring Break and then I started a new kiddo in the afternoon.  I didn't have a good plan for spending the time and my babysitter had cancelled and it was a bit of a mess.

Saturday, we did the Bubble run, which was fantastic!  Then, we went to the expo for the hot chocolate run later in the day and spent extra time exploring the area before and after.  We were gone from 6:30am to bedtime.  Sunday, we were gone all day again, but this time we left the house at 5:15am and came back around 7pm.  The hot chocolate run, which was also fantastic.  Apparently 5ks are a source of joy for me.  If they were free, I think I'd do one every single weekend.  Regardless.....
 
I found out that my dad came over without notice on Sunday.  It was a source of anxiety for me.  Throughout this process, he has been someone my mom has vented to a lot about me and she has told me comments he has made to her about me.  He also has contacted me a couple times to weigh in on my mom's opinions.  I feel unsafe and judged.  My mom decided to take off on Monday which meant ANOTHER day for me to stay out of the house all day.  But, me living here is a huge inconvenience because she can't just take a day off and enjoy herself.  Sigh.....  And I had babysitters coming and this was all sprung on me Sunday night.  And I still needed babysitters, but my parents don't want to be here at the same TIME as the babysitter.  I didn't know my dad would be here until Sunday night and my mom until that morning.  I guess my feelings are also hurt because noone asked me.  It's not my house.  So, of course.......I wouldn't be asked.  But.....................yah.  It's a struggle for me.  This is def. a vent.

Part of this is "expectations are planned resentments."  I resent them because they are not acting how I expect to, feel they should or just want them to.  I also feel like they are going to hurt me, so I put up a wall to avoid being hurt.  I don't want to be nice or friendly to them because I feel like if I give my real self, I will get hurt.  It's also easier to demonize them, then look at my part in it.  I just don't want to do anything in front of them or reveal any weakness, there are so many blatantly on display.  Regardless, I can't wait until my dad leaves (some guilt involved in that too).  

Another part has to do with me having trouble focusing on gratitude.  Look at all the amazing things I am doing.  It truly is wonderful.  And on Monday, I had a session with my new client again. I am going to help him so much.  It is a great fit!  I have the skills he needs.  It also may make it possible for a May move out.  And we saw the play therapist on Monday, too, and I learned so much and J loved it!  She gave me homework and I'm just so grateful for her insight and knowledge.

I have more issues with the cats too, but I"m so tired about complaining.  As soon as my dad leaves, I have a lot to do and I can feel like myself again.

And I'm aware this is self-created misery.  But, I'm not ready to change that at this exact moment.

sigh.  dark post today.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Well, today is a "Papa" day and we are having so much fun.  I really do love our little family unit and understand why it took me so long to leave.

We are a good match.

I'm a bit embarrassed by my flaws.  But, that does no good.  Instead, I can use the awareness, acceptance action model.  Those beautiful 3 A's.

On another note, our bell pepper and tomato plant is thriving.  It makes me so happy!

Anyways............  I had a few minutes and thought I'd jot some joy down.  Almost bed time at our house.

Oh and J just walked up to me and said, "I think I've decided to grow up!"  Oh, J!!!  For a long time now she has been very resistant to the idea of growing up, saying "I don't want to grow up."  I always validate and say a lot of people don't want to.  I tell her that I enjoy growing up, but it's VERY common that people don't like the idea.

How cool that she's embraced the future unknown......... my cautious girl.  Yay to the universe!!
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
CTC - inner child
In order to survive in the contradictory and explosive world of alcoholism, many of us learned to ignore our feelings. We lost touch with ourselves without ever knowing it.
For example, although I pointed an accusing finger at the alcoholics in my life for deserting me in times of need, I wasn't a very good friend to myself. In my fear and confusion, and walked away from the little child in me who lived simply, who cried when the cat died and then let it go, who could appreciate a sunset and not want to own it, and who lived one day at a time.
Recovery does not mean that I have to become a different person. It means I need to start being myself again. The lessons I'm learning in Al-Anon are lessons I already know. I just need to remember.
Today's Reminder
There is an innocence within me that already knows how to trust my Higher Power, to cherish life while holding it lightly, to live fully and simply in the present moment. I will allow that part of myself to come forward and nourish me as I continue on this journey.
"It takes one a long time to become young." Pablo Picasso

Oh my my.  This!!!  Favoriting it immediately.  I attended an ACOA meeting yesterday and it was just what I needed.  More on this later.  I feel it is going to lead me where I need to go.  The topic was inner child, by the way.  

