helpEver 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 make a little sense again. You’re not helpless, love. You have everything you’re supposed to, right now this minute.

2. Be in the moment. We are too much forward-thinking and backward-thinking and not enough right-now-thinking. Stay in the now as much as you can. If you’re reading this post, really pay attention. Read it out loud. If you’re reading it on a tablet, turn it upside down and read it that way. LOL When I was a kid and I was bored but couldn’t go to the library because I was grounded or whatever (who, me?), I would take a book I’d already read and read it upside down. 

3. Be your best self. Do the best you can and let it go. We all do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. When you know better, you can do better. But this is now.

Peace out. xx

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 blah, stressed, “out of it”, not connected (oh really?), alone, lonely, and resentful. I know exactly why I started isolating, but that doesn’t make it any better. The only solution is to GET MY BUTT to a meeting, which I did yesterday, and am doing again tonight.

Meetings provide a much needed connection so we know we are not alone. They provide structure for us to share our stories, and get strength and hope to carry on. We can fellowship with other members before the meeting or after for coffee.

When I DON’T want to go to a meeting, that’s usually mostly when I know I NEED to get there. The urge to isolate is strong within me, and I have to fight it tooth and nail. Once I get there, I know I’ll feel better. It’s like – like an umbrella in the pouring rain, or that first cup of java in the morning. Nothing compares. 🙂

Sponsorship: It’s important to find the right fit in a sponsor, and there’s nothing wrong with having a temporary one, or even firing your first sponsor when you feel s/he is not right for you. “Fire” is such a strong word. When I ASK someone to be a sponsor, I don’t feel I have the right to FIRE them. But that’s the terminology.

Anyway.

Keeping in touch with my sponsor, whether it’s by phone or email, is crucial. I usually see her at meetings during the week, and we get together on Wednesday, except I begged off this past week (again, ISOLATING).

Literature: There is so much recovery literature to keep a person connected in between meetings. Between the Big Book of Al-Anon, Hope for Today, One Day At a Time in Al-Anon, and Courage to Change (just to name a few), there is absolutely no reason to fall into a funk of old ways and old thinking.

Telephone: Self-explanatory. Pick it up. Use it. Use the phone lists you have from meetings. I don’t use this when I isolate, and that’s a big mistake.

One day at a time. Right?

Peace out. 🙂

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 the job wasn’t for her.

Okay, okay. I admit it. Robert Goren is easy on the eyes. At least, to ME he is. He could knock on my door any day now. REALLY. . . . wouldn’t know what to say, but! It’s a good thing my imagination stays in the character of Robert Goren, because he’s single, very complicated and VERY unattached. He has issues galore. Vincent D’Onofrio, the actor who plays him however, is quite happily married. Sort of ruins MY happy-ever-after. 😛

Besides being easy on the eyes, Goren is brilliant. No, seriously, he’s a mind-numbing genius. He knows things the NORMAL person has no business knowing, and even would make Alex Eames hair curl, which would be a feat for the petite blond. Goren is frequently able to recall pieces of information that may seem obscure but prove to be incredibly relevant to the case. He can speak different languages, particularly German, and the episode “Silencer”, implies that he is proficient in American sign language. Additionally, he has an acute sense of smell that discloses details even a forensics investigator might miss.

Robert O. Goren was born on August 20, 1961 (one year older than ME!), and grew up in the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, near The Rockaways. A phenomenally bright young man, he took the MMPI in his senior year of high school and was sent to speak with the school counselor and school psychiatrist as a result. He played basketball as a youth and was the power forward on his junior varsity basketball team, but quit when he “lost his love for the game.”

Goren’s mother Frances first started showing symptoms of schizophrenia when Goren was seven years old. Frances’ husband, whom Goren had believed to be his father (see “Mark Ford Brady” section below), gambled frequently on horse races and was a serial adulterer. He left Goren’s mother when Goren was eleven, making little effort to stay close to the family. In season 2, a personal friend of Goren’s mentions a funeral, implying that Goren’s stepfather had passed away before the series began.

