Sunday, June 26, 2016

Restaint of pen and tongue

If I have to ask God to sit on my tongue one more time, I do believe he will likely just pull the damn thing out. It seems I have been placed in so many positions lately to where I need to practice the fine art of silence. And that is just so not easy for me to do. When I am madder than snot.

Actually, hurt. Which feels like anger. Or, feels like mad, which is different than anger. I have an automatic, reactor that wants to lash out and "return the volley" when someone 'pisses me off'.

And it's happened twice today. First, a person who I can't classify as a friend, merely an acquaintance - but someone I like - responded to me in what I felt was smarmy, arrogant, condescending and just overall asshole-ish manner. The second, and more importantly, someone I love and respected - a sponsee - told me she was working the steps - step 4 - you know, the BIG ONE, with someone else. That she'd been doing it for a while and never told me. Seems she likes doing it better the way they other person does it. For this moment I will refrain from focusing on the fact this other person is somewhat new and has not worked the steps with a sponsor before. *clears throat*.

There's more to the story, as there always is, and maybe I will write about it soon. For today, I feel lied to. And dishonored. It's no problem if she wants another sponsor, it's no problem if she wants to work the steps with someone else. It's a problem when she sets me up and when she doesn't tell me. The set up part I will explain later. I have learned that when I ask someone for help - to sponsor me - that they are doing me a huge favor of service. I must respect that, their time, their devotion, their love. And obviously I ask someone who has what I want to have. And to get what they have, one must do what they do. I have never lied or withheld anything like this from my sponsor. Any of my sponsors. This particular woman I have worked with for 5 years and have gone above and beyond for many times. I am hurt. Very hurt. And angry.

But..... I have prayed for God to sit on my tongue and thus far, he has. This woman is out of the country at the moment, and we were communicating on a special text app. I told her I felt very hurt and that when I am hurt, I do not speak. She knows this, I have shared previous situations - recent - in which I had to practice the same detachment from other people who had hurt me. I told her I am separating myself from communication for the time being and she is free to work the steps and reach out to whomever she pleases. And then I deleted the app, and am now in full force silence. Not silent scorn. But tongue sitting silence. I know myself all too well. If I were to speak now, I would lay out the can of whoop-ass and instant smarmyness on her. I cannot speak when feeling this way, I will hurt her, me and ruin the relationship. And, I will not be a good sponsor or a person worthy of carrying the message. And that must be a priority for me. As I have learned, when I am silent, I can hear God better. And I believe she might be able to hear him to. And as with anyone who has deceived a friend, between you and me, she is likely feeling very guilty and shameful. And I hope it moves her soul. For her deception has moved mine.

So, the other asshole...(I believe I am allowed to vent here, in my own garden). I very much want to rant all over about him and what he said to me. Dick and asshole are probably the best nouns for him today. I, too, have chosen God to be the sitter upon my tongue. As I re-read what this person wrote to me, I likened it to a "bad touch". That label given to someone who abuses a person, touching in a wrong or hurtful way. I found this letter to be condescending, defensive and without any smidge of respect. I thought to myself "does this person even like me"? And when that question is asked, it's a bad sign. It made me feel like he was an angry man. Not angry at ME, just angry at the world, perhaps a difficult situation, a resentment from a previous relationship (likely). Just angry. And I get the feeling he has no idea how he came across to me in this shit kicking letter. Now, in the past, I would have noooooo problem responding letting him know in VERY LOUD language how I felt. Today, I am choosing the opposite. Silence. God inspired silence. Not cuz I am sitting on the mountain of wisdom and serenity. But because I care about me. I care about not having to hold more shame in my heart. Or making more amends. I care about practicing the principles in my affairs today.

I like me. I really like that I am applying the Al-Anon ideas. And because I like me today, you must respect me. Or you don't get to play with me. Either of you. All of you.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Meh and more...

I just left Miami this afternoon and am now in Orlando at my bff's home. I spent 10 days in Miami and it felt like a lifetime. Miami is no longer home for me. Though I certainly enjoyed seeing my friends and family, I was again reminded why I left in the first place. I have been travelling, or out of my own "home" since the end of April. I am tired and want to settle into my new home. Which I will next weekend.