ODAT - One day at atime
Worrying is a usual condition with those of us who are new in Al-Anon. Worry has become such a habit that we can't shake it off, even when our minds are convinced that it serves no purpose. We think about what happened yesterday and we're sure it's a clue to the awful things that are sure to happen tomorrow. The members of AA have set us a good example in living one day at a time. We in Al-Anon can, if we work at it, free ourselves from yesterday and tomorrow. Today is only one little set of 24 hours, a reasonably manageable bit of time that we can concentrate on using well.
Today's Reminder
I will not allow myself to be swamped by thoughts of things that are past. I will not concern myself about tomorrow until it becomes my today. The better I use today, the more likely it is that tomorrow will be bright.
"Let not my thought fantasies lead me into anticipating trouble, since I cannot know what the future may bring."

I will say, that part of my today, needs to be preparing for tomorrow.  But, I have found that I can do that will little worry involved.  Me focusing on this checklist I made, has been a gift as it keeps me focused on what I need to do, TODAY.   
It's sprinkling outside.  We are exploring the backyard, examining snails and slugs.  Breathing in the clean fresh air...........listening to the birds chirp with delight and the rain drip drip drop.  

It. is. invigorating.....

Nothing makes me feel more alive than being outside on a rainy day.  

Interesting....

Anyways, we've had a few snail casualties.  It'll happen when you have an almost two year old walking around in sequined black boots with a solid two inches of fur at the top.  While running to say, "Buenos Dias" or "Hiiiii" to one, she inevitably steps on another.  So far, she's only stepped on two.  It is J is playing the snails music on their harmonica.  

-------------------------
Update: Yesterday, J's adventures at Spanish school ended.  I appreciate the teacher very much, although I do think it is inadequacy in her training that led to her being unable to handle J.  She told me that J was very smart.  That she learned words after hearing them in class only one time and was a good model for the rest of the students during story time.  That she raised her hand, stayed seated, was not afraid to answer questions in Spanish, and did well in rotating activities.  Apparently, it was unstructured time that was difficult for her..........and gymnastics.  I think she may have lasted longer at a bigger preschool.  Either way, it was a learning experience for all.  I have no idea if we will have a  similar situation at a new school or if this will be an anomaly.  But, it is part of her story.  I'm glad to hear that she loved learning.  That is good.  

Anyways, while I'm soaking up the rainy morning  (I'm actually writing this from our covered patio), I'll do some passages.


HFT - Higher Power, Step 2
When I came into Al-Anon, I didn't know how to meditate. I thought meditation and prayer were crutches for people who couldn't stand on their own two feet. My sponsor, bless her heart, has since asked me what is wrong with crutches. Sometimes we need assistance.
Well, I decided to open my mind. Now when I think about meditation, I think about my dog. My husband and I take her along on our bike ride almost every night. She runs in front of us in the park, and every so often--especially when she gets to a fork in the path--she stops and looks back at us. She seems to be checking to see if we are still with her and asking in which direction we want her to head.
That's what meditation is for me today--little moments in my day when I can check to make sure that my Higher Power is still with me and ask for direction as I bound off down the road on my journey through life.
Thought for the Day
Even if it seems trite or foolish at first, today I will practice one program tool that I may have previously disregarded and keep an open mind to the results.
"Prayer is asking our Higher Power for guidance and direction in our lives. Meditation is listening for a reply." Alateen--a day at a time, p. 102
Monday, March 20, 2017
Gratitude

Normally I do gratitude lists with the girls as soon as we wake up, but I didn't this morning.  I can't even REMEMBER why.  But, our schedule went to the wind.

Anyways.....

1) A roof over our heads.
2) A blue bouncy poky ball that we got from a pinata
3) Healthy food to eat
4) Our health
5) electricity
6) family support
7) internet
8) online al anon groups
9) my vivacious girls
10) being alive!


