Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Say It Now!

I've had several deaths of people close to me, and recently I've been to several funerals.  You would think that the person who died was the most wonderful person ever put on the earth from the things people say.  They usually throw in some not so good stuff for contrast but it's never very much.  It always occurs to me that it's a shame we don't say this stuff to people while they're alive.

 I was going to write a letter to the person I called my spiritual mother telling her how much she meant to me.  However, she died before I got around to it.  Not a good feeling.  So now I think it would be wonderful if we wrote those letters as soon as we think of it.  For one thing, I never been close to anybody who didn't suffer at least a little from feeling "not good enough."  My letter might be just the thing to make their whole world a good bit better.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


As I talk to people in recovery, I've learned that the newer they are in recovery, the more trouble they have revealing who they really are.  They often believe that the secrets they're holding on to are worse than anyone else's and that if anyone ever knew, they would be shunned by the world.  I think the word for this is shame because when they finally get around to telling somebody so that they don't have to carry the weight of those secrets around, they find that a lot of them are exactly the same as a lot of people's secrets and just evidence that they are imperfect humans.  

Of course, there are other secrets they have that involve hurting other people and violating their own values.  But that's guilt.  The only remedy for that is to do whatever they can to right the wrong.  A simple apology is not enough.  Many people have to go to extreme lengths to right the wrong.  I knew a guy who paid back money he owed and it took him over twenty years to get it done.  Another man served time in prison for a crime he confessed to after he got into recovery. 

In either case, when we tell the truth about ourselves to ourselves, to God and to another person and do everything we can to right any wrongs we've done, we are free.  Nothing feels like that freedom - to be who we are.  The saddest thing in the world is those that stay stuck in their shame because of mistakes they've made that cause them to greatly fear being judged, when the mistakes are just those of a normal human being.  The only way we can find that out, though, is to tell the truth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


In my family growing up we didn't celebrate birthdays.  The only time I remember having birthday cake and presents was when I was 16 and my Aunt Gladys was visiting.  She insisted on cake and presents and she made a "sweet 16" thing to hang on my wall.  It had 16 sugar cubes tied with ribbons and I was thrilled with it.  Since then, I've made sure that I celebrated my birthday whether anyone else remembered it or not.  This year was especially nice since my friend who lives with me, postponed a trip to fill the living room with balloons and take me to dinner.  Then another friend came to visit and took me to lunch, a movie and dinner.  I'm celebrated out!  Today is my recovery anniversary - 29 years.  I am so grateful to be alive and to be in recovery and to have wonderful family and friends who wished me well this year.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ceremonies and Rituals

I'm now a great believer in ceremonies and rituals.  I design and carry one out nearly every day.  That probably sounds excessive but it works like a witchy charm for me.  I learned about this as part of my recovery.  Most years I attend a women's retreat for women in recovery.  There are many rituals as part of the retreat but the big, important one is on Saturday night.  There's a long guided meditation followed by a ritual and ceremonious burning of a piece of paper on which we've written something we want to let go of.  We are told that when this particular thing comes to mind, remember that we let go of it and gave it to God.  This ceremony has been very effective in helping me let go of things that I was harming myself by holding on to.  Examples:  Resentments, fears, guilt, people who have died, people who are no longer in our lives for various reasons. 

The thing that sticks out in my mind is that rituals and ceremonies imbed in my memory what I've decided.  I suspect that our brains (or at least my brain) is hard wired to use ceremonies and rituals to help us remember and to give energy to our decisions that may be challenging to carry out.  Here's an example of a "generic" ritual I might use to support a decision/change I want to make in my life:  I light a scented candle and put on music that supports me.  I write out my decision in the form of a prayer.  If there's someone or something I want to say goodbye to, I write a goodbye letter.  I ask for guidance and power to carry out my decision and the change.  Somehow these little rituals continue to help me remember and carry out decisions.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


I can't remember exactly what brought this up again, but I read something that talked about the "drama triangle."  That's something a famous psychologist (whose name I can't remember) came up with in the 60s.  I can't draw a triangle on this I will have to describe it:  It's an upside down triangle with the one point at the bottom.  At the top points are "perpetrator" and "rescuer."  At the bottom point is the "victim."  According to psychological wisdom, most of us play these roles in rotation in our relationships and in our thinking.  A great many of us see ourselves as victims most of the time.  If you listen to people talking - any place - restaurants, in lines, in church - wherever - they're mostly complaining and if you're complaining, you are playing the role of a victim.  So sorry; there's no escape from that.  Think about it -  you've cast somebody or something in the role of perpetrator and you're looking for a rescuer.  The reason the perpetrator and rescuer are at the top of the triangle is because people who primarily play those roles see themselves as a cut above everybody else.  The perpetrator would not tell you that he/she was a perpetrator.  He/she would say that he/she was a victim, and the mean stuff he/she did to other people was revenge for how they victimized him/her.  They think those people just got what they deserved. 

I've been interested in these roles for many, many years.  I first was introduced to them when I was in therapy and was immediately horrified to realize I was stuck in that triangle with no idea how to get out.  I asked my therapist how to get out and he said all I needed to do was stop playing those roles.  Easier said than done.  Since then as I've worked with other people who were trying to grow spiritually and solve their problems, I've noticed that everyone I've worked with saw themselves as victims in one way or another.  The trouble with that is that if I'm a victim, I'm helpless and hopeless, because my problems are all caused by someone or something else.  I'm completely blind to the role I play in the situation and to all the myriad possibilities for solving the problem without anyone else having to do anything different.  It's extraordinarily hard to break out of those roles and it is a whole lot harder to convince someone else to see the truth - even when they've asked you for help. 

The payoff for stepping out of those roles is to be free of fear, guilt, anger, resentment and to see yourself as a capable, good person able to navigate this often difficult world and its difficult people with peace and occasional joy.

Friday, June 01, 2012


I have some of the most amazing dreams.  Some of them are so amazing I just have to record them.  This time I dreamed that I was married to one of my ex-husbands (again) and we decided to have more children.  Now mind you, I was 70 years old in my dream just like I am now.  So he was the one who got pregnant.  I told all my friends that I knew it was odd for people to have more children at our age, never even thinking that it was odd that he was the one that was pregnant.  By the way, we had twins.

Blog Archive