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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.

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.

Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Seeing it all clearly can allow you to understand the whole picture, and how you fit into it.

One Day at a Time – January 2, 2020

Hindsight is 20-20. Seeing something from a vantage point of knowing the outcome usually gives us insight we never would or could have had were we to access it during the moment. Life is a linear experience, usually, and as I saw somewhere, in life, you get the test, then the lesson. The benefit of getting the test and then the lesson is that it forces you to shift your perspective. Literally, you get to see the results of your test and how it applies to the lesson you were supposed to learn. In real life, changing your perspective is one of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox to effect the changes you need to make. Changing your perspective can help, it really really can.

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

If I were to sit down in a quiet corner and look back over my troubled life as though I were examining the life of someone else, or reading about it in a book, how would it appear to me? I know I can do this only by guarding against all self-justification; looking at the facts honestly. Have I said or done things in haste, anger or desperation that made my situation worse? Are there things I recall with regret? We learn only from experience, and only by making up our minds not to repeat past mistakes.

Today’s Reminder

I will not fall in with the alcoholic’s craving for punishment to relieve his guilt. I will not scold and weep, for it will not help me overcome the difficulties we are trapped in. I will try hard to deal with my day by day difficulties with quiet poise, remembering always that I am doing this for my own benefit.

Quote

“When I am tempted or pressured into irrational
behaviour, I pray that I may stop and think before
I do or say anything whatever. I ask God to
Remove these impulses and help me to grow into the
person I want to be.”

Alleged Insight

Oh man, where the hell to start? Look, I know this post is late, no excuses, it’s now January 31, 2019, and truthfully even when I thought to post, I was unable to.

Frozen in fear, paralyzed and over-analytical. Now it’s so far past the day that there’s no real chance to catch-up, yet here I am, trying again. That’s the take away from this. To sit back, attempt to understand, and then try again, and again.

Each morning that you awaken to a new day is another chance to choose the positive. I keep trying that. Life is BUSY. Kids are CHAOTIC. My world is literally running flat out most days.

As an example, right now I have the littlest two at home because they’re not old enough to go to school, the next two because they didn’t feel like participating in the extra-curricular activities that the school had planned for today (cross country skiing at +2 Celcius in sleet and slush mess. I can’t fault them for choosing to stay home and skip school today. Anyhow, from that aside, I have four kids at home, I’m clearing out to renovate a pair of the bedrooms, and dinner prep is starting right quick here. This is on top of the usual daily maintenance for seven people and their crap.

It’s not about the crazy however, and acknowledging the sense of failure as just the feelings that it is, shifting perspective can allow me to climb back on this horse and get moving again.

Closing Thoughts

Somewhere I read that the biggest saboteur of my own success is my own mind. I can run with my feelings, getting stuck in my own mental ruts, or I can jump the track, get a fresh perspective and get back to work.
My tentative goal is to push through a couple of simple, emotionally loaded posts per day until I catch up. If I can gain three or four in a week I’ll call it a success. In addition, there are other posts that are formulating, percolating and getting created as I work through my own crap, which will see daylight occasionally.

You can do this, and I believe I can as well. Cheers. Duke.

One Day At A Time In Al-Anon.

One Day At A Time In Al-Anon.

New year, new start, same program, same practices

One Day at a Time – January 1, 2020

New Year, New Hopes, New Plans… Same old tripwires and traps to keep me down. I will admit that I am the cause of my own downfall. It’s time to start again, each day a new beginning. One day at a time in Al-Anon, it’s more than just a title, and a little blue book; it’s an offer of hope, a promise of redemption and a path to salvation from the manic and damages of today’s world.

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

This year is a book of clean blank pages on which I will write a record of my experiences and my growth through the daily use of the Al-Anon idea. I turned to Al-Anon as a last resort because I was living with a problem that was too much for me. I know I can deal with this problem through applying Al-Anon to myself, to my thoughts and my actions, every day. If I allow myself to be influenced by what the alcoholic says and does, it will make blots and smears on the pates of my year. This I will try to avoid at all costs.

