Tag Archives: Recovery

Humble Prayers For Help

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Help us, God,
help us to let go
and surrender into
your love.
Help this one,
this control freak,
to recognize
she has no control.
Let her breathe and relax.
Help this one,
this workaholic,
remember
that he will one day die.
Let him stop and be with his family.
Help this beautiful child
recognize her greatness
and help this precious one
value his many gifts.
Give us strength to become
all we were born to be.
Make us all new in your love.
Show us how to trust in you and your ways.
We’re tired of trying so hard
to figure this out.
We just want to know your rhythm,
your melody and harmony,
your accompaniment, chorus,
verse and refrain.
Thank you God
for helping us…again.

Everything Will Work Out

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Just get through today,
my recovery friends tell me.
Just get through the next hour,
the next minute.
I ask myself what got me here,
wondering how I’ll make it through
one more minute.
It’s a soul contract,
my spiritual buddies tell me.
You accomplished
everything you were meant to
and now the relationship
has run its course.
You can let go now.
But how?
He’s gone,
and all I feel is the pain.
When did the pain start?
Surely before I married him.
I must’ve brought it with me
into the marriage,
and somehow, together,
we activated it
so that I could learn.
Can I thank him
for giving me a chance
to see and work through
my old pain?
Can I have faith
that Divine Love
brought me here
but won’t abandon me here?
Can I trust
that everything will work out?

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 21: To Narcissus (With Video!)

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What a timely and fitting prompt from NaPoWriMo today!  The invitation is to play with the myth of Narcissus in some way. I’ve always loved Greek mythology, and the tale of Narcissus alway struck me as sad—dying of unrequited love of self.  But now that my husband is out of the house and I’ve had time to really consider the effects on my mind, body and spirit of living eight years with my husband’s pathological narcissim, the tale has become a lot more personal.  Before I realized the nature of our relationship and how damaging his words and actions were to me and my self-esteem in the course of our marriage, I always thought narcissists were annoyingly self-absorbed people whom we love anyway, because everyone deserves love, and we all exhibit degrees of narcissism now and again.  It’s human nature, isn’t it, after all, to become periodically fixated on one’s self, one’s happiness, one’s life path, and the ways and means we go about achieving what we think we need to be fulfilled?  But then I learned about narcissistic abuse—gaslighting, smear campaigns, isolation, criticism, financial abuse, and it came crashing down on me what I had endured during our time together, always trying to help him be happy, always being told that I was the source of his unhappiness.  I realize that I’ve been traumatized by my time with this man, and I internalized a lot of what he told me.  I’m in the process of unpacking the stories and sifting through my inner landscape to find some ground and some truth about myself. Yes, today’s prompt is timely.  Here goes.

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Poor boy, you fell so deeply in love
with what you believed to be true about yourself,
you wasted away into a dream and died.
The one I thought I knew was a phantom,
haunting the pool that claimed your life.
I tried to save you but you were already dead,
and as real as you seemed, you were just an apparition,
a poltergeist, making lots of noise, breaking things,
howling like a ghoul, frightening me,
recruiting me into this fantasy of living
as you drew me nearer and nearer
to your realm of death.
You nearly took me too,
so invested was I in resurrecting you
that I began to deny my very Self
and all of her needs.
But the spring came, and with it my own resurrection.
I saw my spirit come to life and resist the chains
you attempted to throw around me.
They were just a mirage, like the rest of you;
loud, messy, impressive,
but without any weight or strength,
substanceless, like your love, like your life,
like your work, like all of you.
Rest in peace, fair Narcissus.
I’m going back to the realm of the living now.
I’ll visit you each spring,
lay a flower on your grave,
pay my respects,
but know this:
You cannot hurt me any more.
You are nothing to me now.
Nothing more
than the whispers of wind
that caress my cheek,
reminding me of the long life I have left to live.