I am unsettled at the moment. Not just with my being on the road and not having my home situated yet. I have that "Princess and the pea" thing going on. I feel like I am bothered but unsure exactly why. I have a feeling it's related to my dating life. Well, I am sure of it. Whenever I meet someone I like and it doesn't work out for some reason or another, I get into a funk. Kind of like I want to kick the cat kind of thing. Don't worry cat lovers, I have never done that. It's just a F* everything mood. Meh!

Tonight a friend of Jackson's posted something on his FB wall that I thought was an attack on my son. That turned on my inner-ghetto, mama bear button and I responded. I did not lash out, I responded. I will post tomorrow the gist of it, but the bottom line is it disturbed my inner peace. It was hard for me to shake. Jackson has never deserved anyone to be rude to him. EVER. And this kid dooped on my kid and it hurt me. So now Im in a shitty mood.

So much for emotional detachment. Turns out the kid was kidding Jackson. So Jackson tells me so. Meh. What do I know?

I'm just in a shitty mood. I am being pursued by another man. Very respectful, kind, thoughtful. But my heart isn't in it. What a shitty thing to feel. I know this will pass. But it never seems to pass quick enough, does it? I might be in need of 100,000 more Al-Anon meetings. At least. right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Truth in trust

"Trust is the fruit of a relationship in which you know you are loved. Because you do not know that I love you, you cannot trust me".

- William Paul Young - "The Shack"

Currently, I am reading 'The Shack' for the second time. This book is by far the greatest novel I have ever read. It is a novel, however, it was written with a great deal of personal experiential-based influence by the author. To add to the beautiful flavor of this book is knowing the background of the author. When I first read this in 2010, I wept through every chapter. It resonated within me in such a powerful way and reinforced who God is to me and how he operates within my life. This book is that important to me.

The quote above was spoken by "God" (as presented in a particular form, not the typical long, silver haired Charlton Heston dude in a white robe) who represents him/herself, to the main character, Mack. This quote could be spoken of any relationship, of course, but all relationships - for me - begin with God. Trust is perhaps the single most critical element of any relationship, for without it, there can be no harmony; and love can have no ability to deliver it's magnificence upon, and into, my partner. Given that I am a woman who was raised in an alcoholic family, married one, divorced one and have had a few special relationships fail - trust is so not easy to give, or find, in a potential partner today.

But I am not content to allow that to remain. Anymore. No.

Evan Almighty reminded me over and over that I must focus on being vulnerable. I must be genuine and I must be authentic. His words echo almost daily in my mind. Remove the wall, take it down, let people in. Not just people - but men people. The people I want to let in the most, well at least one man, but am scared to death to do so. I am not a multi-man woman. What would I do with more than one male suitor in my life at the same time? Although until recently I thought it might be a "thing" to casually date 2 men at once, I have since revised my opinion on that. No bueno. It's not me and it's too much trouble. My ego loves it.  But I am not my ego, thankfully. Today I know that.

So how do I trust a new man? It's actually not that hard in theory. Just in practice. I have learned that I must know how to trust myself first. To see the red flags waving early on. And trust my own ability to read those flags. And I have gained those instincts, self-doubt has melted away in recent years. Such a great feeling. Some red flags I've observed lately: after one date, a man was so enthralled that I actually looked my profile photos that he had "our" whole summer planned out. Seems his recent dates did not look as good as I did - at least in comparison - that he felt like he'd found the "one" in me. Despite his not being able to remember my last name, my son's name or pretty much anything I shared on that date. And, he rarely asked me anything about myself. Or any other subject for that matter. He just didn't ask. He had a need to be attached to a woman who was pretty (by his standards of pretty). Didn't matter who I was, whether there was a mutual connection, just so superficial and banal.  Those red flags, plus the fact I found him so one dimensional made it so easy to move on.

