Life is not to be endured

More wisdom from Melody Beattie:

“Life is not to be endured; life is to be enjoyed and embraced.

The belief that we must square our shoulders and get through a meager, deprived existence for far-off “rewards in Heaven” is a codependent belief.

Yes, most of us still have times when life will be stressful and challenge our endurance skills.  But, in recovery, we’re learning to live, to enjoy our lives, and handle situations as they come.

Our survival skills have served us well.  They have gotten us through difficult times-as children and adults.  Our ability to freeze feelings, deny problems, deprive ourselves, and cope with stress has helped us get where we are today.  But we’re safe now.  We’re learning to do more than survive.  We can let go of unhealthy survival behaviors.  We’re learning new, better ways to protect and care for ourselves.  We’re free to feel our feelings, identify and solve problems, and give ourselves the best.  We’re free to open up and come alive.

Today, I will let go of my unhealthy endurance and survival skills.  I will choose a new mode of living, one that allows me to be alive and enjoy the adventure.”

Source: this is a quote “Life is not to be endured; life is to be… | turtle_dove on Xanga

Getting Needs Met

“I want to change careers . . .  I need a friend . . . I’m ready to be in a relationship . . .

Regularly, we become aware of new needs. We may need to change our behavior with our children. We may need a new couch, love and nurturing, a dollar, or help.

Do not be afraid to recognize a want or need. The birth of a want or need, the temporary frustration from acknowledging a need before it’s met, is the start of the cycle of receiving what we want. We follow this by letting go, then receiving that which we want and need. Identifying our needs is preparation for good things to come.

Acknowledging our needs means we are being prepared and drawn to that which will meet them. We can have faith to stand in that place in between.

Today, I will let go of my belief that my needs never get met. I will acknowledge my wants and needs, and then turn them over to my Higher Power. My Higher Power cares, sometimes about the silliest little things, if I do. My wants and needs are not an accident. God created me and all my desires.” via Daily Meditation ~ Getting Needs Met – Miracles In Progress Codependents Anonymous Group.

Sadness

Melody Beattie shares this:

“Ultimately, to grieve our losses means to surrender to our feelings.

So many of us have lost so much, have said so many good byes – have been through so many changes. We may want to hold back the tides of change, not because the change isn’t good, but because we have had so much change, so much loss.

Sometimes, when we are in the midst of pain and grief, we become shortsighted, like members of a tribe described in the movie Out of Africa.

“If you put them in prison,” one character said, describing this tribe, “they die.”

“Why?” asked another character.

“Because they can’t grasp the idea that they’ll be let out one day. They think it’s permanent, so they die.”

Many of us have so much grief to get through. Sometimes we begin to believe grief, or pain, is a permanent condition.

The pain will stop. Once felt and released, our feelings will bring us to a better place than where we started. Feeling our feelings, instead of denying or minimizing them, is how we heal from our past and move forward into a better future. Feeling our feelings is how we let go.

It may hurt for a moment, but peace and acceptance are on the other side. So is a new beginning.

God, help me fully embrace and finish my endings, so I may be ready for my new beginnings.” via Language of Letting Go – May 20 – Sadness – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information.

Why does life have to be so hard?

“Why does doing this have to be so hard?” I asked a friend one day.

“It doesn’t,” he said.

Challenge: Unquestionably, life can be tough and chal­lenging at times. It hurts. It can be scary and confusing. Many of us have had to garner great amounts of strength and courage to face difficult situations. There are times when endurance and rising to the occasion are important survival skills. It equally important to know when an easy-does-it approach is enough.” via May 18.

Don’t Stop Living Your Life

“So often, when a problem occurs, inside or around us, we revert to thinking that if we put our life on hold we can positively contribute to the solution. If a relationship isn’t working, if we face a difficult decision, if we’re feeling depressed, we may put our life on hold and torment ourselves with obsessive thoughts.

Abandoning our life or routines contributes to the problem and delays us from finding the solution.

Frequently, the solution comes when we let go enough to live our life, return to our routine, and stop obsessing about the problem.

Sometimes, even if we don’t feel like we have let go or can let go, we can act as if we have, and that will help bring about the letting go we desire.

You don’t have to give up your power to problems. You can take your focus off your problem and direct it to your life, trusting that doing so will bring you closer to a solution.

Today, I will go on living my life and tending to my routine. I will decide, as often as I need to, to stop obsessing about whatever is bothering me. If I don’t feel like letting go of a particular thing, I will act as if I have let go of it until my feelings match my behavior.” via Language of Letting Go – May 18 – Don’t Stop Living Your Life – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information.

Don’t overdo it

“So, you surrendered. You let go. Now you’re ready to face a particular challenge. So you hunker down and garner all your forces. And you hit the wall again.

“What’s wrong?” you may ask. “I’m doing all the spir­itual things I’m supposed to do. And things still aren’t working. I can’t get anywhere.”

