Monday, September 29, 2008

Day of Reckoning

I'm always nervous before the doctor appointments. I love/hate them. I always hope we'll look at the xrays and see a solid bone instead of a hole in my femur. Tomorrow I'm going to have the heart to heart talk about what the hell do we do if the damn thing never heals. I'm not looking forward/am looking forward to it. Grrrrrrrr.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was lonely because I kept myself separate from people. I saw them as being different from myself, and so I remained the lonely and isolated victim. Strange how similar we are when we begin to share. When we get beneath culture, class and creed, we discover sensitive human beings trying to make sense of their lives. We need each other. ~Fr Leo

I spent most of my life until recovery feeling as if I was just not a worthy person. After hearing other people's stories again and again in recovery, I realized that underneath all our "acts," we are the same. I don't worry much now about what other people think of me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Opening Our Hearts in Hell

I read the above phrase in Stephen Levine's book, Unattended Sorrow. I am reminded of it because I'm reading the Alanon book on grief (again). It talks about the propensity it seems most of us have to shut down feelings of grief. Those feelings are way too painful so we just shut down. Of course, that doesn't work. I think I need more work in this area. I spent this last weekend with some members of my high school graduating class and it was quite lovely. It's odd to me how much I enjoy these outings when I was very unhappy in high school. It probably should be another whole topic to explore. However, I noticed how much I missed Ron. He would have enjoyed the weekend so much. He was such a great companion to explore the world with. He was always enthusiastic about new things, and my pleasure was greatly enhanced by sharing with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tough Communication

This time the article I read was in Psychology Today, and it was about communicating with someone who likes to explode when asked to change his/her behavior. Been there - on both sides of this one. My opinion is that exploding and throwing fits is very bad for relationships. I know that seems pretty obvious but apparently this type of communication is fairly common with couples. What I hear - and what I've thought myself - is that "I can't help it." "He/she is going to have to change - stop yelling at me - and then I'll be able to change." Well, that doesn't work either.

So, here's the answer according to the article: When neither of you are mad, sit down and talk about it without exploding. Just say, "I'm not willing to keep on having these horrible episodes. It's hurting both of us. I want us to have some ground rules for talking about problems: Talk reasonably and kindly. Try to find solutions that meet both of our needs. Do you agree?" If he/she does not agree, say: "I'm going to try to talk to you in a kind way, and if you explode I'm going to leave for 10 minutes to give you a chance to calm down, and then I'm going to try again. If you still can't talk reasonably, I will stop talking to you and leave again. You will have left me to solve the problem without your input, and you might not like the solution I come up with." Then the article says that you will need to solve the problem in such a way that he/she cannot do what they've done before. The example was that the husband invited guests without asking her first. When she tried to talk to him about it, he blew up and walked out - which was how he usually reacted when she asked him to change something. So, the writer of the article suggested that if he wouldn't agree to talking out the problem without exploding, she just tell him she would not be there to hostess guests if he invited people without asking her. And then make good on her promise by leaving and spending the day elsewhere if he did it again.

Well, I wonder how that would have worked with the people I used to have screaming fights with. Since I'm not in a relationship like that now, I won't have a chance to practice it. But it would certainly change the dynamics - and that couldn't help but be a good thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tricky Business

I hate criticism. It hate to give it. I hate even worse to get it. I want nothing but positive feedback, thank you very much! I actually have people in my life that pretty much give me nothing but positive feedback. When I was supervising people I never did get the evaluation thing down. And I certainly never did get good at asking for what I wanted in my intimate/partnership relationships. I was a doormat until I couldn't stand it any more and then I blew up and attacked. I have noticed that many people (especially men, it seems to me) hear negative criticism when they're asked to do something differently or asked for help. Just the fact that I asked was enough to make sure that he would never, ever do whatever it was. It might have been a control issue or a self-esteem issue or both.

So, imagine my delight in reading about how to give and receive criticism even though I'm not supervising people and am not living in partnership with anyone right now. In the grander scheme of things when I'm looking at priorities, learning to motivate rather than chastise, seems to be a big priority. The latest issue of Real Simple has a good article on how to give and receive "motivation."

First, learn to see feedback/motivation as a good thing - a useful tool. Second, answer these questions: 1) What's working ? 2) What's not working? 3) What can we do together to fix it? Try to give feedback in such a way as to let the person feel appreciated for what's working and optimistic about changes. You could say things like, "I really appreciate...." "It would be great if you could..." "It would mean a lot if you could..."

When you're receiving feedback, ask the questions of the other person so that you're clear about what he/she wants. Listen without disagreeing or arguing. Take notes. Assume the other person has a good point. Maybe you can learn some new skills - maybe it would be fun!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let me remember

Last weekend was Heart to Heart weekend and it was the 12th year I've gone to it. It's a retreat for 100 women in 12 Step programs.

For the first few years that I went, the effect of the weekend on me was dramatic. I let go of much of the pain I had carried all my life - always feeling as if I was unlovable, mother guilt, grief. Then going to Heart to Heart became about just seeing what would happen. Sometimes something big happened; sometimes not. Whether or not something big happened, I always came back happier and more solid in my relationship with God.

In the last guided meditation we do on Sunday morning, a song is played called "Let me remember - I am one with God." That always stands out for me, and it did again this year. I am always comforted and released from feeling alone.

This year for the first time, I started hearing things to tell someone else - which is always a dangerous thing. I went ahead and shared them anyway. They didn't have quite the effect I had hoped (that's why it's dangerous) but I'm working on clearing that up. I'm making a note: beware of sharing something you heard for someone else!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Having forgiven ourselves and others, and having made amends, we need no punishment. We will work to succeed in all of our activities, with a reasonable expectation of success most of the time. We will expect and deserve the best. ~

This is so BIG! It took so long for me to really believe this. The habit of self-hate kept returning over and over again. But I really do believe this now even though I have to work at believing it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


I'm throwing a whole bunch of stuff at this healing thing - a new massage therapy that I'm doing once a week, some type of yoga and this new physical therapy. I've been laughing out loud at some of the stuff the physical therapist tells me to do. The first couple of times I try, nothing happens at all. I think I'm trying to move muscles that haven't moved since 200 5. So I laugh because nothing happens. Eventually I'm able to move my leg the way I'm instructed but it's very very tough. When I do the laughing thing, the pt tells me to double the number of times I do it. I figured that out - if it seems impossible, do twice as many reps. Luckily I can actually do it. Who knew I would be laughing when my leg won't move when I tell it to. I have no idea what this means. After I finish the workout, I feel dizzy and a little sick at my stomach and have to lie down when I get home. I don't know what that means either. But in a few hours I have no further pain in my hip. That's a very good thing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


It's been two or three weeks now since I was released to get around on crutches. Since my back has been painful, I haven't done a lot with them. I revert to the wheelchair when I have to carry something as crutches take both hands. Even with those limitations, my ambulation with the crutches is going pretty well. I don't have to think as much about what I'm doing. My body is celebrating being upright. It feels good!

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