Sunday, May 31, 2009

Help Others

An attitude of kindness is where I start. I have to watch my boundaries because, as I learned in Alanon, the definition of help can be control with a smile. I applaud Kathie Lynn's struggle with boundaries in figuring the extent of help that she should offer a drinking drinker.

Lois called Alanon a program of love. That love and kindness does not take inventories, hold grudges from yesterday or worry judge others. It is present and and empathic.

A quote from This Is Al-Anon goes like this . . . "'Live and let live' sets us free from the compulsion to criticize, judge, condemn, and retaliate. . . (which) can damage us far more than those against whom we use such weapons. Al-Anon helps us to learn tolerance rooted in love."

What's good about today is that I'm in a 'selfish' program. Most of the time I know the difference between taking care of myself in a healthy way and trying to take care of others vs. minding MYOB!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I Paid the Cover But I Left Early

Went to Spring Assembly, my Alanon service swansong. Talk, talk, talk. My will or God's will, don't know which but I needed to go to a healthier place.

Trust God. OK.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making Their Point

I cannot take care of others and assert my needs at the same time. (Copied down in one of my Alanon readers, a guy named Joe used to say it all the time)

Our work 'numbers' are down and my company is all over us with needs to be met. I come home and my son is full of the need for a car. I understand that work and children want things badly. I identify with them. There's nothing wrong with it and I would love to help them. I would love to satisfy them. My ego urges me to jump high to meet that need. My company, my son, I am bonded to them and honestly want them to do well. It is their nature to turn to me in need. They are doing what they do.

I was unnerved in both situations today and briefly I felt bad about myself. But once I left them, my equanimity returned. That stuff is just stuff. I am in the present and all is good. Trust God.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thank You

Still trustin' God. Over and over. All is well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Noticing that I'm staying in the moment and remembering two words. Trust God.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Straight Lines Are For Carpenters

I mentioned that I walked my first labyrinth over the weekend. The circuitous pathway brought it home to me that I had always thought my life should proceed upon a straight path. And perhaps now, even in recovery (dirty little secret coming up) or especially in recovery it is still my expectation that I can control my orderly Carol path.

I offer some more Annie Dillard as an antidote to my rigid thinking . . . she comments on the countless forms of life in nature . . .

Why so many forms? Why not just that one hydrogen atom? The creator goes off on one wild, specific tangent after another, or millions simultaneously, with an exuberance that would seem to be unwarranted, and with an abandoned energy sprung from an unfathomable font. What is going on here? The point of the dragonfly's terrible lip, the giant water bug, birdsong, or the beautiful dazzle and flash of sunlighted minnows, is not that it all fits together like clockwork--for it doesn't , particularly, not even inside the goldfish bowl--but that it all flows so freely wild, like the creek, that it all surges in such a free, fringed tangle. Freedom is the world's water and weather, the world's nourishment freely given, its soil and sap: and the creator loves pizzazz.

Monday, May 25, 2009

ReCap on Sunday

So what actually happened was that by 2pm I had convinced myself not to go to the cook-out for several yahda yahda reasons. I was accomplishing stuff at home, working for an hour, taking an hour off. Then it was 4pm, time to work some more and I reminded myself that being out with people was part of my work, too. I know that I need that as part of self care.

So, I went late and took nothing. I can't say I had a GREAT time but it filled in a corner of my life, I have great respect and affection for the hosts. They are celebrating 30 years of friendship and were married last year and I am a better woman for any time that I spend with them.

What's good about today is realizing that selfishness does not expand my world.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Necessity Instead of Pain

When I was playing a lot of tennis a few years ago I used tennis examples to illuminate program principles. It brought home lessons of the program to me in a way that I could relate to and remember. Today I found a cooking analogy.

It's Sunday of a holiday weekend and I have been invited to a potluck cook out. There's plenty of items in my cupboard, not so much in my frig. I had started cooking black beans yesterday thinking that I would make a side salad today but now it looks too puny to make a self respecting contribution. So, I took a fresh look at things this morning and decided to throw together a rice salad that is a crowd pleaser and has volume and uses up my leftovers.