CTC
One of the topics in our Fourth Step guide, the Blueprint for Progress, is self-worth. As I worked through this Step, taking a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself, I found that I have always judged my value on the basis of my accomplishments, or on what other people said about me. This meant I had to work all the time, or constantly make myself the center of attention. At best my sense of satisfaction was fleeting.
With Step Four, I realized that part of my self-worth can be based on my ability to love other people. Saying a kind word, writing a considerate note, or just taking time out from my other thoughts to appreciate another human being, it enriches my entire day. I have the power to feel good about myself, regardless of my achievements, whether or not other people validate my worthiness.
Today's Reminder
Let me look for appropriate opportunities to share my love with people around me. In this way I celebrate one of my most positive traits without expecting anything in return. Paying someone a compliment that comes from the heart, or thanking them sincerely for their kindness, may be the nicest thing I can do for myself today.
"It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him." Abraham Lincoln

It's difficult for me to wrap my head around why I want to be so accomplished.  I don't think it's for others though (even though that would make sense with my story).  I love this idea of building my self worth through giving to others, even when my accomplishments feel like not a lot. 
ODAT - Higher Power
The Higher Power we read about in the Twelve Steps is a Spiritual idea. We may think of this Higher Power as God--Goodness, Power, Love, Spirit, Father, Friend. Or it may be nothing more than the Al-Anon group where we are at last finding ourselves. Because we are willing to acknowledge that something or someone is greater than we are, it becomes a spiritual idea. The very fact of our surrender, our humility, makes it spiritual. Things really began to happen in our lives when we accept the idea that there is a power bigger and wiser than we are. Something begins to happen when we turn to a spiritual idea for our daily guidance.
Today's Reminder
It is my confidence in a Higher Power, working in me, which releases and activates my ability to make my life a more joyous, satisfying experience. I cannot bring this about by relying on myself and my own limited ideas.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God." (Romans)
Having a bit of a rough time this morning.  It started out so positive.  But, I'm struggling now.

Sooo.......... felt like venting, but now just thinking I maybe want to give it to God.

-  Need to give the fact that I'm at my mom's house to God
-  The fact that I can't seem to make decisions with clarity.
-  My desires to ignore my physical health.
- The fact that I don't feel inspired by any job options.

Once again, I feel like embracing this transition period and this uncertainty is the way to go.  I keep feeling like I'm making a "wrong" decision or staying in this place too long and the inaction is very difficult on me.  I don't trust myself and I don't feel God.  And even sometimes when doing gratitudes, they feel empty (at least today).  Of course, I'm grateful for my health and my kids.  But, this not knowing is so rough.

And yet, I've always not known aspects of where my life was going.  I also feel very weak.  I don't seem to like any of my job options.  And one moment, I'll feel certainty about something............. and then, it doesn't stick.

Writing this out helps a bit I guess.  I'm going to do my visualizations, too.

God what do you want me to do?  My answer..................is to just stay here and sit tight.  Some days that is an answer I'm  happy with.  Some days, I won't accept it.  Some days........I don't know.

I don't think I'm meant to stay here long term.  But, I'm not ready to move out.  Ugh.  So, I guess I'm doing a little venting and a little giving to God.  My self esteem has really plunged.  And yet.................. maybe it needed to plunge in order for me to change myself and see the unhealthy ways I was living.  My hunch is that yes, it needed to plunge despite the fact that I hate feeling it and experiencing it.

anyways........... J is walking around in her Elsa dress, Elsa shoes, sunglasses and playing the harmonica.  It cracks me up.

I'm likely going to be stopping the preschool.  It doesn't seem like a good fit.  I just wanted one thing to be set, I think.  It was really hard for me to admit it wasn't a good fit for J.  It wasn't her failing.  It wasn't me failing for choosing the wrong place.  It just wasn't a good fit.  Trial and error.  It has been difficult for me to admit this.  I wanted to have one thing set and I felt so good about this little school.  I decided last night and then woke up this morning feeling unsure again.

By the way, getting it all out is helping.

- I'm also going to give my difficulty being real with my new sponsor to God.

I struggle with letting people in.  I seem to want things to be perfect and then build things up in my mind for me to feel that way.  For example, without this little school.  What do I have without it?  More uncertainty.....  more decisions to make.  More unstructured time.  More flexibility too.

sigh.

It is better getting this off my chest.  I'm glad I'm taking the time to right this down.  And I do need to remember that I stayed up late last night.  It makes a big difference.

Job wise, there are some things on the horizon.  I'm feeling very much like, "What is the point though."  Kind of crazy.  

I think I just need to remember that I didn't get my sleep and I'm tired.  I'm having a rough day and I need to do self care and TAKE IT EASY!!  Another way of saying that is, "easy does it."

I'm going to feel sad and even cry, if it comes to crying.  I'm going to try to stay out of victim territory, get some exercise (but not too much), drink a lot of water and just stay away from stress.




