September 23: Letting Go of Denial

We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings.
Ovid


Most of us in recovery have engaged in denial from time to time. Some of us relied on this tool.

We may have denied events or feelings from our past. We may have denied other people’s problems; we may have deemed our own problems, feelings, thoughts, wants, or needs. We denied the truth.

Denial means we didn’t let ourselves face reality, usually because facing that particular reality would hurt. It would be a loss of something: trust, love, family, perhaps a marriage, a friendship, or a dream. And it hurts to lose something, or someone.

Denial is a protective device, a shock absorber for the soul. It prevents us from acknowledging reality until we feel prepared to cope with that particular reality. People can shout and scream the truth at us, but we wifi not see or hear it until we are ready.

We are sturdy yet fragile beings. Sometimes, we need time to get prepared, time to ready ourselves to cope. We do not let go of our need to deny by beating ourselves into acceptance; we let go of our need to deny by allowing ourselves to become safe and strong enough to cope ‘with the truth. We wifi do this, when the time is right.

We do not need to punish ourselves for having denied reality; we need only love ourselves into safety and strength so that each day we are better equipped to face and deal with the truth. We will face and deal with reality on our own time schedule, when we are ready, and in our Higher Power’s timing. We do not have to accept chastisement from anyone, including ourselves, for this schedule.
We will know what we need to know, when it’s time to know it.

Today, I will concentrate on making myself feel safe and confident. I will let myself have my awareness on my own time schedule.

September 22: People Pleasers

Have you ever been around people-pleasers? They tend to be displeasing. Being around someone who is turned inside out to please another is often irritating and anxiety producing.

People-pleasing is a behavior we may have adapted to survive in our family. We may not have been able to get the love and attention we deserved. We may not have been given permission to please ourselves, to trust ourselves, and to choose a course of action that demonstrated self-trust.

People-pleasing can be overt or covert. We may run around fussing over others, chattering a mile-a-minute when what we are really saying is, “I hope I’m pleasing you.” Or, we may be more covert, quietly going through life making important decisions based on pleasing others.

Taking other people’s wants and needs into consideration is an important part of our relationships. We have responsibilities to friends and family and employers. We have a strong inner responsibility to be loving and caring. But, people- pleasing backfires. Not only do others get annoyed with us, we often get annoyed when our efforts to please do not work as we planned. The most comfortable people to be around are those who are considerate of others but ultimately please themselves.

Help me, God, work through my fears and begin to please myself.

September 21: Letting Go of Anger

In recovery we often discuss anger objectively. Yes, we reason, it’s an emotion we’re all prone to experience. Yes, the goal in recovery is to be free of resentment and anger.

Yes, it’s okay to feel angry we agree. Well, maybe…. Anger is a powerful and sometimes frightening emotion. It’s also a beneficial one if it’s not allowed to harden into resentment or used as a battering ram to punish or abuse people.

Anger is a warning signal. It points to problems. Sometimes, it signals problems we need to solve. Sometimes, it points to boundaries we need to set. Sometimes, it’s the final burst of energy before letting go, or acceptance, settles in. And, sometimes, anger just is. It doesn’t have to be justified. It usually can’t be confined to a tidy package. And it need not cause us to stifle ourselves or our energy. We don’t have to feel guilty whenever we experience anger.

We don’t have to feel guilty.

Breathe deeply. We can shamelessly feel all our feelings, including anger, and still take responsibility for our behaviors.

I will feel and release any angry feelings I have today. I can do that appropriately and safely.

September 20: Twelve Step Programs

I was furious when I found myself at my first Al-Anon meeting. It seemed so unfair that he had the problem and I had to go to a meeting. But by that time, I had nowhere left in the world to go with my pain. Now, I’m grateful for Al-Anon and my code pendency recovery. Al-Anon keeps me on track; recovery has given me a life.
Anonymous

There are many Twelve Step programs for codependents:
Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, CoDa, Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, and more. We have many choices about which kind of group is right for us and which particular group in that category meets our needs. Twelve Step groups for codependents are free, anonymous, and available in most communities. If there is not one that is right for us, we can start one.