It crossed my mind that 'necessity is the mother of invention' and how many inventive/tasty concoctions have resulted from having less available than one had thought. Which lead me to remember the difference between needs and wants. Much of my created pain has come from moaning (fixating!) about wants. Reality on Reality's Terms.

Part of that pain over scarcity/needing things relates to comparing myself to others. I can angst away over how my house/wardrobe/body/personality/dog/son needs improving. But the truth is that what needs to get changed gets changed and the other stuff nibbles me to death around the edges. One of the ways that I peck at myself is by giving my authority away to 'what others think' because I have co-opted that (which doesn't really exist, the THEY people) as my own self-judgement. If I take the bla bla bla out of the blame, I am left with me.

Seems simple. Stay in the moment. Let necessity, not my fears, guide me. Get to meetings and hit my knees :)

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Brain Surrenders For a Minute

I'm struggling to come up with something to blog about, got the books out that we read from this am. Thought about how to introduce the idea, what to segue, started off with a quote that hit me, seemed an awkward start, aware of 'gettin' er done' (Larry the Cable Guy) mentality setting in on me.

Whew. Shake off the effort.

Honesty. Life is good. My healing prowls softly on little cat feet. I hug it to me, unwilling to shape it into a story or give it words for a blog. Walked my first labyrinth today. Got to the center of it. A feeling sunk into me, made my knees sway a little. No thoughts/stories. It all proceeds, minute by minute, in waves, not straight lines.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Learning About My Fear

Well, I'm mystified. I think I lost a comment and I guess I didn't post yesterday. I would have testified under oath that I posted yesterday, so there you go, my best thinking would have been wrong.

My brain was spinning yesterday. I'm still thinking about Mr SponsorPants post on the Buddha jumping in the pool (paraphrasing here) and what it means to me is that you can be as enlightened as possible but if you jump into the pool, you get wet, you don't stay dry.

It was a timely post because I had been at work thinking that for being a fear based person (in recovery) I work in a heavily regulated, fear based industry. Compounding that, I have a fear based administrator (she could see risk in butterflies, I tell you) for a company that has undergone massive change in the last 2 years and thrown many, many new expectations our way.

Returning to the pool analogy, I think I'm getting wet. I'm in a deep pool. Did I tell you that I can barely swim? There's something about my feet leaving terra firma that I don't like. And water in my orifices, I've never been crazy about that either.

The old me would have jumped into FIX IT mode. As in climb out of the deep water. But I'm staying in awareness right now. What part is mine, what part is my environment, can I tolerate uncertainty and being found wrong, what is the worst that can happen and can I be healthy enough to pick myself up and dust myself off? What part is enjoyable, is it self care and learning the lessons if I stay or I go?

Paradoxically it was a calmer day for me even though I was at a company workshop telling us what the newest expectations are. I got a good start on the day by first going to the morning meeting and then was able to take the workshop with some sense of detachment, paid attention but didn't get too anxious. Sat in the back and had my knitting out (they can't fire me, nobody wants my job) most of the day. I'm a little ballsy that way :)

What's good about today is that I can step back, bide my time and pick my fights.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

God's Will

A program friend and I were laughing one night on the way home from a meeting. We agreed that we pray for God's Will but that we would like that it not to entail any embarrassment, financial difficulty, disfigurement . . . well you get the point. We did not want to move or change jobs either. Not exactly a picture of surrender. At least we could recognize it and laugh at ourselves.

Personally, my history is to turn my will into God's Will. I have not always been able to tell the difference and I still am suspicious of my motives when I'm moved to do something out of the ordinary.

I have a tendency to leave things behind when they get difficult but there have been times when I stayed beyond the need to do so. What is TOO long or NOT long enough? Am I back to my co-dependent issue of needing approval when I do something? There is that issue of comparing myself to others. I will never get the reassurance I need outside of a relationship with my higher power.

