Which wolf will you feed?

For most of my life, I have been a bitter, resentful, angry person. The story that I tell myself is that I came by it honestly. I’m a classic case of a person who suffered early childhood trauma around abandonment and rejection issues and much of my life has been spent in trying to get the people in my life now to make up for the things done by the people in my past. When this plan didn’t work [for reasons that are obvious to me now] I reacted with resentment and anger; first toward myself and then toward others… Continue reading

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Ever feel like you are backtracking?

Christine Hassler has a real beauty of a post today that I grabbed in its entirety for you…

One of my pet peeves about the personal growth industry is that there is a lot of expectation placed on consistently making positive changes. The promise is that over time as we do our work, we gradually and continuously “get better” (whatever “better” means).  What often isn’t addressed is that our learning and growth isn’t linear.  It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.

Please don’t torture yourself by buying into the misunderstanding that your growth needs to be straight up. That’s a lot of pressure – and also not possible.  Growth is more fluid.  And over time the lows (or perceived backtracking) we experience become shorter in duration and the length of time in between them becomes longer. I drew this picture for you to illustrate what I am talking about:

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The original image was kinda small; I think this is still legible…

The human experience is about contrast and sometimes the best way we learn is when we take a few steps that feel backwards.  Often when we have a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed, the Universe will bring us a situation that feels very similar to past experiences. Often people get frustrated and think, “This again? I thought I learned this already!” That may be accurate; you may have learned the lesson and now the Universe is bringing you an amazing opportunity to practice the learning so that you can fully integrate it. I give some examples of this in today’s video.

If you feel like you are backtracking in your own behavior, choices, or feelings rest assured you are not flunking life.  You learned from my UPdate last week that only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through. Your so-called issues and programmed responses got implemented decades ago so it may take some time before you totally shift something.  So if you find yourself slipping into old habits, reactions, behaviors or choices that you thought were behind you, cut yourself some slack.

Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.

When you perceive yourself taking steps backwards, that does not mean change is not occurring. You may take ten steps forward and then eight steps back. But the next time you will take eleven steps forward and only seven steps back.  You are making progress!! Whatever you do, just keep going. And forgive yourself! This is super duper important.  Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you.  Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking.  I’m doing the best I can.”  Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.

Keep going.

Keep going.

Source: Ever feel like you are backtracking? | Christine Hassler

Here are some of the points she makes I think are worthy of review…

“It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.”

“Only about 95% of our processing power is conscious so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through”; this is why we say in Celebrate Recovery that we don’t claim perfection, only progress…

“Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.” As a tech guy, there have been many times I have wished I could upgrade myself like hardware. If only I could reformat my brain and delete all the old Beatles‘ lyrics! I’d have so much more room! I do think, however, you CAN upgrade your thinking. There is an old computer programming acronym GIGO; Garbage In, Garbage Out. It applies to thinking and food as well…

And finally, this bears repeating…

“Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you.  Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking.  I’m doing the best I can.”  Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.”

And perhaps the most important lesson of all? Go easy on yourself and practice ‘self-forgiveness’…

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Remain in Jesus

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

The most famous verse in the whole Bible is probably John 3:16, which says,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

You’ve undoubtably seen it on signs at sporting events, written on t-shirts, posted on billboards and even on drink cups at some fast food restaurants. And for good reason, it’s an amazing verse! Here’s Jesus telling us about why He came, who sent Him, and what happens for those who put their faith in Him. It’s a great snapshot of the Gospel message. If you’ve never begun the habit of memorizing Scripture, start with this one.

While John 3:16 is an amazing verse, John 3:17 is just as compelling. Jesus continues by telling us,

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

That’s a reassuring statement! Look at the two verses together; first, God loves us enough to send us a Savior, next, if we put our faith in Jesus, if we trust Him as our Lord and Savior, we will have eternal life, and Jesus wasn’t sent to condemn the world as some would have us believe, but to save the world.