A few weeks ago, I had a date with a man with whom I felt a connection. After a long phone conversation, I felt a certain level of comfort, fun and intellectual connection with him. I know myself well enough to know what I need in a partner and at the top of this list is a strong intellectual/spiritual/philosophical connection. I've tried dating men with lesser qualities and it's just so not fulfilling. And these men are rare, so when one wanders by I take notice. We had two dates together, the first being great and lots of laughs. The second - not so great and no laughs. I made the mistake of suggesting a hike, not realizing this man is a real hiker and not just a "stroller" kind of guy. Two and one half hours of near heat-stroke, intense inner profanity and profuse sweating later, I left feeling confused and disappointed. Besides the physical exertion, we'd had a challenging conversation about Al-Anon and my association with it. See, this new friend has been affected by alcoholism personally. And in more than one way, though he may not know it. As a result, and as is typical with some men I have shared my recovery with, he pulled away from me shortly there after. I came to see a few years ago that certain men who initially are attracted to me - to my outgoing, fun and as I am told "warm" personality, become threatened by my recovery. That part of me that is in touch with emotions, responsibility, maturity, and reality. Seems some men don't want to "go there". I get it. I do. And it's cool, if not still disappointing. This particular man seemed to have that level of spiritual grounding that I really respect and want - stemming from Buddhism- which is quite similar to the spiritual principles of Al-Anon. But, and is his option, he made the decision that for him, I am not someone he wants to spend more time with.  My observation was he himself doesn't trust easily and don't think he wants to ascend to the standards of which I hold myself to, and that of my mate. At least, not today, Love is work!! Personal growth and evolution isn't easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. It's easier to stay in the dark - alone, nursing decades old wounds and living in fear. That is just not an option for me today. I recall he told me when I grumbled and complained about the hard hike - at the end of it, "you'll be glad you pushed your way through". And he was right - the next day I felt great and had very little physical pain. I only know his reason for not wanting to date me, and I respect his choice - if I don't quite believe his reasoning 100%.  But, alas, as the Chinese farmer has taught me, it is what it is. I love that Chinese farmer. I wonder if he is single ;)

Trust. I trust the universe to place the people - men, or otherwise - onto my path that are meant to walk the walk that I choose. Because I know I choose the path of enlightenment, love and service. Just like an intelligent person won't "dumb themselves down" to attract a lesser level of intelligence, I won't "un-evolve" myself for another. I won't hide away my recovery, even if it means losing someones interest. I trust - see that word - that God has me where he wants me. And I intend to continue to practice the trust that I am slowly, but surely, gaining within myself so I can in turn trust a man to love me. And for me to love him.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

What defines me?

What defines me?

Recently, a new friend asked me if I my association with Al-Anon "defined" me. The question came during a somewhat contentious conversation about what Al-Anon is, does and why I still attend after so many years.  I immediately responded "No".  Because it doesn't.  If it did, then I would be a slave to it, dependent on it for my identity. As a person with a codependency past, I can certainly attest to being defined as somebody's daughter, wife, mother. So, If I am not defined by the community to which I learn spiritual principles from, or a partner in a relationship, how am I defined? Or, am I defined by anything at all?

The first person I'd consult on this question is William. With two degrees in Philosophy, and a former college philosophy professor, we'd have a stimulating conversation and I'm certain I'd be quite enlightened. Sadly, however, we are not friends thus I am left to the resources of my own mind and a few books. First, I turned to the most spiritual book I know of - the dictionary. I have always maintained this book is the most powerful book ever printed because it is a book of pure truth. It cannot be misconstrued, or manipulated to anything another wishes. These definitions - truths - are globally accepted as axioms. A truth which is understood as self-evident. "The proof is in the pudding" kinda thing. Can't challenge it, the word is the bird. Done. Finito. No distortion possible. So, it exists to be reality, one could claim. The only reality there is. Scary, huh?

So, I looked up the word 'definition'. The definition of definition? This is too much fun :)


[def-uh-nish-uh n]

-the act of defining, or of making something definite, distinct, or clear:
the condition of being definite, distinct, or clearly outlined. indicates that there has to be a hard, written in stone, "spiritual axiom" line to the definition of Christina. Well, what could THAT be? Could it be, as my new friend asked, Al-Anon? After all I have been a part of the fellowship for almost 28 years. I attend a few meetings every week, I am asked to speak at events, I read their spiritual literature, most of my friends are a part of the fellowship, or that of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have learned a vast amount of spiritual principles and practices in Al-Anon, and like Norm - everybody knows my name there. These people are my chosen family and I adore them. Am I "Miss Al-Anon"? I almost sounds like a beauty pageant contestant. 

