Author: DukeOfChaos

I am Nothing and Everything I Shall Remain.

I am Nothing and Everything I Shall Remain.

I am nothing before YOUPhoto Credit – Wealthy Affiliate – Pixabay Public Domain

Depression is real, I suffer from it. Daily. I have real problem with getting stuck in my own head. I circle around the thought that I am worth nothing, nobody will ever love me, that I will be nothing to anybody forever, and that the world would be better off without me.

I’ve been there. More than once. Tried it a couple times. The most recent real attempt was about 15 years ago. I’ve been pushed and broken since then, tempted, but not followed through. Satan lost that battle. I know that God’s will triumphs over all. I should have died. I should be dead long since save for the hand of God. Goodness, the 200-foot fall in an ’84 Mustang should have done it. The two bottles of sedatives and three liters of whiskey should have done it. Both times there was no reason for me to have survived, save for His saving grace.

Food and Music, my drugs of choice these days. I do eat too much to kill my feelings; and music can bring me down, or lift me up; it can drive me wild into a rage, or sooth my soul.

What do you do when you know these things are true? When the world seems determined to wipe your gains from existence but His Grace allows you to keep on keeping on? Some days it’s a matter of going through the motions even though you’re barely holding it together, and the urge to smash your coffee against the wall and break down into tears is more powerful than gravity itself.

I am sitting alone in a house full of sleeping kids, my wife is off to the gym for her daily dose of endorphins (I wish I could do the same, but it’s not in the stars).

The biggest aspect of getting through today, a Thursday which will be hard enough to survive (yeah, there’s a couple big items I have to face head on today that are going to SUCK), is to just pull up my big boy pants and put a smile on and get back to work as it were.

I want to shift to a new career, where the finance thing is more of a back burner hobby type of option and the actual ‘live on it’ money is coming in from a different source that doesn’t queue up a whole raft of anxiety and other personal issues.

The thing is, I need to remove my SELF from the equation, I am here to represent Him and to do His bidding. What this means in non-religious speak to those of you who don’t believe as I do, is that you need to get out of your own head to survive the onslaught of apathy and ennui that is triggered by today’s world and today’s not world (social media anyone?).

In a simple example, to be happy in today’s world requires you to think of yourself less, and think of others and situations more. See, focusing on the things that are missing for you, while allowing you to focus, won’t give you the range scope or utilities to do anything about what’s missing.

If you focus on your empty plate, you won’t see the garden that’s teeming with food but for some basic weeding and harvesting needed.


I’ve rambled sideways enough, it’s time to get back to being dad. Kids need up, I have work to get to, and things are going to be rough today. Pray for me will you?

Duke.

I Am Not In Control, I Hope God Is.

I Am Not In Control, I Hope God Is.

Courage To Change – September 16, 2020

There’s a meme somewhere that asks “Do you ever wonder if you’re in season five of the episodes of your life, and the writers/directors are just tossing in random crazy stuff to keep the audience interested?” Life goes like that sometimes. It really really does. My life, if you read the previous two posts, is really not good of late. Too much stress, too much pain, not enough connection and self-love, all in all, it’s a damned mess. Emphasis on the Damned part if we’re asking about my feelings on this matter. But today’s reading brought tears to my eyes and a whisper of hope to my bleeding heart. I am not in control. I am powerless over the outcome of my actions and how other’s may respond to them. I can try (or not) to make choices for good (or reactively destroy everything) but ultimately the results of those choices are out of my hands. My actions are mine, their results I can be held responsible for, true, but what actually happens is beyond my control. A benign example if you will. I am heading out to get firewood here shortly (in a day or two), and will be cutting down standing dead trees that need to come down, for the purpose of turning them into firewood. I can scout the trees, choose how and where to cut at what angles and use all my skill to try to have the tree fall in the right spot, but ultimately when it’s starts to fall, the results of all my actions to this point are out of my hands. The tree will now fall where and how it wants to based on more factors than I can control. Life is also like that I suppose. My actions, my choices, my decisions, my responsibility. But in the end, I am not in control, I truly hope God is.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

So onward to Today’s Reading

Normally I’d have a picture of today’s text here for your edification, but I am sorry, I don’t have that picture available for today’s reading. You’ll have to pick up a copy of the book for yourself.