Today’s Reminder

I can live my life only one day at a time. Perhaps my confusion and despair are so great that I will have to take it one hour at a time, or one minute at a time, reminding myself constantly that I have authority over no life but my own.

Quote

“Realizing that nothing can hurt me while
I lean upon my Higher Power, I ask to be
guided through the hours and minutes of
each day. Let me remind myself to bring
every problem to Him for I know He will
show me the way I must go.”

Alleged Insight

Holy man this is a big scary concept. A new start for a full year’s worth of commitment to an ideal that I’ve not been able to hold for more than a day at most. Being able to stand aside and watch my life happen, responding with considered thought, letting go and letting God.

My life is insane. This year started by giving me a new exercise program, here’s the results after four days into it…

Cute hey? It’s now the 18th of January, so the intentional planning and tackling of a course of action, went wrong from the start. Admittedly, the storms that took out our power for more than two days gave a push to my falling off the wagon.

Naturally, there is something to take away from all this. That time without power, shoveling to get vehicles unstuck, melting snow to wash and bathe, cooking over the open flame of a barbeque, life was simpler; more physically demanding, but simpler. Asking God to keep my children safe while they’re on-line is challenging and ephemeral but asking Him to watch over them while they play in five foot deep snow is a different matter. When life is removed from the manic, and slows down to keeping warm, dry and fed until we can get back to the grind, it get’s easier.

Letting go and letting God was an activity in applied practice in that situation, and it worked. I could see how it was supposed to work, and it made sense. When you can’t change or control the outcome, worrying about it was just tiring, not helpful.

Closing Thoughts

Life, with faith, is better. Even if you don’t have Faith, just simple faith in the outcome of it all, letting go of that which you can’t change, and then addressing what you can do when you can get to it, (like now, this is January 1st’s post), it will be alright and things will work out.

Until next time,
Duke of Chaos.

Learn To Live Your Life By Living

Learn To Live Your Life By Living

Courage To Change – December 1, 2019

Me and my Beautiful Wife

There was a line from somewhere, I can’t remember where I heard it first. The wording was along the lines of “Life is not for the faint of heart. Live your life like you mean to do great things and when you’re done, you will have done great things. In essence, simply observing life isn’t the point. Record all the things you must by all means, but don’t forget to be involved in all the things as well. Life your life, and learn to live your life, by living it. This precious gift of today should not be taken for granted.

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,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 336 in “Courage to Change

Al-Anon was the first place I’d been in a long time where people invited me back even after listening to my woes. I’m so grateful that the did, because Al-Anon was my last hope – I thought that I would kill myself if I didn’t do something about the alcoholism in my home. Later, when members of the group asked me to make coffee, I was happy to do anything to repay them for their love; yet no payment was required. They loved me whether I was involved in a service or not, even when I couldn’t love myself.

Al-Anon is the only thing in my life that I’ve been dedicated to, the only thing I’ve ever felt consistently good at. As I do service work, I see myself accomplishing things, giving, receiving, growing. I see my progress as I learn to learn, and as the lessons become part of me, I take them into all areas of my life.

Today I like to think that I get to take an active part in the growth of Al-Anon through service. I’m not doing Al-Anon a favor, Al-Anon is doing me one. It actually thrills me to remember that. I’m allowed to take part! You let me!

Today’s reminder

Listening, hearing, thinking and reading about a spiritual awakening are fine, but if I really want this gift, there is something I can do about it: I can get involved.

Quote

“What we learn to do, we learn by doing.”

Aristotle

Alleged Insight:

It’s taken me the better part of twenty years to learn even the smallest portion of this lesson. I am a quite introspective person when left to my own devices. I do not, of my own accord, get out there and make a difference. Participating in my own life let alone other’s lives, is not something that even remotely crosses my intentional awareness.

But now I’ve this amazing family, with five vibrant children and a wife who is so very much ‘all that’ but can’t see it in herself, that I am required to up my game. Getting up every day and participating is no longer an option. I am required to take care of these people, they’re mine to care about.

