Tag Archives: Al-Anon

Your Habits Become You – Your Red Scarf Matches Your Eyes

I Did It My Way

I Did It My Way

I’m a rather curious person. And I’m also a curious person.  I like to click on the people who “like” my post and go to their blog to see what they have to say. What’s their take on life as they know it?

While perusing others blogs I came across an article The S.A.I.D. principle, posted on February 9, 2013. It means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.  I found this on the Real Women’s Health Blog. She’s got some good stuff there.

While exploring this topic she posed the question: If faking a smile can make you happy, does whining make you more miserable? I think this is absolutely true in a most profound way. I know that whining never solves any problem that I have.

Nor does having a tantrum.  But, but…tantrums are so cathartic, even though they do tend to damage people and objects subjected to said tantrum. Whining only turns you into a sniveling bowl of poorly set jello. It doesn’t help at all. It’s not cathartic, it’s not satisfying, and it does not help the situation. It just makes you and those around you more miserable. And it reinforces a sense of helplessness and being an all-around ineffectual person. “I can’t or won’t do anything to make this better, so I’m just gonna sit around and bitch about it.”

Years ago I sat through many a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon (for people who deal with other alcoholics). These people are ruthless I tell you! I’d be sitting around nursing my crappy coffee in a Styrofoam cup and singing the blues. “Oh woe is me, my life sucks, and this will never end.” The old wise ones would tell me things like: “Put on your big girl panties…. Get off your pity pot.” My favorite was “come down off that cross honey, there’s only room for one up there.”

I would of course become outraged. “How DARE you say that to me!  If you had the problems I have…<insert horror story here>…blah blah blah.” Then I’d calm down, shut up and listen. Everyone who has to deal with substance abuse or mental illness or any other freak show has their own horror story. The may be different from mine but they’re all terrible.

I’ve listened to people talk about their schizophrenic or bipolar/alcoholic daughters, who would go off their meds, disappear from the face of the earth for a year or 2 and then show up out of the blue with another baby for the grandparents to raise. Then after another year or 2 the daughter would pop back up and say “Hey, I’m all better now, gimme back my kids.” And with the courts behind them, they snatch the kids out of the stable environment and go off on another magic carpet right, kids in tow. How’s that for a nightmare scenario?

I’m grateful now that I heard these stories. My daughter tried that with me. She did not even ask, she demanded that I take her children. And threatened that if I did not take the kids, I would never see them again. Fortified with the information I had  – I refused. I told her that she needed to get straight, get treatment and TAKE CARE OF HER CHILDREN, THE KIDS SHE GAVE BIRTH TO. It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.

I got a ton of flack and grief from people who don’t understand the labyrinths of hell that is untreated mental illness and substance abuse. “How could you do that, what kind of person are you that you would not take in those kids?” It cut me to the bone. I was a single woman at the time living at a barely subsistence level myself. I was in no position mentally or financially to take on the raising of 2 children.

Unfortunately she made good on her threat. I have never seen these 2 grandkids since. She disappeared again for a couple of years when I failed to meet her demands. I found out later that she gave the children up for adoption. She claims the state took them away. I don’t know what is true around this. But I do know the kids are in a stable 2 parent home, cared for by people who love them and can give them a happy life. Could I have done that? I don’t think so.

Am I whining about this? Nope, just stating the facts, Ma’am. Tough love is exactly what is says –tough. You might be better off walking barefoot across hot coals topped with broken glass. I guess what we have to do is pull way back and look at the big picture. Would things have been better if I chose a different path? I don’t know. I will never know. I just have turn left at the next star and head straight on ‘til morning.

Don’t Should on Yourself

Want vs. Should“Don’t Should on Yourself!” People told me this all the time when I used to go counseling and Al-Anon meetings. It means don’t spend time beating yourself up over what you think you should be doing, according to other people’s definition of what you should be doing, or not doing.

Sometimes I’m the master at this. I learned it from a long line of shouders and then, of course, I married a Master Shoulder. The even uglier side of the shoulding is the dreaded Should Notting. Should not do this, want this, think about this, or even let it creep into dreams.

