Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And So She Steps

***Here is your disclaimer-not that it will be long but that it will be, gasp, serious, and, who am I kidding…yeah even long…oh, wait, I told Pat I would try to make this disclaimer longer next time, dangit!  So, I'll add, I'm typing with a Migraine too, typos and grammatical errors will abound!!***

Since I transitioned over to this blog, I really haven’t discussed how much work I’ve been putting into my fourth step or my S-Anon group.  I’ve put quite a bit of emphasis on Devin’s recovery and glossing over my own. 

I think this is because it’s easier to not only point out other people’s flaws buts it’s also easier to point out their successes too.  When it comes to looking at ourselves, that isn’t nearly as easy, is it?

Today, however, I will do a little of both.  Okay, a lot of both.  I will share a bit about what I have learned from attending S-Anon, but mostly from working the hell out of my Blueprint for Progress.  This workbook has kicked the living crap out me.  And, I’m better for it.  I have one more section to complete before I’m finished with my fourth step.  I thought I’d have it done today, in time to ask someone at my meeting tomorrow to allow me to present it to them, but I woke up with a Migraine.  I can’t control the weather.  No worries, I’ll finish it up this week.  I mean look how thick this sucker is!!

hello ginormous!

So, what did I learn?  I learned that I began with the wrong attitude.  I thought I was working the steps to stop being so hyper vigilant.  As it turns out, I can’t control a behavior that was created through trauma.  What I can do is learn better ways to handle my responses.  Once I got that through my head, I really began to learn about myself.

The mantra’s I heard and dismissed at my meetings are there for a reason.  They aren’t brainwashing me into submission.  It’s not a cult.  It’s a take it or leave it attitude.  Again, I learned, I moved forward.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Keep coming back. It works if you work it. So work it, cause you're worth it!"

From working my fourth step I found that:

The things I need to keep working on:

·      I need to stop putting up walls when I’m angry
·      I need to accept help when it’s offered
·      I need to learn to ask for help
·      I need to love my 5’2” 119lbs body (to me all I see is my baby gut)
·      I need to relinquish my need to control
·      I need to watch my facial expressions (My counselor says my face “screams”)
·      I need to free myself from the guilt I have stemming from denial
·      I need to release the shame that stems from the guilt

The things that I kick ass in:

·      I am sober (over twenty years!)
·      I am a great role model for my children
·      I am strong
·      I am independent
·      I am smart
·      I am loving
·      I am funny
·      I am compassionate
·      I am patient
·      I am a decent writer
·      I am honest
·      I am loyal
·      I am a Wounded Warrior Project supporter
·      I am a great listener
·      I am a great mom
·      I am a great wife
·      I am a great friend
·      I am financially responsible
·      I am discreet
I also completed a gratitude list and I found that exercise a ton of fun!  Try it – I dare ya!!! 

What are three things I could have been grateful for the last time someone treated me unkindly or unfairly?

What are the top ten things that I am always grateful for?

What are five daily things that I am grateful for that are different from my top ten?

What would I list if I were to write the alphabet and think of one thing beginning with each letter (no repeats) for which I am grateful?

****That’s just a part of it****  Cool though, right?

Now I will move on to my five step in a week or two – admitting the exact nature of my wrongs.  Wow.  Really?   I’ve already done that, but okay, I guess I can do it again….

ETA:  I finished my Forth Step 5/31/12  =)   *sigh of relief*

49 comments:

  1. The things you've done right outweigh the things you've gotten wrong and that's an important thing to notice.

    I come from a country where guilt and shame is so inculcated into our souls I don't see how I'll ever be free of it. Maybe I can learn from you dear friend.

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    1. That's only because I kept the really bad stuff to myself and fluffed up the really good stuff =P

      Seriously though, it took a lot of hard work and in all honesty it's the guilt and shame that I find the hardest to work through. It comes from the way I grew up. I grew up in such surroundings where integrity and honesty came first and foremost and when I lost my way...I lost sight of that. That's hard to grasp. So, I am a work in progress. As long as I keep working!!