___

In the fact of seemingly impossible problems, it is easy to believe that our most negative thoughts reflect the truth. They plead the worst case scenario in a very convincing way, until it almost seems frivolous to consider a positive outcome. Yet the loudest voice is not necessarily the truest.

No matter how insistent a feeling may be, it is just a feeling, not a prophecy. We don’t get to know today what will happen tomorrow. Counting on any particular outcome can lead to disappointment, but sometimes it helps to remember that a positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one.

We are powerless over the results of our actions. We can try to make wise choices [I fail so hard at this one] today, but what will happen in the future is out of our hands. Since we can’t know what to expect, why not trust that a Higher Power can use whatever happens to further our growth?

Today’s reminder

Today I will place the future in my Higher Power’s hands. I trust that by turning it over, it can be used for my good.

'This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.'  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Alleged Insight:

Truthfully, there’s not much more to add that I haven’t already said in the title and first paragraph above. It’s out of my hands, and I am tired. See I have this little girl, and she fell asleep at about 8:30 last night, but then woke up at around 12:45 am here on me. I spent the next hour after that trying to settle her back down. Thus by 2:00 am, she’s sound asleep on the couch and I am wide awake. So I thought to sit and read today’s reading. God’s plan for me? My actions and choices? I don’t know. All I really know is that today I have the reading inside of me now and this post has been done, and I have some solid insight on things that means I stand a better chance of getting through today without it going so horribly wrong like it has in the past few days.

I’ll leave you with this and try to get back to sleep for the three hours I have until the boys need to be up for school.

Duke.

Nothing Is Good Or Bad,It’s Thinking That Makes It So

Nothing Is Good Or Bad,It’s Thinking That Makes It So

Courage To Change – September 15, 2020

How often have I been told, gaslighted by people in my past, by the line that it’s all in my head. The truth is that they were 100% correct, just not in the way they think. It’s not so much that I was making it all up and (my estranged ex) was blameless in the entire situation. The truth is that what goes on between my ears is 100% in my head. My interpretation of the situation, impetus, or issue, is 100% on me, and nobody else. If I am hurt by a statement or an action, that does not make such a thing itself wrong or bad, and/or make it good. What matters at this point is more accurately how I receive and interpret that input. The title above, a quote, has never been more true than it is for me now. “Nothing is either good or bad. It’s thinking that makes it so.”

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,


So onward to Today’s Reading


Night after sleepless night, I tossed and turned and worried. Why couldn’t I sleep? What was the matter with me? My life was stressful, but no more so than usual. I’d tried hot milk, reading in bed, soft music, even a visit to the doctor, but still I couldn’t get more than a few hours sleep. I was in a panic!

I spoke about my concerns in an Al-Anon meeting, and another member related a similar problem. What had helped him was to accept the situation fully and admit that he was powerless to make himself sleep. In retrospect, he said, his sleeplessness has been a blessing; it had kept him too tired to get into trouble.

I realized the same was true for me. Instead of worrying compulsively about a loved one’s sobriety, watchful and nosy despite many attempts to mind my own business, lately I’ve been too tired to be overly involved in anything that wasn’t my concern. I had often prayed to be released from my obsessive worry, and now in an unexpected way, my prayers seem to have been answered.

Today’s reminder

My Higher Power’s gifts sometimes take unusual forms. Perhaps something I regard as a problem is really a form of assistance.

“Nothing is either good or bad. It’s thinking that makes it so.”

Benjamin Franklin

Alleged Insight:

It’s been a bad few days. I won’t even begin to try to explain it but it’s been bad. Things are worse than they have been in a long time. How is this a gift from my Higher Power? What’s God got in mind for this man’s future? I have a wife who needs all of my everything, but is willing to compromise on, consider or give back absolutely nothing to me. She’s been burned too often, and is overwhelmed and burnt out to the point where she has nothing left to give. That this always happens when I am approaching rock bottom emotionally myself is a hard truth to accept.

