A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Willingness

"We inventory ourselves, we meditate, and we help others.  We acknowledge our own behavior.  We ask God, as we understand God, to continue providing us with willingness to love ourselves."
                                             Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families
                                                         Chapter 8, p 308-309


I strive to be honest, to be open and to be willing to be guided each day.  People who have trouble loving themselves have trouble even talking about the idea of loving themselves.  It's too emotional, feels too vulnerable.  I have felt that way.  Now I tell myself regularly that I love and respect myself.  It is an essential part of how I face the days and nights.  I still have some addictive patterns that try to sabotage my self love, but I am learning to identify those patterns and counter them with establishing healthy patterns.  This requires willingness.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Change

"I have an innate ability to heal and to grow.  I don't need to force myself to change.  All I have to do is to show up and be willing.  When I am ready, the changes will come easily."
                                                                            Courage To Change, October 24


My way, in my sickness, is to force change, to go too quickly.  I am learning that so much of healing comes from relaxing.  A lot of the 12 Step slogans are about this:  "Easy does it.", "Let Go And Let God.", "Live and Let Live.", "One Day At A Time."  So I show up for my life and stay open, willing to learn and honest in my approach.  I allow time to just be, to listen and look for moments of insight and intuition.  I know that can't be forced.  Change comes whether I force it or not; now I put the focus on how change comes to me.  I seek peace in my life and instead of resisting the flow of life, I go with it.  I train myself to go with it every time I relax.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Guilt And Shame

"Guilt helps us know when we've acted badly; shame tells us we are bad.  Guilt gives us a way back to our selves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless.  To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of the addiction.  There is a better way, and that's to learn to love ourselves."    
                                                                                       Answers In The Heart, April 24

"Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time.  Hatred ceases through love.  This is an unalterable law."
                                                                                      Buddha, The Dhammapada

Shame can mark you for life if you let it.  There are two directions - you can move towards self-love or away from self-love.  Self-love means loving yourself.  It is not selfishness to love yourself.  Love is not selfish in its very nature.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Neural Pathways

"Talk and self-help therapies that effectively change a person's thoughts and behaviors, such as working a Twelve Step program, can heal the brain in observable, predictable ways, guiding it through a process of physical restructuring.  This process appears to build and deepen new neural pathways, which in turn create new patterns of thinking and acting."
                                                    A Gentle Path Through The Twelve Steps, Patrick Carnes, p. 8



Monday, January 22, 2018

Detachment

"Detachment means we care, about ourselves and others.  It frees us to make the best possible decisions.  It enables us to set the boundaries we need to set with people.  It allows us to have our feelings, to stop reacting and initiate a positive course of action.  It encourages others to do the same. It allows our Higher Power to step in and work."
                                                                              Language Of Letting Go, August 21


 I love my brother and I worry about him.  He was harder hit by my mother's death than I was.  He has not been taking care of himself and the problems in his life have been increasing.  His friends are worried about him too.  When he has a problem in his life, he texts me about it.  Immediately I want to solve his problem, but I know that would only be taking away an opportunity for him to solve his own problems.  I have helped him, but I have to be careful not to do too much.  So I have been detaching with love from him.  It is my way of respecting his right to make his own decisions.  It also prevents me from engaging in my own addiction to codependence.  It gives me time to work through my own process.  I am not my brother's mother and he is not a child.  The more he is left to find his own solutions, the more confidence he builds in his abilities to take care of himself.  I have to remind myself that my brother has his connection to the Higher Power just as I do.  He is not alone.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Checking In

"I try to check in with myself on a regular basis.  Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?  If so, I can make a point of stopping what I am doing long enough to attend to my needs."
                                                                       Courage To Change, January 21


Checking in with myself repeatedly during the day and night is all about self-care which is all about self love.  I deeply believe that the Higher Power's will for the human species is that we love and take care of ourselves first, top priority.  Our most intimate relationship needs to be with ourselves.  We are the only ones who have been with ourselves since before birth till now and till we die and beyond.  Believing in a benevolent Higher Power and working with that Power and with others also in recovery makes us bond with ourselves with more and more conviction.  When we set a boundary with other people telling them clearly what is and is not okay, we stand up for ourselves.  We become our own best friend.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Self-Acceptance

