Sunday, December 10, 2017

Powerlessness - Focusing on ourselves

When I first got into the program what I heard most was "focus on yourself."  This wasn't what I wanted or expected to hear at that time in my life.  First I came to the program to fix the alcoholic in my life and second it seemed selfish to put myself before anyone else especially him.  But I was in a lot of pain and felt powerless and really didn't have any place else to go.

My friends sickness has taken me back to those feelings of powerlessness.  Watching someone else struggle and say they are going to do what it takes to get better and then watching them not do it. Having their own ideas about what will fix the problem when everyone can see that there is an obvious solution. For the alcoholic stop drinking in this case eat even if you don't want to even if you feel full.

I know from my illness and depression that you can get stuck emotionally and feel like you will be sick forever. I was stuck in my thoughts and couldn't even consider that it was physical and not emotional and I could be helped. I had been through grief before and thought I would eventually get over it but it had never lasted this long before.  I did eventually get over it but it has taken me almost a decade to feel like life is worth living.  If I had listened to anyone but myself it wouldn't have taken me as long.

We don't get good advice from ourselves all the time. When we are in a crisis we go back to being a child and we resist what is happening to us.  Our thoughts say "why me?" We look around for someone to save us or the very least feel sorry for us. Sometimes we get that but then people want to offer solutions and then this makes the child in us mad and more resistant.  Obviously no one understands what I am going through and there isn't any simple solution. We just want this to stop happening to us right now.

This make those around us "the adults" weary after awhile and eventually everyone moves on.  Leaving us with our childish thoughts and mostly alone.  It is a process that takes as long as it takes.

No one understands this more than I do. I made it easy on everyone and divorced all of my friends at the same time.  Mostly because I didn't want to be a burden and thought that at least I wouldn't have to worry about my obligations to other people. It gave me time to think my way out of it. Not!

I did have one person who stuck with me someone who started out as a casual friend whose soul purpose in life seems to be care taking.  She didn't try to fix me just be there for me making me eat.  She wasn't trying to change me back to the more likable person I had been before. She was just there for me until I got better and when I did she moved on to someone else.

With tragedy growth is inevitable. Grow or suffer..  We can decide to stay stuck or we can get sick and tired of being sick and tired and do something about it. Our child mind is trying to catch up and it is pissed off that once again it has to do the work. We imagine there is a point in life where things will be easy and sometimes it is but we don't appreciate it until we experience the opposite.

We can't save other people they have to save themselves. We can share our experience, strength and hope and just be there. He is a program person and just like me he has the foundation to find his way out of this.  He is also like I was he has a physical component that is skewing his thought process.

It will take longer for him to come back from this without more food.

When I first  came to the program I hated the idea that I was powerless over my husbands drinking and that I needed to focus on my own recovery.  Seriously there was nothing wrong with me if only he would do what he was suppose to do we would both be happy. I can say that about my friend and his fear of food but it isn't true. He will get through it and in the mean time  I have to focus on my own recovery.

We can't help the people closest to us we are perceived as parents and rejected.  I will do my part and offer food and know that it will all work out eventually. Hopefully it won't take a decade like it did for me.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12 steps - Sickness - Resentments

How does the program work?  I am questioning this today because I am feeling powerless over my friend and his very slow recovery. I feel guilty because I can't swoop in and save him and even more guilty that I really don't want to be his savior or any ones savior anymore.

The program is about deciding first that you have a problem and your powerless over it - then believing that some where out there or in here is a power greater than ourselves can fix this and turning it over to that power - Here is the tricky part deciding what is our part in the situation - then admitting it to ourselves and then someone else - then rolling around in it for awhile just getting use to the idea that we have a problem and we really do want to do something about it - after we are willing to give up get past the resistance and denial finally asking for the problem to be taken from us - deciding who we have hurt in the process and then going to  them and asking for forgiveness - being mature and staying current with our daily wrongs being honest with ourselves and others when we slip up - asking for guidance everyday and actually listening for an answer - living life being the best we can be and hoping that by doing so will inspire others to do the same.