What do you do when you’re at your breaking point, and everybody you can lean on is approaching critical failure? Parenting is like this. I guess the simple answer is that when there’s no option to get away, to break down, we don’t have that option. I am living proof of the fact that good intentions aren’t reality. I broke. When there was nowhere else to go, I became the worst possible version of myself, it was bad, really bad

My father’s worst problems reared their ugly head in my self. I’m not sure that some things I broke can be fixed anymore from this time. At some point I do too much damage, all for want of feeling loved and validated rather than dismissed and invalidated.

There is a lesson here, and I can probably pontificate on what it should be, but truth is that I am in a monumental amount of pain in my heart and soul; pain which doesnt even being to touch the level of damage I likely did to those I thought I loved. How could I do that to them? I don’t know anymore. These are the truthful words of a broken man staring at the wreckage of his life wondering how to go on.

Closing thoughts:

The demons of our past don’t ever leave us, they just hide and wait until we’re so close to breaking, then they give us the slightest push to make sure we do ourselves in. We need to start talking about this crap, or our kids will have to fight our demons. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to leave my demons for my children. I am afraid that in the case of the older ones, I might be too late.


Duke.


Wherefore Art Thou Hope And Joy?

Wherefore Art Thou Hope And Joy?

Courage To Change – September 14, 2020

What’s it like to fight the darkness each and every moment of each and every day? Anxiety is one of the side effects of what I am going through in my life and in my head. While there are many who undoubtedly have it so much worse than I do, I am facing my own demons today and it makes seeing other’s pain and trials a little challenging. Is there a secret key to unlocking that sacred path that is so very hidden from my sight? What was I trying to say? Right, how do you find the hope of a better tomorrow, where do I look for the joy that used to be in every moment. How do I escape the feeling of constant threat. Wherefore art thou hope and joy?

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,


So onward to Today’s Reading


Living with alcoholism taught me that it was best not to hope for anything. The lessons were too painful — I would get excited about something, only to have my hopes shattered. As time passed and hope diminished, I fell deeper into despair. Eventually I shut down my feelings and refused to care or to hope for anything at all.

Through Al-Anon’s twelve Steps, I am discovering a spiritually that allows me to believe that there is every reason to hope. With my Higher Power’s help, regardless of my circumstances, I can feel fully alive in the moment and enjoy this feeling. The painful lessons of a lifetime are not unlearned overnight, but Al-Anon is helping me to learn that it is safe to feel, to hope, even to dream.

Today’s reminder

It’s risky to care — I may be disappointed. But in trying to protect myself from the pain, I could cut myself off from the many delights that life has to offer. I will live more fully today.

“Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Samuel Ullman

Alleged Insight:

Oh God, what would you have me do?

Do I stay or do I go now? The joy is gone, replaced by constant anxiety and fear. The rage took over yesterday, and nothing survived, again. I can see my part in the problems that are happening, but what do I do about the things I have no control over?

In truth, I suppose that is the answer to the question, framed in the question already. I have no control over the things over which I have no control. I know that I can’t change others feelings or moods, that to try to derail a series of events, to try to control the outcome of anything but my own actions is pointless. I know this in my head. But my heart is so very much more powerful than my mind on a good many occasions.

I get so wrapped up and messed up in my own head, with the what if’s and unsaid words that are blindingly important to me but of no concern to others, I need to get rid of myself in the equation. I know this, but the question becomes and has always been “How?!?!?!”

What’s the answer to that question. How do I do it? How do I not follow others down their paths when I know that it is toxic to me and my mental health.

I think it’s time to go do some reading, since I only just re-located the Al-Anon Forums that I used to haunt.

https://alanon.activeboard.com/

Closing thoughts:

Yesterday I saw my father rage out of my house, scaring my family. He died in 2003. I have become him after a fashion.

I am starting to feel that there is no redemption for myself in this mess, I start to feel that I can’t be helped and that I will never be any better than I am.