The Life I Was Meant to Live

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It arrives slowly,
so slowly I question
if what I’m feeling is real.
But then it begins to build
until the feeling is so present,
so there,
that I can no longer deny it.
It’s a mixture of hope, of lightness,
of real pleasure, joy, relief
that things are changing,
finally changing.
After this harrowing, hellish time,
I emerge from the cave
of the deepest, darkest sadness I have known.
I stand naked, blinking in the bright light,
an infant newly born
into the life I was meant to live…

Never Broken

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The only reason that we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with.  To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.
–Pema Chodron

Standing in the middle
of my own discomfort,
just watching and waiting
instead of lashing out,
I feel the parts of me
that I once disowned
clamoring for my attention.
What do I do?
What do I say?
Instead of taking a drink
or turning on the TV
or eating something
or shopping
or playing a game
or smoking something
or going to sleep
or running away
I just sit,
and I let myself feel this discomfort.
As I come to know
this energy of unrest
I see a small child
who doesn’t understand
why the world asks
her to be other than who she is,
smaller than who she is…
I see her sadness
and I mourn for her.
I tell her that she is okay.
She starts to believe me.

Hand in hand
we turn and face the world
together.
We aren’t waiting for the world
to make us feel complete.
We look out with the eyes
of compassion
and our vision softens our experience.
We can be in this world
with all the broken pieces
and sense the inherent wholeness,
that which can never be broken.

Yay Sobriety

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This happened.

My mother, father,
sister and her boyfriend,
my husband and children
were sitting in a nice restaurant
to celebrate my birthday.

Some of you know
I have chosen
to not imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine,
and you also must know
that this puts me in the minority
of the adult population.

So I, my daughter, and son
sipped on our water,
while the five other adults drank,
two of them to excess.

I attended to my children,
enjoyed giving them bites
of delicious food,
sharing my salad and entree with them,
engaging them in conversation.

My husband,
bless his heart,
and to his credit,
did make an effort to engage with me
between sips of beer,
and we exchanged some pleasant words
in the course of the dinner.
He only had two beers and a glass of champagne.
Surely, this is moderation, is it not?

But inside, I felt lonely.
This was supposed to be my birthday celebration,
and the adults were focusing on their booze,
becoming loud, intoxicated…

I found myself looking around
at the others in the restaurant,
wondering about their conversations,
guessing that they were surely
more interesting
than what was unfolding at my table.

My family,
with its history of alcoholism,
couldn’t help itself.
The alcoholism had to follow us into this dinner,
even though the guest of honor
doesn’t drink.

What would you do,
if you felt lonely at your birthday dinner?
Would you have put your foot down?
Would you have said something?
Would you have withdrawn?

I tried to be kind and present,
but I couldn’t help feeling wistful.

Afterwards my sister was belligerent,
verbally aggressive…
because this is what happens when she drinks too much.
She yelled, gestured,
said she didn’t need anything from anyone,
and passed out in my bathroom.
She has done this many times before.
I wish I could help her,
but I know that I can’t.
She needs to help herself first.

And now, more than ever,
I see that my sobriety,
my clarity,
my lucidity,
my health
is one of the greatest birthday gifts
I can offer to myself…
and to the world.

Yay, sobriety.

When I Am Ready

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Earlier in the year, I decided to work through the Twelve Steps on my journey toward recovery of my creative self.  For some reason this afternoon, I remembered that project, how I sailed through the first three steps and then stalled at Step 4, which is the moral inventory.  As I continued to mull over the project, I felt the familiar accusatory feelings arising, and I noticed some pretty big players becoming louder and more visible in this head game I have set up for myself.

You never get anything done.  You are so full of ideas but have no discipline to see them through to the end.  You have so many thoughts that a moral inventory would be positively exhausting…you can’t be fixed. Just accept that you will never be fully happy, peaceful, secure–and get back to hiding your deepest feelings…they don’t mean anything anyway.”

Wow. Yikes.  Thank you emotional system for all of that helpful advice. Now it’s time to be brave and cultivate even more radical self-acceptance.  To love the neurotic thoughts, the tired body, the spirit that feels lost and alone.  And then in that space of radical self love and acceptance, now my mind is free to bask in the infinite ocean of being.

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I know what I want to let go of:
greed, pride, shame, pain, blame;
regret, procrastination, envy,
competitiveness;
resistance, fear, depression, isolation,
doubt, anger,  impatience, mistrust,
isolation, frustration, resentment, reactivity–
and any attachment to any specific
person, place, object, mental state,
outcome or experience.

I want to be free.
Show me how to let go of these qualities
and make space for this moment,
to unclutter the mind and savor
the splendor of this moment.

Meeting the hurting places with compassion,
I see that they are just another story I have told myself
And when I am ready to see the truth,
I will.