Tag Archives: group

Telling My Story

Standard

I shared my story tonight,
was witnessed by my recovery family
as I told the tale of the last
two and a half years of my life.
There were moments where
I thought I might not make it through,
so overcome was I by emotion.
But I breathed, I paced myself,
I spoke through the emotions,
I let my family see me.
Afterwards, these beloveds gave me hugs.
they told me they were proud of me,
of how far I had come.
They told me they were inspired by my story,
my willingness to be vulnerable,
to speak my truth, to be seen so deeply.
Life is a mystery;
it can only be understood looking backwards.
As I look back on the last two years,
I can see that the worst day of my life
was the greatest gift—
of freedom, of authenticity,
of finding my true power,
and expressing it out in this world.

The Last Day of February

Standard

The blossoming always comes at the perfect time.

Patience, and trust that the blossoming will occur in the perfect time, space and sequence.

I decided in January that I would be exploring the Twelve Steps in some form during the twelve months that I have committed to daily posts.  Today is the last day of February, the second month, so it only seems fitting that I wrap up with some work on the second step. I wrote a good bit of this post a week ago, but never got around to polishing it to my liking.  Hopefully today I can post writing that is enough in congruence with what I’m feeling that it rings with authenticity, if not for everyone else, then at least for myself.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every  meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
-from http://www.aa.org

February 20, 2014

Nearing the end of February, and I find myself wanting to reflect more and more on the second step of the Twelve Steps. Tonight I spent some time researching Rageaholics Anonymous. I even found a phone meet-up and wondered if I would have the courage to join in on one of the conference calls.  There don’t seem to be any meetings in Baltimore; I would prefer to meet face to face with people, but I suppose a conference call is better than doing nothing at all.

My therapist suggested that I find an AA meeting in town.  Without too much effort I could present myself as an alcoholic, he suggested, and then I would gain admission to the group.  He cautioned me that if I tried to join saying that I’m actually a rageaholic but that I want to be part of a group, they  might not let me in.

Sure, I could present myself as an alcoholic.  I have turned to drink many times when I felt sad, or angry, or uptight.  I relied on drinking when I felt nervous in a social setting and wanted to “take the edge off.”  I have been so drunk that my body began to violently reject what I had poured into it, in an effort to save itself from being poisoned, evidence of its impulse to survive at all costs.  I have driven when I certainly shouldn’t have, and was lucky enough to not hurt anyone or myself.  I have allowed drinking to cloud my mind so that I wouldn’t experience true connection with my family or myself.  Sure, I could pass for an alcoholic.  Because I might actually be an alcoholic.  It doesn’t really matter that I haven’t had a drink since last August and that I haven’t missed it much at all.  The truth is, I have engaged in many addictive behaviors in my lifetime, the consequences of which I am not the least bit proud.  I want to explore these behaviors in the context of an established system that has proven results, if one is willing to do what needs to be done.  I think I am.

It would be nice to join a group.  I think in the end what I’m really looking for is connection, for support, a sense of being a part of something, being included.  Could I find this connection with myself, support myself, include myself?  I think I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I were already capable of such self-honoring.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

February 28, 2014

It’s the last day of February and I’m exhausted from four sleepless nights in a row.  The Wellbutrin is having its way with me. I’m not supposed to be looking for an improvement in my mood before two weeks have passed, and this is the minimum window of time in which one can expect for the drug to take effect.  And there is the painful irony:  I’m taking this medicine with hopes of someday feeling better, but while waiting for that to happen, I’m being deprived of rest, of respite from my neurotic mind. I feel myself slipping into a downward spiral of impatience, resentment, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness, sheer exhaustion, and I’m just feeling a whole lot worse.  It isn’t supposed to be like this, is it?

And yet, I am a mother.  I must be there to take care of my kids, to provide for their needs.  I’m getting caught up in my thoughts, and my son or daughter is whimpering, calling out.  They’re getting fussy with one another.  My son resists having his diaper changed and gets poop all over his hands, his legs.  My daughter doesn’t go willingly to the bathroom on her own; she needs to be coaxed, offered incentives.  Making lunch seems like a huge, nearly insurmountable task, all I want to do is lie down, rest, and let someone else be the mother.

But I push through, and inside, I am screaming.  My son scampers out of the room and starts pulling things off of bookshelves, out of drawers.  He does this while I’m trying to help my daughter with a puzzle that is probably too complex for her.  I dash after the boy to clean up the messes he has made, to avoid the worsening of the messes–and my daughter cries out in frustration because she has reached an impasse and needs my help.  I am running back and forth, from room to room, the house is in disarray.  I want rest. Inside I am screaming.