What's good about today is that when my head gets too busy I know it is time to surrender my best thinking.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Staying in the Present

I am still loving Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. Here is a nice passage on page 80, please stick with me for two paragraphs, she writes prose like poetry . . .

"This is it, I think, this is it, right now, the present, this empty gas station, here, this western wind, this tang of coffee on the tongue, and I am patting the puppy. I am opaque, so much black asphalt. But at the same second, the second I know I've lost it, I also realize that the puppy is still squirming on his back under my hand. Nothing has changed for him. He draws his legs down to stretch the skin taut so he feels every fingertip;s stroke along his furred and arching side, his flank, his flung-back throat.
I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia and recognition, but no real feeling save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories. It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator-our very self-consciousness-is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution, cutting us off at both ends."

Me again.
1) I love that she says as soon as she 'verbalizes' she has lost the feeling of being in the moment.
2)Being separate from our creator and being separate from our fellow creatures is a hellish feeling which had been my life before Alanon. No wonder that I feel saved by 12 step programs that tell me to embrace both my higher power and other humans. To reach beyond my fear of exposure.

I had a impish moment. My sister is very proper, concerned with appearances. I referred her to a blog about caring for an aging mother and to a web site for a documentary about it. I mentioned that she might like to start her own blog! She has NOT replied to that e-mail.

Exposing her feelings and experiences would be extremely foreign. It's about having and doing for her. Maybe she will surprise me, I shouldn't write her off. I couldn't interest my other sister in a cancer support group while she was still alive, she could not remotely conceive that it would be helpful.

What's good about today is that I can feel differently about things and hold my views, likes and dislikes as valid. I can be equal to others and trust what I know to be true for me.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Contentment or Denial?

I'm feeling pretty 'lazy' to put a self-denigrating spin on it. Let's say that I'm relaxing, enjoying time off and the lack of any serious need to do anything at all. My spiritual practice is still in practice. I have some garden variety irritations that are too minor to complain about. One of my favorite self-love, nurturing hobbies is to create good food and my refrigerator is full.

The point being is that I am uneasy that I don't have an ax to grind. I can see that there are a few things I could be doing but I refuse to beat myself up about. I accept that I tend to fuss about things and can see it as just that.

How can acceptance be so close to denial but so different? I would ask if I am fooling myself but that is so self-doubting that I refuse to turn that line of thinking into a well worn rut. Whatever my ego would like to label it, I am what I am in God's world, no need to embroider an explanation/story about it. Happy Sunday to you all.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Not just any Friday. Junior Prom Friday for my son and his sweetie. I went over to her house to do the photo op scene. Such a coming of age tableau, I teared up once. The sun was out, temps in the 70's, tough on those in polyester and tuxes and polyester tuxes! Not for long, they will be in a climate controlled limo/function hall for the rest of the day.

And I, the sweaty mother, am home blogging. Time to dig out the fans, put away the sweaters, see what shorts I've outgrown. It is good and I have the whole weekend to de-feather my nest, simplify my environ, turn it upside down and see what speaks to me. Good thing we weren't doing the pics at our house today, gritty floors and dust bunnies abound.

This week, my recovery is spelled with a small 'r'. Just biding my time, easing up, no big plans, watching my motives. Trolling. I am liking the phrase in someone's blog this week 'don't limit God'.

What's good about today is that the bad times don't last so long, run so deep or come so often.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Mother

My mother and I have never spent much time on the phone together. We are both fans of writing and have always exchanged letters. Anytime that I ever called she would always hurry to get off the line, probably wanting to save money. She enjoys calls now and so I've been talking to her a few times a week, especially since she's had some setbacks. It's really hard to converse since she doesn't recall what has happened that day. Thankfully, she remembers my son, that we live in New England, what season it is and she truly enjoys hearing my voice. I try to get her to reminisce a little but she focuses on what she can't remember and then I'm sorry that I made her more aware of it. Oh well, I'll try to collect some little stories to tell her before I phone next time and keep the conversation going a little longer.

Not a word about program in this post but a little sharing instead.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday, Tuesday

Hi Guys,

You really warm my heart with your comments and encouragement.

