From acceptance

A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition. I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would…

How I Survived A Life-Threatening Illness

“Change is inevitable We can depend on that. By letting go of our efforts to influence the future, we become freer to experience the present, to feel all of our feelings while they are happening, and to more fully enjoy those precious moments of joy.” –Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al-Anon So, you might think, as you read this, that bringing humor to the situation is insanity. But you know me and my sarcastic wit. Would you recognize me any other way? 😉 Besides, the alternative is too stupid to consider, and useless. Plus really, who…

What Could Be Scarier Than a Great White Shark??

Happy ninth day of Twelvetide. I wish you health and prosperity this day, and a modicum of sanity as we go and be with various family and friends that we may have a genuine love it or leave it sort of ambivalence toward. Living with ambivalence is not for sissies. Let’s assume for a bit that you don’t live in or anywhere near Flint, Michigan, and as far as you know it’s safer than it’s ever been (since that great white shark in the 70s) to dip your toe back in the water. I give you three simple words. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS If your heart beats a little quicker…

Birth Order

Last year, on one of his visits home from San Francisco, my brother Paul brought a t-shirt he’d bought which bore the saying “Mom loves me best.” He wore it to an outdoor picnic at which most of the family was in attendance; it was very funny and caused quite a lot of discussion. Even more funny, he left it with me when he went back! 😛 Paul is the second to youngest of seven siblings. I’m the youngest. My sister Carol is the oldest, then there’s Greg, Steve, Jerry, Jimmy, Paul, and me. My sister said she prayed and…

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

I saw one of my favorite therapists (of which there have been many), Heather, for two years. Each and every time I saw her, because I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, she gave me a seven-point assessment test called the GAD-7. These are the statements it included: Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge? Not at all Several days More than half the days Nearly every day Not being able to stop or control worrying? Not at all Several days More than half the days Nearly every day Worrying too much about different things? Not at all Several days More than half the…

Apprehension

Writing this blog used to be easy and fun for me. Now, each time I sit down to write, I’m filled with apprehension and dread. Questions swirl through my mind, because it’s not just me or my satisfaction I think about anymore. “Will this make people happy? Will it offend anyone, even unintentionally? What’s relevant for the reader? What should I write about? Will it keep their interest? Will it make them shut down immediately? Or will it touch a cord so deep they wish they’d never read it in the first place?” All this is going through my mind, especially as…

Changes

I got an interesting email from WordPress in which told me they “missed me.” You and I both know that’s propaganda-esque crap, but the stats show people still visit my site even when I don’t write, which hasn’t been for months. The problem is, I’ve changed a lot in that time. I don’t want to write about the same things. I’m not the same person anymore. I don’t go to Al-Anon, I hardly whine about my sister and nephew anymore, and it’s just not on my radar. They live in Ann Arbor, and I don’t see them often enough that they are…

Is It Giving Up Or Letting Go?

  1. decide it’s okay to let go: When I walked away from Maybury Farms, when I let that go, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. You have to know that whatever you are holding onto does not belong to you, living or inanimate. It is not yours. That makes it easier to let go. 2. don’t hold on so hard:  I was holding on so hard to the farm that I couldn’t enjoy myself. I mostly had panic attacks, anxiety so bad that I had to take pills before each tour. I couldn’t even enjoy the children. How do you enjoy tours…

Ciao, Bella

I started this A-Z blog challenge (late) just a few days ago, with such joy and high hopes. But then reality set in. The fact of the matter is I’m still terribly ill, and I fall asleep in the middle of writing. My brother the attorney warned me today that I shouldn’t even be driving because I could get arrested for driving under the influence of medication. I’m awfully tired all the time, and I think I perhaps made up that 2 1/2 hour window to make myself feel better. I have countless flashcards to be sure to know before April 29th.…

F is for Feelings

Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings–always darker, emptier, and simpler. ~Friedrich Nietzsch . . . when we long for life without . . . difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and and diamonds are made under pressure.~Peter Marshall I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears . . . into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter. ~Kahlil Gibran I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable…

Just Relax

There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. ~Chinese proverb Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at other times move forward with it. ~Ray Bradbury It seems like everywhere I go people are talking about relaxation these days. My therapist asks me about my stress level, like it’s something that can be quantified, measured on a daily basis.  I probably…

Gambling on Goals

Goals are so crazy popular, aren’t they? I mean, I went looking for one quote on goals for this post, just one, and they were all so contradictory. Some said set your goals high and don’t stop ’til you achieve them. Others said it starts with the spirit, and if that wasn’t true, forget about it. Then there’s the one who says to set small goals and build upon them. So even the meaning of the word goal is somewhat sketchy. I know of a famous, at least famous on my terms, writing website, which has a whole board (forum) dedicated to the topic of goals and the…

Putting On That Other Pair Of Shoes

Gentle readers, I’ve been trying and trying to write this blog, wanting it to be gentle and light, to bring you good vibes so you’ll come back and keep reading. But my mind and heart are heavy with all the colossal blunders I’m making that I keep wanting to slough off onto my illness. A mixed episode of bipolar disorder is nothing to laugh about. It’s like a modern version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My loved ones never know who they’re going to be speaking to from one minute to the next. Until I got into Al-Anon, I…

There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

My sister and I are more alike than we are different, and sometimes this makes us competitive, even—I have recently learned, in our respective illnesses. We each grew up with an abusive, hard-working, hard-drinking father. My shostra (sister, in Polish) is 13 years my senior, and she grew up in the 60’s, a turbulent, changing, experimental decade. The way we each dealt with our abuse was different. Carol turned to drugs and alcohol. Me, the ever helpful codependent, did my best to help her stay sick and keep the rest of the family intact until I was in my late…

A Rose by Any Other Name

I’m so incredibly nervous writing this, and at the same time . . . feels like home. I have been completely overwhelmed by the positive responses to my last blog post. Just–flabbergasted, truly. Those lovely comments came on the heels of a little over seven months of severe depression and severe anxiety, which brings me to why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. So many times, when one grows up in an alcoholic family, or any sort of dysfunctional family, it becomes all about the alcoholic for so long, or about the person or sickness that draws the most attention from…

The Fine Art of Letting Go

In my last post I said I was going to write about the worry over my mom and my sister. I also said I was going to write it the next day. Now you know not to trust anything I say. 😉 But seriously, I went to an amazing meeting this morning. And it wasn’t just because it was called the Sunday morning Amazing Grace Al-Anon meeting, either. We read from today’s reading in Hope for Today, and what I heard most of all was about letting go. Boy, do I need to let go. I’ve been ashamed to talk about this here,…

The Problem and The Answer

I’m not often speechless. It’s not usually hard for me to know what to say, but writing in this blog has been so hard for me lately, and that’s not like me. It’s like I feel like I’m supposed to have the “answers,” as if 1) there are certain answers one has to follow as a member of Al-Anon and 2) I know them. Let’s get a couple things squared away. The only “answers” I really know in Al-Anon are told to me (either through the other members, the big book of Al-Anon, my sponsor, whatever) by my higher power.…

You Are Enough!

Accept everything about yourself—I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end—no apologies, no regrets. — HENRY KISSINGER Here’s something not everyone knows about me. As much as I love the holidays, it’s still hard for me to be around other people for too long, even family. I never know what to talk about. I’m on disability, so I can’t talk about work. I do read the news, so I can talk about that to some degree, but I don’t argue well. 😉 So when it comes to arguing a point, I always lose. I…