Asking for help is difficult. It means swallowing our pride and admitting we cannot do it alone. There are many places to get help for the still sick and suffering. The most effective is the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I must be careful talking about that, because it is Anonymous. Although these days with social media and Facebook Group Pages, there is no longer much anonymity.
God was who I first asked for help. When I got sober in May 2006, I started in the basement by myself. I had detoxed off of pain meds and quit drinking along with other substances. I can honestly say God was with me the whole time, even though I felt like hell, I knew he was there. There is no way in hell I suffered through that agony alone. Alone in body, maybe, but not alone in spirit.
The second person I asked was my kids’ social worker at Bucks County Children and Youth. After the detox, I called the County and they got me in an outpatient group. I had one counseling session a week with a guy who never had a drug problem and was slightly condescending. Along with that, I had three outpatient groups a week.
And so it went. I would ask people for help at the group. The caseworker always picked up the phone when I called. For me to reach out my hand was difficult being a woman always hell bent on self-will.
Swallowing my selfish pride and asking for help was the best thing I could do for myself. There are many places to ask for help. Visit www.aa.org to get started and find a meeting.
Bridges. We build them. We burn them. We travel across them to new destinations and we let them carry us home. We stand on them to stare at the awesomeness of water or to watch fireworks in the sky. If we are superstitious, we hold our breath as we cross.
I love bridges. I love to look at them, travel across them, stand on them and take pictures of them. I’m not sure if there is any significance of bridges in my personal life. I tend to look at things in-depth and over-analyze everything.
I had a rough morning, and for some reason, bridges popped in my head. My desktop is a picture of a glorious black train bridge (aren’t most train bridges black?) printed in black and white. Sometimes I honestly just sit and stare at my desktop for a good three minutes.
So after bridges popped in my head, I started thinking about why bridges popped in my head. I had just spent the morning on the front step with my coffee and cigarettes watching about forty starlings communicate in their “squeaky swing” chirps and sounds and I thought about how they were behaving as a group. I had some old crackers so I crunched ’em up and scattered them on the ground.
Granted, before my time with the starlings, I had just had an argument with someone who insisted on bashing me. This took me back to my computer to look up the starling animal totem, which is relevant to working in groups of people (starlings are rarely alone) and I started to wonder what the heck bridges and starlings had to do with one another (in my mind).
And then, it clicked. “By learning starling’s behavior, I can live peacefully with my friends and family” is what it says on the totem site. Clearly, if I keep insisting on being right and dwelling on the problem instead of working in the solution, I will burn bridges. But my pride gets in the way and I stray away from the group (or person) because I’d rather sit in my crap than find a solution. Thankfully I can see this relatively close to when the situation arises, instead of further down the line after the damage has been done.
The other interesting thing is that I just started reading “Drop the Rock” which is a phenomenal book about working Steps Six and Seven. For those unfamiliar with AA literature:
Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.
Step Seven:Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings.
Now, we all have character defects, and most (if not all) of us like to hold on to many of them. I hold on to them more often than I think I want to. Which is why, when I am ready to have my defects removed, they will be, and not before. I pray every day for my defects to be removed. God, however, cannot live my life for me and I have this stinking thing called “free will” floating inside of me constantly. It takes awareness to be entirely ready to have my character defects removed.
I am now aware of the significance of the murmuration of starlings this morning. I have to think before I speak. As far as bridges go, I don’t have many left to burn.
Do you like bridges?
Do you have any character defects you don’t dig much?
Perspective. We all have our own. Some perspectives we learn over time while others we form on the drop of a dime. I have said, in earlier posts, that I find people fascinating. Their tastes, their mannerisms, and their idiosyncrasies. But what I am really into is their perspective.
For example: the glass to the left of this post. Half full? Half empty? Too much? Not enough? Do you even care?
I was at a meeting last night and at the end, we all went outside. A lot of us stand around and chitter chatter sometimes; getting to know each other and all that. I was talking to my old sponsor, and I spotted this huge bug on the wall to the right of me. It was huge and beautiful, from my perspective.
I started to ease my hand under the bug (my mother had shown me how to do this just this past weekend) and my old sponsor started to become uncomfortable.
“Please, Darlene. Don’t do that!” she begged me.
“Why? It’s a harmless bug. Look how cool he is,” I defended as I edged my hand under the left rear leg.
“Cool? It’s ugly and it will hurt you,” she said. I could hear her perspective from the fear in her voice.
I really wanted to hold this bug and get a better look at it. From my perspective it was just a bug; a misunderstood bug judged solely on appearance. My perspective saw beauty and uniqueness.
I decided to spare everyone (at this point more people were watching) the horror of me (gasp!) actually picking up a giant bug to revel in the beauty I saw in God’s little creature. My old sponsor relaxed and so did a few other people after I moved my hand away from the bug. I felt a little sad because I didn’t get to pick the bug up.
However, I am happy that I got to see it and that I didn’t cause mass hysteria! 😉
Life is all about perspective.
Have your perspectives ever changed? How do you feel about bugs?
Hey all.. I hope that you are all shiny and well and that you have been kicking major arse on whatever you got going on. I want to apologize for falling off the radar for the last couple months… it seems all writing and reading without working a solid program and keeping myself in a good place left me kind of angry and hostile.
