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So…I have just read Adreienne’s post about letting go…and helps a little. She explores the confusion of what it means to let go, let God, to let go with love. But she also says a few other things I feel like responding to – I hope she doesn’t mind:)

Wasn’t I expected to solve my own and everyone else’s problems, have all the answers, and support the behavior patterns, no matter how destructive?  How could I keep my family together?

Yes I have felt like this  – the responsible one. So responsible in fact I have a history of exhausting myself and getting lost in that exhaustion. My care of self diminished. My love for others sees me so consumed loving them there is not much left for me. They say you should get back what you give, but when that doesn’t happen you know you are in a destructive place and something needs to be done. The serenity prayer helped me to come to terms with the need to have to courage to accept the things I could change, recognise those I could not and the wisdom to know the difference. I can not change the behaviour of others – I need only look at myself. So all that giving had to be turned back to me. I needed to solve my problems, find my answers, examine and adjust my behaviour patterns and if the family dymanics altered because of that then maybe that is the way it is meant to be.

…The answer lies not in letting go of people but in letting go of my outworn, painful thinking patterns.  I can replace them with honesty, openness and willingness to change into a more positive person.”

I let go of the belief that things could get better, than one day I would be heard, that one day I might even be asked, without judgement or argument, what it I that I wanted; that if and when I had the courage to say what I wanted I was actually going to be heard and respected. I had to realise that I was consumed by my thinking, my fears, my doubts, the distrust – and not co-existing with faith, openness, honesty, and love. When everything you think, say or do starts to be based on how the other might be thinking or feeling, you have given over too much of yourself – you live for them, not yourself. These are painful thinking patterns. They need to stop.

If we love someone and have made a conscious decision to keep that person in our lives it seems anti productive to “let go” of them.  Truly we don’t let go of love for them and most times not the person.  We come to understand that loving is more than what we understood love to be.  Loving is an action.  What we let go of is our limited understanding of what love is.  Love is not control.  Love is not fixing.  Have you ever been fixed? or controlled?  Do your emotions tell you this is a good thing?  This control is the theme of adolescence.  We know looking at the power struggle between parents and children that it doesn’t feel good on either end.  We let go of our children by allowing them to live their lives and love them more for it.  What we want that is most important is not most important to someone with an addiction. Their goal is different.  Their goal is to eliminate the pain either physically, mentally or emotionally, usually easiest things first. We all function that way.

What we want is most important. This is not most important to a person suffering and addiction problem.  – this goes both for the addict  and the one who loves them. The one who loves them must decide what is most important – for them. Loving ourselves is taking control for ourselves. This is letting go, with love. It is not easy – it creates a need for change – big change. It creates the need to look inside self and ask the question what do I want, what is good for me? It takes  courage to make a conscious decision to put self first when you tend naturally to want to help and love others – when you are raised to consider the thoughts and feelings of others before your own. You have to find the courage to relearn the meaning of the word selfish. If you do not put what is most important for you first you end up so ill that you are of now help to anyone. You need to reset your boundaries and start again. This takes stepping back, retreating. I means saying enuff. Leave me be. Let me rethink and refocus; I will leave loved ones to God, I have the courage to accept what I cannot change.

Letting go has made me look at my boundaries. Letting go gives me the space, courage and selfrespect to examine my boundaries and shore them up. It isn’t easy but one day at a time I am once again finding my lost self and strengthening those boundaries.

Honesty, openeness, trust, mutual respect. If I give these core values to others – I expect them back. I accept not everyone can do that – but I will find peaceful coexistence with those who can.

Care-giving or care-taking? It’s always better to give than to receive….

I sometimes wonder why – but I know why – it takes so much out of me to stand firm and say ‘I will not tolerate this’, and move on. If you have read previous posts you will see some of how I have struggled with this.

On numerous occasions in the last 12 months there have been times when maybe I should have put my foot down and had the hissy fit. Maybe I could learn something from my feisty eldest daughter – I don’t think she handles issues well sometimes but I have to admire her for fighting back and not submitting, caving in, giving up, giving way.

I had love, I had a dream, I had hope that things would work out. But I was confronted by the ‘cunning, baffling and powerful’ impact of a disease. My boundaries shifted to the point that I did not know where they were anymore.

Recently I came across this post on setting boundaries and it pretty much says all that needs to be said – it discusses the need, the fear, the difficulty or resetting those boundaries.

I had found myself once again buried by feelings of powerlessness, of being unheard, of not being nurtured – I was doing the nurturing. And the lesson I have not yet learned it seems is to nurture myself first.

I have learned something through all of this. Drinking can be an incredibly huge problem. It can lead to alcoholism and alcoholism comes in many forms. According to the definitions provided by AA and the AMA ‘It is characterized by continuous or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial .”

Denial is used here not only in the psychoanalytic sense of a single psychological defense mechanism disavowing the significance of events, but more broadly to include a range of psychological maneuvers designed to reduce awareness of the fact that alcohol use is the cause of an individual’s problems rather than a solution to those problems. Denial becomes an integral part of the disease and a major obstacle to recovery.

