Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved.

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Tako
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved.

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:35 pm

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Rebuilding a blog that was "accidentally" deleted by a moderator. :(
If you saved any, please add them back in here.

by Tako » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:56 pm

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!

Hope everyone who wants to create a healthy and strong forum for all, will continue to share their positive ESH (experience, strength and hope) with those who come here in search of support. Our purpose, here, is to give support to the friends and families of addicts; if we're not doing that then there's really no reason to be here.

When I am faced with adversity I am aware that I have choices to stay and work through it or leave in hopes of not letting it get in the way of my own personal recovery. I do not let group issues become personal because that leads to hostile encounters that only hurt the group and that is the last thing I ever want to do: I keep the the passage from Tradition 12 close to my heart, "principles above personalities." When someone in particular angers me, I remind myself that the unity of the group is more important than my personal issues with that person.

The 12 Traditions help me work within the group for mutual group support.

Nar-Anon's Twelve Traditions

1.Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity.

2.For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority -- a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants -- they do not govern.

3.The relatives of addicts, when gathered for mutual aid, may call themselves a Nar-Anon Family Group,
provided that as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of addiction in a relative or friend.

4.Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other Nar-Anon Family Groups, or NA as a whole.

5.Each Nar-Anon family group has but one purpose; to help families of addicts. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of Nar-Anon, by encouraging and understanding our addicted relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of addicts.

6.Our family groups ought never to endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim; but although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Narcotics Anonymous.

7.Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8.Nar-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ
special workers.

9.Our groups, as such ought never to be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10.The Nar-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11.Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, Internet and other forms of mass media. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all NA members.

12.Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

I would like to encourage all those who want to share on this forum to do so without further drama: we, who remain, can be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. "Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity."

Praying for peace and unity; here on our forum and around the world.

Tako

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by Tako » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:45 pm
Sharing some positive ESH with you! Ways to get healthy and stay healthy. These will help us move through the darkness and into the light.

TWELVE TOOLS OF THE NAR-ANON PROGRAM

- MEETINGS
- TELEPHONE CALLS
- SERVICE
- ANONYMITY
- WRITING
- SPONSORSHIP
- THE TWELVE STEPS
- LITERATURE
- SLOGANS
– SPIRITUALITY
– THE TWELVE TRADITIONS
- THE TWELVE CONCEPTS

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by Tako » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:46 pm

Something positive to help us all get through the holidays............if our sadness or regrets cause us to have a big hole in our hearts, we can stop and fill them up with the things we are grateful for: there is always something to be grateful for, so please join me in this little exercise!

Gratitude List

An exercise in positive thinking!

It is important that we visit the positive aspects of our lives on a daily basis. Doing so heightens our awareness and empowers us to change our lives through changing our perspectives. Gratitude replaces negativity and helps us to avoid self-pity and getting stuck in a rut. When we share our gratitude, it inspires others to become more aware of the good things in their lives. People, places, things, ideas, opportunities, and such, are what make life interesting………what are you grateful for?

I am grateful for:

________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

If you run out of space, be grateful for that and get another sheet of paper!

Tako

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by Tako » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:28 am

Thankfully, Nar-Anon has been a catalyst for change in my life; primarily in helping me change my perspectives.

Before Nar-Anon was in my life, I felt abandoned when people left me (for one reason or another); now, I understand and can (sometimes reluctantly) accept the choices of those who disappear from my life. I guess because I've lived long enough to have had my pets die, loved ones die, experienced divorce from a child's perspective and lost friends along the way, those experiences prepared me to lose people to addiction and various other reasons. Prior to Nar-Anon being in my life, I might have sunk into a depression or obsessively grieved for those who departed.............Nar-Anon has helped me learn how to let go of the things I cannot change (especially other people's perspectives and choices). I remember how painful it was for me in the beginning when people would join our meeting and claim that they were so happy to find us, join us and wanted to be there indefinitely: then we'd never see them again. I couldn't figure it out and it hurt to think that they didn't mean what they said; I've now come to realize that they were just stopping by on their journeys and that they were just visitors who stopped in for a "reason." - Namaste! Tako

So, I am going to post one of my favorite pieces of literature here (as I have on the support forum), because I recognize the grieving in others and hope this helps us all "move on."

A REASON, A SEASON, A LIFETIME....

