Tag Archives: acceptance

Changes, the movie

I’m getting ready to head out on a little road trip. It’ll be fun, because Shel and I don’t get to travel as much as we used to. But it’s not for a fun purpose. A family member has died, and we’re going to the memorial service. We weren’t especially close to the departed, but he’s the former husband of the matriarch of our generation and she and their kids are important. Not to say he wasn’t, but you get it. (Yes, “former” husband; in our family it takes more than a legal separation to get you out of the fold. Old Southern families are like that.)

Anyway, it got me to thinking about the inevitability of changes. Everything passes. New things come along. We accept or we don’t. We adjust, or we don’t.

I had a friend fifty-odd years ago who played the guitar and sang folk music. He’d sit in front of the mike tuning his 12-string and mumble (audibly) “I’m going to get this thing tuned and have it welded!”

Sometimes our attitude toward life is like that. We want to get it right — for us — and have it welded so nothing changes: no bad stuff we can’t handle easily, no pain, no loss, no illness, no aging . . . especially that! And certainly no death. That’s particularly true of addicts. The misery of our lives is built around our grasping for things to which we can never hold on. We claw our way toward things that, once we get them, we’re too tired to enjoy, or too habitually clawing to appreciate. The hungry ghosts keep pushing us, and we live our lives in perpetual grasping and loss, discontent and anger about things we can never control.

As the AA Big Book reads, “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” I don’t mean that in the sense of some bromide that is supposed to make our lives ecstatically happy. That will never happen. What acceptance — of life’s changes, of our inability to control others, of our ability to change the things we can, of the reality of those differences — can do for us is greatly reduce the pain. As long as we are trying to grasp and hold on to things we must lose, we will be both unhappy and unable to heal, to go on with our lives, to seek happiness in those places that truly bring it.

Grief is our way of acknowledging the changes and the way to get beyond it. Passage of time takes away a lot of the pain, usually taking a couple of years whether it’s a death, a lost romance, or some other burden. That’s okay. Our pain is accomplishing nothing for loved ones who have left us for whatever reasons, and if they were counseling us they would say to march through the pain, let it go as it fades, and live happy lives. That’s what Phillip would have wanted.

The only thing standing in our way is fear of change, that greatest of human fears. Why fear something that is inevitable? Living with it and enjoying the new aspects of our ever-changing lives is the only rational solution to our misery. That’s what I want for my loved ones, my readers and myself.

Solutions



One of our biggest problems as addicts is that we pursue solutions that we like, rather than those we need.

Many times the best solutions to problems  do not produce the outcomes that we want.  Members who have been around the fellowships for awhile have seen it again and again: newcomers (and sometimes those not so new) who flail around and exhaust themselves trying to fight what more experienced folks see as inevitable: the need to make changes that we don’t like.

Usually, no one is saying that they need to be made all at once or right away. In fact, program wisdom indicates quite the opposite. In most cases not involving situations dire and immediate, we recommend that any changes be made slowly, with careful consideration of all factors. Since we’re all addicts and codependents, however, we tend to want to sweep things under the rug and ignore them indefinitely, or take the broom and beat them into submission. In either case, we want what we want and we want it now, and we want it the way we want it.* Continue reading

Swimming Against The Flow

“The moment we decide to stop and look at what is going on (like a swimmer suddenly changing course to swim upstream instead of downstream), we find ourselves battered by powerful currents we had never even suspected – precisely because until that moment we were largely living at their command.”
~ Stephen Batchelor, The Awakening of the West

Early recovery is rough. We have to deal with physical withdrawal, feelings that are unmedicated (perhaps for the first time in many years), the normal stresses of everyday life and quite a few others directly related to our addictions, expectations of ourselves and others, financial and legal problems…the list goes on and on. For most of us, getting through the first few weeks and months sober will be the most difficult thing we’ve ever done. Continue reading

Own It!

We addicts and codependents play a lot of little mind tricks on ourselves to keep from owning our issues and feelings completely. We say things like:

My addict is down at the foot of the bed doing push ups, just waiting for me to get careless. [Reality: there’s no “my addict”; there’s just me. ]

My mind would kill me if it didn’t need the transportation. [Reality: this is getting a little closer, but it’s still personifying my issues as something outside the real me.]

I have some anger about that. [Reality: owning my anger, saying “I’m angry!” Either I am, or I’m not.]

My addict is/was telling me….

Ever said anything like that? If not, I bet you’ve heard it lots of times in meetings, and maybe even in group therapy. Those are examples of the mind games we play with ourselves. They sound cute, and we joke that we don’t really mean them literally. But words are important. Continue reading

Snuggles

Charlie the cat is long and lean
The color of the night
And his eyes are green
He likes to snuggle…*

Charlie, being Charlie

With Charlie, snuggling is a fairly formalized proposition. If he doesn’t invite himself, I do so by patting the bed next to me three times. He then waits what he considers an appropriate time–varying from a few seconds to a couple of minutes–to demonstrate that he is, indeed, his own cat and not responding to any orders. Then he hops up and walks back and forth a few times, purring. My position has to be just right; if not, he waits until I’ve completed my part of the ritual. Then he curls up so that his rear feet and head are in one of my hands, his body firmly pressed against my other arm and chest. Purring ensues, usually tapering off into little snores.

Charlie pretty much invented snuggling himself. Continue reading

Hurricane Thoughts

As we contemplate the chaos left by hurricane Harvey and look ahead at the unknown that Irma will bring, it’s good to remember that everything we think we own is on loan anyway. The only thing we can really leave behind is memories, and their content is entirely up to us.

We will all be affected by the storms in our lives. Staying in the moment is the answer, as always, but a little bit of luck can help, too. May yours be good, whether or not you recognize it at the time.