Sometimes I surprise myself with the wisdom that’s rattling around in my brain. I take no credit for creating it; I’ve simply filtered and retained good material over time. I do have a knack for discernment and storage, I suppose. And clearly I can regurgitate well, as evidenced by the volume of good posts I’m pleased to have produced this month through the daily blogging challenge known as NaBloPoMo.
Just today I cleverly told a friend, ” The whole ‘deal’ in recovery is figuring out that how we’ve always operated probably isn’t going to get us sober…and might even be part of the problem.” True, eh? A good one. Chew on that for a moment. I love a meaty recovery insight. As for this particular gem, I’m not sure if I can pinpoint a specific source or if it’s simply a mashup of lessons that time has demonstrated to be true.
Our challenge is to go beyond remembering and repeating helpful bits, and to actually employ them appropriately. Say them in meetings, post them in blog comments, share them as memes until the cows come home but remember to effectively draw on them instead of falling into old patterns. Otherwise they’re just words (no matter how many time they get repinned or liked!)
Yesterday I explained the Drama Triangle but can I over ride my emotions in time to use the tool? I confess that at this stage in my growth I am more likely to clam up under duress and then assess the situation later as I lick my wounds. Even still, this is progress. The old me would have obsessed about an unfair circumstances, stewed in anger, talked about it incessantly and become bitter. Oh, and I’d have drank at it, over it, through it.
Progress is good but it’s a slow process. It takes faith to keep from becoming complacent or frustrated – two opposite conditions that present equal danger to sobriety. Life isn’t perfect, so there are plenty of opportunities to use the many tools acquired along this journey. Hopefully through repetition they will come to mind quicker, eventually as second-nature.
Right now I use most of my tools retrospectively. My goal is to use them instinctively and avoid emotion-driven responses altogether.
That’s all for today. Just a little wisdom.
Thank you for this blog! I have just recently known that I need to make a change. This is mainly to do with my marriage. Probably the last 7 or so years I have really used alcohol as my stress reliever, mainly because I had a baby and then another one and have been trying (or resisting) to understand my role as a stay at home Mom, Wife, Homemaker etc. Then I started to resent my husband for many years due to his long hours at work and feeling like I was alone in my world. My husband has done nothing but love me and understand me. He has been telling me over and over for years that I don’t act like I am in love with him. He is right because when he comes home I have usually drank close to a bottle of wine and act like I hate him, really for no reason! He is a great Father, Husband and provider. I do love him, but I don’t love myself so it is so hard to show someone else the kind of love they deserve! I’m finding out now in my early 40’s that something drastic has to change in order to be a happy loving person! The first thing on my list is giving up that bottle of wine I drink nightly! Drinking is such a love hate relationship for me! I love it because it relaxes me and takes the edge off, but I hate it because of what it does to my being. Not only does alcohol physically makes me feel awful everyday, but is also has contributed greatly to my depression over the years even further! When I don’t drink a couple days in a row I feel fantastic! So reading all these blogs have really inspired me! I know I have a lot of work to do ahead with counseling and finding out what that “X” (reason) is for using it in the first place. But I am going to start with giving up the alcohol because I know that it is a contributor to where my life is now and the first step in getting better!
Your post brings back a lot of memories for me – feeling resentful, hearing words come out of my mouth that were so much harsher than I expected, then getting defensive, and feeling guilt. When I quit drinking, I had the change to try and figure out what I needed to do differently. Removing booze from the picture is only the beginning. True recovery really begins as we look inside ourselves and peel back layer after layer of old wounds, things we thought were true and internalized, and gave ourselves permission to try a new approach. This changed my life PROFOUNDLY and improved my relationships with others in so many ways. I actually FEEL the love that is around me. I used to doubt it was real and brace myself for something bad to happen, but now I truly feel love and acceptance because I don’t hate myself anymore. I wish this level of healing and love for you!!
I just wanted you to know that the sheer volume, and quality of your work, has really inspired me to sort my act out. I have been putting the 9 to 5 before my dreams for too long. Thanks to you that’s all about to change.