This denial does not only involve the sufferer, the one who drinks; it is also with those who they love. They struggle until they get to a point where they have to say enuff. The serenity prayer helps keep them focussed on looking after themselves.

by sdixclifford on Flikr

I keep telling myself – if I am not well I am no good to anyone.  I have a job and career I love. I have parents who need some of my time and attention. I have maturing daughters who still needs my emotional support and encouragement. I have to be well.

I took myself to Al Anon and have worked to embrace step one: Step 1 is “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

It was scary, but I did it. Now I am truly grateful that I did. I think I am still working on this step. But the fact I made a start has made a difference. Dealing with this disease is emotionally exhausting. Confronting denial is frightening and emotionally exhausting. I have had to make a stand and pull up. I have said enuff. I have now put in my boundaries, and need the strength to keep them in place. I am grateful to friends, family, counsellors and my Al anon sponsor for helping me to do this, for helping me to see I am no crazy.

For more information on how or if dis-ease of addiction if affecting you try these questions and ask yourself if you need to step back and look after yourself. Al-Anon or AA won’t give you all the answers, but it will give you the support and encouragement, the love and understanding you need. If you perhaps suffer an addictive disease yourself – look at the twenty questions from AA and in both cases, really challenge the denial. I believe the denial is the worst aspect of the dis-ease.

Is Al Anon for you.

Twenty Questions AA

May your Higher Power as you see him or her bless all those affected by the disease of alcoholism and give you the willingness, strength, courage and power to put yourself in their hands to overcome it.

Oh…and a twitter search for #AA and #alanon will lead you to some great recovery blogs:)

I sometimes wonder why – but I know why – it takes so much out of me to stand firm and say ‘I will not tolerate this’, and move on. On numerous occassions in the last 12 months – perhaps more if I was to get really tough, there have been times when maybe I should have put my foot down and had the hissy fit. Maybe I could learn something from my feisty eldest daughter – I don’t think she handles issues well sometimes but i have to admire her for fighting back and not submitting, caving in, giving up, giving way.

I had something, I had a dream, I had hope, I grasped true pure happiness, if only for a brief moment.

I loved the man of my  life in the last two years deeply. I would like to say it was unconditionally but I think that is the province of the children. I wanted to be able to do it unconditionally – but a little hurt grew and there was another hurt, and then another. I found myself once again buried by feelings of powerlessness, of being unheard, of not being free to be me or the person I can be. I wasn’t being nurtured – I was doing the nurturing . And the lesson I have not yet learned it seems is to nurture myself first.

I have learned something though – a lot. He is a good man, a wonderful person. He made me laugh. He showed me love. He was passionate. He is feeling remorse for deeds of the pass – suffering from them even. He could be firm and kind, even tolerant, just like me. But he suffered the problems of drinking and all that goes with it. Alcoholism – that insidious sneaky revolting affliction that is affecting so many people, so many lives, so many good things in the world. He has a real battle on his hands. I did what I could to help but I am drained.  Al Anon teaches that alcoholism is a family disease – they are right. It affects all of us, screws with our minds and lives. In order to get well we need to look after ourselves one day at a time. This is what I will do.

I have also learned that to stop drinking is not enough to deal with the issues of alcoholism – there is a whole lot more very painful work ahead for a recovering alcoholic. Not having a drink is just the first baby step – not the resolution. Letting go of someone going through such a struggle so you can stay well yourself  is damn hard – you have to be firm, even cold. You have to be consistent. You are not giving up on them but that’s what they think you are doing – they are selfish when you feel guilty and selfish yourself for saying I need to look after me.

I keep telling myself – if I am not well I am no good to anyone. I still have one child at home I am responsible for. I have a job and career I love. I have parents who need some of my time and attention. I have a maturing adult daughter who still needs my emotional support and encouragement. I have to be well. Hell I cannot even be a friend to my ex partner who is suffering from that insidious condition if I cannot be strong and firm.

God speed my love – give yourself up to your higher power – you will find a way, as I will.

When Jodie started talking about how good it would be to go on exchange last year I initially dismissed it as simply teenage wishful thinking. She knew I had been on exchange and I did take the opportunity to tell her of some of my experiences. The subject of exchange became something she started to talk about a lot, so I decided to see how serious she was. I said to her – if you are truly serious about this then do your research.

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The Stonewall has come down

I thought since some people have read the story about Miss A stonewalling me that it was worth writing about a young Miss A (now 18 and a half) showing much more maturity. In the 18 months she was living elsewhere she discovered life can be tough and getting what you want is difficult. She came back home to live about 6 weeks ago. Continue Reading »

IT finally happened!

I did it…thanks to my sis…I got to meet the almighty guru himself Craig Harper. (I will add a link later – for now this is my story!) Ok…so he made me laugh, almost made me cry…but has definitely got me back on track as I put my life on a hoist, poke it, prod it, and give it a nice old tune up…and now I have more fodder to blog about :)

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