I know in my heart, (and my one remaining close friend who still talks to me confirms it) that this isn’t true, but oh my Lord, it’s so hard in the moment to look to You and not question your plans. As temporary and feeble as my life is, it is still unbelievably hard to put faith in your plans for me. Please help me to have faith and trust in your plan My Lord.

And for everybody reading this, sorry if the twist offends you, but I am who I am, fallible and frail though I might be. If you can’t sanction talk of Him or Her, then my posts aren’t likely to be a flavour you like. Until next time, God bless you.

Duke.


My Actions Define Me and My Whole Family

My Actions Define Me and My Whole Family

One Day At A Time – August 19, 2020

Photo by Heshan Perera on Unsplash

I am the father of six children, five at home, and the husband of an amazing woman who does more than I can even imagine. I don’t deserve the riches I have been gifted by God. I am however, prone to failure as all men are. I get upset, I vent and rage on occasion. When hurt deeply I have in the past reacted by lashing out. All of these reactions are a short-cut emotional response where I didn’t take the time to respond as I should have. There are a great many things that I still need to work on not bringing forward with me to the current situation. Patterns of behavior are the hardest damned thing to change. Opinions, feelings, emotions; with intentional concentration I can sometimes manage to put myself apart from those, to respond rather than react. But I am still left with my actions, my patterns of behavior.

All the good intentions in the world don’t make any difference if I am still reacting and doing in the manner that damages those around me. My actions, not my intentions, define me and set the tone for my whole family.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links.

Picture by Author of daily reading

Photo by Author of page from today’s reading in the book Al-Anon One Day At A Time

So- The Text of Today’s Reading

My attitude toward another — whether drinking or not — can have untold influence on the life of my family. Perhaps, through long drinking years, I acquired the habit of tearing him down, showing my contempt for his actions, indignation at the neglect of obligations. I am responsible for the consequences of such attitudes. Even a little understanding and compassion will show us that our behavior is ego-destroying, and the ego of the drinker is already painfully battered by guilt and fear.

Today’s reminder

I never want to forget that my spouse, with whatever faults he or she may have, is a child of God, and is therefore entitled to my respect and consideration. I will guard against assuming the role of judge and punisher, for I cannot destroy another person without inflicting great damage on myself.

“It is easy, terribly easy, to shake a man’s faith in himself.

To take advantage of that to break a man’s spirit, is devil’s work.”

(G.B Shaw: Candida)

Alleged Insight:

A sign of maturity is that you can accept into yourself ownership of your own stupid and hurtful behaviours and decisions. Blaming others for your failings never works in the long run, and the consequences are usually toxic at best. What’s more, if I am to blame others for my choices and behaviours, what does that say about me? Alternatively, if I lash out at others because of my own emotional responses to stimuli outside of me, that also indicates that I am not mature enough to respond rather than reacting to a situation.

Having said all that, emotions are powerful things, and one of our main goals in life is to become more emotionally stable and strong (at least one of mine is), so learning to walk a better path of progress is not the same as having arrived. I still fail and fall, and for that I often and profusely apologize to those I hurt or frighten. I miss the mark more often than I mange to hit it. I am just really starting out on this path of mine. It’s going to be a long haul, and I can be kind enough to myself to be understanding, rather than harmful in my treatment of myself in this situation.

I do hope that made sense. I am trying to express what is only barely understood by me at this point. Oddly enough, by the time I can express it clearly, I’ll likely not even think about it happening, much like breathing, it becomes part of what I am doing right, so I’ll shift to another problem area and focus on that.

Take care of yourself, be kind to others and self, and remember, you’re basically a houseplant with complicated emotions; drink lots of water, get quality sunlight, and nap often.

Duke.



Yesterday Is Gone, Embrace Today’s Beauty

Yesterday Is Gone, Embrace Today’s Beauty

Courage To Change – August 18, 2020

Like this rose on the railway track, the horror of a moment is but a fleeting point in time. We can be all consumed by its fragrance, it’s perfect obsession, but to dwell there is not living. Living, one day, one hour, one moment at a time means that the moment becomes the past, and we grow into the future. To treasure that past, sorrows or joys, to cling to it, robs you of the moment’s that you are living in now.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,


So onward to Today’s Reading

Some of us had a long list of grievances against the alcoholic, especially while the drinking was still active. The worse possible thing we can do is to remember them, dwell on them, and polish up our halos of martyrdom. The very best we can do is to erase them from memory, so each new day becomes an opportunity to make things better.