Passage 1 - loving detachment, parents
HFT
One of my family's methods for coping with the insanity of alcoholism has been to declare certain members outcasts. The decision is never overt, and explanations are never made openly. The outcasts simply find themselves excluded from the family for a period of time. An important part of my Fourth Step has been to uncover my own shifting roles in this process. Over the years I sometimes have been judge, sacrificial lamb, or member of the lynch mob.
My Eighth and Ninth Step work has been a powerful force allowing me to view my family members as creatures of God who shortcomings are beyond my power to change but whose charm and strengths are links in a chain of love. My work to view them in this light has included writing a letter to each one, expressing the gifts I see in him or her as well as some connection the two of us share. It is my hope that seeking and expressing these connections will begin to amend the damage done by participating in my family's habit of casting members out.

Thanks to these Steps, I'm finding friendships within my family based on who we are rather than how closely we fit some artificial family code. I'm also finding ways to detach with love and respect from those who are traveling down paths I prefer to avoid. Whichever is the case, I am learning to live my relationships in the present rather than spending my energy hoping for a better past.
Thought for the Day
A statue looks different depending on the angle from which I view it
. If I change the angle from which I view my family members, they might look different, too.
"Leaving the door open to a lower relationship to redevelop slowly was a helpful approach . . ." Paths to Recovery, p. 98

This reminds me of Paul.  Fro
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Epiphany!!

My mom asked me what she could do to help me feel loved.

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


And then I thought and thought and thought and thought.  My answer for her is what I can actually do to find myself happier in any situation.

My advice to her is to change her mindset by:

STOP every time she wants to complain about the house or the situation

and instead....

1) Think of several things she is grateful for
2) "How important is it?"
3) Remind herself, I know she is doing the best
4) Do something for herself

I think that would really solve a lot of our problems.

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

The likelihood that she will do any of those things is like 0.5%

But, what is the likelihood that I could make my life better by doing these things??  Well, if not 100% very very likely.  I can certainly try.  ANY time that I want to play the blame game, I can STOP and instead be grateful, how important is it, I know that person is "doing the best they can" at this moment and then do something for myself instead.

So, I was excited about that epiphany.



Ok, passages!

Passage 1
ODAT - Let it begin with me
Living with an alcoholic distorted my thinking in many ways, but particularly in one: I blamed all my problems on The Bottle. Now I am learning in Al-Anon to look squarely at each difficulty, not seeking whom to "blame" but to discover how my attitude helped to create my problem, or aggravate it.
I must learn to face the consequences of my own actions and words, and to correct myself when I am wrong. Accepting responsibility is essential to becoming mature. Whether the alcoholic is drinking or not. I will not look for a scapegoat to excuse my own faults.
Today's Reminder
There is no advantage, no profit, no growth, in deceiving myself merely to escape the consequences of my own mistakes. When I realize this, I know I will be making progress.
"We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know a truth that is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it." (Thomas Merton: No Man Is an Island)

Ok, soooo, another epiphany came yesterday.  My mom is unhealthy about her gift giving.  She gives a lot of herself and then resents (sound like anyone I know -- yah, um, me in the past with Hubby).......... ANYWAYS......She also has strings attached to those gifts and sometimes uses them in arguments to put you down.  I am kind of stuck in this situation, where I accepted some gifts from her.  To live in this house and to drive her old car.  BIG gifts!!!  And she has been using this against me quite a lot.  I googled gift giving and narcissists (because whether my mom is on the narcissism spectrum or not, a lot of it fits her) and I found an article that was a true gift to me.

It was on narcissism, but it was highly judgmental of the person who accepts those gifts from the narcissist, knowing the cost of them.  This person was very strongly worded.  She spoke of the greed of the person who accepted the gifts knowing (or maybe knowing a little or deep down, but not admitting) and saying that they were prostituting themselves in order to get the things.  That they have no right to complain afterwards, because they knew they were accepting these things with payment expected.  Maybe the payment is that for the rest of their lives they are supposed to act grateful regardless of any other actions, or that it will be told to other people in order to boost up the narcissist or will be used against them, etc. etc.  

It really resonated with me because it talked about MY part in this. I have accepted these things from my mom, knowing how my mom is.  I have traded my autonomy and respect for a nicer place for my kids and then am complaining about it.  Hmmm.  

Anyways, I was grateful for the article.  I do think I needed to read it.  And it reminded me of this passage, as well.  It is time for me to correct myself.  

