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Owning Our Power

Melody Beattie to the rescue!

Don’t you see? We do not have to be so victimized by life, by people, by situations, by work, by our friends, by our love relationships, by our family, by our feelings, our thoughts, our circumstances, and ourselves.

We are not victims. We do not have to be victims. That is the whole point!

Yes, admitting and accepting powerlessness is important. But that is the first step, an introduction to this business of recovery. Later, comes owning our power. Changing what we can. This is as important as admitting and accepting powerlessness. And there is so much we can change.

We can own our power, wherever we are, wherever we go, whomever we are with. We do not have to stand there with our hands tied, groveling helplessly, submitting to whatever comes along. There are things we can do. We can speak up. Solve the problem. Use the problem to motivate ourselves to do something good for ourselves.

We can make ourselves feel good. We can walk away. We can come back on our terms. We can stand up for ourselves. We can refuse to let others control and manipulate us.

We can do what we need to do to take care of our selves. That is the beauty, the reward, the crown of victory we are given in this process called recovery. It is what it is all about!

If we can’t do anything about the circumstance, we can change our attitude. We can do the work within: courageously face our issues so we are not victimized. We have been given a miraculous key to life.

We are victims no more unless we want to be.

Freedom and joy are ours for the taking, for the feeling, for the hard work we have done.

Today, I will remind myself as often as necessary that I am not a victim, and I do not need to be victimized by whatever comes my way. I will work hard to remove myself as a victim, whether that means setting and enforcing a boundary, walking away, dealing with my feelings, or giving myself what I need. God, help me let go of my need to feel victimized.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.

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Letting Go

 

Melody Beattie writes:

Stop trying so hard to control things. It is not our job to control people, outcomes, circumstances, and life. Maybe in the past we couldn’t trust and let things happen. But we can now. The way life is unfolding is good. Let it unfold.

Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, and be more. Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.

Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.

Ease up on ourselves. Let go. Stop trying so hard.

Today, I will let go. I will stop trying to control everything. I will stop trying to make myself be and do better, and I will let myself be.” via Just For Today Meditations » Blog.

 

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Insisting on the Best

Melody Beattie writes:

We deserve the best life and love has to offer, but we are each faced with the challenge of learning to identify what that means in our life. We must each come to grips with our own understanding of what we believe we deserve, what we want, and whether we are receiving it.

There is only one place to start, and that is right where we are, in our current circumstances. The place we begin is with us.

What hurts? What makes us angry? What are we whining and complaining about? Are we discounting how much a particular behavior is hurting us? Are we making excuses for the other person, telling ourselves we’re “too demanding”?

Are we reluctant, for a variety of reasons, especially fear, to tackle the issues in our relationships that may be hurting us? Do we know what’s hurting us and do we know that we have a right to stop our pain, if we want to do that?

We can begin the journey from deprived to deserving. We can start it today. We can also be patient and gentle with ourselves as we travel in important increments from believing we deserve second best, to knowing in our hearts that we deserve the best, and taking responsibility for that.

Today, I will pay attention to how I allow people to treat me, and how I feel about that. I will also watch how I treat others. I will not overreact by taking their issues too personally and too seriously; I will not under react by denying that certain behaviors are inappropriate and not acceptable to me.” Source: Language of Letting Go – July 16 – SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

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Family Buttons

Melody Beattie writes:

“I was thirty five years old the first time I spoke up to my mother and refused to buy into her games and manipulation. I was terribly frightened and almost couldn’t believe I was doing this. I found I didn’t have to be meant. I didn’t have to start an argument. But I could say what I wanted and needed to say to take care of myself. I learned I could love and honor myself, and still care about my mother – the way I wanted to – not the way she wanted me to.” –Anonymous

Who knows better how to push our buttons than family members? Who, besides family members, do we give such power?

No matter how long we or our family members have been recovering, relationships with family members can be provocative.

One telephone conversation can put us in an emotional and psychological tailspin that lasts for hours or days.

Sometimes, it gets worse when we begin recovery because we become even more aware of our reactions and our discomfort. That’s uncomfortable, but good. It is by beginning this process of awareness and acceptance that we change, grow, and heal.

The process of detaching in love from family members can take years. So can the process of learning how to react in a more effective way. We cannot control what they do or try to do, but we can gain some sense of control over how we choose to react.