I keep writing and re-writing this post, adding paragraphs of details, deleting them out. It's about my dwindling participation in Alanon. I started in 2001 due to a relationship that has now been over for 6 years. The magic of 12 step kept me coming and I was blessed to find CoDA.

That's about it. I need not justify, minimize or rationalize my story. What's good about today is that (an Alanon reader, Courage to Change, page 152, quote from Wendell Berry) "the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles . . . only by a spiritual journey . . . by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.'

And another quote that I like . . . doubt is a part of every spiritual journey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The 'S' Word

I'm thinking about shame today. Someone in a meeting once said that guilt is about something that we have done and shame is about how we feel about ourselves. Shame blocks us. Humility opens us up. Self-love and acceptance enable us to grow and change sez Ms. Beatty. I like the idea that through awareness of the 'block' that I can push it aside or walk around it. I can just see it as a misconception of mine. I have a few!

What's good about today is that through the help of others I can take a different viewpoint, one that erases limitations and promotes a loving attitude toward myself and others.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Enjoy the Good Days

I nabbed the title (from the daily reader, The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie) off of the May 10th reading because I am starting to believe it! There is a melancholic twist this morning as the phone rang shortly after 9am. (It was actually my second call of the morning as I continue to get telemarketer calls, probably representing a non-profit, that hung up before I could say STOP CALLING ME. These are the 'agents of Satan', Davy and Martie take notice, how about fixating your awesome energies on them.)

Anyway, it was my sister calling about my mother, both 500+ miles away. For the past several weeks Mom is doing weird things such as falling, hopeless short term memory, periods of panic. Today it is disorientation at 5am and a toxic BP which has come down, somewhat. I work in the elder business and I recognize the downward turn of it, the circling of the toilet bowl, if you will.

So it is not a good day for them. And many other mothers who are 'out there' in any number of ways whether homeless, godless or in mourning. But it is an okay day for me. I can feel thankful for that. Not guilty, not undeserving. I just take my place amongst us all, no more, no less.

The sun is out, I am breathing, I can love others and accept their love. That's what is good about today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reality on Reality's Terms

A couple of us were talking on the break at a meeting today. We both agreed that although we don't feel 'on top of the world' that we can accept it and that it is due to growth in program. No longer do we feel the need to analyze it, fix it, bemoan it or beat ourselves up about it.

It's an adjustment of expectations, acceptance of where we're at and knowledge that 'this too shall pass'. The four dirtiest words according to my past sponsor!

What's good about today is keeping my head where my feet are, right in the present!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nothing Much

Serendipity. I chose the title because not much was on my brain and I was thinking whether I had anything to say today. What came to my mind was the page in the Beatty daily reader from this morning. She was making the point that we can be grateful for so little (gratitude is good, gratitude is good!) that we become want-less and need-less and martyr-like. The lesson in recovery from co-dependency is to be able to treat oneself well.

There was an emotional pay off in my family to being need-less and want-less and I'd never even seen those terms anywhere other than in CoDA literature. But I identified immediately. I can't really figure out the pay off. It was totally unspoken. But absolutely there. A tacit agreement between family members to not speak that language. My sisters and I were all out of the house by age 18.

So, when I am on my knees, I ask for God to help me realize how to make me happy. Left to my own devices I can deny myself anything and totally rationalize it, slip back into believing that I need . . .

nothing much

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's All About Your Perspective

Click on the astronomy photo for today. Hope it makes you giggle too!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco De Mayo

Where did you go? What did you do? My cinco de mayo was spent with mi hijo (my son) renting a tux for junior prom AND forcing him to attend a college night with me for juniors at his school. Whoo hoo! He thinks that he knows everything. I think that I know nothing. We are both wrong.

The thought of spending lots of money makes me extremely tense and ugly feeling. Between the prom costs, the car repair and upcoming college costs (for someone who knows everything) I heard the sound of fingernails on chalkboard in my head all day, today.

