A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Labyrinth of the Mind

Seems like every day I wake, I  find myself at Square One
all over again; there's just no holdover from any of the prior
day's learnings. I feel like an Etch-a-Sketch that's been
shaken and returned to the toy chest after an elaborate
masterpiece had been designed. D'oh.

But I am learning to get control of thoughts earlier on; focus,
discern, get control, make my choices, get active, remind
myself of my deservedness, and get off on the right foot.

Perhaps my biggest issue is getting out of the maze of
distracting thoughts in my head; all the dark places that
draw you in and keep you in their timeless limbos. This
is made more difficult by lack of structure and daily
routine (read; no job.)

I have tried to counter the negativity of no job by
filling my time with worthwhile and uplifting things.
In addition to the obvious looking for work (meetings,
interviews, job search sites, follow-ups, resumes,
independent work, etc.) I still walk, work out, write
my blogs and journal (tremendous help!), reading,
watching fun and light media junk when I can, stay
in touch with people on online support groups, work
on my other projects, help my Mom, and so forth.

Being productive and busy and constructive is
all well and good, but there are still those moments
(particularly late at night, in the bed, all alone) when
the morass of my brain wants to do me in.
Actually, I think all compulsively minded and addicted
people are 'naturally' self-destructive. Comes with
the territory.

Finding a way to combat that insidious worm of
negativity and doubt and sabotage is hardest when
I'm most vulnerable, such as tired, alone, depressed,
etc.   I do pretty well with putting my mind on what
is going well (and not what is hard or 'not to my
liking.') I also work at staying in the 'Now' and not
dwelling on the past. But it's work. Constant and
true....changing habits is hard work!

I am making a script for an audio tape I want
to record; it will be positive affirmations that are
played at the beginning and ending of my day. I
make the script when I am in my right mind--or
'up'--and then when I am having a slow go of it
or can't think of the tricks I learned in the past, I
will have easy access to a reminder.

I also like to post really positive or encouraging
True-isms on paper around the house. Wake me out
of a funk when I get distracted or worn down.
We all know it happens. We save up for a rainy day;
why not take precautions for our other needs?

Not every day is going to be stellar, no matter
how hard I try or how dedicated I am. I want some
reserves in place so I don't find myself going
back to those dark places. Whatever it takes
to win the war.

Peace and strength....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Starting Point

One of my favorite songs goes "Let's start at the very
beginning...a very good place to start!"

For me, finding the secret to controlling my desire to
self-medicate came from addressing an innate dislike
for myself; No one ever taught me how to love myself.

As a child, I learned to distrust my own emotions,
feel shame, keep quiet, stifle creativity, be ashamed
of desire, fear people, and hate every unique part
of me. Those old thoughts became so ingrained, I
never knew how much of my misery I carried around
with me out of habit.

You would think that loving self, like survival skills, would 
be fundamentally inscribed in our DNA, but aversion to
hunger and cold have nothing to do with a healthy, genuine
love for self. Look at how many 'successful' people are
obviously missing any real esteem.

So, I like to suggest that looking at what is 'okay' about
ourselves is a great starting point for finding a reason
to go on, a reason to care, a reason to take good care of
self, and so on.

For many of us, really looking at self and liking what we
see is something we have avoided for a very long time.
It is something that scares us senseless.

Developing a positive outlook on self, a forgiveness
for past mistakes, releasing anger about abuse and
harms we have endured...these are all healthy habits
that can--in time--help us to change how we look
at us and life itself. As another fave song says; "Change
the voices in your head, make them like you instead."

This is one of those slow, difficult processes, but it is
worth the effort and pain. Those old negative tapes
are playing, whether we acknowledge them or not.
The sooner we deal with it, the easier everything else
falls into place.

If I don't love myself, through and through, how
can I know what I have to offer? If my sense of
self is made stable by another or several others,
how can I cope on my own?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Truth, Opinion, Fact, or Notion?

I would think if anyone lives long enough they would discover
that the world is filled with contradictory elements. There is
little, if anything, that is absolute or consistent.

Even with spiritual circles, the difference between one
philosophy and the next could be night and day.

I see a pattern in this country that is reflected in Recovery
circles; absolutism. The need for there to be one, true,
conclusive, unavoidable Truth that dominates.

I see that the more we discover, the more there is to discover.

I see that there are many forms of the truth, and it's possible
for them all to work and all to coincide. If only people would
let them.

I see that there are many ways to reach one's own path.
And of course how could paths be alike when journies and
destinations are do divergent?

I see that the more we seek consistency and alikeness,
the more we seem to miss the flavor of what makes it all

But I am content to know these 'truths' as I see them.
I don't need anyone else to subscribe to them.

I don't require acceptance or tolerance, but it would
be nice to find a place where there is not constant
jockeying for debate, conflict, domination.

In truth, it probably won't be found while topside.

Let the search continue, nonetheless.

I will help anyone, anywhere...regardless of what their
belief system is. Just seems right.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Freedom is A Tonic, Too

Been an interesting time, to say the least.

Lots of aggressive energy and bullshit flying
fast and loose with everyone this last week.

Maybe the Mercury Rising, or the absurd heat,
or the economic crisis looming, or a combo
of all things big and small.

Bottom line...I don't ever know what will pop
up, at any moment. I'm just doing my best to
keep me--and my reactions, my mind, my energy--
in the right space.

I've been pretty successful with finding some
folks to talk with in a variety of different self-help
forums. In regards to addiction, I deal with folks
in Secular Recovery or related forums, or I
go to AA on facebook where it's an international
and diversified crowd, and much easier to get
like-minded or progressive people.

I also am using other areas (as always) such as
health and fitness, gay rights, politics, and so on
to expand all aspects of myself. Diversity and
wholeness are wonderful things.

I did attend an AA meeting a few weeks back,
since it was actually an Al-Anon. Then attended
an Al-Anon proper later. It's nice to socialize,
and I still care about people, but at a formal meeting
with the chanting of the god stuff and the prayer and
the religion...I just can't take it seriously.

(Did NOT pick up my 'chip' while there. Didn't
want to be disingenuous, since I am not counting
days. Also, you know, the whole "I didn't use AA
to do any stretch!" thing. Thought about
mentioning my 6 months, just for inspiration to
anyone who needed it, but it seemed like a worm
can opener, so...)

And it really is just an exercise in tolerance
since there is nothing of use aside from the
potential to meet new people. (Maybe I hear
one thing, out of 59 minutes of blah....and I do
use the time to simply work on accepting
that others think differently and it's okay....
so long as they aren't arrogant enough to
think it's the Exclusive way!)
Some days that's worth it....others it's just
frustrating and loneliness inducing.

But, I know what to do, and I share it with
others wherever we meet, not simply in the
walls of a room.
There's still a lot of pain from what
happened in AA, and it isn't easily brushed
aside. Even going to group in order to be of
support to those who don't 'partake' of the
Message is a daunting task when I feel worse
for going.

Anywho...doing what I can and have to.
Trying not to hurt anyone else, regardless.
Standing up for myself and my needs.
Not counting days; just living well Because.
Focusing less on absolutes and more on Living.

Hope you are doing the same.