It is not my assignment to keep an inventory of my spouse’s faults and misbehavior. My task is to watch for my own and root them out, so that what I say and do will help make things better for me and for my family.

Today’s reminder

Storing up grievances is more than a waste of time; it’s a waste of life that could be lived to greater satisfaction. If I keep a record of oppression and indignities, I am restoring them to painful reality.

I’ve found they’re surprisingly easy to forget, once I start using the A-Anon program each day.

“The horror of that moment,” the King said,

“I shall never, never forget.”

“You will, thought,” said the Queen, “if you don’t make a memorandum of it.”

–(Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass)

Alleged Insight:

So much to say, so little coherence. I am bad for holding onto the hurts, of waiting for others to realize the depth of the damage they caused, and expecting them to make amends because they’re good people who want me to be happy. How narcissistic is that of me?

There’s a meme that I need to go find… Ah, here it is…

Can I even begin to explain how hard it is to do this, especially for in introverted empathetic over-thinker?

I think, without dragging anymore maudlin introspection and self-pity into this, that I need to go do some work on me in this regard.

So without further ado, I am off to go and do some fearless moral inventory type work. I leave you with God’s blessing and all my best wishes.

Cheers.

Duke.

Starting over is Cathartic

Starting over is Cathartic

Courage To Change – August 17, 2020

Fall down seven times, get up eight. That’s a line that I read somewhere, probably a Chinese philosophy book when I was looking into Karate. The lesson is on point however. In recovery, it’s not a straight line. Hell, it’s not even a twisted continuous line. My recovery looks like a dotted line with gaps and page changes and wholesale plot jumps in it. But the best part about a path of recovery is that no matter how many times we get derailed, each day is a new chance to start again and try to do better than the day before. Each time you start over, you get a chance to transcend your past mistakes. Starting over is cathartic

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,


So onward to Today’s Reading

We sometimes forget what a painful experience it was to come to our first Al-Anon meeting. Remember the whirling thoughts, the fears, the uncertainty? Uneasy questions came crowding into our minds: “Is it the right thing to do?” — “What will she say if she finds out?” — “Am I disgracing my family by admitting that —– drinks too much?” — “What if somebody tells I was there

Then we were reassured to discover that Al-Anon has a protective cloak of anonymity for us. Every member understands that no word of the proceedings must ever go beyond the meeting room, and especially that no names should ever be mentioned.

Today’s reminder

The newcomer to Al-Anon immediately feels comforted and safe when he learns that he can talk freely without fear of having anything repeated. We owe him this assurance. We are committed to it by our own Traditions, as well as by our personal need for protection against careless gossip.

I will remind myself daily that I must guard against revealing anything concerning Al-Anon or an AA member.

Tradition Twelve: Anonymity is the

spiritual foundation of all our

Traditions, ever reminding us to

place principles above personalities.

Alleged Insight:

To walk into a meeting again, for the first time. To know that you’re going to face those individuals who have already heard it from you before.

Just knowing they know, is so intimidating. So scary. But in these meetings, in these circles of support, starting over is merely that. No judgment, no shame, no guidelines to meet aside from being supportive and maintaining the anonymity throughout. Starting over, accepting my past, my mistakes, and generally not giving me too hard a time about it allows me to get on with the ‘taking action’ stage of recovery.

Wallowing in the self-flagellation stage never helped anybody. I don’t know about you, but passing through the self-criticism stage is like a fire swamp with hidden quicksand pits that I have to pass through while blindfolded in a heavy fog. Knowing that the only one keeping me from getting through it is me (My own worst enemy), perversely helps me to pass through this stage and learn from it.

Closing thoughts:

When I fall, the biggest issue I used to have to face was getting back up. Over time the getting up part was easy enough, but I kept repeating the old patterns. The important part became learning from my past mistakes, and then Starting Over with a new game plan.