It is 1:41pm, and the kids are in their rooms for nap time. I take a deep breath.  I’m looking forward to teaching restorative yoga tonight; it might be the only moment today in which I experience peace, centeredness, stillness.  I take another deep breath, peace is now. Only now.

The second step reads:

I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore my life to sanity.

As I look back on what I’ve experienced the past two months, and as I look forward into the third month and the third step, I feel pretty complete in this moment, as far as my step work goes.  I don’t have a group or a sponsor, but I do believe that a power greater than myself can restore my life to sanity.  Maybe the higher power is God, maybe it’s Wellbutrin, who knows?  All that is really important here is my belief.

And I do believe.

Therapeutic Sharing

Standard

I saw my therapist today. It’s something I do every week, unless it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, or his three week summer vacation. I mentioned before that my decision to see a therapist regularly is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life. I’m grateful for the safe space therapy provides, so that I may explore my life in a non-judgmental way, to be curious, to laugh about my neuroses, to hear feedback from someone who has been doing this for decades. I really look forward to therapy; it’s time to be myself, to not have to take care of anyone else. It’s a breathing space. It’s a time to rest. Even if I’m feeling emotionally charged and I begin to cry, there is still something so restful about just sitting there, sharing what’s on my mind, and being heard.

Today I brought up my blog and the direction I decided to take with the Twelve Steps. I heard myself saying, “I won’t have a sponsor, and I won’t attend group meetings, but I’ll work through these steps.” And then I thought, Well, why shouldn’t I attend meetings? Why shouldn’t I have a sponsor? 

Am I afraid of going through with it all the way? I have been telling myself that my Twelve Step work isn’t the same as the person who is recovering from alcohol addiction, or the one who is trying to stop sticking themselves with needles. My work isn’t the same as someone who is addicted to sex or binge eating or…is that true?

My therapist said, We all have our addictions.

I found out recently that people do in fact attend Twelve Step meetings for dealing with anger, which kind of blew me away, because I always thought the Twelve Steps mainly revolved around people recovering from substance abuse, and then perhaps sexual addictions, and addictions to food.  But anger?   My therapist related to me an anecdote of a guy who described his fits of rage as mood altering, like any drug–and I was struck by the truth of it. When I get to the point where I’m feeling put upon over and over and over again, and that feeling accumulates and then resentment consumes me and I explode… just after that explosion, I’m not feeling put upon any more. I’m feeling really charged up, really on fire, full of energy, but I’m not feeling put upon. After I explode, my mood has been altered, like it would be altered on alcohol or pot or a whole bar of chocolate. Okay, maybe not in the exact same way as alcohol or pot or chocolate, but it has been changed in some way.

So today I’m thinking I might try to find a Twelve Step group near me. I don’t know if I will find one that deals specifically with anger, but maybe I’ll find a welcoming space where people are working through their own addictions and I’ll be able join with my energy and intentions. I’m starting to see that being a part of a group is a big deal in this whole Twelve Step process. I thought that I would sort of just tra-la-la through a year of the Twelve Steps in my own mind, on this blog, with anyone in cyber space who wanted to comment–but having real person to person contact, hearing other people’s stories, and experiencing the collective energy of people who are doing this tried and true work together–I suspect that I might experience greater transformation this way.

I haven’t addressed my readers before, because I thought this was going to be a project just for myself (and I kind of assumed that no one would be reading anyway)…but as time goes on, I get surprised by people liking, commenting, and even following this blog. Which means I have a few readers out there, which means a whole lot to me. So I guess I’m going to address you now. Have any of you been to Twelve Step groups before? Have any of you worked through all of the Twelve Steps? What is the greatest benefit of attending regular group meetings?

My therapist said that my idea to work through the Twelve Steps made a lot of sense. It came out of left field one day, which makes me think that something greater than my every day behaviors was calling to me to give this a try. And I’m listening now. Now, who wants to share?

 

They Don’t Want Me

Standard

The Friday before last, one of my yoga teacher colleagues came to my restorative yoga class. I’ve known her for a number of years, and I was really happy to see her there. She is a mom too, and I congratulated her for making it out of the house and giving herself time to practice. In that open, relaxed, trusting mental  space that always happens post yoga class, I told her I needed to be more proactive about finding friends and connecting with people, that I can’t just expect a friend to show up at my doorstep saying, “Here I am, I’ll be your friend!” I shared with her how isolated I’ve been feeling, and how difficult is has been for me to connect with new friends.

