Friday, May 5, 2017

Detaching and Letting Go with Love

I am directing my "Shame and the Addictive Trap" retreat again this weekend and have decided to repost this meditation. It's worth the read.

   Learning to love ourselves by facing our feelings, embracing them and accepting them is a major step toward healthy living. Once we take that step, we will find that it is only the first of many necessary changes we will be making in our lives. These changes will all bring about positive results, but none of these changes will be easy.
   One of the most difficult changes we will need to make will involve our relationships with others. Like Gwen (Sandra Bullock) in the film 28 Days, we will find that some of our old friends and lovers are toxic for us. After Gwen left treatment, there was little doubt that she’d have to let go of her old lifestyle and all of those who are still living addictively if she wanted to remain sober.
   Gwen does what she has to do concerning Jasper, her fiancĂ©. She walks away from the relationship, but she does so without animosity. In other words, Gwen detaches from Jasper with love. She’s not angry with him and she does not insult or belittle him. Nor does she try to fix or rescue him from his alcoholism. She simply walks away knowing that she must do what’s right and healthy for herself. By choosing to walk away from Jasper and other old friends, Gwen sets an important boundary. She tells the world around her that she will no longer live life in a drunken oblivion. Likewise, by walking away, she tells Jasper that his choice to be drunk is no longer acceptable behavior to her.
   It can be very difficult to walk away, or detach with love, from people we care about. But doing so forces them to make a decision about their relationship with us. They can either accept that we have set a boundary and honor it, or they themselves can walk away, too. For example, Gwen’s boundary certainly would make Jasper think. If he truly loves Gwen and really wants her in his life, then he must accept her boundary and learn to change his behavior. In other words, he must decide to face himself and become sober, too. If he doesn’t really love Gwen, then he will allow her to walk away and he will find a new drunken lover for himself.
   Gwen can’t determine the outcome, but either way she wins. If Jasper sobers up the two of them might live happily together. If he doesn’t, then Gwen is free to find the man who is truly right for her.
   And the same is true for us. Many of us want to hold on to old relationships because we are fearful. We are afraid that if we detach with love, we will be left alone with no one to love us. Instead of trusting that God has a plan for our lives that involves healthy relationships with new people, we worry that no one else will want us if we say goodbye to those who have actually been toxic for us.
    We need to stop worrying. God does have a positive plan for our lives, and we need to partner with God to ensure a bright future for ourselves. God will be there to help us face our feelings. And God will assist us in our choice to take our power back from our feelings as we release ourselves from addictive acting-out. All we have to do is ask for that help every step of the way.
   Likewise, God will be there to help us to set new healthy boundaries with others. God will also assist us to detach with love from those who choose to remain toxic for us. And God will place new healthy people into our lives.

PRAYER: God grant me the ability to let go. First, I need the grace to let go of my fears. I have many. I’m afraid of setting boundaries and I’m afraid of being abandoned by people who have been close to me. I’m also afraid that if they leave my life, I will be left loveless. So please, Lord, help me to let go of my worries and trust that You will move my life and relationships forward in every beautiful way possible. Amen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kindness Sets Love in Motion

Notice in this quote it says kindness is a simple way to tell "another" struggling soul that there is love in the world. "Another" implies, to me, that we too are struggling. And certainly as codependents or addicts, we are.

This is why kindness needs to begin with us. We first need to learn to be kind to ourselves. It's important to share words of kindness, love, compassion and forgiveness with ourselves. It's also important that we begin to do nice things for ourselves. We can say "no" to helping someone when our plate is too full. We can spend the money on a massage for ourselves. We can take the time to prepare a nice cup of tea for ourselves. And we can learn to better accept kindness from others when it is offered to us.

By treating ourselves with kindness, we prove to ourselves that we do have value and worth. And by being kind to ourselves, we build up the spiritual-mental-emotional resources to then be able to offer kindness unconditionally to others.

Making the world a kinder place is OUR responsibility. And it starts with our being responsible enough and loving enough to first be kind to ourselves. Start today!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Codependents Take Hostages

It may be a recovery cliche, but it is certainly true: Codependent people do not make friends, or lovers, they take hostages. Whenever we experience that truly needy feeling, that desperate desire to cling to someone, to have ALL of their attention, we have taken them hostage in our minds and hearts.

This is when we need to find our way out of the fog by surrendering to our Higher Power and by attending a CODA or Al-Anon meeting. The spirit we experience within the group will help to bring us back to mental and emotional balance, to sanity.