Wednesday, January 10, 2018
I finally discovered why I am sitting in this circle. I’ve known I was supposed to be here even before the first day. But I didn’t know why. To sit with interesting people discussing interesting topics to be sure. But that’s easy to know. The deeper reason had to sneak up on me. I wish I could remember the name of the man who spoke my words. He was sitting two from my right. I don’t even remember the context of why he used them, but when he said them they shot through me like an explosion. I am here to learn to trust men. I honestly didn’t know I needed to do that, but of course now that I have heard the words I know that they are true and I know why they are true.
This past year I have completed at long last, the task of mucking through my own personal cesspool - a history of abuse, incest, and giving over my power to men in most ways conceivable. I am finally in a good and calm place. I feel clean and content. It would stand to reason that after clearing my stage, there would then come a time to add the good that should have been there all along, but never was. How did I think I could skip that part? Silly me. And so I thank the gentleman two seats down for giving me my words of truth that I can finally hear. And I thank all the ladies and gentlemen of the circle for creating a space where I can learn to trust men. Whatever that means, for I do not know.
This was my medicine.
I have recently joined a co-ed process group. Our main focus so far is exploring the differences and similarities of women and men.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Thursday, November 30, 2017
I'm here at work on a Saturday getting caught up on some projects. Just me. All by myself. Me and this leftover cake from an office birthday party yesterday, which I avoided with grace and determination. And now here we are, the cake and I. I can see it from my cubicle. Did I mention it's my favorite? Chocolate on chocolate. It mocks me.
Friday, November 17, 2017
I feel like I won some kind of sick race yesterday. I was anxious most of the time. I think the people at work would be surprised to hear that. I present a constant calm demeanor. What I do instead is be an ultra efficient worker. If you could see my insides, you’d see a tightly twisted knot. I work as an administrative assistant with tons of projects into which I pour my anxious energy. It’s a definite win for my employers. (It’s a campus job which gives me great benefits - including cheap classes - and quick access to classes/library/etc) With a steady determination, I am working on more relaxation and body movement during the day which helps decrease the stress. I have slowly gotten better at getting away from my desk and taking small breaks. Sometimes, I even do some yoga stretches at my desk (seated). The effort and intention is there - the outcome is meager tending toward slow improvement.
I had been riding a sweet wave of general calm (for the most part) since starting my sobriety nine days ago. My old friend Anxious returned a couple of days ago - well, when I went to the addiction group. Correlation? You tell me. At any rate, yesterday was a slow building wave away from calm. It’s hard for me to describe what it feels like. Mostly, I try to avoid feeling it all together because it is so unpleasant. There is no peace to be found there. It’s scratchy, and physically painful, and in it’s more intense times it feels like I’m coming out of my skin. And at it’s worse times, it feels like impending death. It makes no sense whatsoever. It is a state of nonsense. The only thing that seems to make sense is to stop it at any costs. And for me, that’s food. It’s the weirdest thing. Later, if I analyze it, I would have to be honest and say that eating toxic food doesn’t fix anything and has only made things worse - much worse. But in the moment, it feels like bliss. All the scratchy pain is abated for a brief moment and it all seems so very worth it. And that, in a nutshell, is what keeps me in my addictive cycle.
For some reason this silly Day Count has been my life preserver. Layers perhaps - of not wanting to tell Sandy (or blog) that I had to start over back to day one again, sheer determination knowing what the alternative looks like, and just plain not wanting to mess up my calendar with a lot of scratch offs - have kept me sober. It makes no sense, but it has gotten me to day nine so how can I argue logic?
Driving home after work is the worst. Once I’m home I won’t go back out again to get harmful foods (I don’t have any at home - or I would eat them). And at work I’m too busy being uber productive (I take good food to work so I’m set there). Ah, but the ride home is a potential minefield. I laugh at the way my brain/ego works. As I’m driving, all of a sudden, I get this crazy craving for fast food french fries. Do I like fast food french fries? No! I almost never eat fast food. Though I grew up on the stuff and ate it for most of my life, I have spent about the past decade or so really changing my eating patterns for the better. What you see here is the tail end of a long journey. It’s one reason I know what I am allergic to. I have had many good health practitioners along the way teach me and heal me. This addiction piece is the next step of this journey of mine to a healthy lifestyle.