Now, I came into this marriage with a huge pile of baggage, and had convinced myself that I had dealt with most of it.

I was wrong.

Not being triggered is not the same as being in good mental health.

I was a master at evasion; avoiding those things that were going to cause issues, were going to leave me an emotional wreck. This, while a valid coping technique, is not a good path to mental health. Constantly running away from what scares/bothers/upsets you just leaves you unable to cope with these things when you finally can’t get away anymore.

With the first boy born thirteen years ago, I found myself with a child and a wife in an emergency medical transport plane headed to a specialist hospital six hundred kilometers away from home. Things were getting really really real. I was their support. There was nobody else. I had to step up and perform.

That moment, watching the wings of the plane flex and shiver in the turbulent air as we hurtled towards Vancouver, I had a rather abrupt awakening. It was time to face the demons, time to start to be present in the life I’d been coasting through.

Up to now, I had been an observer (mostly) watching and avoiding. Not learning how to best handle the difficult things that were coming my way.

That boy was the first of five children with specific needs and issues that required a full time, fully involved father. I was not going to be the dad who brings home money, has selfish personal pursuits and never spends the time to connect with his children or wife.

Closing thoughts:

It’s been more than a decade since that first boy was born, and the roller coaster of life hasn’t stopped since. I am nowhere near the best version of myself that I could be, but by the grace of God, I am getting better, one day at a time.

Duke.

Wanna See God Laugh?

Wanna See God Laugh?

Courage To Change – November 18, 2019

Funny, six years on since I started periodically posting daily reflections on the Al-Anon material that keeps me sane[er than I am usually]. This week has been about as crazy as it could be without adding monkeys in diapers and maybe some live action garden gnomes. School schedules, extra-curricular activities, work schedules, volunteering schedules, my wife’s unpredictable on call schedules, and then to top it off we foster a 2-year old Shar Pei. She’s a precious little girl, but she’s not a large boisterous family type of dog so there’s a chance we need to find a better home for her than our place. We’ll see what can be done to better her lot in life, but that’s for tomorrow. I have a few moments here tonight and thought to do up today’s reading quick and simple. Then I read it; in depth, slowly. Man did it hit home. There is some deep truth to the Woody Allen line “Do you want to see God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

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,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 323 in “Courage to Change

To me, when the Second Step talks about being restored to sanity, it covers more than the ability to function responsibly and realistically. A sane way of life also includes the willingness to play, to take a break, to cultivate a hobby. I suppose I think of humor as an especially appealing hobby. It takes no special equipment, doesn’t require travel, and never falls out of fashion. When I have a good laugh, I know that my Higher Power is restoring some of my sanity.

If I can see nothing but my troubles, I am seeing with limited vision. Dwelling on these troubles allows them to control me. Of course, I need to do whatever footwork is required, but I also need to learn when to let go. When I take time to play, to laugh, and to enjoy, I am taking care of myself and giving my Higher Power some room to take care of the rest.

Today’s reminder

A good chuckle or an engrossing activity can lift my spirits and cleanse my mind. I will refresh myself by adding some lightness to this day.

Quote

“Now I look for humor in every situation, and my Higher Power is a laughing God

who reminds me not to take myself too seriously.“

As We Understood…

Alleged Insight:

Hello my friends. Today Monday, and what a Monday it was. See every second Monday is payroll Monday for me. What that means in real world effect is that I have a required six hours of active work every second Monday until I pass the torch to somebody else to process these beasts. That in itself is fine. Six hours in a single day, of office work, isn’t going to kill anybody.

That’s not how it went today however. Let’s start back at five AM when the Shar Pei we’re fostering went bonkers off the mat. She just started bristling and trying to find what was upsetting her (in a house full of sleeping children). So, rough, very abrupt and unsettling start to a Monday. Then there’s the usual bit where kids get up and head to school. Except the dog won’t let the children out of the hallway (yeah, behavioral issues are the first of many problems this little one actually faces). Next hurdle, the middle boy (of five kids) wakes up with a monster head cold. The two littlest ones are heading to daycare, an hour late when I finally get them all to where they need to be. And after planning a starting work time of 8:30, I sit down at almost 9:45.