      I didn't know you carried such things, Anne. My heart goes out to you.

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    2. yep, I'm a total atheist, and even I feel the blame and shame imposed upon the humans by the ebil church :) But I mostly feel ashamed for church existing within my species :)

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    3. Mine doesn't come from the church. Mine comes from me mum and then the morals I instilled within myself after I became sober =)

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    4. Mine doesn't come from the Church either. It's a part of Irish culture to feel shame. When the economy busted we felt shamed as a people. We now feel as if we cannot be proud of ourselves, There's a saying we have "You brought it on yourself" It's how we look at accidental things as well.

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    5. It's one of the biggest things I'm trying to overcome, Anne - the shame I feel for what I did during my stage of denial. I just finished my fourth step yesterday. I went to move onto my fifth and found out it was to read my fourth to another person (not the SA), I was like, WHAT, but they say it's cleansing...anyway, once I get to the shame part..that scares the shit out me...to admit that..

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  2. Nice of you to make it longer just for me. The cat feels so special now, why don't I do that same for you and see how long I can make this one, just to help your migraine out and see what happens as you read. Maybe you will faint and the cat will laugh or maybe it will just go away and you will faint at the sight of a pringle can full of poo, actually that would probably keep you well awake. So there you can be thankful for that too and the cat is thankful for being able to type, you know how hard it is to type out all these words with no opposable thumbs? It takes forever much like this comment is going to take you forever to get through and me forever to type. Don't you love how long the cat can go and I didn't even use my rhyming flow, that is hard to do so I had to have a rhyme come due, at least one or two and so that is that, is it long enough from the cat?

    Nice that you figured out your triggers you had to handle better as well, as I supposer that is true they will always be there, you just have to be more aware. That is a good way to look at things and yeah you have a ton to be thankful for it seems as well. The cat has a ton too but he doesn't want to bore you as this has gone on long enough I suppose, but then again the cat has nothing to do as Pat is sitting at work bored to death, so I figure I could really make this go on that much more. The allaince will never know what hit them as you all read this and fall asleep, then the cat stuffs you all in a cell and that is that, the cat wins once more. Is that snoring I hear? I guess my job is done, isn't payback fun?..LOL

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    1. I am truly honored that the cat has spent so much of it's time on my blog. First reading and then commenting all it's endless babbling. Why, this was as long as one of your rhymes, dear cat! No snoring at all. I'm just laying on my couch, cruising along on the internet! Do you really think you can trick the Alliance with some can filled with poo or even think about shoving any of us into a cell? Really?

      Oh, and I'm not impressed with your opposable thumbs either...

      Poor Pat, trapped at work - he should go back to NY and put you back at the sitters!!

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    2. the ebil cat has illusions and delusions from the stinky bomb we sent him, Elsie :) So cunning of us to come up with that :)

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    3. Pfft the cat has no illusions what so ever, he is just more clever. And Back to NY you say, hmmm if you pay and take the cat with?..lol

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    4. The cat is truly delusional if he thinks that Elsie would pay the way for a flea covered cat to travel anywhere but the sitter! That was fun, reading all about the cat's woes trying to escape!! And as far as paying Pat's way?? Have you been smelling the stinky bomb, Pat =))))

      Dezz, the Alliance is missing Annzie terribly and we must come up with all the ebil ways we can to make the cat miserable to make her proud.

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    5. I say we stuff his carcass in a crate and ship it to the Antarctic.

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  3. All your many strong points will help you work on your "personal to do list," I know!

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    1. It's good to know I'm not alone in the personal to do list =)

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  4. Gratitude lists are a really good idea - you are way ahead of me when I started the only thing I put was "I am alive"... and that was after about 10 mins...! It gets better :-)

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    1. I like how you have yours on the side of your blog.