But back to the fries. Technically, I can eat potatoes. It’s so funny that my brain/ego comes up with the least healthy thing that would surely leave me with a greasy gut bomb, but would not require me to have to restart my day count (which it knows I’m not going to do!). What a negotiating wizard is my brain/ego! I have to give it points for that. Somehow, I got past the fast food danger zone and made it home where I ate my apples slices and almond butter while watching my Korean drama. It was good and I felt content.
Having this communication and reading your experiences are helping me out immensely. The daily reprieve is what it’s about, for we just do today, and sometimes just this moment. Like when you’re driving home and you can feel the unrest, you acknowledged it and realized what was happening. This is always the right time to ask your higher power for strength to make a good choice and to feel at peace. Simple, but it also takes awareness and buckets of humility and trust. Your success is joyful to watch! :)______________________________
Yikes! Why do I always forget to ask for help from my etheric helpers. They are there waiting and willing at all times. They will not intercede without an invitation from me because they are respectful to my wishes and consent. I’m going to post a big sign in my car to help get me through the fast food gauntlet - “SUSAN, HAVE YOU ASKED FOR HELP YET?”
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
I have had acne since I was a teenager. Every year I would think, “This is when I finally outgrow my acne”. But no, and at age 56, seemingly never. I now know that this is caused by Leaky Gut Syndrome. But for most of my life it has been a mystery. As a nurse, I know that it means that the body isn’t releasing toxins properly and/or there are too many toxins for the body to handle adequately so the body tries to release more of them through the skin. It’s a survival mechanism really. I assumed that’s what was going on, but I didn’t have a clue as to why I would have so many toxins, or how to fix it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve known about my dairy allergy since I was in my early 20s - though I didn’t understand how badly it was effecting me, just that I would get a stuffy nose and sore throat. And I’ve know about my gluten allergy for a decade or so. But again, I didn’t understand how really harmful it was to me. What I have recently learned is that antibiotic use (and other factors) can cause a highly toxic environment in the body. Consequently, I now understand why I have acne and will continue to do so as long as my body remains in that state.
For several years as a teenager, I took antibiotics daily for acne. It did nothing to clear my face in the long term. But that was the medical belief of the day and as I desperately wanted it to go away, I was a compliant patient and took the medication as ordered. Meanwhile, I never knew what it was doing to the good and important bacteria of my gut (antibiotics kills them off along with the bad bacteria). The medical world is just now understanding the importance of good gut flora. Do some research, if you are interested. For example, check out what they are discovering about the connection between the gut and the brain. Healthy gut is imperative!
I think I have been ill and getting progressively worse since that long course of antibiotics so many years ago. And of course I have used antibiotics since then without replenishing my gut flora, so it just adds fuel to my illness fire. I don’t remember a time when I have felt well. And I don’t remember a time when I have had clear skin. Until about two days ago when I started noticing a change. I happened to touch my face and froze. It was so smooth! I didn’t expect that to happen - though I should have. And I’m still amazed that it has happened so quickly as I’m only on day 8 of my sobriety.
Earlier this week, when I had a sense that my sobriety from toxic foods would change everything in my life, I wasn’t kidding!
Side Note: Let me put on my energy-medicine-practitioner hat for a moment and say that energetically, acne is about self hatred. And I had plenty of that. I now understand that it was rooted from my abuse history. As I have worked on healing over the years, the self hatred has abated. I know that my acne is healing from all the above. We cannot separate the energy from the physical. Physical follows energy. Move the energy and the rest will move.______________________________
Argh! Acne, the bane of my existence. Well, that and the extra weight. So glad you blogged about this, because it is an amazing side benefit. Your skin is happy, not having to try and get rid of toxins. What a nice thing you’re doing for it. I love the idea of mind body connection and it’s something you’ve been good at teaching me, along with loving my body more.
Monday, November 13, 2017
I went again to the addict’s support group tonight. My second time there and it was a whole new set of faces. All very nice and insightful. I had a fairly calm day but started to feel the anxiety rise in the afternoon. An anticipated response to going to the group? I have no idea. Sometimes I can figure out where my emotions are coming from. And sometimes I just can’t.
During the group, we did a 17 minute meditation. It was so unpleasant to quiety sit with my anxiety for that long. It eased a bit by the end, but never completely went away and never got comfortable. Yet, if truth be told, it felt like the right thing for me to do. Right place, right people, right reason. Yet, never comfortable.
Oddly enough, I didn’t speak to anyone. And I didn’t share during the meeting nor did I talk to anyone afterwards. These are typically not difficult things for me to do. And my old co-dependency ways of taking care of everyone but me, would have had me talking, even though I really didn’t want to. So, yeah for me. I was atypically silent. I fussed quietly in my own anxiety and cried as I walked to my car. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know.