How is that for my version of the 12 steps?  I feel powerless for sure in this situation and I know the program tells us that the ones closest to us are the least likely to help us when we are lost. This is why our best friend can say something a million times and we never hear it and then a stranger comes along and says the same thing and we think they are brilliant. We reject the truth from the people that love us because we don't want them to be right.

Being sick is hard and brings out the worst in us and we want to be rescued.  We want some adult to come along and feed us and tuck us in and give us permission to watch cartoons all day. Make our favorite foods and be the center of attention for as long as possible. This works when we have a cold and we are ten and we recover quickly and go back to school in a few days.

It isn't the same when we are adults first we don't have our moms with us and our friends have lives of there own. If we don't have a significant other and even if we do we have to find a way to love and take care of ourselves the way we would take care of our own child. It is a test of sorts " do I love myself enough to do what it takes to get better?" 

I understand this because just like my friend I was alone without children and my extended family was indifferent to me when I got sick.  I was the doer in my peer group and I thought in a crisis they would be there for me but my sickness went on too long and my neediness made everyone run from me just like I am running from my friend. He was the first to jump ship at that time and this is one of the reasons I don't feel obligated to become his full time caretaker. I know this is petty and I am wrestling with my feelings and resisting being the adult at this time..

We are alone in this world no one up there in our heads but us even though sometimes there is a whole committee just making things more complicated. We have to use what we have learned to dig deep to find the courage to love ourselves through it all even if we don't feel like the people around us love or care for us. We are certainly worthy of our own love and God's love our existence proves this.

My own recovery took a long time because I based my worth on what other people thought about me. The love of my life (I thought at the time) had rejected me, the recession made me a failure at work and my friends abandoned me when I stopped being the person they wanted me to be. Based on these facts I was unlovable and unworthy of being alive. In my mind I added no value being here.

I found grace and over time I started to love myself enough to take care of myself. The grace came in the form of clarity.  Seeing that my own thoughts made me hate myself thinking that I was not lovable and I had the evidence to prove it. No one was there.  The truth I was there just like I had been since the beginning.  The higher me waiting for the little me to give up and let go and start again.

My friends lack of interest in his own recovery is a sign that there is a deeper problem. It is also a physical problem caused by his brain starving for nutrition. I doesn't want eat enough to put on weight and has a very limited number of foods he is even willing to try. Reluctantly I am the adult in the room at this time. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In the Zone - A moment that changed me forever

Many years ago my ex came to me on Thanksgiving eve drunk and told me there was someone else.  In the middle of preparing dinner for the crowd coming to our house the next day. This has made Thanksgiving less of a celebration for me.  It doesn't help that I have been left twice on this holiday.

I had a little flashback tonight while I was cooking for my friend who needs to eat to save his life. I was preparing big batches of ingredients to assemble in to different soups and other dishes for next week. Standing with all the chaos that goes with large meals it felt familiar and that night came to me.
How I was in the zone and had everything down to a science and then there was those words. "I am in love with someone else"

In a moment life can change forever.  I don't feel the pain from this story anymore. Even though I know that that moment and every moment since has changed me.  I am sad but also relieved that I am no longer the dreamer I use to be. I was creating a life there making a home and adopting another persons family as my own. I thought I had created security.

 I also felt like something was missing and everyone else seemed happy with things the way they were.  Obviously not. I knew something wasn't right but when I asked I was assured that everything was fine.

That night I did ask once again "what is going on with you" With a few too many drinks for courage I for once got the truth.

I called off Thanksgiving.  I left the kitchen and never touched one thing there again until I packed up the house and move two months later. This was progress because in the past I would have wanted to put on a good face for the crowd.  I would have blamed myself somehow for what was happening.

I lost my love of the dream and my love of cooking that day. I don't imagine anymore there is a certain perfect life that you can achieve that will make you feel safe. I don't imagine that anything I have today will automatically be there tomorrow.

I don't worry so much now because I know I will deal with it no matter what. It might be really ugly and I might fall apart or it might be wonderful and a dream come true.  That is how I live now and life is good.