Friday, March 17, 2017
Loved the first session with J's play therapist.  Yesterday was a good "family" day.  The kids are old enough that I can bring them to the beach by myself, so I'm looking forward to that.

Something that was interesting was that I kept getting embarrassed by Hubby; which, cognitively, I know not to do.

ex: He was throwing J in the air at preschool instead of listening to the teacher.  I surprised myself.  He can throw the girl in the air if he wants to.  It doesn't reflect on me.

ex: He was singing to try to calm L down during storytime and I felt the need to ask him to be quiet.  Ummm, yes..... it's polite to be quiet at story time.  But, I'm not his mom.  Sigh.

Not too bad, though.  I'll give myself props for being aware and accepting.  I made amends to him for the second one.  I don't think he was aware of the first.




Next, let's get to some meditations.  I want to journal for myself, but I am extremely tired for it only being 9pm.  I want to do my meditations.  Apply to 3-5 jobs and then call it a night.



Passage 1
ODAT
There was once an Al-Anon group that never had more than nine members, although there were four AA groups within a couple of miles!
All but three of the nine--the three who had started the group--changed very often. When they dropped out, the old-timers would shrug and say: "What can you do? They just don't realize how Al-Anon could help them."

At meetings there were usually plenty of horror stories about what the alcoholics said and did, and detailed descriptions of sufferings. It was all quite exciting, but nothing much happened to make the newcomers aware of the Al-Anon program and how they could apply it. Nobody kept in touch between meetings, excepting, of course, the three old-timers.
Al-Anon is a program of self-improvement. It is nourished by the friendship and concern of all the members for each other and from discussion, in depth, of Al-Anon principles in the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions and the slogans.
"If my life is in chaos, I will look into myself for the cause and cure and use the Twelve Steps to improve my shortcomings. If our group is not a living, functioning unit, we will look for the cause and cure in our Twelve Traditions. "\


Passage 2
HFT - Let Go and Let God
I developed a distorted sense of responsibility while growing up. Al-Anon helped me see that I am responsible only for myself. This lesson became clear when I became group representative for my home meeting.
I thought that as group representative I always had to open the meeting place and set up the chairs, coffee, and literature. As controlling as I was, taking on responsibility came naturally.
It was rare for anyone else to take the key and opened the meeting place. Soon I developed resentment about all the work I was doing. After listening to my complaints, someone suggested I have my own key made and leave the group key for someone else. This way I could close up, but I wasn't obligated to open up for the next meeting.

I decided to test this idea. I asked for and received permission to copy the key. One night when no one had taken the extra key, the group sat outside in the blustery January wind. The next week they blamed me. I calmly told them this isn't my group, it's our group. According to Tradition Two, no one person should be the group authority. I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to grow.
Today our group is much healthier, and so am I. I now trust that a Higher Power is the ultimate group authority and that some groups may have to "hit bottom" before they can flourish. It's not my job to rescue my group any more than it is to save the alcoholic. I need only do my part.
Thought for the Day
Before anyone else can pick up the ball, I need to be willing to drop it.
"Part of extending a hand is eventually letting go and noticing that, when my job is done, there are more hands willing and able to carry on." When I Got Busy, I Got Better, p. 6



CTC - Self Care
No problem lasts forever. No matter how permanently fixed in the center of our lives it may seem, whatever we experience in this ever-changing life issue or to pass. Even pain.
Difficult situations often bring out qualities in us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one another. All of our experiences can help us to grow.
But we may need patience. Some wounds cannot be healed quickly. They must be given time. In the meantime, we can appreciate the new capabilities we are developing, such as the capacity to mourn and the willingness to accept. Let us share our losses and triumphs with each other, for that is how we gather courage.
Today's Reminder
Remembering that this too shall pass can make it easier to get through a difficult day. I will be very gentle with myself during this time. Some extra loving care and attention to myself can make everything a little easier.
"'. . . I am equal to what life presents,' when I use the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the slogans, literature, sponsorship, conventions, and most importantly meetings." . . . In All Our Affairs
Thursday, March 16, 2017
CTC
Progress can be hard to recognize, especially if our expectations are unrealistically high. If we expect our negative attitudes or unhealthy behavior to change quickly and completely, we are likely to be disappointed--progress is hard to see when we measure ourselves against idealized standards. Perhaps it would be better to compare our present circumstances only to where we had been in the past.
For example, a Fourth Step inventory led me to realize that I hold grudges and that they hurt me. I try to let go of resentments and I despair when these attitudes persist. Fortunately, Al-Anon has taught me to focus on progress, not perfection. Although sometimes I still hold on to resentments, I know I'm making progress because I don't do it as often as I used to or for as long a time.
Today I am no longer seeking perfection; the only thing that matters is the direction in which I'm moving.
Today's Reminder
As a result of hard work in Al-Anon and a willingness to change, I am moving in a positive direction. I will celebrate my progress today. I know that the process of recovery will continue to help me grow toward a better way of living.
"Keep adding little by little and you will soon have a big hoard." Latin proverb