She suggested that I join her and a small group of yoga teachers who meet weekly on Monday afternoons.  They convene at somebody’s house, and they chat, usually for an hour or two.  She named the members of the group–all of whom I know, all of whom are really great people with whom I’d love to spend some time–and she added, “It’s so nice to have some adult interaction for a while!”  I couldn’t agree more. I was drawn to accept her invitation with a great, enthusiastic “YES!”, but then I suddenly felt hesitant.  I asked my colleague if she needed to get permission from the group before inviting me along, and she shook her head saying, “No, it’s fine.”

Boy, was I excited! Finally, a group of friends, yoga teacher friends–who meet regularly–was going to be mine. I could count on seeing them every week. Even if I didn’t have any other friends, I could count on seeing this group of friends, every week. A week isn’t too long to wait to see friends, so no matter how many challenges I could have in a week, I could look forward to meeting with this group of yoga teacher friends, and pour my heart out to them every Monday. I pictured all the fun I was going to have getting out of the house and having adult interaction with some regularity.

Monday rolled around, and I felt even more excited! Yay! Today is the day I will become a part of a group of consciously evolving women! Today I will be welcomed into a circle of caring, compassionate soul seekers. Today, I will have some friends.

After teaching my morning class, I texted my colleague, “Hey there! Can you tell me where the group is meeting today, and at what time?”  I waited a moment. No answer. I called my husband to let him know I was on my way home, and found out that he had scheduled an oil change for that afternoon. “Oh, but I’m going to meet up with the yoga teacher group this afternoon. Can you shift the time of the oil change?”

“That’s fine,” he told me, “But I need to know now so that I can reschedule the appointment.” I got it,  he needed to know right now.  He didn’t want to wait in limbo. He wanted to plan the rest of the day.

But I still hadn’t received a text response from my colleague, so I got a little more persistent. I called her, and left a voicemail message. No answer. This is curious. Finally, a text came back–not telling me the time or the place, but letting me know that she hates to do this, but because the girls are sharing a lot of personal stuff, she feels a need to ask permission before bringing anyone else into the group, so could we wait a week?

Disappointment. But I understand. I told her that it’s fine, just please let me know.

I waited all that day for an answer, wondering, hoping that she had told the group about me and that they had enthusiastically agreed to welcome me into their ranks. Because I’m a nice person. And they all know me. And I know them.

The next morning, I could wait no longer, so I once again texted my colleague, “Hey there, I was just wondering if you had spoken with the group and what the response was. I feel like a kid trying out for a team and really trying hard to make it on.”

Nothing. No response. Not that day, or the next day, or the next. Four days later, she texted me apologizing for taking forever, but letting me know that one of the members of the group is really opposed to opening it to new members, because she is going through some major life changes. So the two of us could meet, or we could start another group.

Heart sinking. More disappointment. I’m not going to give up so easily.

I responded saying,

Thanks for getting back to me. Oh darn. I wonder if she could be reassured that I keep everything in confidence and completely respect the privacy of the group? That I am going through major life changes myself and am wanting communion? The day and time work for me in my extremely busy schedule with two kids, husband, and seven yoga classes.  I don’t want you to feel caught in the middle, but maybe she could be encouraged to give me a chance? Especially if the other members of the group are willing to have me along. I have felt so isolated and have had much difficulty in finding female companionship. Maybe she could be assured that I will respect her privacy, and could even be of support through these changes. I appreciate your letting me know. I can only imagine that this has put you in a sticky spot. I would love to be given a chance. Could you let her know that I don’t take confidences lightly and am yearning for connection with other consciously evolving souls? Thank you again for being in touch.

And she texted back with, I will do my best! 

That was Friday.

Tonight is Sunday. They’ll meet again tomorrow. I’ve pretty much given up hope that come tomorrow, the member of the group who is opposed to letting me in, will be convinced that I’m someone she wants around. I wish I didn’t know who the group members are, because I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to figure out who it is exactly that doesn’t want me included. And the hurt from being excluded…so heavy, and painful…the disappointment at thinking that I was going to have a reliable source of friendship, and then having the invitation to join retracted as suddenly as it was offered.

The pain at trying to prove that I’m worthy of being given a chance.

The sadness at realizing that I really do have to work hard to find a friend.

And again, the loneliness. I know I’m a good, decent, kind person. I know I am worthy of friendship. I am worthy of having people close to me who care, who want me around, who call me and want to spend time with me. So why isn’t it happening? Why don’t I have friends?

Because, the inner critic says, They don’t want you.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe they don’t want me. And maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with me. But it doesn’t lessen the painful jolts of disappointment I feel every time I think of how close I got to sitting in a circle of women, just being myself…and then not being made welcome after all.