Category Archives: Chemical Dependency

Facing Our Own Dishonesty

 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  — Prov. 25:11

Facing our own dishonesty can be daunting, but maintaining absolute honesty is a basic premise of our recovery program.  12 Step programs of recovery describe it as “rigorous” honesty.  Belief that we can be honest without a solid commitment simply won’t work.

The more we grow, the more we develop our ability to make one choice at a time, to experience one feeling at a time, to tell the truth one situation at a time.  We admit to ourselves when we feel guilty, angry, fearful, and resentful – the negative feelings that are difficult to face.  Being honest is how we finally come to know what used to baffle us about our addiction.  When we create a unity between honest feeling, honest thinking, and honest action, we find that we have become honest people.  Personal honesty is a gift for which I thank the Universe every day.


Advertisements

Fed Up With Perfectionism?

upside-down-proverb

 

“If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”  — G.K. Chesterton

Ever turn a proverb upside down?  In “Way of All Flesh” by Samuel Butler, Ernest was annoyed and surprised at his parents for wanting him to be more religious all his life, and when he did, they were still not satisfied. He said to himself that a prophet was not without honors save in his own country, but he had gotten into an odious habit of turning proverbs upside down, and it occurred to him that a country is sometimes not without honor save for its own prophet.

It helps sometimes, to see what happens.    Many of us are brought up to believe that we have to do, excel, finish first, get on the team, do a good job, see it through, get it done on time, say it right, get ahead, and on and on, better and better as we go.  Why?  Maybe that’s the way Dad did it; and Grandma did it and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.

And then, inevitably, we’d fail or fall. So we’d turn back on ourselves in shame, beat ourselves up, maybe turn to alcohol or drugs or some other addiction.  If we were failures in public, then many of us would make up our own private world where failure doesn’t exist.  In this little world fantasy ruled, and in fantasy there are only successes; everybody scores

But I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be so.  We can break the spell and stop beating ourselves, and get away from Father’s angry voice or that disappointed look on Mother’s face.  We can do things at our own speed, in our own unique way, on our own timeline, just for the joy of doing them.


You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Embracing the New ~ Imbolc

 

“An old error is always more popular than a new truth.” — German Proverb

The Wiccan celebration and ritual for Imbolc is fast approaching February 2nd. Imbolc brings the end of winter and of course a time of great change toward spring. Spring, even here in the desert southwest means new, rebirth, regeneration. I find that I often feel uncomfortable with the new because it causes me to reach out and expand my vision.  This may be painful and I don’t like the pain that comes with change.

My life at times is cozy and gives me a curious kind of comfort and reassurance.  When lonely or anxious or hopeless, I have at times turned toward unhealthy behaviors.  I am used to it and don’t need to do much to keep on going in the same old way.

Suddenly, I have seen the error of my ways.  Discovery, disgrace, legal issues, isolation, despair, the loss of a partner, the contempt of friends – all possible consequences of that cozy, complacent turn to my old behavior.  Yes, I may have awakened one day to find that my old behavior ruined my life!  This awareness has caused me to begin reaching out for the hard process of change.

Making difficult change is painful, but that pain is preferable to the agony caused by the inevitable outcome of unhealthy behaviors.


That’s Who I Used to Be

“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.”  –John Spalding

There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth.  I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged.  However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self.  I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.

A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!”  Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection.  I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.

If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come.  I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection.  There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!

The Power of Art

Mask of Domestic ViolenceThe Mask of Domestic Violence – By Artist, Christopher Eshenbaugh

 

Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world (our own), we see it multiplied.”  — Marcel Proust

 

I’ve been looking at the therapeutic nature of art to one’s recovery lately.  In our active addiction, we tended to have a single, narrow view of ourselves and the world we live in.  We thought that everyone was obsessed by using, fantasies and erotic images; we saw others perhaps as mere doubles of ourselves. 

One of the great joys I find in reading is the ability to enter other people’s lives.  We often come to know fictional characters even better than our friends because a novelist can give us the illusion of being all-powerful and all-knowing.  So we get a special “inside view,” and many people in books become familiar and very dear to us.