This is going on my favorites page.  The first to make the page in a long time!!!
Well, yesterday was yesterday.  :)  Had an absolutely amazing time at the farm with family and the kids.  I spent the first 3/4 of the day trying to eat food to actually nourish my body.  And, instead of just bringing snacks and food for the kids, I actually brought food for me and my sister in law.  This was of significance, because we usually bring lots of snacks and drinks for the kids and nothing for ourselves!!!

Anyways, the night did not end so productively.  I let my serenity be affected by those around me.  In other news, Hubby is finally seeing a therapist!  YAY!  And one that specialized in bipolar.  He saw TWO therapists last week, which is pretty cool.  Not just pretty cool, but pretty inspiring.  It reminds me what I have to do be doing!  I created a google doc for him to record when he takes his medication (since haphazard texting is nice, but stressful for me) and he is using it now.  I created one for myself too and.............yah, accountability!!

I am so so so aware of my weaknesses, in this position in my life.  And I got enveloped in that feeling last night.  And just got lost into fantasy or googling celebrities and binge eating.  I don't think there is an aa group for mindless googling.  But, I want to remove my shame on that.  When I don't want to deal with life, I...........

A.  Want to blame someone else (codependency)
B.  Want to eat (even if I'm not hungry)
C.  Want to watch mindless shows on tv or google interviews from celebrities I enjoy watching.

It is difficult to write that.  I want to write that in a spirit of acceptance rather than defeat.  I am not a perfect person.  I don't even WANT to be perfect, cognitively.  I know that doesn't exist.  What I do want is to accept my imperfections with joy and perspective.

Anyways............ I type this while the kiddos are playing next to me in the bath.  And this bath is already getting long.........  So, on to passages.  :)


ODAT - Acceptance, Surrender, Step 3
Acceptance and surrender are the two attitudes that open all doors to us in the Al-Anon way of living. Yet they are the most difficult for many of us to acquire. No matter how badly we think life has beaten us, we still play cling to the idea that acceptance and surrender are a kind of hopeless giving-in, a weakness of character. Not so! Acceptance means simply admitting there are things we cannot change. Accepting them puts an end to our futile struggles and frees our thought and energy to work on things that can be changed. Surrender means relinquishing our self-will and accepting God's will and His help.

Today's Reminder
I do not have to accept the continuous misery that goes with alcoholism. I will not surrender to the vagaries and machinations of the alcoholic. No one can distort my thinking unless I permit it.
"God help me to accept the responsibility for finding a better way of life through surrendering to You and Your guidance.


****To acceptance and surrender!!  The battle I journaled about today.  
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Today, I need to focus on today, only.  And maybe the few things I need to set up for the next couple days.  Plans and contingency plans for play therapy and child care.

But, I do not need to take on big life problems and stress about them today.  My job.........I don't need to spend my day feeling the stress of not knowing.  I can remember that Higher Power is workingo n that.  I only do the "next right thing."  I focus on the joy and gratitude I can hold today.

And as for J's problems.  I do not need to be paralyzed by my sadness over this.  I don't need to push away emotions, but in both of these issues, fear is at play.  Worry...  And not about today.

Today, I have a home.  I have health.  I have food.  I have a plan.  I have what I need and I have a higher power.  And J is good today too.  Something is happening right now at preschool, but I don't have any control over it.  Luckily HP does!!!  And he is looking out for J and guiding her.  There is no use me sitting here at home, worrying about her at preschool.

I think instead of just imagining my loved ones at the beach, with warm rays of heavenly love surrounding them...............I need to picture myself there too.

I'm rambling a bit.  But, I don't want my today to be overwhelmed by fears of tomorrow.  And it's difficult to change my mindset.

Grateful for the tools to practice and know taht we don't learn these things overnight.

