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Feeling Helpless? Try This!

Ever feel helpless? When I feel that way, it’s usually because I’m feeling overwhelmed. Then I will remember one of these three things: 1. Breathe. Mmmm. There. Feel better? When I’m helpless, or when I get the thought in my head that says, “I’m helpless,” weirdness descends. Shortness of breath. My chest is tight. Constricted. It sort of feels a little like drowning. So I take a deep belly breath That’s what I call breathing through the diaphragm, because you have to push your tummy out–it seems confusing but it’s not. Do it as many times as you need until the world starts to…

R is for Relapse Prevention

Relapse during recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over a period of time and can be as sneaky and insidious as the disease of codependency itself. It requires an awareness and a dedication to WANTING to stay well. It ain’t easy. I came close the past week myself. Tools to help aid in relapse prevention include all but are not limited to the following: Meetings: This I can’t stress strongly enough. One of the first signs of relapse, for me, is wanting to isolate. I missed several of my regular meetings this past week, and I’m feeling it. I feel…

Q is for Quintessential

And now for something totally different! Please forgive me for straying from me theme of the month today, but I couldn’t resist a chance to speak about this. 😛 The quintessential MAN is a television CHARACTER, Robert Goren, from a Law and Order spin off, Criminal Intent. This picture is taken from the scene where his partner, Alex Eames, is forced to fire Goren (because he is a “liability”) just before she might be promoted to Chief of Detectives. The last scene of the episode shows her placing her badge and firearm on the desk and placing a call, saying…

Q Post

Today’s Q post will be late due to a very busy day and oversleeping! 😛 Please tune in tomorrow for Q and R. 🙂 Peace out.

O is for Obedience to a Higher Power

In Al-Anon, which is based very closely on AA, we learn to trust in a higher power fairly quickly, or we are lost. In fact, Step Two says Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Step Three says Turned our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Twelve-step programs are spiritual, rather than religious. In fact, the traditions and concepts specifically point that out, that we do not promote nor discriminate against any religion, denomination, etc. It is not only my opinion that many people in Al-Anon would be…

I is for Isolation

One of my favorite movies of all-time is Cool Hand Luke, as well as the novel by the same title. I used to quote lines from the movie during an argument, especially Strother Martin’s famous “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” But one of the haunting memories I can’t shake is the count at the end of the day. The second boss, or whatever he’s called, calls out the count, and at the conclusion, he says, ” . . .and one in ‘the box.’” The box was short for icebox, or a form of isolation, a punishment. It…

E is for Engage

There are several other ways to be engaged in our lives that don’t include a ring. 😉 Like the picture here implies, it can be as simple as having a conversation. Being engaged means being INVOLVED in our lives. Having a hobby opened a door for me because it allowed me to join a knitting group, and meet others who enjoy the same things I do. If you have a pet it’s another way to meet people, especially if it’s a dog you have to walk, because you’ll no doubt see other dog walkers along the way. Volunteering is a…

Book Review: Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister – And Not Lose Yourself

If you have a sister or brother struggling with the disease of alcoholism, and need help, look no further. Sober Siblings, by Patricia Olsen and Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., provides some of the best help out there on the subject. In fact, it is the only book I have encountered so far in my search on alcoholism that addresses the difficulty of the sibling relationship. Through Patricia Olsen’s own personal experience, along with personal stories throughout the book of other siblings of alcoholics, as well as supplemented by the experience of Dr. Levounis, Sober Siblings offers practical tips and advice…

Progress Not Perfection

My family physician – also board-certified in psychiatry – and I go back a ways. I checked with the receptionist, and their computer only goes back as far as 1995, but it was a return appointment, so we’re figuring at least 1994. That’s a long time to know someone. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, because I used to be a lot sicker than I am now. As I sit here, and I know I’m in for a wait, sometimes as long as three hours, I think of the progress that’s been made. Today, I come to Dr. Sack’s office…

Positive Limits For Ourselves

As someone who has teetered on either the manic or depressive side of bipolar, I’ve never been very good with limits. I’m not good at saying no to other people, let alone myself. I’ve only recently discovered, with the help of my sister and my sponsor, that no all by itself is all that’s needed. No long, drawn-out explanations about why I can’t do this or that . . . just – no.  So – in keeping with the theme of taking care of ourselves, I’m still in a bit of a funk and awaiting lab results on Monday that…

All In For God With Faith

5The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith.” 6But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it would do it. –Luke 17:5,6 Message Doesn’t that sound just like us? I mean, there were the apostles, they had Jesus, the LORD Himself, in the flesh, and they wanted more. It wasn’t enough. I’m learning, slowly but surely, that faith…

Getting Down To The Knitty Gritty

I want to introduce you to a few friends of mine from my knitting group. Our group is very large, and many of them were shy, and some claimed they were not quite photogenic (which I so beg to differ). 😉 They are each lovely in their own special ways. Below each picture here I have explained who the person is and a little about them.  This is the incredibly talented Bev, who works a lot with complicated lace patterns, and this day she was wearing a cute and fun sweater hat. The “arms” can be worn down, as shown…

Taking Care of Ourselves

Who do you think about first thing in the morning or last thing at night before you fall asleep? Who do you feed first in the morning? Remember the airplane instructions about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child or even the hurt person next to you? There are reasons for those. When I was a kid coming up in the world, the last thing I thought about was myself. Sure, there were a few times that were carefree, like I remember playing Red light, Green light; Red Rover; Hide-and-Seek; Say-say-oh-playmate; Mother May…

Thanksgiving Day, Sweet Potatoes And All

The first time I started in the Al-Anon program, which is several years ago now, my sponsor instructed me to keep a gratitude list. I was told to write down at least three things each day I was grateful for. At first, since I was in a pretty rocky spot, they were fairly simple things: 1. Have two arms. 2. Have two legs. 3. They work. My sponsor at the time didn’t get in my face about it. She was patient, and pretty soon the lists changed. They grew as I grew in the program and let go of some…

You did NOT just say that!

Okay. I know for a fact that how we say things is just as important if not more important than what we say. I’ve been attending these lectures on alcoholism and have been learning better ways of communicating, how to express “I Statements.” (Stay with me for a minute, here, I know this is technical but it’s important for later on.) There are three steps to an I Statement: 1. State very specifically what behavior led to your feeling. 2. State what you are feeling. 3. Explain the consequences of the behavior for you. In correct usage, it might look…