Reading can take us out of ourselves and expand our views of other people.  We learn that, indeed, “it takes all sorts to make up a community in this world of ours,” and our lives become less isolated through contact with others.  The power of art is to deepen and enrich this perception of ourselves in relationship to the world.  Through reading, watching plays and films, or exploring a painter’s world, we begin

Art is Meant to Disturb

Mask of Mental Illness 2

The Mask of Mental Illness – By Christopher Dale Eshenbaugh

I can see that my new life will be full of the unknown, but that is what can make it exciting and creative.

Many great artists were neglected or even abused during their lifetime because their work was considered too provocative.  Painters like Van Gogh, poets like Blake or Poe, and novelists like James Joyce were pushed out to the margins of society because their vision was too disturbing.

Most of us like a comfortable life, and those of us who are addicted to one high or another may not want to be troubled by new ways of seeing and imagining the world.  Yet, the day comes when our addiction no longer satisfies us and we begin to long for a new vision and version of our lives.  Art can help us in our recovery. 

Art allows us to change our way of looking and living, even if at first the change is disturbing.  Like artists, we can create new images and new patterns for our lives.  At first, it may be painful.  Old, comfortable habits die hard!  But, as we move forward, taking our little baby steps, by baby steps, we come to see that it’s exciting to be on the move and even at the frontier of new, creative endeavors.  Creativity, after all, comes from loving ourselves and others. 

Judgment Day

memlingjudgmentcentre

“I shall tell you a great secret, my friend.  Do not wait for the last judgment, it takes place every day.”  — Albert Camus

It is easy to hope that at some time in the future we may redeem ourselves by some great act of heroism or undergo a dramatic conversion of sorts.  But in the meantime, all too often, it’s business as usual.  Too easily we can become used to our unhealthy behaviors, denying that our acting-out has harmed anyone… except ourselves and those we love and who love and trust us.  Deep down we knew we were judging ourselves and being judged.  Now, each day, we can assess our actions and evaluate our behavior.  In this way, we learn how our behavior has affected every part of our lives and our relationships.

It is time to change.  The longer we wait, the more ingrained are our habits and ways of perceiving and deceiving.  If we live a lie, we will be judged accordingly, by ourselves and those close to us.  We can change and grow and move ahead into the openness and fullness of each new day.

Tears Dry On Their Own — Amy Winehouse

2341830437_e4fe5bc42f_b

All I can ever be to you is a darkness that we knew
And this regret I got accustomed to
Once it was so right
When we were at our height
Waiting for you in the hotel at night

I knew I hadn’t met my match
But every moment we could snatch
I don’t know why I got so attached

It’s my responsibility
You don’t owe nothing to me
But to walk away I have no capacity

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I don’t understand
Why do I stress a man
When there’s so many bigger things at hand

We could’ve never had it all
We had to hit a wall
So this is inevitable withdrawal

Even if I stop wanting you
And perspective pushes true
I’ll be some next man’s other man soon

I cannot play myself again
Should just be my own best friend
Not fuck myself in the head with stupid men

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

So we are history
Your shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
In this blue shade
My tears dry on their own

I wish I could say no regrets
And no emotional debt
‘Cause as we kiss goodbye the sun sets

So we are history
A shadow covers me
The sky above ablaze
That only lovers see

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I’m grown
And in your way
My blue shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry on their own

He walks away the sun goes down
He takes the day but I am grown
And in your way
My deep shade
My tears dry

— Amy Winehouse

Death in the Abstract

figure-deatth-abstract1

“It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”   — Woody Allen

Even after a recent near death experience, I tend to think of death in the abstract, as a fact rather than a reality.  I know that everything passes and that we are bound to die, but I rarely allow myself to accept the reality of dying and being dead. 

Is this my way as well as that of others who refuse this fact our way of avoiding the reality of death?  It may be that we can only think of more worldly, mortal acts as a new beginning, a false sense of perpetual renewal, even a kind of rebirth.  Especially in fantasy and maybe even in our relationships, we are always “falling in love” all over again.  Always young, always beginning again, always keeping our options open.  Never settling into the contentment of a commitment. 

As we begin to mature and develop through our efforts of personal growth, we can learn to integrate our thinking and feelings about death into our daily lives.  We can sense death as an integral part of life, and not just as an abstract finality.  This can become part of our process of learning to experience reality in all its stunning diversity.  Life can become more precious as we realize that we must leave it.