That's all for now.
Passage 3 - Step 1
CTC
One beautiful day, a man sat down under a tree, not noticing it was full of pigeons. Shortly, the pigeons did what pigeons do best. The man shouted at the pigeons as he stormed away, resenting the pigeons as well as the offending material. But then he realized that the pigeons were merely doing what pigeons do, just because they're pigeons and not because he was there. The man learned to check the trees for pigeons before sitting down.
Active alcoholics are people who drink. They don't drink because of you or me, but because they are alcoholics. No matter what I do, I will not change this fact, not with guilt, shouting, begging, distracting, hiding money or bottles or keys, lying, threatening, or reasoning. I didn't cause alcoholism. I can't control it. And I can't cure it. I can continue to struggle and lose. Or I can accept that I am powerless over alcohol and alcoholism, and let Al-Anon help me to redirect the energy I've spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects.
Today's Reminder
It's not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink, but I can do nothing to stop them. If I see how unmanageable my life is become, I can admit that I am powerless over this disease. Then I can really begin to make my life better.
"It stands to reason that a change in us will be a force for good that will help the entire family." How Can I Help My Children?
Passage 2 - Fear
ODAT
Doubts and fears that the sober alcoholic may not keep his sobriety are contrary to the Al-Anon way of thinking. Do we let ourselves doubt that "he'll make the program?" Are we uneasy when he gets home later than expected? Do we jump to the conclusion that he has started drinking again? This we must overcome! Such an attitude cannot be concealed and our lack of confidence can do untold damage. The person who is trying to maintain sobriety needs our loving trust. Even if a relapse should happen, that injury is not to us, but to the unfortunate who once again was overcome by the compulsion to drink. This is a time to stand by with patience and compassion. Let us not punish the alcoholic or ourselves.
Today's Reminder
I will carefully guard my own mental sobriety. This gift from my Higher Power will express itself in a quiet, reasonable attitude, regardless of what happens.
"I pray that I may not fall into the error of anticipating trouble. If it should come, let me meet it with equanimity and love."

Well, this was convicting.  I have fallen into this way of thinking.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it or punish myself though.  Will move forward with "loving trust."  I know, in my own life, when someone doubts that I will succeed, it absolutely destroys me.  I don't need to be doing that to anyone else.  
I am excited to post today.  I received a formal written notification from J's school just confirming that they told me about her behavior and our conversation, regarding moving forward.  It was just a repetition of our conversation, but was difficult to read.  I felt a dark weight come over my body.  It doesn't change what I know about my daughter or how I love her and how I feel there is zero malicious intent in her behavior.  Every day, I do affirmations with J.  One of things I have her say is, "My mama and papa love me exactly as I am."  It's true.  We do.  And I also think she is pretty incredible and just learning in her own way.  

Anyways....... it's making me really focus on giving the situation over to God.  I kind of want to observe the gymnastics portion with her today, but think I will stay here and get this written out instead.

I'm proud of my little girl.

Ok.

Moving on.

Passage 1 - Step 2, Step 3
ODAT
Even those of us who have no particular religious faith, or who have lost faith we once had, may reach such extremities that we cry out in desperation for help. We pray involuntarily, we pray to Something, some unknown power, to relieve us of our unbearable burdens.
Before I found Al-Anon, in my confusion and despair I asked for help in this way, but the next moment I would begin to worry again about what was going to happen next. If we do finally ask for God's help, we must do so with absolute confidence. It is fruitless to take back into our own hands the problem which our powerlessness forced us to turn over to Him.
Today's Reminder
We are imprisoned by our own inability or unwillingness to reach out for help to a Power greater than ourselves. I will set myself free from the prison of self-will and pride which I myself have built. I will accept freedom.
"With the help of my God, I shall leap over the wall." (Book of Common Prayer)

I loved this so much!  As a former high jumper, I really like the last quote, as well.  I've been focusing a lot on visualizing giving things to God.  I do believe it's helping.  I feel like every day, maybe I should just start by handing things over.  Handing over my job situation once a day isn't enough.  But, every time it slips into my mind.  