      You should see my A-Z list. I was really starting to grasp for things...Z, um, Zumba!!! Damn, why didn't I think of that yesterday?? I can't even remember what I put, it may have been zebras! lol

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  5. I need to copy paste Anne answers. I need a list like yours.
    First my emotion impairment. I cant connect with people easy, till today I dont know whether it is my strength or weakness.
    But from my close family and friends, I hear that I make people nervous and make them feel unaccomplished or make them feel guilty for not being able to match upto my energy level. Maybe I am hard to live with :(

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    1. I think the important thing is that you're happy, your kids are happy and your husband is happy.

      If people feel nervous or guilty around you that's on them, not you. Maybe they need to take a look at themselves or even better, stop comparing themselves to you and be happy for the fact that you have the ability to maintain such a high energy level.

      I think people have lost the ability to simply be happy for other people. They find it easier to be envious instead.

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  6. Did you notice that the amount of stuff you need to work on is nowhere near as long as what's good about you? Plus most of that stuff will work in to a better list of what makes you awesome. You're on a tough journey, but you're also making good progress, and you can do it. So keep doing what works :)

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    1. That's because I'm good at fluffing up stuff with filler hehehehe

      I did notice. I made sure not to bash myself to harshly. While I realize I have work to do, I also recognize that it's not impossible work to be done, that's it's achievable and it doesn't have to be accomplished overnight either.

      Thanks, Mark!

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  7. 5-2 119. Ummmm.....I better stop there ;)

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  8. Would you really call being a Giant's fan a positive thing? I mean, it beats being a Jets fan, but really? LOL!!! I can't wait until we do the blogger fantasy football. Should be so fun!

    I love how you listed all your favorite and least favorite things about yourself. Now you know where to improve and can go from there. It must have been a hard list to write, but it's a great thing to get the ball rolling :)

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    1. Hellz yeah!! As if you would know, you're so delusional being a Pats fan...you silly chickie!! Blogger fantasy football? Can I bring back Michael Strahan?? Is it that kind of fantasy?

      It was hard to write on both sides of the column and I still have more to go like you said, it was a good jumping point - off the cliff - no, just kidding!

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  9. I love putting up walls when I'm angry :))

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    1. It's good to know I'm not alone =))

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    2. we should start a building firm :)

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    3. At least we know it'd be sturdy LOL

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  10. What?! A longer disclaimer? You think Pat is the only one bothered by this? And to drop in that hint about migraines? You evil woman! I don't want to hear it! lol

    I don't think being a Giants fan qualifies as a "good quality". But like Jax said, at least you're not a Jets fan! And you're going down in her fantasy league...if you join that is!

    Keep working those steps! And yes, it is much easier to point out others flaws or successes than it is your own. And you can't stop emotion from happening, like you said. But you can change how you react and that seems to be the key note. I think you're doing good! Stay strong!

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    1. I wasn't going to put a disclaimer at all but then I saw on Pat's page that he said I did in his blog roll - now I HAVE to warn people - it's all his fault!! So, I threw in the fact that I had a Migraine for the pity factor, did it work? LOL

      Hey, I've been saying I fluffed up my good qualities as best I could, so, um, yeah, being a Giants fan is definitely a good thing, at least to ME. And, this post is all about ME. ME, ME, ME!!! Sounds like an opera up in here right now hahaha

      Dan, I cannot tell you how surprised I was when I started flipping through the pages the other night and saw just how little I had left to do. I've been working it a little at a time and guess what, it works. Imagine that LOL Damn those counselors and their advice.

      Thanks, Dan!!!!

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  11. That's really great you've taken steps in becoming more happy and healthy. Sounds like you have a lot of strengths that can help you get through anything! I need to do this myself sometime.

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    1. Thanks, Matt. It's a beast to work through, especially when you've got as many flaws as I do LOL, but it feels good at the end!!

