Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Compassion For Those Who Do Not Understand, and For Ourselves,

Those of us who deal with active addiction have an unfortunate knowledge, not granted to those who live their lives escaping the ravages of alcoholism. I would once have considered them lucky and myself unlucky, but my years in Al-Anon have been such an enormous gift and a blessing, that I now gaze at the past with a completely altered attitude.

People who have never have a loved one struggling with alcoholism, may make off-hand comments meant only as conversation, which when we are newcomers to program, and still suffering terrible torments of mind and spirit, can slice us to our core.

I have raged and agonised over those little throw-away remarks in years past, wondering "How could they could be so light-hearted about it, so unkind, so unthinking!'

It is rarely cruelty truly meant, it is so much more often innocence of the reality with which I deal, when I love an alcoholic.

Those who are only really aware of social drinking, can have little understanding of what I may be enduring. And I didn't help matters by keeping secrets and putting on a fa├žade of happiness and satisfaction while inwardly I felt used-up, bereft, and painfully lonely.

I have learned to have compassion for those who don't know about, deal with, or battle the effects of alcoholism on friends and families of alcoholics. I allow them to say whatever they need to say, and do my best not to take it personally. I try not to substitute their judgement for my own; when they say that "The alcoholic is bound to fail, they always do at first" I have no need to accept that as truth.

I pray to have compassion for myself, so that I also allow myself to feel my own feelings, sit with them for a while, then release them, and let them go.

When I am practising compassion, I feel more loving, more loved, and more at peace.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Accepting Powerlessness.

Some days are easier than others, even in long-time recovery.

Today I've been having a struggle, with the part of me determined to be offended by what someone I love is doing. I've had to ask for help from my Higher Power over and over again today, because I've been obsessing, and when I manage to stop, with the help from my HP, I seem to take a short break, then start right over again. I don't get times like this very often anymore, but I do get them, and they can be relatively lighthearted (a weird way to describe obsession, I know) or they can be supremely difficult to handle.

Why do I want to take personally, that which has nothing, (the rational side of me knows this with a kind of crystal clarity) absolutely nothing to do with me, but is just the way the alcoholic deals with stress? I believe it has to do with ego, and my wishing they would deal with their stress in some other fashion. I want to "help," I want to get in and meddle about and show them a "better" way to deal with it, I want to spout program, I want to control.

Ugh. Even after so much time in program, I can still display control freak tendencies.  If I'm under stress myself, and triggered in a certain way, the record drops onto the turntable, the arm swings over, the needle lowers, and it's the same old song.

The difference is that now I know this fact, and am aware enough of my own internal dialogue, to be able to hear myself singing that old refrain. In the same way that the occasional catchy song can turn into a brain worm, which burrows mercilessly into my head, so that I find myself singing one line from the darn thing repeatedly for two days, until I'm ready to scream with frustration,  obsession about another person's behavior or choices can get me by the throat with an iron grip.

This hasn't happened to quite this degree, since a while before the cancer - with lowered defenses,  more stress, and about ten months of missed meetings, I have backslid some way down the control hill. I need to be more vigilant in my self-assessment, and more questioning of my thinking, I can see that for certain.

I have my Step Group meeting tonight, for which I am deeply grateful - and I spoke to an Al-Anon friend for a while today. My sponsor was working, so I didn't want to be bothering her with my insanity this afternoon. I'm hoping we can spend some time together this weekend, she's such fun, and a voice of reason. I'm so grateful for the program, my friends, my partner, all of my blessings.

Hope you had a day with little or no insanity!

Thoughts On a Sunny Day

As time goes by, and the readership of this blog slowly grows, I am receiving more often, emails asking if the writer can please use my blog for their own agenda. They have a book they've written that they want to publicise, they own a recovery facility they want to advertise, they have a blog which doesn't pertain in any way to Al-Anon; the requests are varied, and interesting.

Interesting because if you look to your right, at the top of the page, is a note with the first part of the Sixth Tradition: "Our Family Groups ought never endorse, finance, or lend our name to any outside enterprise..." beneath a title stating that this blog is advertisement free.

Perhaps people don't bother to read that, or they think they have a cause which would be acceptable to me, or they imagine me to be swayed by promises of monetary compensation. Whatever the thinking, I continue to receive requests from people wanting to use my blog for their own ends.

I find it interesting also, because I was raised by a woman who got her own way with the sheer force of her will - she wanted what she wanted when she wanted it, and it was either going to happen, or those involved would suffer the results. She still behaves this way to my brother, her blood child ( I was adopted at the age of six) calling him at all hours of the day or night, with no understanding that he is employed full-time, and cannot always return her calls within a few minutes.

She will call him at 3am, ranting about someone with whom she is having a feud - lots of those - about something from the news, about her medication. She is a woman who does not hear what she doesn't want to hear, and doesn't see what she doesn't want to see. I feel grateful not to have her in my life anymore, and I feel for my brother, who is enmeshed, and cannot seem to break free, or get her to hear him when he protests.

Not having to deal with her is on my gratitude list.

So is having program friends who support and encourage me.

So is a partner who makes me laugh uncontrollably, and is a man of integrity and kindness.

So is life in general. I'm grateful to be alive and feeling relatively healthy on this gorgeous sunny day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Intermediate CT Scan Results

I had an appointment with an oncologist this afternoon. I had been nervous prior to the CT scan of yesterday, but that was more about the test itself, than fear of the results. I'm  very claustrophobic, so being run through the hole of a large metal donut is not my idea of a relaxing time.

My scan hadn't been "read" yet, but the oncologist went to have a look at it online, and came back saying that she could find no signs of metastasis, that my liver and my lungs are clean, so that's wonderful news. With luck, when it's been properly "read" by whatever experts do that, the rest of the news will be as positive.

I'm still waiting to hear if I will be allowed to take another 12 rounds of chemo after I finish this batch. That's usually only permitted if the patient is tolerating it well, and if the results are noticeable, which so far, mine are.

So I'm feeling fairly positive today, just had a nice walk home from the library, after Robert dropped me off there, and went off to run his errands.

I stopped in at the Cathedral on the way home, and spent a few minutes in silent prayer and meditation, thanking my HP for everything with which I've been blessed. I hope for you all a good weekend, in whatever fashion you define "good.'