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real, but only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant. - Author Unknown

Tako

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by Tako » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:14 am

There was a time when I allowed my grieving to get me stuck in a proverbial rut: it felt like I was stuck on an island, all by myself, because I felt abandoned and misunderstood. Losing people to addiction, misunderstandings and even death all felt the same to me………I thought I’d never get over them and obsessed on “why” they had to leave: why, why, why?

Letting go of the “whys” helped me realize that until we die, life is just a series of changes that include arrivals and departures.

Being overwhelmed with grief propelled me into an obsession of being lonely; after all, who was I if I wasn’t somebody’s mother, wife, sister, child, friend, etc.? The more I dwelled on those who left me, the less time I had to spend with those who were still in my life and who meant a great deal to me; I neglected myself too. Nar-Anon has really reinvigorated my spirit of self-worth because it is in the giving of support that I realize the purpose of my life… to share what I have, not to give away all that I am. Sharing is beneficial, but depleting all my energies in pursuit of chaos and drama is detrimental. I have learned to value myself and to step away from (detach) the chaos and insanity that others stir up. I realize that I no longer have a need to respond, react or even engage with those who are self-absorbed (AKA, “Drama Kings and Queens”); I can sit back and watch the drama unfold without getting involved at all. It’s all about choices.

Today, I choose to be in the NOW of life; I do not spend much time in the past or the future……………….the present is all that I have and I am grateful for it.

Tako

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by Tako » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:03 am

Just a reminder!

Please don't forget to take a few minutes to write that gratitude list; oh, and how about a little journaling to
remember how you felt today (somewhere down the road in your recovery)?

Blessings on your journey!

Tako

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by Tako » Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:45 pm

Healing is a process.

There's no band aid for the traumas that we have endured, but there is a remedy in the support that we receive from each other. Often we ask (or beg or bargain) with our beloved addicts to get into a program and start their own recovery process, but we neglect to start our own.

What does it take for us to start our own program of recovery? Well, coming here is a start, but it is just that............a start. Attending meetings and eventually getting a sponsor will provide the opportunities we need to heal and to get healthy. How is it that something so simple can remedy such a horrific situation? Well, it is in that simplicity that we find support and healing through sharing our experiences, strengths and hopes (ESH). We needn't become dependent on one another, but we certainly can benefit from the encounters that we have on a daily or weekly basis.

There is no better time than NOW, to start the healing process: go ahead, check out the meetings and see if there's one within driving range (http://nar-anon.org/Nar-Anon/Nar-Anon_Groups.html) If not, then seek out those who attend the online meetings here and start your healing process that way.

Do for yourself what you pray your beloved addict will do for himself/herself. Your good health may just be the inspiration he or she needs to start down a path of recovery too.

Tako

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by Tako » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:24 am

Breaking free of all that imprisons me.

While it’s easy to blame others for the things that are wrong in our lives, it is rather difficult to take our own inventory in recognition of the fact that we might be responsible for our own misery. The phrase, “You’re your own worst enemy,” comes to mind and compels me to want to look deeper at the situations I’ve found myself in.

I know for a fact that I am no one’s victim (I might have been at various times in my childhood), but rather a volunteer in the insanity and chaos I’ve gotten involved with. Feeling victimized and used brings terrible feelings of defeat and anger; realizing that I no longer need to look to someone else for the answers empowers me……………..I can practice "acceptance" and learn to move on.

A simple slogan, “It is what it is,” helps remind me that I am powerless to change the past or the future, but that I can take charge of today and practice my recovery program so that I do not have to revert to old behaviors and thoughts that lead me down the path of insanity.

Living a life of purpose and spiritual intent is an ongoing goal for me. The overused, but eloquent phrase, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” has always stuck with me and has even more meaning to me, now that I work diligently at breaking free of all that imprisons me.

Tako

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Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Re: Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:50 pm

Growing a meeting and keeping it healthy…..

When I read a posting here about someone getting bailed out, I thought to myself, “Yes, there should be Nar-Anon literature at every bail bondsman’s office!”

Outreach has made the difference in our meeting. Long ago, we struggled to have 3-5 “regular” members. The group was so small that we couldn’t make rent and I made it my personal commitment to take care of it or a year if necessary, but it was frustrating to think how many addicts lived in our community; we often wondered where their friends and families were. We figured we should far outnumber their meetings and should probably be holding our meetings at the Civic Auditorium, but that was not the case. In addition to not making rent, we never had funds to offer Nar-Anon Conference Approved Literature (CAL).