Ah, well. Either God is everything or God is nothing. God is everywhere or God is nowhere. I choose to believe that God is everywhere. We came home from the 'college night' and I felt relieved at knowing more about the process. It crossed my mind that no college will take him and that I would never have to pay tuition but then the thought crossed my mind that this could be fun (honestly, I am not on drugs) and am reminded that I look for disaster behind every door. I may enjoy this. He is my only child and I can be proud of his aspirations, the world of abundance exists for him as it does for me and we all help each other along, I do not need to stagger under the weight of the world. Let go of it, Carol.

What is good about today is my commentors, I appreciate hearing your encouragement and empathy. Thank you so much!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Little Gratitude

Just feeling grateful that I started the blog. I didn't particularly do it to 'grow my program' and yet I feel that it has benefited me. Somehow it has made me think things out a little more, it feels more helpful than a journal. There is a piece of risk as well. To think out loud and risk judgement. A very scary thing for a co-dependent and that is probably where the growth comes in to play.

I have said my piece almost every day and nothing bad has happened. Even mastering the technical aspects of the blog has helped my confidence in myself.

Last night I stayed up past my bedtime. I drove out a little further than I would have liked to, went out to eat with friends (some known to me and some not) and finished up with a dynamite dessert. We laughed, chatted, teased each other and walked a lot. It was good. And good for me.

I'm happy to be well received in a meeting. But it's the other 23 hours that can be the test of my program and how I can be happy. What's good about today is everything.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gettin' Personal

My step meeting is finishing up Step 9, there were five of us, stalwart souls on a lovely late Saturday morning. We were alternately reading aloud and sharing. One of us had talked about ducking a few phone calls from an un-favorite sister regarding their mother. After the meeting, she asked for honest feedback . . . did she owe an amend for not addressing the calls or was she using self care to protect herself at that time? (I voted for the explanation self care.)

This morning I am thinking of an ex-sweetie. Two years ago we were in a downward spiral at the end of 6 months. The relationship looked good on the outside, lots of activities/sex/time together but my insides were starting to churn when the weekend was approaching. There was an hour+ ride between us so we tended to spend 24 hrs or so together on the weekends and keep up by phone during the week. Anyway, I was becoming aware (1st step!) that she (whew, coming out!) would have a meltdown/recover and own it almost every time we were together. My insides were starting to back pedal at the thought of spending more time together and we had one final bad day/night and I wrote her a Dear John (Joan?) letter.

So, I caught myself wanting to send her an amends this morning and then I realized that I just wanted her to think well of me (beyond my control, I will be in CoDA forever due to this PERVASIVE way of thinking!) and (my ego, my ego) perhaps entice her into contacting me, paying some attention to me.

But here is the upside. She came to mind as I was enjoying my first cup of coffee on a beautiful Sunday morning. I had the thought that as good as that coffee is, the pleasure is doubled when you have someone with which to share it. And I thought about the healthy couples that I know that would be pouring it for each other. So, little by little (I'm glad that you cannot see my tearful face right now, please look at the nebula to your right instead!), I am becoming more ready to welcome a new someone into my life. I can see myself as a growing, changing human being instead of someone who needs 'fixing'. And that is what is good about today.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A New Day

And what a day planned. First stop is the morning open AA mtg that I only get to visit on Saturdays now that I go to work at the quack of dawn. Drive an hour and then get to my CoDA mtg-sacred to my heart. Stay afterwards for the Step Mtg, we are on #9 and I am taking my turn chairing. Brief break and then off to a planning mtg at noon for the New England CoDA convention on November 13 (y'all come). Whooh.

I'll be the one knitting. It helps me to listen in a weird way. Between paying attention to my stitches and paying attention to people sharing, my mind can't drift away for very long. Keeps me pretty much in the present.

It's all very good, as long as I keep my expectations reasonable. And that is what is good about today. And that I have 5 (count them!) followers, thank you for coming and commenting.

There is a comment on today's astronomy description drawing the viewer's attention to 'a trail of gas and dust detected that suggest that all 3 galaxies have had close encounters with each others in the past'. Were they also talking about bloggers??