That’s where the power for a changed life comes from, from the Savior of the world. Jesus gives us the power for a new life, for a life of freedom from our hurts, hang-ups and habits, but we have to bring them to Him and trust Him to heal us. As we go through Celebrate Recovery we need to ensure that Jesus is the center of our program. We can not do this on our own power. To find change, lasting change, we need to depend wholly on Jesus.

Today, ask yourself, have you been relying on Jesus’ power or your own? If you’ve been relying on Christ’s power, keep it up. Don’t get distracted, don’t stray from the path. But if you find that you’ve begun to rely on anything other than Jesus, a relationship, willpower, a new habit, anything, don’t wait to refocus your attention to Jesus. We all have the tendency to take our eyes off of Jesus, but when we realize we’ve done that, we need to turn to Him in prayer and ask Him for His help to remain focused on and in Him.

Later in the Book of John, Jesus tells us:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Jesus isn’t a part of recovery, He is recovery. If we want to live a new life, a life free from hurts, hang-ups and habits, we must remain in Jesus. It is only by and through Jesus that you and I can have new lives here on earth, and eternal life in heaven.

Today, what can you do to make sure that you remain in Jesus?

If you find that you have begun to focus on anything else, are you ready to make today the day you focus on Jesus as your Lord and Savior, as your Higher Power?

Don’t put it off any longer. Remember, Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, but to save us.” via Remain in Jesus.

Powerlessness & Unmanageability

Melody Beattie writes:

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

“I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren’t, don’t want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,” said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn’t love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t. It’s been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won’t work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I’ll allow my life to become manageable.” via Daily Meditation ~ Powerlessness & Unmanageability – Miracles In Progress Codependents Anonymous Group.

Today, I am thinking about how to apply this to my in-laws…

My mother in law will never love me like a son and my sibling in laws will never treat me like a brother. Three years ago during the ‘summer of forgiveness’, I made amends and was forgiven and yet I remain in their ‘penalty box‘. I refuse to let myself in an close the lid on top of me. I refuse to play a role in their drama. If I’m not going to get what I need it’s not worth the work…

The Gift of Readiness

Melody Beattie writes:

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” Step Six of Al-Anon.

We progress to the Sixth Step by working diligently, to the best of our ability, on the first Five Steps. This work readies us for a change of heart, openness to becoming changed by a Power greater than ourselves – God.

The path to this willingness can be long and hard. Many of us have to struggle with a behavior or feeling before we become ready to let it go. We need to see, over and over again, that the coping device that once protected us is no longer useful.

The defects of character referred to in Step Six are old survival behaviors that once helped us cope with people, life, and ourselves. But now they are getting in our way, and it is time to be willing to have them removed.

Trust in this time. Trust that you are being readied to let go of that which is no longer useful. Trust that a change of heart is being worked out in you.

God, help me become ready to let go of my defects of character. Help me know, in my mind and soul, that I am ready to let go of my self defeating behaviors, the blocks and barriers to my life.” via 6/6 Language of Letting Go – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information.

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Attack shame!

Melody Beattie writes:

“Shame can hold us back, hold us down, and keep us staring at our feet.” Beyond Codependency

Watch out for shame.

Many systems and people reek of shame.  They are controlled by shame and may want us to play their game with them.  They may be hoping to hook us and control us through shame.

We dont have to fall into their shame.  Instead, we’ll take the good feelings self, acceptance, love, and nurturing.

Compulsive behaviors, sexually addictive behaviors, overeating, chemical abuse, and addictive gambling are shame-based behaviors.  If we participate in them, we will feel ashamed.  Its inevitable.  We need to watch out for addictive and other compulsive behaviors because those will immerse us in shame.

Our past, and the brainwashing we may have had that imposed original shame upon us, may try to put shame on us.  This can happen when were all alone, walking through the grocery store or just quietly going about living our life.  Dont think.  Dont feel.  Dont grow or change.  Dont be alive.  Dont live life.  Be ashamed!

Be done with shame.  Attack shame.  Go to war with it.  Learn to recognize it and avoid it like the plague.