When a newcomer would show up and say something like, “I never knew there was a Nar-Anon ,” or “ I didn’t even know there was a Nar-Anon in town,” we knew we were not getting the word out in our community and we needed to make some changes. In addition to moving our meeting to another day and a much better location (free of rent), we made up flyers that had program information as well as meeting information. We distributed them in person as we traveled around in our community and we e-mailed them out to hospitals, institutions and therapists. Slowly, but surely, newcomers showed up and we always made a point of asking them how they came to hear about our meeting.

Service has made the difference in how healthy our group has become. When I was doing all the work, I felt like a packhorse and started to resent that no one ever offered to pitch in and help make the meeting functional. Of course, I had honed my “martyr” skills and never could ask for help: it wasn’t my nature. Thus, I grew resentful that people just arrived 5 minutes before the meeting started and never offered to show up early to prepare for the meeting. Then this lady showed up and chastised me for controlling the meeting and never letting anyone else participate. OMG

I was really ticked off at her assumption, but it opened up an opportunity to discuss my frustrations and she suggested that we hold our first ever,” Business Meeting” to discuss service and group commitments. There we sat, just the two of us at that first business meeting! We made the mistake of closing the meeting and inviting the group to stay…………they all departed.

So, we figured out a better way and that was to stop the meeting early and change gears without closing the meeting and that’s when our fellowship learned about the benefits of service and the need for them to help make our meeting healthy. Rotation of service gives everyone the opportunity to grow in their own recovery and helps them make a commitment to their own program rather than someone else’s.

Service kept me involved in my own program, but sharing the service has given me the gift of enjoying the fellowship without unnecessary martyrdom stress.

“Together we can do, what we could never do alone,”

Tako

Tako
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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A daily habit……………what’s yours???????????

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:53 pm

- I brush my teeth every day
- I exercise every day (well, almost every day)
- I take my vitamins every day
- I take care of my pets every day
- I do something positive for myself (eating healthy, exercising, meditating, laughing, reading,etc.)
- I do Nar-Anon outreach every day

I’ve had some newcomers recently ask me why I’m still in Nar-Anon after all these years and they’re even more curious because the addicts in my life are clean and sober for a few years now……………………so, why am I still here? Well, like my abbreviated list above, I try to make positive things a habit once I’ve got them under my belt. I like being healthy and I like having balance in my life. When I look in the mirror, I know who I am and I am honest with myself about life in general and the situations that befall me.

When I participate in my weekly Nar-Anon meetings (yes, I now have two each week), I feel calm about my life and confident that I will survive anything that comes my way; at least anything not diagnosed as terminal. When I see a newcomer walk through the door of our Nar-Anon meeting, I find myself reminiscent of who I was back then and what it has taken me to be who I am today. I didn’t just pull into my local gas station (AKA, meeting) and fill up my tank (with the support and fuel to operate fully), expecting it to last me a lifetime. Nope, I came back each week to fill ‘er up and to keep going. Now, my participation and my service are a habit; sometimes I think my car would start up and drive to my meetings even if I weren’t at the wheel!

My meetings, support, participation, service and camaraderie are very important factors in my life; they give me hope when I find it lacking in other areas and they give me a purpose to fulfill every day. I make Nar-Anon a priority in my life so that my life has more meaning: I’m not just busy doing things, I’m busy being things.

Whatever you learn from me has been something I’ve been given as a message of support and understanding; all I ask is that you pass it on and share it with those who might, mistakenly, believe they are alone and without hope. The outreach I do is an effort to promote the message, “Together, we can do what we could never do alone.”

Hope you’ll join me in this worldwide effort to support the friends and families of addicts; we join together, in the spirit of unity, to help each other live better lives even when we don’t believe we deserve to.

Tako
Last edited by Tako on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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The greatest gift of all……………

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:55 pm

After living in pain for so long, I was content to live with all the resentments I carried in my heart and soul: after all, I could justify my resentments towards those who had hurt me, they were the people I loved the most.

One day, I was watching Oprah, who has quite an extensive background of physical and sexual abuse, and she was saying, forgiveness frees the forgiver from having to live in pain and resentments. Wow, that was a moment of clarity for me……..to think I could relieve my pain by forgiving those who had hurt me: it sure didn’t seem like an easy task, but one that was worth contemplating. I had lived in pain for so long, that I couldn’t imagine being free of it, but Nar-Anon helped me realize that it was a worthy goal to set for myself.

