Saturday, October 18, 2008

Plotting with Mr. Junky

I think my partner must be hanging out and plotting with JW's husband, Mr. Junky. Yesterday, she got all addicty when I confronted her about a particular behavior. She darted and weaved and I ended up apologizing all over myself for a behavior that I had owned and cleaned up when it happened weeks ago. Meanwhile, she was sulky and pouty and at the same time smirky over her current behavior that was clearly wrong. Then, she turned herself off and went to sleep.

You know, it amazes me that she can do that. For her, withdrawing to the bed and literally pulling the covers over her head is a coping mechanism that she's remarkably good at. Typically, her withdrawal to the bed activates my anxiety, and I have an even harder time going to sleep. So, when we're in a stuck place, she ends up oversleeping, and I end up undersleeping. Fun times.

I did pull out my maladaptive tool of projecting. I planned a miserable day for us for today with her being all withdrawn and me figuring out how to survive the day. I also predicted that she'd spend the day in bed and not follow through on a committment we'd made together for this day. I plotted how her poor choice was going to grow and impact our family all the way out to a grand finale that I'm particularly worrying about. More fun times.

But I also called a friend, who told me that my partner probably knows what she did wrong and reminded me that I can't make her feel more badly about herself than she already does. She suggested that I do nothing and do my best to enjoy this day. She said to use it as an experiment and see what happens.

And guess what? My partner must have consulted Mr. Junky again last night while she was sleeping. Because this morning, I got my own bread from the hardware store. My partner called me over to her, looked into my eyes, apologized for what she did, owned what she should have done differently, and then cuddled with me. All's right with the world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spiritual Fanny Pack

My sponsee shared this great reading today about trust. I'm pasting it below this post. I can't give credit, b/c I really don't know where it came from.

I have a new child who came into my life yesterday who came with a laundry list of diagnoses. One of the diagnoses is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD.) One of the common behaviors of RAD kids is hoarding, b/c they have been deprived and don't feel that they will be provided with enough food to eat. One of the interventions that's used sometimes is to give them a fanny pack of food that they can keep with them, and keep restocking it when it's empty.

When I read the reading below, I realized that I've been hoarding when it comes to control, and that what I need is a spiritual fanny pack. The truth is that I already have this spiritual fanny pack, and I carry it with me. It's always accessible if I reach for it, and it's always stocked.

My sponsor tells me all the time that I should pray to turn fear to faith, and I'm sssssllllllloooooooowwwwwwwwlllllly coming to understand just what that means. Just for today, I'm going to trust that I already have everything I need. There's no need to hoard control, b/c I have a never ending supply in my spiritual fanny pack.

Here's the reading. Enjoy!

There was a time in my life when I felt so afraid of and overwhelmed by the very act of living that I actually wanted to make out a schedule for each day of my life for the next five years. I wanted to include all the chores I had to do, when I would do them, even when I would schedule relaxation. I wanted to get some order into what felt overwhelming. I wanted to feel like I was in control.

Controlling is a direct response to our fear, panic, and sense of helplessness. It is a direct response to feeling overwhelmed, and to distrust.

We may not trust ourselves, our Higher Power, the Plan, the Universe, or the process of life. Instead of trusting, we revert to control.

We can approach this need to control by dealing with our fear. We deal with fear by trusting---ourselves, our Higher Power, the love and support of the Universe, the Plan, and this process we call life and recovery.

We can trust that when things don't work out the way we want, God has something better planned.

We can trust ourselves to get where we need to go, say what we need to say, do what we need to do, know what we need to know, be who we need to be, and become all we can become, when we are intended to do that, when we are ready, and when the time is right.

We can trust our Higher Power and the Universe to give us all the direction we need.

We can trust ourselves to listen, and respond, accordingly.

We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us. We will not get all we need for the entire journey today. We shall receive today's supplies today, and tomorrow's supplies tomorrow. We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey. The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light.

Trust in yourself. We do not have to plan, control, and schedule all things. The schedule and plan have been written. All we need to do is show up.

The way will become clear and the supplies will be amply and clearly provided, one day at a time.

Trust, my friend, in today.

Just for today, I will trust that I will receive all I need to get me through, today. I will trust that the same shall happen tomorrow."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Not About the Batteries

I'm on my 3rd day of struggling over a silly little squabble my partner and I had. It started when she was in the bathroom, and I came in and handed her some batteries and told her that they go in the charger. The next morning, when they were laying on the counter next to the charger, I got upset. She got angry with me and told me that I didn't ask her to put them in the charger. I agreed that I didn't ask, and told her I'd work on that. She said she didn't do anything wrong and left PISSED!

I tried to have an intentional dialogue with her later, and it went downhill fast. First, she delayed and delayed and delayed the dialogue, until she was in bed and had already taken "bedicine." When we finally had our dialogue, I really worked at owning my shit, and my perception is that she really worked at protecting herself. Needless to say, it didn't go well.

Today, I'm still struggling. It's really not the batteries I'm struggling with. It's the fact that my need to process through feelings together and come out on the other side together is colliding with her need to avoid conflict and to build her wall of self-protection when she thinks she's being attacked.