Stop trying to make them act or treat us any differently. Unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them.

Their patterns, particularly their patterns with us, are their issues. How we react, or allow these patterns to influence us, is our issue. How we take care of ourselves is our issue.

We can love our family and still refuse to buy into their issues. We can love our family but refuse their efforts to manipulate, control, or produce guilt in us.

We can take care of ourselves with family members without feeling guilty. We can learn to be assertive with family members without being aggressive. We can set the boundaries we need and want to set with family members without being disloyal to the family.

We can learn to love our family without forfeiting love and respect for ourselves.

Today, help me start practicing self care with family members. Help me know that I do not have to allow their issues to control my life, my day, or my feelings. Help me know it’s okay to have all my feelings about family members, without guilt or shame.

Source: Detachment – Cyber Recovery Social Network Forums – Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help/Support

Go to the source for additional self-care thoughts on attachment and detachment.

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Detachment breaks the bond

Santa Maria degli Angeli (Assisi)

“Joy fixes us to eternity and pain fixes us to time. But desire and fear hold us in bondage to time, and detachment breaks the bond.” Simone Weil.

We live both in the material realm and the spiritual. In our material dimension we seek material pleasures, inherent in which is pain. Our human emotions are tied to our material attachments, and joy, at its fullest, is never found here. Real joy lies outside of the material dimension while living fully within us too, in the secret, small place inside where we always know that all is well.

We are on a trip in this life. And our journey is bringing us closer to full understanding of joy with every sorrowful circumstance. When you or I are one with God, have aligned our will with the will of God, we know joy. We know this, fully, that all is well. No harm can befall us.

Each circumstance in the material realm is an opportunity for us to rely on the spiritual realm for direction, security, and understanding. As we turn within, to our spiritual nature, we will know joy.

Every day in every situation I have an opportunity to discover real joy. It’s so close and so ready for my invitation.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 28, 2012.

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When Things Don’t Work

Melody Beattie writes:

Frequently, when faced with a problem, we may attempt to solve it in a particular way. When that way doesn’t work, we may continue trying to solve the problem in that same way.

We may get frustrated, try harder, get more frustrated, and then exert more energy and influence into forcing the same solution that we have already tried and that didn’t work.

That approach makes us crazy. It tends to get us stuck and trapped. It is the stuff that unmanageability is made of.

We can get caught in this same difficult pattern in relationships, in tasks, in any area of our life. We initiate something, it doesn’t work, doesn’t flow, we feel badly, then try the same approach harder, even though it’s not working and flowing.

Sometimes, it’s appropriate not to give up and to try harder. Sometimes, it’s more appropriate to let go, detach, and stop trying so hard.

If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t flow, maybe life is trying to tell us something. Life is a gentle teacher. She doesn’t always send neon road signs to guide us. Sometimes, the signs are more subtle. Something not working may be a sign!

Let go. If we have become frustrated by repeated efforts that aren’t producing desired results, we may be trying to force ourselves down the wrong path. Sometimes, a different solution is appropriate. Sometimes, a different path opens up. Often, the answer will emerge more clearly in the quietness of letting go than it will in the urgency, frustration, and desperation of pushing harder.

Learn to recognize when something isn’t working or isn’t flowing. Step back and wait for clear guidance.

Today, I will not make myself crazy by repeatedly trying solutions that have proven themselves unsuccessful. If something isn’t working, I will step back and wait for guidance.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 28, 2012.

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Starting over again…

Melody Beattie writes:

Divorce. Breaking up. Moving. A new job. Getting sober. Stopping using or abusing drugs. Discovering we’re codependent, and redefining ourselves, our relationships (including our relationship with ourselves) and our behaviors. Finding out we have a chronic illness, and we need to center our lives around it. Empty nest syndrome (yes, it’s real).

We wake up in the morning and before we go to bed that night, our lives have been irrevocably changed. They’ll never be the same again.

Sometimes we lose it all (or almost all of it) all at once. A friend from many years back woke up one morning. That day, he discovered that his wife of 15 years had been cheating on him from day
one; that neither the son nor his daughter he thought belonged to him were his; and that day, his business went belly-up.

Some people may call it “reorganization.” Others name it a “new beginning.” Most of the time I hear it described like this: “Sigh. I’m starting all over. Again.”