So, I started small, forgiving little things that really weren’t hard to forgive, but then I started forgiving bigger issues and soon, I found myself with a sponsor and started to learn how to forgive myself. After all, I had chosen to settle for a sad and pathetic life that included active addiction: I had neglected my non-addict loved ones by putting all the focus on the addict’s chaos; I had alienated family and lost friends along the way because I ignored their calls due to the shame I felt; I said and did negative things to the addicts in my life, feeling justified because I wasn’t an addict; instead of compassion, I expressed anger and shame through the dismissive attitudes I displayed.

It was when I worked the fourth step, with my sponsor, that I started to understand the arrogance of trying to force my will on someone else and how only my way was the right way. I worked long and hard to forgive myself for trying to control and manipulate someone else’s life; it took a while to realize that I was no one else’s Higher Power. Forgiveness came into my heart and that’s when I realized that I was giving myself the greatest gift of all.

Wishing you forgiveness and serenity,

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Thoughts about gratitude.

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:55 pm

We, just like the addicts, end up with a big hole to fill; after years of being consumed with misery and fear, we can end up feeling a huge void when the chaos and insanity subsides. Although most of our thoughts and prayers were about ending the insanity, there is a sense of loss when the addict gets busy in his/her recovery or disappears into his/her world of addiction and we're left alone in our thoughts. I do believe that a lot of the grieving is not just for the "good old days," but for the sense of our loved one's physicality: good or bad. It is a sad state of affairs, that we really can, and do, miss the insanity that existed in our home and yet, detaching from it is the only remedy for getting stuck in it.

So, what can we do to change the course of our lives and to fill up the hole that is left when addiction leaves our home? For me, the answer came in incremental insights: I started forcing myself to "get out and get involved," which had been something I avoided while isolating in my pain: I started by making my meetings a priority because it was a place where I could communicate with "kindred spirits," and where I could connect emotionally with people; then I started to keep a gratitude list and put a few things on it each morning, which helped me start the day with some positive thoughts; and, then I took a leap of faith and offered myself up in some volunteer programs. Without realizing it, I had changed the course of my life and had, inadvertently, started filling up that hole that addiction left in my heart and soul.

Nowadays, whenever I feel disappointed or nostalgic, I look for alternative things to get involved with and take sometime to do some Nar-Anon outreach, which always brings me a sense of doing something for humanity. I make a concerted effort to turn negatives into positives which always ends up helping me avoid depression and isolation, which are the two things that can kill the human spirit; I keep coming back because it enhances my life and inspires me to reach out to others.

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Fearing Change:

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:56 pm

Recently, I was put in a position that I haven't been in, in quite a while. My daughter called me to tell me about the difficult position she found herself in and was so upset that she left work and was crying on the bus while calling me. I listened to her story and realized that what was really troubling her was that she was facing a change in her life and the thought of changing her location, her relationships and her job was drumming up all the insecurities she had put away long ago. Being the codependent that I am, I tried to assuage her fear by illustrating that the option to make this change was hers and that she was, indeed, the "captain" of her own destiny........she could decide to make those changes or NOT.

When I got off the phone with her, I realized that the fear of change is often what paralyzes us and makes us bury our heads in the sand. How well I remember the comfort of denial, when I could just ignore or pretend that the things I was faced with didn't exist or weren't that bad. Denial was an option until I arrived at the Nar-Anon train station and found a group of kindred spirits who had life experiences similar to mine. I got off the train and started a whole journey of self-discovery and change and now I can't go back to those dimly lit days of denial. Now, when I see a problem, I feel compelled to deal with it honestly and make some decisions about whether or not to make a change in my life or my perspectives in order to accept it and move on. Now, I have the option to act, rather than react.

Now that I have my Nar-Anon tools, I can see clearly that I am the captain of my own destiny and that I cannot allow fear to stop me from making necessary, and often sanity saving, life changes. Change is good and now I am more flexible in my willingness to make the changes I need to have a better life...........I no longer fear change.

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Wearing my Nar-Anon Goggles and carrying my Nar-Anon Toolbox

Post by Tako » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:59 pm

by Tako » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:50 pm

I didn’t know, what I didn’t have, when I made the decision to attend my first Nar-Anon meeting. Nowadays, when I witness newcomers “come and go,” I wonder if they could even imagine what they might discover if they were to decide to stay? I remember wondering if Nar-Anon was a religious organization or if I had to give up who I was, in order to join them in their program. I thought the little slogan, “Keep coming back, it works if you work it,” was a rather silly farewell statement; but then, again, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I am so grateful that I didn’t let myself get in my own way; that I didn’t walk away from a life changing and sanity saving recovery program. I’m not sure I even understood that I needed a recovery program………….I thought that was really for my addicted loved ones; but then, again, I didn’t realize that I had become addicted to the chaos and insanity and had been trying to find balance in a topsy-turvy world.