I don't know that I will every love cooking the way I did before.  I am still good at it and tonight I didn't hate it. I can use my skills to bring my friend back to life.

I don't blame my ex anymore. I never wished for one moment to be back there but I was devastated by the idea that I no longer knew where I belonged. I couldn't accept that there isn't really a safe place a happily ever after place. The girl who lost her mother at 11 wanted to believe in forever.

I have accepted that "this too shall pass" good or bad we can expect things to change and for people to change. There is no guarantees just the opportunity to find happiness each day. I am thankful for this day that I have been given and hope tomorrow I will have a chance to do it again.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Life - On your own

I have off line for awhile and today is the first day I am collecting my thoughts and feelings to write.  Many things have beeb happening here My friend went to the emergency with bowel pains and almost three weeks later finally emerged from the hospital disease free but 25 pounds lighter.

He doesn't have any family here so I stepped in until the immediate crisis was over about two weeks. I was happy to do it until I started getting the impression that there wasn't an interest in participating in doing what was required to get out. A retreat on his part and this made me feel alone and helpless.

I decided that because I was the sole support that he didn't feel like had to really engage in what was happening.  I felt I needed help and called his brother to come.  Luckily he is a contractor and slow right now and he was able to come quickly. I called for back up with friends locally which I thought was healthy for me since I usually handle things on my own.

All of this has put a distance between us redefining our relationship. We have be friends for over 25 years now.  It is a comfortable relationship but not intimate emotionally for the most part.  We are similar in our spiritual beliefs and our time together is spent eating and talking about our daily lives. 

I accepted a long time ago that this is the way we would be it is similar to many other relationships I have had. Starting with my Dad and my two long term ex's.  Like our relationship indifferent to the fact that I have emotions and feelings.  That just because I am extremely capable doesn't mean that I don't have needs or wouldn't like be thanked or feel appreciated every once in awhile.  It is rarely that anyone ask me how I am doing and it seems I attract the kinds of relationship that don't acknowledge me.

I can admit that I don't exude neediness in anyway and I have learned to be fully self supporting declining outside contributions. My mother died when I was young and I learned that you are on your own so you just better get use to it. I don't attached too easily and since my last relationship I haven't gotten attached at all even to an animal.

I have taken care of a lot people in my life. In my personal life and even in my jobs mostly in the background making everything runs smoothly. Making sure everyone was getting there needs met. I was exhausted all the time for really decades.  I am not that person anymore. I won't let bad things happen but I also won't give my life away to manage someone else.

With my friend we had a conversation in the hospital that sounded like dependency. Like we were going to do this together.  I knew at that moment that I wasn't willing to be the sole support. This is when I felt I needed to call for help and back away. With in days of having other people evolved his spirits were better and he started to actually wanted to get out of the hospital.

His brother left this week and emotionally and physically he is on his own. I made some food and will see him today. Other friends locally have be visiting so he is not alone.

The truth is no one can go through these things with you. When I was sad only a few people were even willing to spend time with me. Healing takes time and people ultimately go back to their own lives. It is the nature of any crisis.  We are left alone to accept what has happened.

He will be healthy again if he keeps eating.  He does not have a disease and the only therapy he needs is eating which most people would be happy to do. I know he has had a shock and it will time for him to come back if that is what he wants.  I love him and will not let him go hungry but I cannot make him want to get better.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Watching - Hoodie in the wild

I was sitting outside on my porch collecting myself this morning when I spotted some movement down below.  The movements appeared to be human which would be unusual since all the houses in my neighborhood are high up on a ravine with a small bit of water coming off of the river. We don't really have backyards just trees swamp (with snakes) and water you would have to be a real pioneer to venture down there.

I kept watching and could see movement on the other side.  Definitely human and they were coming closer one had a green hoodie and a large gray plastic assault rifle with a neon orange handle. The second was a foot and a half shorter with no hoodie.  Boys apparently on adventure not realizing I was just above them.  They made there way through the thick marshy area and were in my yard.

