Saturday, March 28, 2009

More God Grad School

I really thought that I was in a field that was somewhat protected from the financial madness of the times. Surprise! I got the word today that my job is terminated, effective in June. I have the opportunity to reaapply for one of an undisclosed but significantly reduced number of positions. I can also apply for one of a number of new positions for substantially reduced pay. Many of us in this same boat get the added bonus of being expected to go back to school (on our own dimes) to get additional training for this position on our newly cut salaries. Luckily or unluckily, as the case might be, I already meet the requirements for both my current position and the lesser paid one. It's a lot to absorb.

Meanwhile, I've got some ethical challenges in the weeks ahead. I've been put in a positon of having more to do than is feasible in the time I have left, and that was before the added stress of job seeking. I've been hanging on, by a thread, as more and more has been added to my plate. I've been being quiet, because we've been clearly told that job performance, as rated by our supervisors, will be the main factor looked at as cuts are made. This week, I was given one more task, one that I believe to be unethical. The person that I would typically turn to for direction was given even worse news than mine this week.

I think I'll try my favorite 12 step exercize.

Step 1. I am powerless over the financial state of this country and the effect it is having on me. I am powerless over direct supervisors and their direct orders. I am powerless over the number of hours in a day and the number of days left of employment. The first situation shows financial unmanageability. I am the primary breadwinner of our family. And, as a gay person, I can't even get health insurance once Cobra runs out. I've been trying to set boundaries in the second situation, but they've been continually trounced. My life is becoming more and more unmanageable as the clock ticks. I was given a direct order to do something that I believe to be wrong, which feels unmanageable.

Step 2. My higher power can help me sort out what I can and cannot change and take the steps I need to take while letting go of what I can't change.

Step 3. God, I give you my anxiety over the job situation. Help me to know the right things to do and help me to let go of the rest.

Step 4. Character defects that have surfaced include fear of economic insecurity, unwillingness up until now to ask for help because of fear

Step 5. God, me, and the internet, my fears have been getting in the way of my making good decisions.

Step 6. I am willing for God to remove my fears.

Step 7. God, please help me to let go of my fear and trust that I can do what I need to do and that I will be ok.

Step 8. Up till now, I've harmed me. If I do what I've been told to do, I will harm a child.

Step 9. I will amend my behavior by letting go of my fears, by asking for help, by doing what I can do, and by letting go of the rest.

Step 10. I don't think I've left anything out.

Step 11. I think that God wants me to go to the person, who like me, still has a job today, rather than making a choice that I believe to be unethical. I think that God wants me to take care of myself by confiding in this person what my current work situation is. Depending on the outcome of that discussion, I'll need to check in with God again for knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry that out. As for the future job situation, I think God wants me to do what footwork I can and trust the process.

Step 12. I do feel a spiritual awakening. I'm much calmer than when I started this exercize, and clearer about what I can do. Hopefully, I can get some sleep now.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rickety Bridge

Yesterday, my partner and I were having a conversation about a difficulty subject for both of us. She was talking about why she often pushes me away when I pursue intimacy. She said that because of her early experiences, it's like there's a rickety bridge that she has to cross over to get to her adult self. If she can make it over the bridge, then it's a wonderful experience. But, the bridge is really shaky, and often, she falls off. Meanwhile, I have my own rickety bridge that tells me that I'm not good enough and not desirable when she pushes me away. Sometimes, I can use the tools of the program and remember that it really isn't about me. But sometimes, I fall off. It makes sense that we activate each other. But the good news is that each of us is working on our own stuff and hopefully we're each fortifying our own bridges. And that today, we can talk about it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

5 words

I asked Jay for 5 words to describe me.

The deal is she gives me five words that she associates with me, I write about each one and offer to provide five words for any readers who would like to do their own. If you're interested, let me know in comments.

Jay's words for me were attachment, commitment, clarity, healing, contemplation. I just wrote about clarity. Here's the rest of my homework.

I don't really blog about this because I have to be careful about confidentiality even with the anonymity I've tried to maintain here, but I'm a foster parent. A few of the kids I've fostered over the years have been diagnosed with or show characteristics of Reactive Attachment Disorder, which develops when a child doesn't form a healthy attachment with a primary caregiver. I talked a bit about RAD when I discovered my own spiritual fanny pack. It's interesting that these particular kids keep finding their way into my life as I'm slowly learning to develop more healthy attachments of my own. So much of my learning has come from the kids themselves, as well as an amazing group of RAD moms. I connected with this group of women online almost 15 years ago and I'll be flying across the country in a couple of weeks to visit them.

Commitment- One of the characteristics of codependency is a tendency to be too loyal, remaining in situations that are harmful. For me, this characteristic can be one of my biggest character defects or my biggest assets. I can make a difference by committing to a child who has never experienced that before. I've worked through the rough patches in my relationship by my strong commitment. But, sometimes, I've hurt myself when the commitment I make is not necessarily reciprocated. I'm learning today that I need to commit to myself as deeply as I commit to others. And sometimes, when the person I commit to is unwilling or unable to make the same commitment to me, the best thing I can do is to detach with love and take care of me.

Healing: I'm finding healing through my journey through the 12 steps. I'm developing a newfound relationship with a power greater than myself and even a newfound relationship with me. I'm learning better ways of relating to my partner that have turned out to be healthier for both of us. I'm learning to change my focus and change my life.

Contemplation: One of the greatest gifts for me of recovery has been blogging. When it's just me and the page (or more likely the screen,) I can engage in whatever circular thinking I need to use to get where I'm meant to go. I can let myself be so easily distracted by other people's thoughts and feelings. But, left to my own devices, I've really surprised myself along the way with my own insights.