So week after week, I got myself to the meeting and after a couple of years I took a long hard look at where I had been and how far I had come: if I had known then, what I know now, I would have gotten myself there a lot sooner. I suffered far too long believing that I was alone in my misery and that there was little or no hope for change; after all, I had spent a number of years putting out fires and I was exhausted.

Somewhere along my journey of self-discovery, I discovered that, although I had sought out Nar-Anon for the recipes to change my loved ones, it was I who had ultimately changed. I no longer looked at myself as a victim; I had learned to accept my choices and behaviors and come to the realization that I was a volunteer! OMG………did I really do all that crazy stuff? I was compelled to get honest about my own actions (and, yes, doing nothing is an action too) and acknowledge my role in the relationships I had.

Attending meetings was my best first step, but then again, it was only the beginning of my journey. It took me a while to find my Sponsor, but she was worth the wait: she has walked beside me on this journey and helped me get honest with myself. Today, I never leave home without my Nar-Anon Goggles and my Nar-Anon Tools.

Are you starting to see things differently too? What tools have you put in your tool box so far?

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Purchasing that "How to" book.

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:00 am

by Tako » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:11 am

When I first came to Nar-Anon, I came in search of a cure for my addicted loved ones and I needed some quick advice on "how to" fix them so that we could all get back to living a "normal life." I needed that "How to" fix your addict book that would offer me all the solutions to stopping the insanity that fueled the roller coaster we were all riding: I arrived at my first meeting with cash in my pocket, ready to purchase that book.

I sat down in a little circle of chairs and wondered who all these people were and what brought them here; I figured we probably didn't have much in common, but figured they knew the solutions that would help me fix the addicts in my life: I knew that I needed help in learning how to control the situation since it had become so very out of control. So, I waited for the meeting to start and found myself in a flood of tears as soon as they recited the Serenity Prayer; I didn't know it by heart at the time, but I had it on my refrigerator and had no idea how important that little prayer would become in my life. One, by one, they announced their names and soon were sharing their stories of what brought them to Nar-Anon and why they kept coming back: I realized that there was an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity in that little circle. My husband and I were the only newcomers that day, and we were amazed to hear the similarities we shared with these Nar-Anon members; it really didn't matter which relationship the person sharing had with his/her addict (i.e., wife, daughter, husband, son or other), we were experiencing pretty much the same chaos and insanity and we all wanted it to stop.

Those are some pretty fond memories I have of a most extraordinary experience; walking through the door and starting my own journey of recovery was a life changing opportunity that was mine for the taking (I was reminded to "Keep coming back, it works if you work it."). I started my journey with that first step and then learned about the 12-Steps and how I could use them to recover from my nightmare: http://nar-anon.org/Nar-Anon/Nar-Anon_Principles.html

I remember waiting to be shown the "How to" book, but it never was revealed; instead, I was offered the experience, strength and hope that would change my life forever: I now understand the perplexities of loving an addict while, at the same time, learning to love myself (an odd concept that would be revealed in time).

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Fighting the good fight or surrendering

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:01 am

I always considered myself to be a “fighter,” and one who never gave up the good fight, but addiction beat me down until I had no other option than to surrender. Until I spent some time in Nar-Anon, I really hadn’t even entertained the idea as an option for me in regard to saving the addict in my life. Without understanding the concept of a “Higher Power,” (HP), I thought it was my duty to protect and save my addict(s) from all sources of pain and suffering. I didn't understand that my efforts to prevent my addict(s) from experiencing consequences, only compounded my own.

All of that was in my pre-Nar-Anon days when I placed little, to no value, on my own life and my own happiness. They were the days of my unbridled "arrogance" (a word I detested, almost as much as the word, “addict,” at first), when I believed I was my addict’s HP and that, with enough effort, I could be victorious against any foe that came our way: unfortunately, the disease of addiction was far stronger than anything else I had ever encountered. I came to Nar-Anon determined to save my child’s life; all I requested were the how-to answers and I’d be on my way to slay the disease (Joan d’Arc complex) that was threatening our lives.