I hate it, at least in the beginning. We’re walking in the dark and living in the mystery. We don’t have a clue about what’s next. Sometimes we may wonder if we’re dying – the transformation feels that profound. Usually the person isn’t dying – not in the physical sense. But the changes taking place can be so profound that the experience feels similar to a death.

Times it feels like our heart has been broken. If we tell people that, they may look at us like we’re overplaying the drama queen role, but recently Mayo Clinic identified “Broken Heart Syndrome” as a legitimate physical illness. A broken heart, which can be caused by the loss of a loved one or an overload of stress, shows itself with symptoms similar to those of a real heart attack. These symptoms may include heart pain that worsens with each heartbeat; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; and nausea or vomiting.

I went out to do errands. Around lunch-time, I decided to find someplace to eat. I had driven out of my usual neighborhoods and didn’t recognize the mall I pulled into, at least not at first. Then I saw it – the restaurant where we celebrated my son, Shane’s last birthday – the one two days before the date of his death.

The pain hit hard and fast – right in my chest. I felt paralyzed. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t move them to rummage around in my purse and find my cell phone. Movement of any kind hurt too much. I couldn’t even roll down my window and yell, “Help.” I’d rate the pain as a ten on the pain scale from one to ten.

For just over one hour I sat in the same position, leaning forward, clutching the steering wheel, stopped in my tracks by this pain in my heart. Then slowly the debilitating pain began to subside. I
didn’t get out of the car; I went home instead. A week later I went to my doctor. (This was before the identification of Broken Heart Syndrome as an actual physical illness.) The doctors made me stay overnight.

The diagnosis? “It’s the strangest thing,” the doctors said. “For all purposes, it looks like you had a myocardial infarction (heart attack). But then, it also doesn’t appear as though you actually suffered from a heart attack. It left the doctors scratching their heads but I’d known from the minute – the second – the nurse at the Emergency Room asked me if I had someone I could call after Shane’s
accident that his death had broken my heart.

Don’t rely on self-diagnosis. If your heart hurts, get a checkup.

Then, when your body stabilizes – which it will – you can get on with the business of Starting Over Again (SOA). One idea that may be helpful: although it feels like you’re starting over again, is remembering you’re not really starting over. Life is a continuum. You’re either jolted or sliding into the next experience. You’re moving on.

Here are a few tips for those of you in that uncomfortable place of SOA when you thought the last time you started over would be the last, only to find yourself SOA.

  1. Let yourself grieve your loss or losses. You don’t need to be so stoic. Give yourself room to be human. What you’re going through may be extremely difficult and it may hurt. But you will get through it.
  2. Remind yourself that what you’re going through won’t last forever. If you have to leave post-it notes around the house, then do it. Remember other times you’ve started over, and how you got through those experiences? Draw on what you learned, including that you did survive that devastating time.
  3. Give yourself time to cocoon. No, you’re not isolating. You’re resting, giving your body a chance to adapt to this sudden change.
  4. Tell your story as often as you need to, and tell it to people who will listen and care. While some people may accuse us of obsessiveness, telling our story over and over is an important way we integrate the unthinkable into our life story.
  5. Set goals. In the beginning, start by writing a list of what you want or need to accomplish just that day. Take life in small chunks. After some time passes, begin writing goal lists that go further into the future. For now, while you’re in shock, a list for today is enough.
  6. Be kind to yourself. There may be days when all you accomplish is getting out of bed and taking a shower. Instead of focusing on how little you did, tell yourself you did great – because you did.
  7. Slowly, as new people and interests come into your life, be willing to say “yes” to opportunities. I never fail to be amazed at how either a person or an interest that I think is just a “time killer” slowly becomes a major part of my new life.
  8. If you need help, ask.
  9. If you need to cry or get angry, cry or get angry. You may even be furious with your Higher Power. That’s okay. You’ll work it out further down the road.
  10. Know there is no one right way to start over. We have tools, not rules. Now is the time to dig into your toolbox and use what you’ve been given: living in the present moment; prayer; meditation; exercise (when your body can handle it); detachment (which involves feeling all your emotions); and sometimes Acting As If. Know that if the emotions become too intense, you can shut them down for a while without going into denial. Something as simple as taking a shower, going into another room, or going to the grocery store can help you stop falling deeper into what may feel like a bottomless pit of pain.