The older one spotted the bright red buds of my wild ginger plants and picked one,  He put the seeds in his mouth. I don't think they are edible because if they were the raccoons would have eaten them by now. He was intrigued and pick two or three more and put them in a draw string bag.  Meanwhile his little friend was walking in my neighbors yard and started calling out "Micheal let's go".  I suspect he had spotted me since he wasn't wearing a hoodie and could see better. 

It was nice to see that some kids were still willing to leave the comfort of their couch to venture into the wild. Even if it cost me a few bright red blooms. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Uncertainty - The small things - Courage

My mind has been all over the place since the storm.  It feels like with the recent tragedies one after another that the world is uncertain place.  Life has always been uncertain we just to choose to live in denial so we can get up every morning and pretend nothing bad will happen to us.

We do everything to give ourselves what we hope is an edge over the next guy. We take care of ourselves, eat right prescribe to a vast array of spiritual paths in hopes that this will keep us from suffering like the people we hear about on the news. Maybe our plans or spiritual faith gives us an edge but in my experience few of us get through life without be touched by tragedy.

I am not all doom and gloom because I think the worst part of the scenario is the worrying we do in advance.  The stress of thinking about how to protect ourselves from basically the unknown.  I did that for many years and the things I worried about most didn't happen but sometimes worse things happened stuff our never imagined did.

Can we prevent tragedy?  We can stop living and lock ourselves inside our homes, as long as it isn't a house in a flood zone and watch our lives go by. We can live in constant fear and ruin every minute of every day just waiting for the end of our happiness.  Oh wait it already ended when the worry began.

Nothing stays the same forever. The things we love and the things we hate will pass at some point.  The things we take for granted today may disappear tomorrow.  The only thing we can do is try to notice today the moments we have now.  Soak it all in and not get lost preparing for tomorrow.

We never know what small joys we may never experience again. Recently the Sonic up the street closed suddenly.  They boarded every window and put a big for sale sign in the yard. It made me think of all the times we took my friend with Parkinsons there after dinner to have a hot fudge sundae.  We are always trying to fatten her up at 90 lbs it isn't easily.  She loved it.  I was thinking how that will never happen again.  Oh we will go somewhere else but it still feels like a small loss.

Sure we will adapt but those moments are gone and will not be repeated. We take it all for granted because we have to or the uncertainty would make us nuts. I think we can be at peace regardless of the uncertainty. We can not get too attached to the way we think things will be or should be.

We we can use whatever spiritual path we have chosen to gather ourselves every day to face the day whatever it brings.  We can see the small gifts we are given.  We can accept that we don't know what is in the minds of others and how they might be suffering.  We can extend compassion to the people we meet everyday instead of getting lost in our own mind and we can extend compassion to ourselves when we don't think we measure up.

I have been sentimental and weary this past month but it has made me appreciate what have learned on my own spiritual path.  I do understand loss and hope that everyone affected by these events will find the courage to get up every day and go on. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Storm - Gratitude

We have had a lot going on here in the south and some of us are just starting to feel normal.  I was lucky and didn't have any damage to my property.  The other two people on my team are part of the 6% here that still don't have power here.

My neighborhood isn't even in an evacuation zone even though I am on a river inlet. A huge tree came down on an adjacent street.  It landed on top of a van parked in the driveway. With Mathew last year most of the older more brittle trees fell so I was surprised to see it down.

Two friends were staying with me for the main part of the storm one had been evacuated from a high rise at the beach. All went well and they were able to go home after two days.  I got my power back the second day and we were all back to work by Wednesday.

Our phones and Internet were off and on at work and people have been coming in when they couldn't get us on the phone. One customer stopped by in person to make sure I was able to run their credit card and get their carpet ordered before the storm on Friday.

Life goes on and we are lucky we can adapt to whatever happens to us. For most of us here we are feeling grateful that we were missed. Getting back to work was a blessing. It felt like coming back after you have been out sick for a week. Like I was in a fog.  With no email and Internet it gave us an extra day to come out of the fog.

I am grateful to be working and not dealing with the loss they felt in the Keys and the Islands. Paradise has it's drawbacks but for most of the time it is worth it.  I wonder if after this there will be a northern migration.