Grateful.  And while it's fruitless to take back into our own hands the problems, I do think it's part of the process and happens.  As we get better at giving our problems to God, my hunch is that we take them back less and less.  Maybe I should visualize myself waving my hands saying, "No way, Jose!!"" when the problems try to come back to me.  :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
CTC - Faith, Step 2, Slogans

One of the wonderful benefits I receive by going to Al-Anon meetings is that I find new ways to work my program. The Chairperson at one of my favorite meetings passed around a basket full of Al-Anon slogans and suggested that we each take one and try to apply it to this day. It was remarkable how many of us seemed to get the perfect slogan!
The very next day I found myself in a stressful situation. I was struggling to solve a tough problem, growing frustrated and upset but no closer to a solution. I asked my Higher Power for help and suddenly remembered that basket. In my mind, I imagined myself reaching once more into a basket full of slogans. Again I got exactly what I needed: The slip of paper I pictured reminded me that "Easy Does It." I stopped trying to force a solution and waited until I could approach the problem more gently. I felt much better, my thinking was clearer, and in time solution appeared.

Today's Reminder
It is not always easy to know which Al-Anon tool to apply, especially in the middle of a crisis. I am grateful for a Higher Power who knows my needs, and for meetings that help me to find new ways to put these tools to work in my life.
"As we learn to depend upon our Higher Power through applying the Al-Anon program to our lives, fear and uncertainty are replaced by faith and confidence." One Day at a Time in Al-Anon


I like that.  Fear and uncertainty are replaced by faith and confidence.  :)  

PASSAGE 2
ODAT - Stinking thinking
When my heart and mind were filled with discouragement, there was no room for concern for others. Daily I tormented myself, thinking in circles, deciding first on one desperate measure, then another. There was no air, no breathing space, between me and my problem; we were entangled and confused. I could see nothing straight and clear, nothing was revealed in its true colors, only the flaming red of constant hysteria and apprehension. To have found a way out of this kind of thinking is a miracle in itself; I found that miracle in Al-Anon. My own problems were brought into focus by relating them to those of others. I found I could give some thought and compassion to them, and then I began to have peace of mind.

Today's Reminder
It is the sharing of experience and hope that makes our Al-Anon contacts so important to us. Every time we read something about how Al-Anon works, every time we attend a meeting or talk with a fellow member by telephone, we grow in serenity and strength.
"Let me accept all the rich comfort available to me in this way of life, for I know it can help me in all life's trials."


Gratitude List
1) birds chirping
2) al anon tools
3) the warmth of the sun
4) health, health, health
5) a clean and working car

PASSAGE 1 - Let it begin with me, loving detachment
HFT
One of my favorite Al-Anon pamphlets is A Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic. It discusses the "weapons" the alcoholic might use to relieve his or her anxiety or to create additional reasons to drink. These include the ability to provoke anger and to arouse anxiety.
The alcoholic in my life used to arouse my anger and anxiety by criticizing me and breaking plans and promises. He often created scenes in public and was generally inconsistent and unreliable. Before Al-Anon I allowed these behaviors--these weapons--to dictate how I felt and behaved. I took offense and had my feelings hurt. I reacted with angry self-defense or silent withdrawal into depression and self-contempt.
I learned that the word "take" in the phrase "to take offense" meant I had a choice. Why would I want to take offense and feel hurt and sad? Wouldn't I rather take joy and serenity from the tools of the program?
Eventually I stopped acting on my hurt feelings. Rather than displaying them to the alcoholic, I discussed them with my sponsor. I opted out of playing games, displaying defensive behavior, and feeling miserable. As long as I gave the alcoholic the power to hurt my feelings, he had control over my serenity. If I didn't give him permission to relieve his misery by attacking me, I didn't play into his illness. I performed an exercise in detachment, which led to serenity and greater self-esteem.
Thought for the Day
Detaching myself from a person with the flu protects me from catching the illness. Emotionally detaching from alcoholism increases the likelihood that I won't catch an overabundance of anger and anxiety.
"The only way love can be retained is by family members learning not to suffer when drinking is in progress and refusing to undo the consequences of drinking." A Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic, p.

MMMM.  Lots of food for thought here.  I have to look at the program in a new way to apply it to my mom.  I am taking offense a lot, instead of taking joy and serenity from the tools of the program.  I need to figure out how to interact with my mom with loving detachment.  I need to form some good boundaries.  She says many things that I perceive with extra emotional weight, based on our history.  

I think I'm going to try a physical God box again.  I've been looking at that and the visualizing the people who control my emotions supported and taken care of by God.  Walking on a beach with God's warmth shining down on them.  That works for my mom, as long as hubby.  Even if I am mad at her, picturing God taking care of it is very powerful.