Although I said there aren’t any rules, I lied. There are three: don’t let anyone hurt you; don’t hurt anyone else; and don’t hurt yourself.

You will get through this – I promise. It might not happen as quickly as you want it to or it may happen so quickly it surprises you. But one morning you’ll wake up and find yourself living in a new normal instead of waking up to a blast of pain from what you’ve lost. Instead, your new life will be there, fully formed. You’ll be living it.

You’ve done it. You started over again, whether you wanted to or not. Now the next time you need to start over, you’ll be more prepared.

From the Desk of Melody Beattie

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Denouncing

“There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It don’t take much to see that something is wrong, but it takes some eyesight to see what will put it right again.” Will Rogers.

We come to this day with a choice of whether to be for something or against it. Shall we put energy into what we seek and admire or shall we give our energy to opposition and resistance of what we dislike? If someone asks a favor, we have a choice to resent and resist the intrusion or to engage with the person and see where it might lead. If a project we are working on is frustrating, we can wallow in criticizing it or try to get a clearer picture of what will work and what we want.

Criticizing may be a helpful first stage in learning, but it is seductive because it holds little risk and we feel safe doing it. In that comfort we forget to go forward to create what we really want. Our negative energy, when we are seduced by it, creates negative results. When we look back upon today, we will admire those choices that risked creating something positive.

Today, I will not give my energy to denouncing but to creating what I believe is worthwhile.” via Just For Today Meditations » Daily Recovery Readings – June 30, 2012.

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Into Orbit

Melody Beattie writes:

“It doesn’t matter if they’re hurting themselves. It doesn’t matter that we could help them if they’d only listen to, and cooperate with, us. IT DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER, DOESN’T MATTER.” Codependent No More

I think I can change him. Nobody’s ever really loved him and appreciated him before. I’ll be the one to do that, and then he’ll change.. .. She’s never been with anybody trust­worthy before. I’ll prove how trustworthy I am, and then she’ll be able to love. . . . Nobody’s been able to get to her, to conquer her, before. I’ll be the one to do that … Nobody’s ever really given him a chance. . . . Nobody’s ever really believed in him before….

These are warning signs. Red lights. Red flags. In fact, if we’re thinking these thoughts, they need to be stop signs.

If we have gotten hooked into believing that somehow we will be the one who will make the difference in someone’s life, if we are trying to prove how good we can be for some­one, we may be in trouble.

This is a game. A deception. It won’t work. It’ll make us crazy. We can trust that. We’re not seeing things clearly. Something’s going on with us.

It will be self-defeating.

We may be “the one” all right — the one to wind up victimized.

The whole thought pattern reeks of codependency, of not being responsible for oneself, and of victimization. Each per­son needs to do his or her own work.

Nobody in the past has really understood him…. Nobody has seen what I see in her…. It’s a set-up. It sets us up to stop paying attention to ourselves while we focus too much on the other person. It takes us away from our path and often puts us in orbit.

Nobody has appreciated him enough…. Nobody has been good enough to her, or done for her what I can do…. It’s a rescue. It’s a game move, a game we don’t have to play. We don’t have to prove were the one. If we’re out to show people we’re the best thing that ever happened to them, it may be time to see if they’re the best thing that ever happened to us.

We have not been appointed as guardian angel, god­mother, godfather, or “the one who will.”

The help, support, and encouragement that truly benefits others and ourselves emerges naturally. Let it.

God, help me let go of my need to meet dysfunctional challenges in my relationships.” via June 29: Into Orbit.

Melody Beattie is one of America's most beloved self-help authors and a household name in addiction and recovery circles. Her international bestselling book, Codependent No More, introduced the world to the term "codependency" in 1986. Millions of readers have trusted Melody's words of wisdom and guidance because she knows firsthand what they're going through. In her lifetime, she has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. "Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift," said Time Magazine.

The Gift of Readiness

Melody Beattie is one of America's most beloved self-help authors and a household name in addiction and recovery circles. Her international bestselling book, Codependent No More, introduced the world to the term "codependency" in 1986. Millions of readers have trusted Melody's words of wisdom and guidance because she knows firsthand what they're going through. In her lifetime, she has survived abandonment, kidnapping, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, and the death of a child. "Beattie understands being overboard, which helps her throw bestselling lifelines to those still adrift," said Time Magazine.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, an 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 June 28: The Gift of Readiness.