ITS OKAY TO BE ME

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Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives….they have turned to easier methods…but they had not learned enough humility…

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS pp. 72-73

Humility sounds so much like humiliation, but it really is the ability to look at myself-and honestly accept what I find. I no longer need to be the ‘smartest’or ‘dumbest’ or any other ‘est’. Finally, it is okay to be me. It is easier for me to accept myself if I share my whole life. If I cannot share in meetings, then I had better have a sponsor-someone with whom I can share those ‘certain facts’ that could lead me back to a drunk, to death. I need to take all the Steps. I need the Fifth Step to learn true humility. Easier methods do not work. 

Control

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Control

Many of us have been trying to keep the whole world in orbit with sheer and forceful application of mental energy.

What happens if we let go, if we stop trying to keep the world orbiting and just let it whirl? It’ll keep right on whirling. It’ll stay right on track with no help from us. And we’ll be free and relaxed enough to enjoy our place on it. 
Control is an illusion, especially the kind of control we’ve been trying to exert. In fact, controlling gives other people, events, and diseases, such as alcoholism, control over us. Whatever we try to control does have control over us and our life. 
I have given this control to many things and people in my life. I have never gotten the results I wanted from controlling or trying to control people. What I received for my efforts is an unmanageable life, whether that unmanageability was inside me or in external events. 
In recovery, we make a trade off. We trade a life that we have tried to control, and we receive in return something better – a life that is manageable. 
Today, I will exchange a controlled life for one that is manageable. 

Freedom from Compulsive Disorders

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(God) Thank you for keeping me straight yesterday. Please help me stay straight today. – paraphrased from ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS 

When I first began my recovery from codependency, I was furious about having to begin another recovery program. Seven years earlier, I had begun recovery from chemical dependency. It didn’t seem fair that one person should have to address two major issues in one lifetime. 

I’ve gotten over my anger. I’ve learned that my recoveries aren’t isolated from one another. Many of us recovering from codependency and adult children issues are also recovering from addictions: alcoholism, other drug dependency, gambling, food, work, or sex addiction. Some of us are trying to stay free of other compulsive disorders – ranging from care taking to compulsively feeling miserable, guilty, or ashamed. 

An important part of codependency recovery is staying clean and free of our compulsive or addictive behaviors. Recovery is one big room we’ve entered called healthy living. 

We can wave the white flag or surrender to all our addictions. We can safely turn to a Power greater than ourselves to relieve us of our compulsive behavior. We know that now. Once we begin actively working a program of recovery, God will relieve us of our addictions. Ask God each morning to help us stay free of our addictions and compulsions. Thank God for helping us the day before. 

Today, God, help me pay attention to all my recovery issues. Help me know that before I can work on the finer points of my recovery, such as my relationships, I must be free of addictive behaviors. 

“Entirely Honest”

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We must be entirely honest with somebody if we expect to live long or happily in this world. 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS pp.73-74

Honesty, like all virtues, is to be shared. It began after I shared “…[my] whole life’s story with someone…” in order to find my place in the Fellowship. Later I shared my life in order to help the new comer find his place with us. This sharing helps me to learn honesty in all my dealings and to know that God’s plan for me comes true through honest openness and willingness. 

Cleaning House

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Somehow, being alone with God doesn’t seem as embarrassing as facing up to another person. Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have so long hidden, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. 

TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS p. 60

It wasn’t unusual for me to talk to God, and myself, about my character defects. But to sit down, face to face, and openly discuss these intimacies with another person was much more difficult. I recognized in the experience, however, a a similar relief to the one I had experienced when I first admitted I was an alcoholic. I began to appreciate the spiritual significance of the program and that this Step (5) was just introduction to what was yet to come in the remaining seven Steps. 

Our Higher Power

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For the next twenty-four hours…

In recovery, we live life one day at a time, an idea requiring an enormous amount of faith. We refuse to look back – unless healing from the past is part of today’s work. We look ahead only to make plans. We focus on this day’s activity, living it to the best of our ability. If we do that long enough, we’ll have enough connected days of healthy living to make something valuable of our life. 

…I pray for knowledge of Your will for me only,…

We surrender to God’s will. We stop trying to control, and we settle for a life that is manageable. We trust our Higher Power’s will for us – that it’s good, generous, and with direction. 

We’re learning, through trial and error, to separate our will from God’s will. We’re learning that God’s will is not offensive. We’ve learned that sometimes there’s a difference between what others want us to do and God’s will. We’re also learning that God did not intend for us to be codependent, to be martyrs, to control or caretake. We’re learning to trust ourselves. 

…and the power to carry that through.

Some of recovery is accepting powerlessness. An important part of recovery is claiming the power to take care of ourselves. 

Sometimes, we need to do things that are frightening or painful. Sometimes, we need to step out, step back, or step forward. We need to call on the help of a Power greater than ourselves to do that.

We will never be called upon to do anything that we won’t be empowered to do. 