P.S. We need to start talking about this crap, or our kids will have to fight our demons. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to leave my demons for my children. Duke.


No Matter Where You Run To, There You Are.

No Matter Where You Run To, There You Are.

One Day at A Time – August 1, 2020

So, tried running away lately? I used to hear the old jokes from my father, ‘Running away? Here, let me pack you a lunch so you don’t get hungry and come home too soon.” It’s no secret that much of today’s world is a mess, and our lives are often doubly so. Trying to get away from it all is a fantasy, as noted below, but the truth is that we often just want to ‘run away from it all’ at least I know I sure do. However, having traversed the country at a formative age, and picked up and moved out (ran away) more than a couple times, I can with all authority state that I took all the things I wanted to get away from, with me. It is true that no matter where you run to, there you are.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links.


So onward to Today’s Reading

Perhaps many of us have had the thought, at one time and another, “Oh, if I could only run away from all this and start all over again.”

We think a fresh beginning would solve everything; that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes again, and so we’d have a chance to be happy.

Of course, we know that this is a childish fantasy. The very idea that we can entertain such a notion should make us a little doubtful of our maturity. For we know perfectly well — admit it or not — that we’d be taking our troubles with us. We can’t run away from ourselves.

Isn’t this clear proof that many of our troubles are self-created — many of our personal agonies self-inflicted.

Today’s reminder

A big step toward maturing is to realize that I cannot change conditions by running away from them. I can only change my point of view about them and their relation to me – and this can be done only by changing myself.

“Little by little I can change my world — not by escaping to a new one with the same old me, but by making a new me out of the old one.”

Alleged Insight:

So, my worst enemy is my own self. This post is literally seventeen days late, and with kids and life, it’s been a challenge to say the least. I have a great many things to get done today, and this post started four days ago when I was already starting to be overwhelmed.

In truth, owning the chaotically littered mayhem of my life is the first step towards realizing that I cannot change my external world and expect to have my internal self change for the better.

Closing thoughts:

Life’s a dance that we learn as we go. (yeah, I stole that from a song, here)

I cannot dance, but just because I can’t, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. So here’s to the dance. Try not to trip over your own feet.

P.S. We need to start talking about this crap, or our kids will have to fight our demons. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to leave my demons for my children. Duke.


Expectations Are What Leads To Misery

Expectations Are What Leads To Misery


You can’t control others, so having a set of expectations on them can only end in disappointment, usually.

One Day at a Time – January 3, 2020

Responsibilities, obligations and expectations are at the heart of my emotional Gordian knot concerning recovery and mental health. In truth the readings help, but they often act as more of a touchstone that allows me to start thinking. Today’s reading is a good example of this. The reading is an example and a summary of Loving Detachment. However, in recreating this reading, the idea that comes to the fore is that my mental mess is all centered around my expectations about other’s actions. In short, my expectations are what leads to misery, not somebody else’s actions.

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled “One Day At a Time In Al-Anon” available from Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local meeting. If you’re an introvert then go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the daily text from many good books can be found HERE, if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Today’s Reading

Why do I waste my precious time and energy trying to figure out what makes an alcoholic drink – why he doesn’t ‘consider his family, his obligations, his reputation? All I need to know is that he sufferers from a disease – alcoholism, the compulsion to drink. Why shouldn’t I have compassion for him and his illness when I am so ready to feel sorry fro people who have other diseases? Do I blame THEM? Why do I blame HIM? Can I cure him by reproaching him? Can I look into his heart and realize the true nature of his sufferings?

Today’s Reminder

The fact that I am the spouse, child, parent, or friend of an alcoholic does not give me the right to try to control him. I can only make the situation worse by treating him like an irresponsible naughty child.

Quote

“On this day I promise God and myself that
I will let go of the problem which is
destroying my peace of mind. I pray for
detachment from the situation, but not
from the suffering drinker who many be
helped to find the way to sobriety through
the change in my attitude and the love and
compassion I am able to express.”