As I am sitting down to the computer to start my solid six of processing, an emergency pops up and the project takes top billing this morning. Alright, it’s now eleven am, and I’m starting the usual work. By noon, I’d made up an hour’s worth of the time I’d already lost, and was looking to be finished for four without too much trouble.

Guess what? Yup, you got it in one. Schedule change, the kids piano lessons had been moved to today from Thursday last. From two-thirty to four is the three boys lessons in piano. Alright, so now I have until two-thirty to finish what should take until four. Headphones and driving beats you will be my savior.

Speaking of Saviour, that’s what came up on the random upbeat Spotify playlist that I plugged into. Needless to say, with God’s help, and some divine assistance in focusing, I rocked the end of today and we made it home in good form.

***EDIT***
Yep, God has laughed his metaphysical ass off today at our expense. Kids are nuts after the impromptu piano lesson changes; we get home and they’re off and fighting. I also hear that the quick trip to drop my sister-in -law back to her place is going to detour into visiting an old friend from college (for my wife) while I’m home with all the littles. That was fun. The two-year old had been up all day, and was CRANKY. The four-year old is his usual charismatic (manic) self, while the rest are all on edge because of the four legged time bomb in our midst. It was a hilarious evening, if you were to watch it on a sitcom; to live it however, not so fun.

Closing thoughts:

Today’s plans? The Winner? Duke of Chaos – 0, God laughing his ass off – Priceless. Hell, if you can’t laugh at yourself, call a true friend, they’ll laugh at you.

Sincerely, Dan.

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Courage To Change – November 16, 2019

Credit: Author.  Design prepared in Canva

In this messed up world of passing the buck, ducking the consequences, and instant gratification, whose responsible for anything? I get up in the morning to a chorus of wails and demands from my children. That is as it should be. I am responsible for their well-being, which starts with a warm dry safe house and breakfast in the morning. What I am not responsible for is the happiness of my neighbour who’s chronically grumpy and depressed. I can care about their problems and empathize, but at the end of the day it’s not my responsibility. Likewise, I’m not responsible for your happiness, only my own and my immediate family; my children and my wife. When it comes to who is responsible for anyone else’s happiness, surprise! It boils down to your happiness, your responsibility.

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,

Today’s Reading

For a long time I tried to “Let go and let God,” but I couldn’t seem to do it. I needed to find a concrete way to let go. I heard someone share at a meeting that she pictured her loved ones on a beautiful ocean beach, basking in the light of a Higher Power.

Al-Anon has taught me to take what I like and leave the rest I couldn’t relate to the beach scene, but I did find comfort in the general idea. Once again, the experience, strength, and hope of another Al-Anon member let me to find my own, personalized answer. I now envision wrapping my loved ones in the kind of blanket that I think they’d like – a down comforter, an army blanket, a patchwork quilt – and gently handing them to my Higher Power.

I find it important to be very specific. After all, my fears and worries are specific.

With a clear picture of my loved ones in my Higher Power’s care, I am much more able truly to “Let go and let God.”

Today’s reminder

Today’s Reminder

When I’m anxious about other people, I need my higher power’s help. Fighting with fear often strengthens its hold over me. But turning my loved one’s over to God can free us all.

Quote

“‘Let go and let God’. . .

teaches us to release problems that trouble and confuse us,

because we are not able to solve them by ourselves.“

This is Al-Anon

Alleged Insight:

Let go and Let God?!?

Let me ask you something. Can you handle everything that everyone want’s all the time? Do you need to sleep, to take care of yourself? Do you have basic requirements that must be met?

Does anybody else hunt you down ans suggest that they’re responsible for your happiness and well-being?

If you’re in anything like my situation, then the answer is probably an emphatic “NO” right?