"Stop trying so hard to do better, be better, be more.  Who we are and the way we do things is good enough for today.  Who we were and the way we did things yesterday was good enough for that day.  Ease up on ourselves.  Let go.  Stop trying so hard."
                                                                    Language Of Letting Go, July 27


Over and over I have read in support books that it is essential to accept myself as I am.  That is the starting point for healing.  I have also just read in the Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families big book that adult children are extremely hard on themselves.  Adult children internalize the Inner Critical Parent.  The way to heal that part of the self is to cultivate an Inner Loving Parent.  ACA suggests incorporating spoken affirmations into one's daily practice.  It helps me to say to myself "Who I am is good enough for today."  It helps me to say to myself "I am doing the best I can."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fear

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
                                    One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

"The first thing to do is to admit to ourselves that we're afraid.  The second is to find out why."
                                    Answers In The Heart, January 19


What I have found through my experience with domestic violence and psychosis is that fear distorts reality.  When I was with my addicted boyfriend, I would anticipate all kinds of coming problems and act accordingly.  I would not give him the benefit of the doubt.  And I know there were times when he was full of good intentions and I was blind to see it because I was motivated by fear.  I knew I was afraid of him and I knew why I was afraid of him, but I allowed the fear to take control and direct my attitudes and actions.  My fear blocked me from reaching out to him and to others, blocked me from changing the direction of our relationship.

My fear while experiencing acute psychosis also distorted reality, fed my delusions and controlled my attitudes and actions.  I did admit to fear when I felt it, but I didn't always know why I was afraid.  There was no one in my life; it was all inside my head and the voices kept shifting and expressing different points of view.  And, of course, the voices worked hard to encourage me towards accepting the delusional story lines.

I've been learning lately to rely on prayer.  I turn my will and my life over to God when I say my prayers in the morning and I reassert that orientation repeatedly throughout the day and night when I ask for direction, when I say thank you.  When a fear comes up, I pray.  When I pray, I let go and let God come in and help me.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Real Communication

"Most real communication actually creates the opposite of what we fear."
                                                                           Touchstones, January 18


Despite my social anorexia, my reclusiveness, I have connected with some people and this quote rings true for me.  When I have been honest and vulnerable, I have been received with kindness and generosity and not judgment and rejection.  The problem with my previous love addicted, abusive relationship was that I stopped practicing honesty.  Instead, I repressed and became resentful and this blocked my ability to practice "real communication".

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Honesty

"Being honest is how we finally come to know what used to baffle us about our addiction.  When we create a unity between honest feelings, honest thinking, and honest action, we find that we have become honest people."
                                                                          Answers In The Heart, November 3


I see honesty as the life's blood of my spiritual practice.  Without it, I am lost.  Honesty is the prerequisite for communing with my Higher Power.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in denial and that is very uncomfortable for me.  I feel as if denial is a form of dishonesty.  I want so badly to be honest in what I say and do, in how I interact with others.  I need to realize then that I will find the truths I need to understand my experience when I am ready.  Sometimes denial is there for a very good reason.





Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Community

"Too often we lose our way by forgetting that we are part of a community, a society, a world.  When we were in our addiction, we closed ourselves off from others and drifted along alone."
                                                                                 Answers In The Heart, January 16


Social anorexia, or depriving oneself of human contact, is an addiction.  I have been practicing this addiction for so long that I lose sight that it is an addiction.  It has become "normal" but it is not healthy for me.  I have hurt myself over the decades by withdrawing from community, society, the world.

I recently discovered another 12 Step group called Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families or ACA.  So many people showed up for this group identifying with the 14 traits, or what the group calls "The Laundry List", who did not have drug using parents or caretakers.  ACA, as a group, decided to include anyone coming from a dysfunctional home.

I come from a dysfunctional home where my parents did not abuse drugs or alcohol.  Yesterday I went over the 14 traits and I found myself answering yes to all of them, if not in the present, then in my past.  I am an adult child.  I've used the label for myself over many years and I have used the label for my brother, who was also so affected by the way he was brought up by our parents.  My addiction to isolation stems from my experiences as a child.

I have come to believe in the reality that there are many, many groups of recovering people all over the world.  I make a daily commitment to join those people when I call my sponsor, join a meeting, read support books and listen to support audio.

My daily call:

The Inspiration Line:  215-574-2120

My weekly call:

The Inspirational Story Line:  215-574-2121