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  12. I am not so familiar with this background post but making a gratitude list is very good. I make a mental checklist everyday, specially when I am overwhelmed with work and pressures ~ Cheers to you ~

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    1. The gratitude list was a great way to sum up all the crappy stuff I'd been having to work through. They knew what they were doing when they designed this book.

      What a great idea, to do a mental checklist everyday!! I think I may steal that from you =)

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  13. There are people who with many, MANY years of practice can't really pull through with half of what you have. You should be very proud of yourself :)

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    1. This just humbled me like you wouldn't believe, D4. Thank you!

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  14. I love that the things you're good at list is so much longer! Too often we miss all the good stuff and just focus on what negative. You have some awesome qualities there to work with! And yes, counting blessings, really stopping to dig for them sometimes, is the best exercise one can give mind and soul!

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    1. That was by far my favorite part of step four - doing the gratitude list. Even with the A-Z being so difficult. I'm telling ya, you should give it a whirl, it's right up your ally, Josie, you'd be great at it!!

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  15. "I can't control a behavior that was created through trauma". I seriously had to stop reading for a couple of minutes due to my eyes tearing up. Those are the words I have been looking for to explain my "irrationalities".

    And you are so right - it is so much easier to pick on one's self than to see anything positive - I am so guilty of that, and I take it a step further and refuse to believe anything good that is said about me. (Though I think part of that comes from the conflicting messages I get from a certain someone...but I am super critical of him and of me!)

    You are a rock star. I love that you were able to come up with that list of amazing positivity. That makes my heart happy. You are totally kicking ass. And bad days (or weeks) happen. You can't get too down about them. (Something I need to remember!) And migraines...I feel your pain, sister! As far as summer goes, they scare me more than squeezing my ass into a bathing suit. But just a little more.

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    1. Those words took a ton of counseling and self reflection to figure out, Mel. It finally dawned on me that I can't control what my brain does due to trauma. It's gonna do what it's gonna do. (Don't know if you read my Stopping the Loop post but it might help you - I can't remember if you did.)

      Nah, no rock star here. Just a chick trying to survive, just like yourself under a whose different set of circumstances.

      And, yeah, Migraines suck ass!!!

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  16. I put up walls when I'm angry as well...it drives the wife nuts. But I've every faith that you'll crack all these little issues :)

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    1. I think it's a natural instinct to put up those walls of protection for most people. It's learning how to bring them back down that's a pain. I bet it drives your wife crazy cause it drives my husband crazy too LOL

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  17. Putting up walls is something hubby is an expert at, he shuts himself off from many people who would love to support him. I have always said to hubby to change what he doesn't like and to expect that there are things you can't change but you know he still doesn't get it.......
    sometimes I wonder if he ever will.............

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    1. My husband used to do it too. He got better about bringing them down after we went to counseling. I really think it's a natural response for people who have been hurt by others in their lives. =(

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  18. I have the Blueprint for Progress. I completed it last year with the help of my sponsor. She said I would complete many throughout my life, and I didn't believe her then. Now, I am thinking of purchasing my second BfP. I'll be honest and confess that I dread going through the process once more. The first time around, it brought up so much pain. Sure, I released it, but I am scared that this time I might not be able to do that.

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    1. Kudos to you for completing it, Nellie!!

      I was told the same thing and I can see why we would have to do it several times because even as I went through it, I changed while I was doing it. Sure, the base stuff was the same but other stuff changed because it took so freaking long to get through.

      It was painful but cathartic for me and I was able to release a lot of pain as well as anger and I was also abel to forgive too. I hope you'll be able to do that if you choose to do it again, Nellie.

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  19. Does that mean you get to throw a party and have everyone say what a great job you did ? Well if it doesn't it should. Wow I think I will try to do the list and see if I can do it.

    Love,
    Meemaw

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    1. I kind of did. Devin and I went out to dinner last night to celebrate =)

      Let me know how that list goes, Meemaw!! I'd love to know!!

      xoxoxo

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    2. You two so deserve that and I will let you know what my list is and how I did.

      Love,
      Meemaw

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.