Today, I will deliberately refuse to get caught up in the shame floating around in the world.  If I cannot resist it, I will feel it, accept it, then be done with it as quickly as possible.  God, help me know that its OK to love myself and help me refuse to submit to shame.  If I get off course, help me learn to change shame into guilt, correct the behavior, and move forward with my life in immediate self-love.” via Adult Children Anonymous.

Honesty

Melody Beattie writes:

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step Five of Al Anon

Talking openly and honestly to another person about our­selves, in an attitude that reflects self-responsibility, is critical to recovery.

It’s important to admit what we have done wrong to others and to ourselves. Verbalize our beliefs and our behaviors. Get our resentments and fears out in the open.

That’s how we release our pain. That’s how we release old beliefs and feelings. That’s how we are set free. The more clear and specific we can be with our Higher Power, our­selves, and another person, the more quickly we will experience that freedom.

Step Five is an important part of the recovery process. For those of us who have learned to keep secrets from ourselves and others, it is not just a step — it is a leap toward becom­ing healthy.

Today I will remember that it’s okay to talk about the issues that bother me. It is by sharing my issues that I will grow beyond them. I will also remember that it’s okay to be selective about those in whom I confide. I can trust my instincts and choose someone who will not use my disclosures against me, and who will give me healthy feedback.” via June 5: Honesty.

For the Next 24 Hours…

Melody Beattie writes:

For the next twenty-four hours…

In recovery, we live life one day at a time, an idea requiring an enormous amount of faith. We refuse to look back—unless healing from the past is part of today’s work. We look ahead only to make plans. We focus on this day’s activity, living it to the best of our ability. If we do that long enough, we’ll have enough connected days of healthy living to make something valuable of our life.

…I pray for knowledge of Your will for me only,…

We surrender to God’s will. We stop trying to control, and we settle for a life that is manageable. We trust our Higher Power’s will for us—that it’s good, generous, and with direction. We’re learning, through trial and error, to separate our will from God’s will. We’re learning that God’s will is not offensive. We’ve learned that sometimes there’s a difference between what others want us to do and God’s will. We’re also learning that God did not intend for us to be codependent, to be martyrs, to control or caretake. We’re learning to trust ourselves.

…and the power to carry that through.

Some of recovery is accepting powerlessness. An important part of recovery is claiming the power to take care of ourselves. Sometimes, we need to do things that are frightening or painful. Sometimes, we need to step out, step back, or step forward. We need to call on the help of a Power greater than ourselves to do that. We will never be called upon to do anything that we won’t be empowered to do.

Today, I can call upon an energizing Power Source to help me. That Power is God. I will ask for what I need.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 122-123). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

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Perfection

Melody Beattie writes:

Many of us picked on ourselves unmercifully before recov­ery. We may also have a tendency to pick on ourselves after we begin recovery.

“If I was really recovering, I wouldn’t be doing that again…:’ “I should be further along than I am:’ These are statements that we indulge in when were feeling shame. We don’t need to treat ourselves that way. There is no benefit.

Remember, shame blocks us. But self-love and acceptance enable us to grow and change. If we truly have done some­thing we feel guilty about, we can correct it with an amend and an attitude of self-acceptance and love.

Even if we slip back to our old, codependent ways of think­ing, feeling, and behaving, we do not need to be ashamed. We all regress from time to time. That’s how we learn and grow. Relapse, or recycling, is an important and necessary part of recovery. And the way out of recycling is not by sham­ing ourselves. That leads us deeper into codependency.

Much pain comes from trying to be perfect. Perfection is impossible unless we think of it in a new way: Perfection is being who and where we are today; it’s accepting and lov­ing ourselves just as we are. We are each right where we need to be in our recovery.

Today, I will love and accept myself for who I am and where I am in my recovery process. I am right where I need to be to get to where I’m going tomorrow.” via June 2: Perfection | Language of Letting Go.

Just in case you missed this for 5/30/2012

  1. Todd’s tweets…