I can only barely let go and let God myself, in some small ways. Each of us has to find their own path through this morass of chaos that has often supplanted our lives. In my case, I have to do the mental image thing, realizing that God’s love is more like stage lights, each person on stage has their own set of lights, and of course each set of lights is specific to that person. I don’t have to be the ringmaster, highlighting people to help them and support them. God’s handling the stage lights, and those people will get their support not from me but from God.

This is warped, abrupt and kinda blunt, but such is the state of my mind. May God highlight you in your moment of need so that you have the support you need when you need it.

I have to get to work so until later, be blessed.

Closing thoughts:

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.

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Courage To Change – November 17, 2019

The thing about a program is that the end results are proven. Given a set of inputs and variables being held to be true, the outcome is never in question. Concerning recovery however, the above cannot be taken as given facts. The inputs (your effort in the endeavor), the variables (what you bring to the table and the damages your trying to overcome) and generally life as a whole, is not a set of defined variables and inputs. Frankly, life often sucks. Heck, sometimes it even feels like life is out to get you. [news flash: it’s not]. But the truth about life is that today is a new chance to find even more creative ways to spectacularly fail or fly. Which is it going to be today? Will you show up to the table and get to work or will you skip out and take the day off? The programs work, as long as you choose to come back, it works if you work it.

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. [this is not an affiliate link in any format, it’s just a link to the site where I would go and buy my books if I needed yet another set because mine are getting too worn out again.]

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.

Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash


Photo Credit: Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 322 in “Courage to Change

“Keep coming back” is a phrase we often hear in Al-Anon. Why is it so important? Because many of us have grown so hardened in our fights with alcoholics or flights form alcoholics that we literally found it difficult to sit still for the process of recovery. We had to have answers right away or take action right away. Yet we felt just enough relief at our first meeting to come back once more. And then again, and again. Slowly we learned to sit still, to listen, and to heal.

No matter how many years we’ve been practicing the Al-Anon program, we can use the reminder to keep coming back. Difficult times come and go, even after a long term Al-Anon recovery. With each new challenge, many of us still need reminding that “there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness to great to be lessened.”
Today’s reminder

If I feel discouraged today, I will turn to the basics of the Al-Anon program. I”ll get to a meeting, call my sponsor, go back to the First Step. One-Day-At-A-Time, if I keep coming back, I know my situation will improve.

Quote

“If I really want to learn how to fit easily and happily into my environment

and my relations with other people, Al-Anon has something for me.“

One Day at a time

Alleged Insight:

Oh goodness, the truth of this mantra. Heck, look below at the disclaimer, it’s part of why I do this each and every day, barring slips and missing days. Life is hard for the best of people some days, and I sure as hell ain’t one of the best of people. The cracks and blotches on my soul and spirit would drive many of my compatriots to the bottom of the abyss, but such is the life I have been living.

Seriously however, healing takes time, and intention. In order to get to that point, there are some hard choices to make, and some harder truths to accept, usually one’s we’ve been hiding from for too long because they’re going to hurt. Sitting still, supported by the company of others in the same program, maybe then we can start to understand what hides behind the black spots in our souls.

The first trick however is to learn to sit your own self down and stop reacting out of a desperate need to control and fix things. I am probably the worst person I know of to just react. I try to fix things instantly; keep the peace and restore the calm. I’m not very good at it. Like, I really suck at it most times. I’m not complaining however, just trying to highlight that if you keep working towards the goal, every little step you take, and every effort no matter how small, is going to help you get to where you’re going. Good luck out there Charlie, it’s a mean world, but it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Keep on keeping on..

Closing thoughts:

No matter your situation, if you’re broken, regardless of how, there’s a group of people looking for you so they can help you, and you in turn can help them. Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics, Gamblers, you name it and there will be a support group for you. If your significant other is the one, then there’s a group for you as well. Sitting in a therapists chair, while it does have a valid place in recovery of some sorts, rarely helps in this arena. Trust me, I’ve been there. Therapists are talented people with good souls for the most part, but with this, a leader is more what’s needed than a counselor.

Take care of yourself. I’ll be here if you need to talk, just drop me a line.

Duke.