So that's it. Another homework assignment out of the way. Comment here if you want your own set of 5 words.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Baby Steps vs. Do Nothing

One of the things we talked about in our naranon meeting last night was baby steps. Many of us shared the feeling of getting overwhelmed and becoming immobilized. A few members shared about taking one small action and letting momentum carry us forward.

I'm in a pretty overwhelmed place right now. I have more to do than I think is possible to accomplish at work. I've taken on a new sponsor, who's given me step 1 homework. My online step group is on step 3, which we're committed to finish by the end of the month, and I've only completed one question. I asked for and was given words to write about by Jay. I was asked to take on a major leadership role in a local nonprofit organization. And that's just part of my overwhelm.

This morning, I started thinking about the slogan "Do Nothing." It's carried me through some hard times when I wanted to react out to my addict. But today, I'm realizing, that I need to look at the slogans "Do Nothing" and "Baby Steps" and apply them in conjunction with the serenity prayer. When what I'm stressing about is not mine, the best thing to do is "Do Nothing." But, when what I'm stressing about is mine alone, my best strategy is to take a baby step. I need to take one day, one task, or one minute at a time, but put my energy into what I CAN do rather than stressing over the possibility that I can't. In both situations, I need to work on trust.

So, I'm off to work to get something accomplished on my "to-do list." And meanwhile, I just realized that I've just taken a baby step on my homework from Jay. I just had a moment of clarity!

Thanks for listening.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Retreat- Acting In and Reacting Out

I spent the weekend with a group of women addicts in recovery at an informal gathering. It was an interesting experience. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to become a part of this group of women. Most of the weekend was wonderful. We had a candlelight meeting that was just awesome. Some of the time was challenging. Mostly, it was interesting to watch myself and watch the addicts as we interacted with each other. At dinner on Saturday night, one of the women, whom I'll call M, was having a hard time, and she acted in (I just coined that phrase. It's MINE!!) She retreated into herself. I found myself really wanting to draw her out- to react out to her acting in. I didn't. It was interesting to watch my own tension as I chose to stay out of her stuff.

Later, we all played a game, where we were on teams trying to solve mindbenders. My partner and M were on the same team. My partner missed a question, and there was what we thought was friendly teasing, mostly by M, but we really all took part. My partner got triggered, and left the room, with "fuck you" as a parting shot to to M.

M's sponsor jumped on M and M got angry. Meanwhile, my partner went into acting in mode. (Boy, retreat is a good name for this experience.) I was able to support my partner, because it wasn't about me, and because it WASN'T about me, my partner was able to hear feedback from me. After quite a bit of drama and a night's sleep, they were able to work through it. I was really proud of my partner, who was able to go to M to try to resolve things, TWICE! It was a big growth experience for her. It was a good experience for me to mostly be in observer mode. I was able to see how my typical experience of reacting out to my partner's acting in makes things worse. When my behavior was removed from the equation, my partner was able to successfully negotiate the relationship. She was able to own her part, while having compassion for M. My partner was able to see how much she and M were alike, so in some ways, she was able to show compassion to herself. All in all, it was a really good experience.

And it was really great to get to know my partner's support network. They're really good folks. They're good for her. And her ability to work through relationships is really good for us.

In a couple of weeks, I'm looking forward to my own retreat with my own support network. I'll be flying across country to spend a weekend with a group of women I got to know online about 13 years ago. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God Lessons in Letting Go

Apparently, God really wants me to learn to let go.

Even after writing that my partner has been choosing NOT to do what she said she was gonna do every time when it comes to doctors, I didn't understand that she really was making that choice, EVERY TIME. Here I am again, surprised. The person that I love is an addict. Addicts lie. Addicts are not dependable. I want to be with my addict AND I want her to be dependable. I want HER to change, so that I can be OK. My way is clearly not working, yet again.

Since I apparently haven't been getting the message, God decided to be a bit more clear. So, when I got to work yesterday, I found out that my hard drive has crashed. I've lost much of what I I believe I need to get my job done.

There's not a damned thing I can do about either situation. I've requested tech support at work, and I've spoken my truth at home. I can't bring back information on my hard drive any more than I can change my addict. Life on life's terms. AFGO!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

more doctor confusion

Here's the game we play at my house over my partner's recurring sinus headaches.

She whines that her head hurts. I suggest calling the doctor. She chooses not to and continues to whine. I try ignoring, since she's not interested in my suggestion. She keeps whining. This part can continue for days.

In the next phase, she agrees to get help, but not the help I think she should get. She's gone to a doc in the box and to our former doctor, but NOT to the doc that we agreed on.

We've gone through two doctors together. The first was her pusher,the doctor who got her hooked on narcotics and patted me on the head when I brought the issue to him. The second accidentally gave her something with a narcotic in it and said that she didn't think there was enough narcotic in it to harm her, which led my partner to a relapse. We agreed (or so I thought) to go to an internist who is also an addict. He is an internist and also specializes in addiction.

But, every time she goes to the doctor, she chooses NOT to go to him or to his practice, which leads to my codiexplosions. The last time, we talked it through. She thought it didn't matter that she went back to the old practice, since our doc wasn't available on Mondays anyway. I said that since this is an ongoing issue, if she goes to our doc's practice, he has access to the records. I thought she got it and that she agreed, but apparently she just heard "blah blah blah" and agreed to shut me up, because, today, it's right back to the same old same old.

I'm trying to figure out why this is so huge for me. I want to figure out what my part is, and I want to let go of what's not mine. This hysteria is so not working for me. She's going to do what she's going to do. I have no control over her choices. What she's doing doesn't seem to be working for her, but what I'm doing doesn't seem to be working for me either. And hell, I guess the truth is that either we're both insane or what we're both doing IS working, cuz we're both still doing it. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!