17 minutes is a long time to meditate in a room full of strangers. How do you feel about the structure of the meeting? My favorite kind of meetings are those that stick as close to the original concepts of the 12 steps as possible. Do you think they do this, or is there a lot of veering off?
Some core things in a meeting are: a welcoming, a reading and a sharing opportunity, if you so choose. Also, there is little to no hierarchy. The person chairing is doing just that, nothing more. The term “Leading” a meeting is frowned upon.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable in a meeting, but I want to make sure your discomfort isn’t because of something to do with the format, or the way it is run. If it’s not, then you can focus on what is making you uncomfortable internally.
I hardly talked to anyone after the religious 12 step meetings I attended, for the first six months of working the program. Like you, I usually am trying to make everyone else around me okay. But, I wasn’t okay and needed the time and space to work through my pain. The meetings are anonymous for a variety of reasons and one of them is so that you can share as much or as little as is best for you.
May I suggest, part of your anxiety you were feeling is the energy of the other people in the room. Even though you were not “taking care” of everyone, your perception was still in play. There is a lot of pain there and it resonates with your own. Hence, fellowship. It is both a blessing and a little bit of a curse.
Good questions. I have meditated in groups of people I don’t know and that isn’t typically something that makes me feel uncomfortable. I think the real discomfort was me not being able to distract myself from my anxious feelings. I guess I don't know enough about the 12 steps to say if this group follows it closely or not. What I did like about the structure is that it is very clear and consistent. The facilitator is whomever wants to be it that day and reads from a written agenda that does not vary. This consistency is reassuring to me. And the words were well written and supportive. I didn’t disagree or feel uncomfortable with anything I heard read. They definitely have no hierarchy as stated clearly in the reading which works for me. As you know, I don’t do hierarchy. You can be a janitor or a CEO and I will treat you the same, and see you the same. The variation on how I will look at you is how you do your job, and are you kind and honest.
With that said, there was one thing that I was uncomfortable about. It stated clearing in the reading that we were not to comment on what other people said. Yet, there was one young man who did just that. I have facilitated many therapeutic groups and this rule, I have found, is paramount in creating a safe feeling within a group. People don’t tend to share completely or don’t talk at all, if they know that others are allowed to comment, critique, and generally tell you how to do your life better. So I was a bit horrified that this was not stopped and allowed to continue throughout the meeting. This young man followed up with his comments/suggestions after most of the shares. I think this was part of why I didn’t want to speak. I felt too vulnerable to be judged and told how to fix it. There was another man there who organizes these meetings. l liked his energy and his share - very insightful. Though he didn’t help facilitate the meeting he seemed like he was the one who should have stopped this behavior as soon as it happened the first time. Because the reader of the agenda is not trained in group facilitation, I would hope someone in the room would be and could step in if needed. Maybe he spoke to the young man afterwards to remind him of this important rule. I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see if this continues. I certainly won’t feel safe if it does.
Aha moment! From one empath to another! I forget that all I feel is not my own. Thank you for reminding me of that! I will watch for that in the future with this group. I have created a life for myself where I am mostly in safe places with people who don’t have a lot of drama or pain. But of course, that room was teaming with both. I’ll set up better energetic protections before the group meetings so what I feel is my own, and let the others deal with what is theirs. Thanks again Sandy for the reminder.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
An email from Sandy
You mentioned you felt better today. How is it going? I pulled a new card from the deck you gave me a while ago. I had the Perfection card on my desk for the whole summer. It was about reaching in and looking at my deepest fears. I think I've done that for a good amount of time and was ready for something new to think about.
From "The Power Deck:
by Lynn V. Andrews
Action takes courage. We often feel like fish out of water, separate and different from the world around us. Fish out of water can learn to swim in a new air of consciousness with a new purpose in life. Perhaps it is identification with objects and clinging to addictions that keep you feeling separate and keep you from finding the source of your power; not only dependence on drugs, sex, or alcohol but also addictions like fear of failure, the need for approval, or fear of desertion. Discover your own power and meaning by having the courage to give up your addictions. Then live your power with courage. Fish swimming out of water is a symbol of a transcendent spirit. Go beyond the boundaries of your ideas and imagination. Do not be limited by your belief systems.
That's what I'll have on my desk for awhile! Very interesting and I thought you'd like to read it too. My addiction is fear and holding onto old belief systems. Time for us to swim in new air, Susan!