But I am back. I just found a new sponsor last night.. I have seen her around for a little while and I really like what she has. I also discovered al-anon. I went to my first ever meeting of that sort Wednesday night and just… wow. It’s amazing the things we realize when we shut up and really listen.
So, here is what I discovered in the last couple months while adjusting to living life on life’s terms.
I have no control over anyone.
I can’t tell people what to do; I can make suggestions.
If something/someone makes me feel bad, I need to see my part in it FIRST, and then take action.
Seeing my part in all the stuff that has happened to me has really done wonders. At first, I blamed everyone for my life. Right down to my children! How crazy is that? When I realized that I have a part in how people treat me (how I let them treat me) and that I can stand up for myself…man, let me just say: HUGE EXHALE.
Children are innocent victims of their circumstances, but as we grow older there comes a point in which we become responsible for our lives….
Living Life on Life’s Terms: Life just keeps on happening. It doesn’t stop. There is no Pause or Rewind button. There is no: “wait, this can’t happen to me! I’m not ready!”
There are two choices: either change the circumstances or change the self. If we don’t change the self, chances are we’ll wind up back in similar circumstances.
Ah, the underdog. The person or being that has to go up against harsh odds to come out on top and prove to the world and himself that he is just as good as the top guns.
Remember Underdog the cartoon? He was a little geeky dog that sprung into action to help his love interest Polly Purebred when she victimized by the evil Riff Raff.
My favorite underdog of all time is Rocky. I am partial to the movie because it was filmed in my home town of Philadelphia, but more so I love when the underdog wins.
My top three Underdog Movies:
3. Braveheart – William Wallace goes on a tear of vengeance after the English kill his new wife. One of my votes for most violent movie of all time.
2. The Karate Kid – Here’s a movie that is the epitome of being the new kid in a town full of jerks. Daniel Larusso moves to a new town and has to put up with bullies. He meets Mr. Miyagi who makes Daniel do tons of tedious chores “wax on – wax off” that frustrate Daniel. All he wants to do is kick Pretty Boy Blondie’s ass. And he does.
1. Rocky – Of course Rocky! Sylvester Stallone is my hero in this for more than the obvious reasons. He wrote this screenplay and refused to let anyone play the lead in it except himself. How is that for balls? Rocky is just a regular Shmoe who goes up against Apollo Creed (Rocky was supposed to lose the fight). Rocky goes toe to toe for fifteen rounds with Apollo. This movie won three Oscars. Three!
Underdogs teach us that sometimes all we need is heart and determination to get through anything.
Do you recall a time in your life when you were an underdog? How about someone else?
“Time” is a wonderful song by Pink Floyd. It is Track Four on their 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. I was reading up on this as it is one of my all time favorite Pink Floyd songs. I learned that this song is the only song that credited to all four members of the band.
This song is about life. More so, about how we let it just pass us by without little thought until we wake up one day and look around and all we have is age.
“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking. racing around, to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older. Shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.” ~ Pink Floyd, TIME 1973.
This is one of the truest lines I have ever heard in a song.
We (most of us) go through life just existing. I am guilty of the same. I am no camel or llama on a hill that knows all. I speak from experience. Don’t we all?
Here are some “time” phrases:
“Only time will tell”
“Time is on my side”
“Give it time”
“One day at a time”
“Time is of the essence”
“Take your time”
Today, take some time for yourself and really get to know you.
How do we reinvent ourselves? We have to change things up. Reinventing means taking something old and making it different. We reinvent ourselves when we take a long hard look at what is going on in our life and figure out what is or is not working.
Maybe you have a bad attitude at work or maybe you wear the same damn type of clothes every single day or you read the same types of books all the time. CHANGE IT UP!
When we reinvent ourselves we are giving our self permission to step outside the box – that box of fuzzy blanket comfort – and recharge our batteries.
Maybe you had your eye on a new journal to write in that will bring forth ideas for that book you have been wanting to write or maybe there is a class that you have been wanting to take because you just know it will do you tons of ooey goodness.
I’ll tell you what. All the nerve I possess I can thank my Gram for. She never let me be a sissy and stay in the same humdrum routine when I was a little girl. She taught me that if I want anything to change I have to change it. I have to reinvent it. I reinvent myself each day when I try something new or put a positive spin on a negative situation.
You can do it too!
The Day’s Ponder: When was the last time you reinvented yourself? Write down three ways you can reinvent yourself.
Adversity: making or breaking people since the dawn of time.
How much have you overcome in your life? After you get to know someone and quit the sappy, chitter chatter of small talk, what do you tell them about yourself? Maybe you are fighting cancer, going through a nasty divorce, battling addiction or maybe you have inner demons you can’t quite figure out and you see a doctor to help you with those demons. None of this makes a bad person. It makes a human being and it makes you beautiful.
I try to put some of the adversity I have overcome into my writing. Truth is much more fascinating than fiction, no doubt. Some of the adversity I have put (or will put) into my writing:
Being a teen parent
An abusive marriage
Growing up poor
Isn’t it interesting that those tribulations we do overcome, that adversity, it makes us stronger and gives us layers. Imagine if everything went the way we wanted consistently… how freaking boring would that be?
Think about our writing, your writing. There is adversity in good writing. There is an obstacle to hurdle, a task to complete, a mystery to solve. A good story has a protagonist that must overcome adversity to get to the goal.