Lee, I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve!
I go into meltdown mode at first. I struggle for awhile, when something is hard, then I get it and move on. Until the NEXT hard thing! LOL
Drinking was no different. I am only 87 days sober today. I had to learn a lot of tools and it took me several years to really apply them.
Thank you for your post!
The best kind of wisdom is life experience. Well, not just life experience but LEARNING from life experience. Human nature being what it is, with enough experience, we can generalize to different situations and apply our earned wisdom.
Yes, it is progress. But reading and re-reading the same “thoughts” placed in different forms, or regurgitated in different ways, and on a different day when I’m in a different place in my heart and mind, you never know what I will retain. I do love reading your blog, and the thoughts do jumble around in my head, I must admit. But that’s progress to me, and gives me hope and strength, and knowledge. And let’s face it: Knowledge is Power. The one small thought that I personally have been able to hold onto through one of your blogs that I have come to find out I use very, very often in my daily life is simple: Keep it at a 5!! Thank you for that!!
This really hits home for me today. The weekend proved to have its difficulties. I survived the cravings – so far. It’s been one month since I woke up hung over. I really don’t want to go back but I do need to change my pattern. I need to change things up. Do things differently. Sometimes I feel paralyzed, sometimes I feel like I am going off the edge, but the mornings are clear. Any advice on getting through nail biting craving would be appreciated.
I’ve heard something very similar attributed to Einstein, namely, that we can’t solve problems using the thinking that we used to create them. The only reason I have an attritution is because I’ve heard it mutliple times. Ordinarily, when my brain files things, facts get disconnected from their source very quickly, so that even if I recall something, I’m hardpressed to remember who said it, where I learned it, etc. Unless it’s in the immediate aftermath. I find now that I’m in recovery, I’m filtering things through that lens, taking wisdom from one domain and applying another, namely, alcoholism and addiction.
Just the other night I was listening to a podcast by Daniel Vitalis where he contrasted celibacy and abstinence – celibacy being a willful decision on the part of an individual to sublimate the sexual energies in pursuit of a spiritual, artistic, or other goal; abstinence being more of a renunciation. So of course my mind substituted “sobriety” for celibacy and that’s how I made sense of the lesson. Certainly, when we’re talking about something as powerful as addiction, it makes more sense to re-channel or divert those energies than to try and suppress them! That’s why I’m not a very big fan of “one day at a time.” I like the whole idea of the daily reprieve and continual reliance on God, but I know in my own life, as long as I was not drinking a day at a time (which I’d done for 30 days here and there many times over the years – always proving to myself I wasn’t an alcoholic, LOL), I was a drinker not drinking. Only when I accepted that I’d had my last drink and that this was not just for today but FOREVER did I finally GRIEVE alcohol. While it was a long and not easy process, I came out of it a non-drinker.
I will have 11 months tomorrow (yay) and while I’ve enjoyed reading your blog (thank you so much for sharing your story), I’m just starting to engage now that I’ve emerged from my cocoon!
Yesterday I had such confusion thinking about the Drama Triangle and trying to figure out where I was and how it fit me (was I my own triangle?). Now I understand my confusion: after spending so many years drunk, I don’t know exactly who I am. Because of many unpleasant situations, including abuse, I avoided confrontation at all costs (victim?) Because of early experiences I was bound and determined that no one would control me again and that I was always right (persecutor?) And in the end I’ve managed to start purling myself back together (rescuer?). So basically, right now, I don’t know who I am, but I’m finding me and so far I like what I see. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Wow Lynn, I think youre really onto something here. That sounds like an exhausting existence. You must be relieved to step back from all that. Wow. Good job.
Lynn, THANK YOU!! You put into words the thoughts that have been whirling around in my head but have been unable to put into words ever since I read that blog. I’m all three too! I was thinking I too had to be just one or the other, but not so. You just made my day!! Thank you for sharing “your wisdom.” 🙂