We have this same struggle often, when I want to process through something and she doesn't. She says I'm trying to control her, and in a way I have to own that I am. I want her behavior to be different, and I can't make that happen. Maybe I need to figure out a way to resolve my feelings without her, but that makes me sad. A friend in the fellowship reminded me that hadn't I just worked through a really, really, hard lesson in letting go? Did I really need God to provide more growth opportunities in that area? I was able to get clear that I need to let my partner know that I'm really struggling, not with the batteries, but with the dance we do when there's conflict between us. I need to speak my piece, and then I need to let go of the outcome. Or, God can certainly give me some more opportunities to practice that letting go thing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing Tug Of War with God

I guess I've had some lessons to learn, and maybe, just maybe, I've finally learned them. God and I have been playing tug of war over a kid who's very important to me. I think I've let the situation go, and it comes back to me. And around and around we go, faster and faster. Each time the possibility returned that she might come back into my life, I got excited, and each time it didn't come through, I was crushed. My sponsor told me that at some point, I'm going to get to the point where I can say "whatever." Well, the final (at least it appears to be final) decision is in, and she's not coming back into my life. I can't say "whatever," but I'm not crushed. I hope things work out for her the way she wants them to, though I don't think it's likely. I really hope that she learns what she needs to learn from the situation and that she comes through it stronger. Today, I participated in a healing service during the Yom Kippur service. We sang the MiSheberah, and I put her name and the name of her mother out there. I wish healing for both of them. I wish healing for me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Not My Will

I've had quite the roller coaster of a week. First, my partner and I had to make a decision. Once we came together, the kid in question, and the folks who are supposed to protect her, fell apart. The decision was put to me during Rosh Hashanah, and I really worked on giving it to God right from the start. I'm not sorry I opened up my heart again, though the outcome is clearly not what I wanted, at least for today. I've been riding the roller coaster of my feelings as the decision keeps being for sure one way and then for sure the other. Now we're back in limboland again. We've been asked to keep the option open for this child of my heart while she's thrown to the wolves. My sponsor once told me that if my partner decided to relapse that maybe she had some more research to do and that I needed to trust my higher power and hers. It appears that's where I am again, only it's this child that apparently has more research to do. God, please take care of her. God, please take care of me. Amen.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

service work as an opportunity to work through character defects

I heard in an OA meeting not too long ago that service work was an opportunity to work through character defects. I didn't believe it, but it's true. I've recently taken on some service work in my online step study. One role I took on was homework monitor. We all made some shared agreements about how we would do homework on the steps. We agreed that if people didn't post for two consecutive weeks, they'd be put out, but that they could request the opportunity to come back if they agreed to do the work.

I was one of the people who agreed to share the role of monitoring. The first time I did it, I totally obsessed. I counted each response for each individual in the group. It wasn't too hard, because it was only the first week, so there was no worry that someone could actually reach the limit of being out. But I started getting anxious. What if they answered some questions, but not all? How do I word a reminder?

By my next turn, people actually being put out became a distinct possibility. I decided to add yet another reminder. This time, I'm serious, kinda thing. I told them that I'd be checking the next day, and gave the time. When a couple people didn't respond or post, I had a really hard time. So, here I was having the opportunity to practice setting and enforcing my boundaries. AFGO!!!

It was kinda reassuring this week, when someone else took on the task, and struggled with the same things. I wasn't alone. Shew.

Meanwhile, I discovered that I've been acting out more character defects in the group- people pleasing and controlling. In the beginning, a member of the group asked for help posting the questions. Of course, good codie that I am, I jumped in and did them. Then, week by week, I took on the task of finding someone to post the questions. This week, I just stopped and did nothing. Guess what? The world didn't fall apart. Someone commented that we forgot to find someone to post questions. My anxiety alarms ran, but I did nothing. Someone else picked it up.

Funny, this week, we're working on step 4, and look at all these character defects popping out of hiding. Guess I'd better go do my homework.

Friday, October 3, 2008

knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry that out

The last few days, my partner and I have been struggling with a decision regarding a child who is very important to me and who has been a big challenge for her. The child was pivotal in our addiction story, and came close to causing the end of our relationship. She's also what brought us into therapy and resulted in huge positive changes in our relationship. Today, we have the opportunity for a do-over. My will is clearly that we take that opportunity. My partner has been all over the map with the decision. She's scared, which certainly makes sense. I've been trying really hard to turn it over to God.

Yesterday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, was emotional for me in all kinds of ways. During the priestly blessing, parents who were with their children put their hands on their children's heads and blessed them. Those of us whose children weren't with us were told to send the blessing out to them. My parents were there giving me their blessing, and I was sending mine out to this child of my heart.

Later, during the last sounding of the Shofar, the leader of that part of the service suggested that we think about 3 things during the sounding. The first thing he said to think of was the sound of Sarah when she thought she had lost Isaac and to hear the sound of mourning. The second was that the shofar is a call to worship and a call to awaken spiritually. The third thing he suggested was that the shofar is to be sounded at the coming of the messiah, so to hear the shofar sounds as sounds of hope. So here I was, trying to turn this child over to God, and being told to hear the sound of a mother mourning her child, but also the awakening of the spirit, and the sound of hope. It kind of summarized where I've been these last few days- opening up this wound and opening myself up to the possibility of mourning yet again, but also connecting to God and to hope.