I came home from my trip and turned into a vegetable. I should not have done that HA! See there it is again. Now I realized that what I was doing was taking the time to grieve grandson’s poor choice to leave the Guard and thereby forcing me to eject him from my home. Got past that and spent the next week feeling like I should be doing…something.

Finally, I put my foot down and said. OK dammit, Self, stop it right frigging now! Give yourself a chance to figure it out. You are retired and now you have all the time you need to let it all bubble and boil in your subterranean thoughts. It will come, you don’t need to force yourself into an activity just because you should be doing something. Sez who!

Then I got to investigating the annual NaNoWriMo contest coming in November. All you have to do to win is write a 50,000 page novel in 30 days. The purpose of doing it in 30 days is to force you to just bang it out without editing or rewriting or any other way fiddling it to death. The mere thought of this paralyzed me so severely that I didn’t write a single word for 5 days.

What happened? Well I know exactly what happened. The inner critic that sits on my shoulder started whispering in my ear. “Bleh, you never finish what you start.” Not true. “Anyone who reads the first draft of your novel will shout ‘what utter drivel’ and organize a nationwide draft burning party.” Yea, hows that for insecurity and hubris in the same fear? I will be invited to speak on CNN as the world-renowned author of the worst novel ever written. English lit teachers will buy it with the purpose of using in class as an example of how not to write.

I guess it is obvious how ridiculous my fears can get. The thing to do is switch from should to “so what?” So what if I write a 30 day novel and don’t even read it myself. So what? Just doing it is the accomplishment.

Travel – Introspection the Easy Way

When in between adventures at home I tend to get introspective and start reading all kinds of wild and crazy books. Seems I’m not content to just sit around and twiddle my mental thumbs.

Started reading the Tibetan Book of Death and Living after watching a documentary The Quantum Activist. Theoretical physicist, Amit Goswami mentioned it during the program. Now I’m having all kinds of strange dreams and am evidently working out issues from the past in my sleep.

Having my grandson here is definitely stirring the sludge at the bottom of my psychological pot. His way of dealing with authority or just about anything is from the victim/I’m being taken advantage of mentality. He has no concept that anything that happens today is a direct or indirect result of what he did or did not do in the past. Where did he learn this from? His mother, of course. My daughter. She could figure out a way to blame the state or someone else if she deliberately shot herself in the foot .

Oh Please...

Where did she learn this from? Why me, of course. The me that existed 35 years ago. I am not that person now. I spent 35 years going to therapy, psychiatrists, Al-Anon meetings, adult children of Alcoholics meetings, marriage counseling, meditation, acupuncture, spiritual retreats, pilgrimages, aura cleansing, novenas, sweat lodges, prayer circles, bible study, rosaries, more meetings, lighting candles, medication, introspection, retrospection, cleansing juice fasts, navel gazing, star watching, shedding tears, having nightmares, making amends, listening to Doctor Laura on the radio, and reading almost every self-help, or self-improvement book ever written. Even the cells in my body are not the cells that were in it 35 years ago. Spooky. What a blast from the past.

Just for the record the 2 favorites that I read over and over are: When I Say No I feel Guilty, and 10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up There Lives.

When all that is done, I think traveling is so much easier than the above route and a helluva lot more fun. The very nature of travel forces to you to another mind-set. To enjoy it all, you must give up any delusions of control the minute you set foot on the curb at the airport. At that point it’s too late to go home and get anything you forgot.

talking_hands1The plane leaves on time and gets you where you are going or it doesn’t.  At your destination you are a stranger in a strange land. What is in what is out? Up or down? Acceptable or unacceptable? Where is the toilet? If you are in a country with a different language you are completely out of your element.

You must be creative and communicate without your comfy known language for the most basic needs, food, water, telephone, and shoe store. Right and wrong become more subjective rather than absolute. It’s difficult to get in heated discussions about politics, or anything else, using sign language. Even rude gestures don’t mean the same thing in other parts of the world.

I can’t wait to go again. While I’m waiting nothing is stopping me from investigating the possibilities from the comfort of my den.

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