Alleged Insight

What I get from this is probably not the thing I was supposed to understand. On the surface, this reading is about not trying to fix others, to control their recovery and ultimately to let go and let God. The whole of the reading can be summarized by the concept of Loving Detachment .

However, in reading and thinking my way through this one today, all I am getting out of it is our roles and obligations and the expectations we have of other people and their actions is where the disconnect comes from. In truth I am having a rough day today, and part of it is related to this expectation mindset. The rest is quite simply an issue of stress and deadlines from work.

Closing Thoughts

The only one you can truly directly affect in this world is yourself. Your actions may indirectly (or directly in some cases of physical contact) impact another individual but at the root of the issue, they choose their responses (intentionally or subconsciously) to your actions and choices.

I wonder who is completely able to function at this level, aware of their every choice to respond each situation rather than operating at a reactive level.

Today is hard, but typing this has helped. It’s only a month late so I guess I’m not losing ground as fast as I thought I was. Until the next post, and take care of yourself out there.

Duke.

What in God’s Name is Loving Detachment?

What in God’s Name is Loving Detachment?

Photo by Shaojie on Unsplash

Oh, there are so many definitions on the web of what loving detachment is. I first came across the idea when I really started to try to understand how to live in the same house as my father when I was older than young, but younger than old and he was still alive.

There were so many times that I just wanted to give up, to write off my father, and by extension my whole family, move back across the country and start over without all their drama and problems.

Guess what? I didn’t do that, although it came closer than I’d care to remember, more than a few times. Guess what else? I would have succeeded only in getting some personal space. His problems, their problems had become my problems. I didn’t know that at the time, but it was truer than true.

That is the doctrine of the alcoholic family. It was his drinking, but it was OUR problem by the end of it. The patterns we see as children, we tend to repeat as adults. In the alcoholic family, there is rage, temper, isolation, accusation, and all other manners of unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I learned them all, I was a good student.

Literal Definition:


Quite simply, and literally, Loving Detachment is the ability to care about someone, without being the one who cares for them. You are not responsible for the consequences of their actions. That’s it, as distilled as I can make it.

Example:

Leading or walking beside a partner? In loving detachment, you are walking with your significant other or partner; you can either be walking with them, or you can be leading your partner. If you’re leading, choosing, directing and guiding a person, you are not detached and supportive, you are controlling (or at least trying to control them).

Supporting child or doing it for them? Oh, parenting, almost as challenging as marrying an alcoholic, but the rewards are different. So, where does the loving detachment come in here? Children are naturally risk takers, and as parents we tend to defray those costs to our children. We literally keep them from harm, and shelter them from the consequences. But where does the point come at which it’s time for them to carry their own burdens? If I am waking my sixteen year old up every day and making his lunch, packing his books and chivying him into his seat at class, that’s probably too far, but to do so for my grade three boy? At some point we as parents have to come to the decision that our child is ready and it’s time to detach, with love, and let them carry their own books and schedules.

Application:


If you’re in a place where somebody else’s activities are affecting your ability to live your life. Well, then it’s time to step back, mentally that is. I know you that you still care for them, in my case Love is the correct term, but trying to disentangle your emotions and responses from those actions of your loved one is the key here. “Boundaries” is a great read and it was so very eye-opening when I was in that place when I needed to put up my walls. Still caring about a person while not totally taking care of them including their consequences, it’s tricky, really really a delicate situation. To find that balance between supporting and taking over, I’m still struggling with that one, but that’s the point you’re aiming for. Basically you’re going to try to put an over-watch on your own mind, keep vigil over your own self. I guess that’s at the core of this whole muddle, you need to look to your own self first, and have a second level care to what and how you’re thinking of all things.

In Conclusion?


The concepts in Al-Anon are big; bigger than big; and they can apply across your whole spectrum of life, not just in the recovery from Alcoholism frame of mind. Loving detachment is one such concept. To be supportive of a person means to lift them up. While the mess I so often find myself in is that of trying not to support a person but to save them from the consequences of their own actions. That’s the difference; supporting someone rather than protecting and saving them from the consequences of their actions.

I guess that’s about it. I’ll leave off and get back to the other things I am supposed to be doing today.

Duke.