Today, I can call upon an energizing Power Source to help me. That Power is God. I will ask for what I need

LIGHTING THE DARK PAST

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Cling to the thought that, in God’s hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have-the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p124

No longer is my past an autobiography; it is a reference book to be taken down, opened and shared. Today as I report for duty, the most wonderful picture comes through. For, though this day be dark-as some days must be-the stars will shine even brighter later. My witness that they do shine will be called for in the very near future. All my past will this day be a part of me, because it is the key, not the lock. 

Recovery Prayer

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This prayer is based on a section of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:

(God) Thank you for keeping me straight yesterday. Please help me stay straight today. 

(God) For the next twenty-four hours, I pray for knowledge of Your will for me only, and the power to carry that through. 

(God) Please free my thinking of self-will, self-seeking, dishonesty, and wrong motives. 

(God) Send me the right thought, word, or action. Show me what my next step should be. In times of doubt and indecision, please send Your inspiration and guidance. 

(God) I ask that You might help me work through all my problems, to Your glory and honor. 

This prayer is a recovery prayer. It can take us through any situation. In the days ahead, we’ll explore the ideas in it. If we pray this prayer, we can trust it has been answered with a yes. 

Today, I will trust that God will do for me what I cannot do for myself. I will do my part-working the Twelve Steps and letting God do the rest. May 1


Balance

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The goal is balance. 

We need balance between work and play. We need balance between giving and receiving. We need balance in thought and feelings. We need balance in caring for our physical health and our spiritual health. 

A balanced life has harmony between a professional life and a personal life. There may be times where we need to climb mountains at work. There may be times where we put extra energy into our relationships. But the overall picture needs to balance. 

Just as a balance nutritional diet takes into account the realm of our nutritional needs to stay healthy, a balanced life takes into account all out needs: our need for friends, work, love, family, play, private time, recovery time, and spiritual time – time with God. If we get out of balance, our inner voice will tell us.we need to listen. 

Today I will examine my life to see if the scales have swung too far in any area, or not far enough in some. I will work toward achieving balance. April 30

The Language of Letting Go 

Daily Meditations and Codependency

MELODY BEATTIE

Distress Tolerance Handout 1C

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Improve the Moment

Improve

With Imagery:

Imagine very relaxing scenes. Imagine a secret room within yourself, seeing how it is decorated. Go into the room whenever you feel very threatened. Close the door on anything that can hurt you. Imagine everything going well. Imagine coping well. Make up a fantasy world that is calming and beautiful and let your mind go with it. Imagine hurtful emotions draining out of you like water out of a pipe.

With Meaning:

Find or create some purpose, meaning, or value in the pain. Remember, listen to, or read about spiritual values. Focus on whatever positive aspects of a painful situation you can find. Repeat them over and over in your mind. Make lemonade out of lemons.

With Prayer:

Open your heart to a supreme being, greater wisdom, God, your own wise mind. Ask for strength to bare the pain in this moment. Turn things over to God or a higher being.

With Relaxation:

Try muscle relaxing by tensing and relaxing each large muscle group, starting with your hands and arms, going to the top of your head, and then working down; listen to a relaxation tape; exercise hard; take a hot bath or sit in a hot tub; drink hot milk; massage your neck and scalp, your calves and feet. Get in a tub filled with very cold or hot water and stay in it until the water is tepid. Breathe deeply; half-smile; change facial expressions.

With One thing in the Moment:

Focus your entire attention on just what you are doing right now. Keep yourself in the very moment you are in; Put your mind in the present. Focus your entire attention on physical sensations that accompany non-mental tasks (e.g. walking, washing, doing dishes, cleaning, fixing). Be aware of how your body moves during each task. Do awareness exercises.

With a brief Vacation:

Give yourself a brief vacation. Get in bed and pull the covers up over your head for 20 minutes. Rent a motel room at the beach or in the woods for a day or two; drop your towels on the floor after you use them. Ask your roommate to bring you coffee in bed or make you dinner (offer to reciprocate). Get a schlocky magazine or newspaper at the grocery store, get in bed with chocolates, and read it. Make yourself milk toast, bundle up in a chair, and eat it slowly. Take a blanket to the park and sit on it for a whole afternoon. Unplug your phone for a day, or let your answering machine screen your calls. Take a 1-hour breather from hard work that must be done.

With Encouragement:

Cheer lead yourself. Repeat over and over: “I can stand it,” “It won’t last forever,” “I will make it out of this,” “I’m doing the best I can do,” “Let go and let God,” “Be still and know I am God”.

Thinking about Pros and Cons

Make a list of the pros and cons of tolerating the distress. Make another list of the pros and cons of not tolerating the distress – that is, of coping by hurting yourself, abusing alcohol or drugs, or doing something else impulsive.

Focus on long term goals, the light at the end of the tunnel. Remember times when pain has ended.

Think of the positive consequences of tolerating the distress. Imagine in your mind how good you will feel if you achieve your goals, if you don’t act impulsively.

Think of all of the negative consequences of not tolerating your current distress. Remember what has happened in the past when you have acted impulsively to escape the moment.