It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

Courage To Change — November 15, 2019

Today’s reading will run counter to most self-help information in today’s world. At least, counter to most advice that’s not genuinely useful and productive. See, most of the time, the suggestion is to look after your own needs first, and then take care of others. It can be summed up as ‘look out for number 1’ physically, mentally, emotionally. To some degree this is a good approach, but I wonder if it’s being taken too far sometimes. When I was just starting out in recovery, even before I met my wife and started this circus called a family (no negativity intended, it’s just crazy around here on a regular basis), I was trying to take care of myself and my needs in this process. I learned that it was okay to put my needs before others, but I took it too far. I went all the way to the other end of the spectrum, and when I got there and did some work on me, it turned out my ego is a problem. In fact, it was so much of a problem that I had to swing full span back to the other end before even starting to understand that there was a middle ground where people could exist.

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.

So onward to Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 320 in “Courage to Change

I used to feel very hurt if anyone gave me an angry look, spoke in a harsh tone, or didn’t speak at all. I’ve grown up enough in Al-Anon to realize that the look, tone, or mood of another person toward me often has nothing to do with me. It generally has more to do with what is going on inside the other person.

So why do my feelings still get hurt? It occurs to me that extreme sensitivity is a form of conceit – I think I am the focus of everyone’s actions. Am I so important that everything that goes on around me must have something to do with me? I suspect that attitude reflects my vanity instead of reality. And vanity is simply a defect of character that I am working on changing.

With Al-Anon’s help, my sensitivity to all that happens around me has greatly lessened. I try to ask myself, “How important is it?” When I do carry the hurt, it only hurts and controls me.

Today’s reminder

Other people are important to me, and sometimes their opinions matter, but I may be taking something personally that has nothing to do with me. Having opinions of my own about myself lets me accept other people’s thoughts without being controlled by them.

Quote

“It was through going to meetings and the daily readings of Al-Anon literature that I awakened to the fact that what other people did and said reflected on them; what I did and said reflected on me.””

Living with Sobriety

Alleged Insight:

If there is one over-riding compulsion that I have to work against in my everyday life, this is it. I have so many examples to choose from, but those are not entirely my story to share, as others are involved. Suffice it to say that I have a problem in taking upon myself other’s feelings and then run with them. If they are upset and anxious, I become anxious and upset. If they’re grumpy guess who gets grumpy? It’s maddening to know this is happening, it’s challenging as hell to do anything about it. I am feeling crazy right now, and it’s a bleed-over effect from the slightly manic and anxious feelings my wife was having getting out this morning. I’ve made her feelings my own and now I’m damned near out of control.

It’s hard living this way. I often need to get away. But I haven’t been away and alone for some me time in so long that I can’t remember anything but this chaos I am living in. Unless two minutes in the bathroom counts as ME time, then I am always on deck. Working, fathering, social engagements, volunteering, never a moment of down-time. Hell, as I type this, the 2 yr old is melting down, the four-year old is screaming in the back of the house, and my school-aged kids are generally just not doing anything unless they get directly confronted about their lack of activity.

I have been up since about seven ( a late start for me ), but it’s been a constant grind all morning. On a bright note, I managed to get a shower, with only four interruptions during the five minutes I was in the shower. I suppose that’s a good thing right? Almost spoiled, a full shower with only a few interruptions.

How to change gears? Mindfulness? Gratefulness? Living with intention?? Cognitive Behavioral focus? What will work?

Let Go and Let God is the starting point here I think. Now, having rambled this much to the detriment of my family situation, it’s time to get back to work. My five minutes of recovery work (not nearly enough today) is done and it’s time to go break up the fights again.

Closing thoughts:

Recovery is not for the faint of heart. Parenting is not for the meek. Life is what you make of it, and at the moment, I am feeling like making (and then eating) all the cookies.

We will eventually be alright, but for now, it’s a matter of trying to start at the edge of the mess and see if we can’t create a beachhead against the tide of chaos and mess that has been winning since day one.

Take care out there, and I’ll pray you make it back.

Duke.