There’s a LOT more to this incredible character, but you have to watch the repeats to really get to know Robert Goren. And if a picture doesn’t say a thousand words, and pull you into his baby blues… you’re invincible!!

Peace out.

 

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.

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 scared off and not come if they were forced to believe in the God I believe in (for I choose to call my higher power God).

Some people choose to the other tables, nature, or the Big Book of Al-Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous as their higher power. All of this is fine and good, and no one would dare to dispute them, for who can say what works for another human being? Some individuals have been the targets of religious abuse before they enter the doors of a 12-step program. The last thing they need is someone telling them what to believe in.

For myself, it’s an evolving process. Though I believed in the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) before I entered Al-Anon), I did not have a close relationship with God as Father. I’m still working on it. It’s a trust issue, and it’s because I compare Him too much to the father of my growing up years. Even though I know in my head and heart it doesn’t make sense, when I’m hurt and needing to run to Him, I run away instead. When I know I should obey, when everything in my body screams to me that I’ve got to do it, my stubborn will still gets in the way, and it takes me a while before I get there.

My sponsor and I talked about what it meant, action-wise, to turn our will and our lives, on a daily basis. She said for her this meant flossing her teeth. It’s the made a decision part of the 3rd step. She decided that if she does something like that, takes care of a part of her body daily that she really doesn’t want to, but she knows that God cares about, she’s turning over her will to Him – even if just a little part – on a daily basis. She’s meeting Him a little way, and He will take care of the rest.

So I thought of something I can do. I’m a notorious slob. Truly. And I have a great car. Tweety-bird. Yeah. A screaming yellow Ford Focus. I begged my brother Greg to find it for me used and I swore I’d never smoke in it or get it messy. About three months later I was smoking in it, a month later it was trashed. 😦 I think obedience and turning over my will to God would look like . . . cleaning my car and keeping it clean on a daily basis. To start out I can just clean the front seat – yeah, it’s that bad. 😛

Do you have a higher power? What does obedience to your higher power look like for you? Is it a daily thing?

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 sat away from the the prison barracks, and was barely large enough to fit the prisoner standing and sitting, along with a bucket for him to relieve himself.

The sun beat down during the day, heating up the box so that it would have been much hotter even than it was outside.

Alcatraz, the famous prison now closed in California, had prisoners sent to “the hole”, a sensory-deprivation chamber located on D-Block. In psychiatric hospitals, when a patient is considered out of control, unsafe to himself or others, she is taken to a “quiet room.” It usually includes: a bed, padded walls, and absolutely nothing with which to harm oneself.

Why did I start the post this way? As a contrast I suppose. Some people practice self-imposed isolation. As a child, I practiced isolation as a matter of surviving a chaotic and unpredictable time.  I hid in my closet, or made myself scarce in other ways. Books, writing, and TV became my very best friends.

But as I grew up and got into high school and then college, this pull (and it’s . . . like a muscle memory, I really fight against it) toward isolation came at me again and again. It wouldn’t work if I wanted to make friends, even less if I wanted to keep them.

Just recently I read The Introverts Bill of Rights, and realized that’s TOTALLY me. So it makes sense that I’m wiped out after a social event. It’s OKAY that I need down time after I visit with a friend or after something particularly intense. There’s even a right in there about parking near the get-away, which I’ve always done, and I thought I was the only person who did that!! 😀 😀

So what about you? Have you discovered something about yourself that surprised you? Do you isolate, or are you a closet introvert? 😉

Go, seize the day.

Peace out.

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 GREAT way to get engaged. I resisted this for a long time because I’m an introvert by nature, and would rather help someone over the internet. 😛 But this afternoon for the first time I’m doing a two-hour rotation at the Book Nook in our local library. I’m as nervous as a cat with its tail under a rocking chair, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. What can go wrong in two hours?? At least I don’t have to open or close this time.

Going to the gym is another way to get engaged, and if you can’t do that, just exercising on your own. Runners and walkers often meet like-minded people on their way from here to there.

Book clubs, movie nights . . . the list is endless.

What’s your favorite way to get engaged?

This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is “taking care of ourselves.” Check out some of the other bloggers participating