Or, am I Jackson's mommy? He of great educational and musical acclaim - so talented, so "humanly" successful. Might I be defined by him? After all I raised him. I instilled in him the principles in which to live by - love your fellow man, what you give to the world, so the world shall give to you. So give good mojo lest the winds of Karma spew back your ugly mojo. I did that. Maybe I am defined as a teacher of truths, of love, of all good things Jackson?

Or my occupation? Am I defined by the good I do in helping people plan financial security for their retirement and their family once they've passed? This is a big fat no so I won't even consider this. Well then, what else is there? If I were a criminal, could one say I am defined by those acts of hurt, of hate? Of selfishness? Maybe, but isn't is possible a criminal also can be a good person to their world? At least sometimes?

-the act of defining, or of making something definite, distinct, or clear:
the condition of being definite, distinct, or clearly outlined.

It is definite that I do some worthy acts upon my fellows in this world. It is clear that my intent and many times, my actions, are meant for the good of loving others. But not always. I can be a bitch, self-serving and an all around snot sometimes. Just ask my ex-husband. But do those shitty behaviors define me in a "definite" sense?

No. Nor do my loving acts of benevolence. So what I am seeing is I am defined by nothing. Because I am not one specific thing or another. I am constantly evolving, one hopes, for the better. At times, I return to the worse, but rarely do I stay there. I suppose with my new friend meant was "Do YOU see yourself as nothing more than a member of Al-Anon?" and/or "Do you feel that your life has no other meaning than that of a long standing member of Al-Anon"?

I am assuming that is what he meant.

So, the answer is No and No. And that is not the intent of Al-Anon. It never was.  Al-Anon is, to me, those two pieces of wood that a landscaper uses to support a newly planted tree. They keep that tree firmly supported, until their own roots can take hold and eventually support itself.  But....why do we stay? If we, er I, can stand firmly on my own?

Two reasons. Let me share the parable of the Giant Redwood tree.

I had in my mind that a tree that stood hundreds of feet tall would have a massive tap root reaching great distances beneath the soil's surface. I discovered to my surprise that a Redwood does not have a deep tap root. A redwood might have a tap root at most ten feet deep. So how does a Redwood stand so tall when the storms and winds blow hard in the hundreds of years that they must be protected from great winds? They have lateral roots that spread a little beneath the surface of the soil. The secret of the stability of the Redwood is that the trees grow in clusters and families. The roots of one Redwood tree intertwine with the roots of the other trees in the cluster. Instead of the roots of a single tree anchoring a tree in place, the root systems of all the trees in a cluster mingle and wrap around each other, until overlapping and intertwining the root systems of all the trees in the cluster are helping secure each other in their place. The redwoods have strength in their being gathered together in a solidly knit community.

I stay because although I can stand alone, I have found that I cannot continue the growth process alone. I need the root support as continuous structure in order to grow taller, grow greater, providing continuous evolution. I am passed the "why won't he stop drinking" phase, way beyond the anger, rage and resentment. I am into the phase of 'how has this affected me, what can I do to heal and be of service to others' phase. My root must cross over to anothers root and give back. If we all just uprooted ourselves out of the fellowship, who would be there to help the new person in need? Alcoholism is not a stagnant disease. It will either progress or regress, there is no standing still. Much like the Redwood, without proper root structure, it will shrink, starve and die. Am I defined by these roots? No. But I do come from them. It was this root community that helped me shed the fear, the shame, the secrecy, the self-loathing. As I allowed their love to penetrate me, I cast aside those horrible defects of character and have blossomed into a woman who I respect and love. That, friends, is no easy feat coming from the background I've come from.

Well, the question still remains: What defines me?

I think the answer is nothing. And everything. The things I do. The things I don't do. I say. I don't say. Today. Tomorrow. Yesterday. I think if you look up the word 'Christina' in the dictionary you might just only find a simple happy face of gratitude. At least, I hope so.