Thursday, July 27, 2017

Through Awareness, I Pledge My Love and Understanding

"If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness. If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them. And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that. For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself."

I realize more and more that often when I am upset with another person, it’s not really about them or their behavior. It’s about the fact that something they said or did unintentionally hit on a wounded area inside of me. Those wounded, unhealed areas within my heart and soul are like landmines. I’m often not aware that they still exist until something happens or someone says something that sets off an explosion inside me.

That explosion is all about me, however, and the areas within me that I need to face, surrender to my Higher Power, and work at healing. The explosions are never really about the person who triggered the landmine. More often than not, there was no malicious attempt on their behalf to hurt me. They don’t even know I’m exploding with pain inside unless I tell them.

Of course the same is true when I accidentally say or do something that sets off a landmine inside of a friend or loved one. If I feel them resisting or pushing me away, it’s because my words or behavior have accidentally triggered an unhealed place deep inside of them. Their reaction isn’t really about me, it’s about them and the fact that they still have issues to face.

In other words, their behavior is not about me and my behavior is not about them. It’s all about the unhealed past, the unhealed wounds inside each of us. And it’s important to understand this fact. As long as we both understand it’s about our own brokenness, we can own that brokenness without blaming each other. And as long as we can look inside each other and better understand each other’s brokenness, we can build a strong relationship, despite our individual problems.

Too often in relationships we unknowingly hurt each other and we need to be aware of this and willing to forgive each other. We are all simply doing the best we can. So I pledge today to refuse to take a friend’s words or behavior personally, or to allow them to push me away because they are reacting to some dark place inside of themselves. I will accept their brokenness and act with understanding and love.

Can you make the same pledge with those you are about?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Difficult Feelings Are Just Visitors

"Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go."

Sometimes we struggle the most with our difficult feelings at night. We feel empty, anxious, needy, even desperate inside, and these feelings drive our desire to act-out.

This is when we need to remember that feelings are just visitors. They won't last. We just need to accept them and allow them to pass through us. So next time we're in that bad emotional state, instead of acting-out, let's think about how loved we are.

God loves each and every one of us immensely, and we all have people in our lives who love and care about us, too. It would be better to reach out to one of those persons, as well as our Higher Power, instead of reaching for a means of self-medicating.

Instead of acting-out, we can also make a list of all we are grateful for, counting up all of our blessings. And we can push past our denial and self-pity and credit ourselves for being truly good people.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Tired of Chaos and Drama? Then Stop Creating It for Yourself

Addicts typically engage in self-sabotage. This behavior is based in our dire need for chaos and drama. So many of us were raised in families where there was constant chaos, endless drama and very little—if any—stability. As we grew older and developed addictive personalities, we also developed an incessant need for self-sabotage by way of chaos and drama.

As adults, we often times find ourselves split between loathing the chaos/drama and desperately needing it. We are split because we have two personalities: Our natural-born personality and our unnatural addictive personality. On a conscious level, our natural personality is tired of chaos and drama. But on a subconscious level, our addictive personality is thriving on creating as much chaos and drama as possible. We are thus often times conditioned for daily chaos and drama. And when they don’t naturally exist, we will create them for ourselves—and everyone else in our lives.

There are a plethora of ways in which we engage in a self-sabotage that produces chaos and drama. We instinctively develop relationships with all of the wrong people. The natural us wants a stable love relationship with a healthy person, but the addictive us is terrified of stability and healthy people. So we subconsciously seek-out toxic people, ignore all of the red flags and waste our time with people who will simply abuse us as we abuse them.

Of course, we could be engaging in working the 12 Steps and learning the necessary skills that would lead to healthy, loving, stable relationships, but that would be too much work, according to our addictive personality, which we tend to listen to the most. And it’s just so natural for us to engage in the unhealthy and make our miserable lives more miserable. Twisted addictive logic says “Why put your energy into healthy change when addictive acting-out is so easy?” And unfortunately, we often agree with it.

We also seek out chaos and drama by accepting jobs that are below are skill levels and leave us bored and feeling worthless. We could be learning to love ourselves into excelling in real career opportunities that we are qualified for and pay well, but, hey, then we’d have nothing to bitch about, right? When we’re in a job we hate or feel stifled by, at least we can create new drama every week at work. And we can continually complain to our family and friends about how unhappy we are.

Many of us also engage in over-spending as a means of self-sabotage. We are constantly spending money we don’t have: Our credit cards are maxed-out, we have loans or mortgages we can’t afford to pay off on time, and we are having to borrow money from family and friends. Instead of being responsible and actively working to lower our debt and pay back those who have been generous to us, we instead spend more money on frivolous things, like big screen TVs, new cars or expensive outings we can’t afford. It’s not until we are suddenly bored with our new big ticket item or the thrill of Rio is long past that we wake-up and realize we’ve just created a bigger mess for ourselves to get out of. We may then further procrastinate instead of taking care of matters, so we can reach an even higher level of chaos and drama.

So why do we do this? Because the self-sabotage and ensuing chaos and drama make us feel alive. Most addictive personalities are emotionally shutdown and feel completely empty inside. We get tired and bored with feeling numb, so we subconsciously invest in some chaos and drama because it’s the only way we know how to feel alive. Tranquility makes us anxious. We can’t stand peace and quiet or normalness—at least not for long.

If any of this sounds familiar, consider this to be a wake-up call. Many of us get up every morning wishing we could have just one day free from chaos and drama. Of course, this desire belongs to our conscious, natural self that doesn’t understand how the addictive self is undermining peace and stability in our lives. We start our day determined to have peace (natural self) and then we spend the day saying and doing things that create chaos (addictive self). There are times when we even consciously ask ourselves “Why did I say that?” or “Why in the world did I stop to run this errand when I knew I was already running late for work?” We sort of get the fact that we are saying and doing things we don’t want to say or do; that we are creating our own chaos and drama; and yet, we don’t really, consciously get it. And so we generally find it easier to blame other people for our self-generated messes.

If you’re tired of chaos and drama, then you need to get serious about recovery. You need to be attending CODA or Al-Anon meetings, working the 12 Steps and consciously taking power back from your addictive personality. We are the only ones who can stop our self-sabotage.