Lots of good content in this week’s newsletter!
March 23, 2018
Congratulations RCA Whitefield, NH. The North Country has not been forgotten about – we now have eight new Recovery Warriors, from a variety of organizations, ready to serve and advocate for the North Country. Thank you for sharing your experiences and passions with me. You all truly are an inspiration. Have fun with your Hakka dancing.
Thank you co – trainer Chuck Wild.
I gave a presentation on Codependency to a small group last Saturday. The event was held in an elegantly appointed retreat house hidden away. From the back of the room, leaning across a granite countertop, eyes shining and fixed attentively, a man asked me how his sourness and disappointments of the past had so happily disappeared? I know a little of his story. He is a survivor of a fiery, crushing accident which caused the amputation of his legs as a child. He uses prosthetics to walk, remarkable to be sure, but his heart and mind have made the greater recovery. He didn’t disclose the nature of the disappointments mentioned above, but any poisonous resentment from the past appears long resolved. So, I answered his question. “Because of the hard, emotional work you have done, my friend.” He then asked, “Then why did it take so long?”
When Nothing Seems to Change
Although circumstances don’t always change, our attitude toward those situations can be modified. We can choose to have a positive perspective on a difficult situation. You can choose to move forward in bitterness, resentment, and negativity, or you can move forward in healing, health, and forgiveness, focused on the positive future rather than the dissatisfactions of the regretted past. Either way, you move forward. Be on guard though. Negativity lurks around every corner. Hopelessness hides in the shadows. The ever-present “never lies” are ready to make their case: “You’ll never make it, you’ll never get better, you’ll never succeed.”
How do I move forward?
The First Key – Acceptance
So many people kick against the past as though complaining loudly about personal history will bring resolution to the present problem. Step one in finding and maintaining peace is to accept what has happened to you or because of you. Then, use your limited supply of emotional energy and resources to create the future rather than foolishly fighting to fix the past. Finding the “right culprit” to blame is not a valid substitute for acceptance. Accept yourself and your situation honestly and begin making positive strides forward in faith and hope.
The Second Key – Attitude
Make a confident attitude and a strong character your goals. Resist the urge to try to change, fix, or control someone else. Limit yourself, examine your motives, and maintain your mood and disposition. Many people who are damaged by the past are more interested in controlling others than in controlling themselves. Refuse to let someone else’s treatment of you determine your mood. The negative situations or circumstances of the past do not control your future. You are always headed in the direction of what you think about and what you say. If you think and speak negatively, it will prevent your progress. However, if you think and speak optimistically, you will move in a positive direction.
The Third Key – Choices
Poor choices and flawed decisions have lasting consequences. The tainted food eaten yesterday may make you sick today and tomorrow. Understanding this principle will help you endure the inevitable outcome of another person’s imperfect choices. You can endlessly dwell on the dysfunctional, neglectful, and abusive treatment that you endured. You could complain about it until it ate at you like a cancer. You could let it ruin your day today, and every day we call tomorrow. But you won’t. You are making a better choice. You can use your optimistic attitude, mentioned above, to make positive choices to build a satisfying future. Increase your independence, get stronger, and expand your life. Be an initiator in your own life rather than a responder of someone else’s. I often tell people to do the thing they need to do. If you need to get a job, get a job. If you need to go back to school, go back to school. If you need to protect yourself, protect yourself. If you need to move forward from the wounds of the past, move forward. Or, get yourself strong enough to do the thing you need to do.
You Are Getting Stronger
This is so true in recovery. You may feel weak, inferior and incapable. The truth is you are getting stronger. You are getting strong enough to do the thing you need to do. You are getting strong enough to love yourself and resolve the wounds from long ago. You can take care of your needs and assert your own opinions. As you get healthier, you will stand up for what is right and be able to defend yourself. This will enable you to create the life you want and achieve the long-term recovery you deserve.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!
I sure do love this ❤️
“Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.
It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.
It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.
A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.
True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.
And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.
It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.
It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.
If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.
It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.
It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.
It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.”
-Brianna Wiest, in Thought Catalog