Did you ever try to get a key to unlock a door, and you tried and tried, and the key just wouldn’t open it? The harder you tried, the more frustrated you became. So you stopped trying for a while, relaxed, and tried again. Voila. The key fit perfectly and the slightest turn unlocked the door.

Many of us live our lives that way While some people may not try at all, we may be trying too hard. There’s a gentler way of being in the world, of trying things, doing things, going about our business.

Whether I’m tackling a specific project, enjoying a new relationship, or grinding through some miserable sit­uation, my first inclination is to force myself and try too hard. If one cup of tea tastes good, I’ll drink five. If I want to express love or concern for someone, I’ll overdo it.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well,” doesn’t mean if it’s worth doing, try harder and harder. Doing it well means relaxing and letting the actions unfold—gently, naturally without force. We don’t have to make things happen. We can learn to take our part in letting them happen. It is really okay to ease up a little. We don’t have to think that hard, try that hard, feel that hard, do quite so much. Pull back a little. Relax.

When force and trying harder doesn’t do it, try some­thing else.

Value: “Easy does it” is the value this week.” via May 16.

Codepedence is not just an issue for partners of addicts

I don’t normally curate this much content in one ‘swell foop’ as I like to say but Melody Beattie’s perspective on owning your own stuff and Mark Brower’s comments on same were so good I couldn’t find anything to exclude. Mark starts out and then quotes my ‘Language of Letting Go’ reading for today…

Many of us struggle with codependency. When addiction is present in a relationship, the old model was that the addict was “dependent” and his or her spouse was “codependent.” But today we know that usually both the addict and spouse struggle with codependency in its various forms.

Codependency happens when we lose touch with our sense of self, and become over-dependent on how other people are doing, and/or how they perceive us. Since we are not “okay” with ourselves, we have to work overtime to ensure that other people around us are doing okay, and/or that they feel good about us.

So we wind up tolerating things we shouldn’t tolerate, feeling responsible for things we shouldn’t feel responsible for, and compromising what we want simply in order to please someone else. This inevitably leads to distress and frustration, which causes the addict to move deeper into their addiction, and for the addict’s spouse to cope in other ways.

The issue of codependence is complicated for Christians, because it gets mixed up with our desire to love and serve other people. The Bible tells us to “consider others better than ourselves.” But the same Bible also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which presupposes some sort of healthy self-regard. The Bible also portrays Jesus himself taking time away from the crowds – not being “nice” and doing what they want him to do – in order to rest and reconnect with God the Father.

The trick to living a recovery life in relationships with others is to know how to separate healthy love with unhealthy codependence.

Melody Beattie has been a great help for me over the years with her many books on this topic. One of her best books on this topic is a daily meditation book called “The Language of Letting Go.”

In another article on this blog, I wrote about codependence, and quoted at length from her book. But it’s so good and helpful that I want to quote some more! What follows are some excerpts about the issue of “Property Lines”:

A helpful tool in our recovery, especially in the behavior we call detachment, is learning to identify who owns what. Then we let each person own and possess his or her rightful property.

If another person has an addiction, a problem, a feeling, or a self-defeating behavior, that is their property, not ours. If someone is a martyr, immersed in negativity, controlling, or manipulative, that is their issue, not ours.

If someone has acted and experienced a particular consequence, both the behavior and the consequence belong to that person.

People’s lies, deceptions, tricks, manipulations, abusive behaviors, inappropriate behaviors, cheating behaviors, and tacky behaviors belong to them, too. Not us.

People’s hopes and dreams are their property. Their guilt belongs to them too. Their happiness or misery is also theirs. So are their beliefs and messages.

If some people don’t like themselves, that is their choice. Their choices are their property, not ours. What people choose to say and do is their business.

What is our property? Our property includes our behaviors, problems, feelings, happiness, misery, choices, and messages; our ability to love, care, and nurture; our thoughts, our denial, our hopes and dreams for ourselves. Whether we allow ourselves to be controlled, manipulated, deceived, or mistreated is our business.

In recovery, we learn an appropriate sense of ownership. If something isn’t ours, we don’t take it. If we take it, we learn to give it back. Let other people have their property, and learn to own and take good care of what’s ours.

Today, I will work at developing a clear sense of what belongs to me, and what doesn’t. If it’s not mine, I won’t keep it. I will deal with myself, my issues, and my responsibilities.

If you want to learn more about codependence, consider signing up for the Recovery Journey, an e-course for people in recovery from sexual struggles. If you are the partner of someone who struggles, note that we have a special module with materials just for the partners. You can learn more about this program at the website: http://recoveryjourney.com

Source: Codepedence is not just an issue for partners of addicts | sexualsanity.com

Codependence is a constant battle for me and it has made made my wife’s vacation in Italy even more difficult than the simple logistics of trying to run a business and hold down the fort with 4 boys while she’s gone but by the grace of God, with the help of Celebrate Recovery, my good friends Sandy and Steve and Melody Beattie’s good thoughts. we are winning on this trip! If these issues resonate with you, drop me a note below. I’ll be happy to share with you what I have…