Twelve Step groups for codependents are not about how we can help the other person; they’re about how we can help ourselves grow and change. They can help us accept and deal with the ways codependency has affected us. They can help us get on track and stay there.

There is magic in Twelve Step programs. There is healing power in connecting with other recovering people. We access this healing power by working the Steps and by allowing them to work on us. The Twelve Steps are a formula for healing.

How long do we have to go to meetings? We go until we “get the program:’ We go until the program “gets us’ Then we keep on going and growing.

Selecting a group and then attending regularly are import ant ways we can begin and continue to take care of ourselves. Actively participating in our recovery program by working the Steps is another.

I will be open to the healing power available to me from the Twelve Steps and a recovery program.

September 19: Accepting Imperfections

“Why do I do this to myself?” asked a woman who wanted to lose weight. “I went to my support group feeling so guilty and ashamed because I ate half a cookie that wasn’t on the diet. I found out that everyone cheats a little, and some people cheat a lot. I felt so ashamed before I came to the group, as though I were the only one not doing my diet perfectly. Now I know that I’m dieting as well as most, and better than some:’

Why do we do this to ourselves? I’m not talking strictly about dieting; I’m talking about life. Why do we punish ours elves by thinking that we’re inferior while believing that others are perfect whether in relationships, recovery, or a specific task?

Whether we’re judging ourselves or others, it’s two sides of the same coin: perfection. Neither expectation is valid. It is far more accurate and beneficial to tell ourselves that who we are is okay and what we are doing is good enough. That doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes that need correcting; doesn’t mean we won’t get off track from time to time; doesn’t mean we can t improve. It means with all our mistakes and wandering, we’re basically on course. Encouraging and approving of ourselves is how we help ours elves stay on track.

Today, I will love and encourage myself I will tell myself that what I’m doing is good enough, and I’ll let myself enjoy that feeling.

Spetmeber 18: Recognizing Feelings

Experiencing feelings can be a challenge if we’ve had no previous experience or permission to do that. Learning to identify what we’re feeling is a challenge we can meet, but we will not become experts overnight. Nor do we have to deal with our feelings perfectly.

Here are some ideas that might be helpful as you learn to recognize and deal with feelings.

Take out a sheet of paper. On the top of it write, “If it was okay to feel whatever I’m feeling, and I wouldn’t be judged as bad or wrong, what would I be feeling?” Then write whatever comes to mind. You can also use the favorite standby of many people in discovering their feelings: writing or journaling. You can keep a diary, write letters you don’t intend to send, or just scribble thoughts onto a note pad. Watch and listen to yourself as an objective third person might.

Listen to your tone of voice and the words you use. What do you hear? Sadness, fear, anger, happiness? What is your body telling you? Is it tense and rigid with anger? Running with fear? Heavy with sadness and grief? Dancing with joy?

Talking to people in recovery helps too. Going to meetings helps. Once we feel safe, many of us find that we open up naturally and with ease to our feelings.

We are on a continual treasure hunt in recovery. One of the treasures we’re seeking is the emotional part of ourselves. We don’t have to do it perfectly. We need only be honest, open, and willing to try. Our emotions are there waiting to share themselves with us.

Today, I will watch myself and listen to myself as I go through my day. I will not judge myself for what I’m feeling; I will accept myself.

September 17: Strength

We don’t always have to be strong to be strong. Sometimes, our strength is expressed in being vulnerable. Sometimes, we need to fall apart to regroup and stay on track.

We all have days when we cannot push any harder, cannot hold back self-doubt, cannot stop focusing on fear cannot be strong.

There are days when we cannot focus on being responsible. Occasionally, we don’t want to get out of our pajamas. Sometimes, we cry m front of people. We expose our tiredness, irritability, or anger.

Those days are okay. They are just okay.

Part of taking care of ourselves means we give ourselves permission to “fall apart” when we need to. We do not have to be perpetual towers of strength. We are strong. We have proven that. Our strength wifi continue if we allow ours elves the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable when we need to experience those feelings.

Today, God, help me to know that it is okay to allow myself to be human. Help me not to feel guilty or punish myself when I need to ‘fall apart.”

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