I kept hearing the Serenity Prayer and began to embrace all that it meant; slowly, I came to understand that the only life I could save was my own. I had to stop and ask myself some difficult questions like, “Who am I?,” “What happened to my dreams?,” “What happened to my life?,” “When was the last time that I was happy for no reason at all?,” (e.g., not a gift, not another person’s presence, etc.) and “What kind of life do I want to lead?” I had so many questions and a thirst for knowledge; I couldn’t truly comprehend what had brought me to Nar-Anon, but I knew that I no longer wanted to live that way: I wanted to live a better life and the message I heard each week was a simple one, “Keep coming back.”

I did just that, I kept showing up and I kept reading the Steps until I started understanding that surrendering was the catalyst for change and would be the starting point of my own recovery: with that newly understood knowledge, rather than continuing to “fight the good fight,” I chose to surrender. I surrendered my stubbornness and misconceptions and started taking the Steps to recovery from the nightmare I had found myself living.

My life has changed completely and for that, I am a grateful member of Nar-Anon. I have made Nar-Anon a priority in my life because I refuse to ever return to living the way I did prior to my arrival. I’ve heard it said that, “Happiness is an inside job, “ and I am living proof that this statement is true.

Keep coming back, your life will change if you choose to change it!

Tako

Tako
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Lies, lies, lies

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:02 am

by Tako » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:00 pm

There are lies that those who are avoiding us tell us and then there are the lies that we tell ourselves to avoid the reality of our situations: in recovery, those lies are called, “Denial.”

I have read postings on the forum and listened to stories being told in my face-to-face meetings about the incessant lies that are told by addicts to their friends and families. The friends and families of addicts suffer because of the lies and hold deep resentments about the lengths their addicts went to build layer upon layer of lies. Being told those lies, and actually believing them, makes us feel used and rather foolish for being so naive. The lies hurt us and our relationships; we often get stuck in the “why” questions: why, why, why. The truth of the matter is that most of the answers will be expressed as, “I don’t know why,” or, “I was in my disease at the time.” I equate the whole scenario to that of a baker who greases his cookie sheet so that nothing sticks: a lie helps things not to stick. (The rationale: If things don't stick, then there are no consequences.)

Sadder than being told a lie by someone we love, is to live in an altered state where we lie to ourselves in order to make sense of the insanity and chaos. I have heard that abused children often resort to telling themselves lies in order to cope with the abuse that they receive. I believe it is also a coping mechanism that we adults use to pretend ourselves into what we conceive to be “normal” relationships with people who are very sick in their disease of addiction. We know our loved ones are using drugs and altering their minds, yet we expect them to go to work and earn a living, attend school and making grades, not to mention driving in altered states, taking care of children and pets in altered states and having meaningful relationships with them while they’re in altered states. We see what is wrong, but we continue to tell ourselves that it will go away in time or ultimatums will force a cure. We tell ourselves these lies until we believe them and, ultimately, make us sick too.

Listening to NA speakers, speak their truths, helped me understand the altered mind of an addict; listening to my fellow Nar-Anon members helped me realize the damage I had caused myself. I heard my story being told many times and came to understand that I could continue to live in pain or I could get off the ride and make some life saving changes: the choices were mine to make and they had little to do with the choices the addict in my life made.

Lies, lies, lies………………until we get honest with ourselves and those we love, we cannot expect anything to change. Our lives only get better when we come to understand and accept the first Step of our simple recovery program: “We admitted we were powerless over the Addict -- that our lives have become unmanageable.” The lies that we’re told by loved ones hurt us deeply, but the lies we tell ourselves can kill us…………….Lies, lies, lies.

Tako

Tako
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Taking control……….a misunderstood responsibility.

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:05 am

I was brought up to believe that hard work and sacrifice paid off in the form of self-satisfaction and a level of pride as an accomplishment. What I was raised up to believe made me ill prepared to handle addiction in a loved one who succumbed to the disease of addiction.

When I was faced with the horrific reality that someone I loved faced a self-destructing disease that could culminate in death if it was not arrested, I misunderstood how one might go about arresting the disease. That’s when my entire upbringing ran like adrenaline in my body and put me in to “overdrive” with all my controlling ways. I believed that I could arrest the disease that consumed my loved one: if only I could stay awake 24/7 and run faster than he could (in order to prevent him from self-destructing). I hadn’t a clue that I was not his Higher Power (HP): what a relief to learn that I was no one’s HP and that I could never to be responsible for his addiction or his recovery!

Up until that time, I prided myself in being able to take control of a situation and fix it before others might be affected. Until I came to the Nar-Anon program, I had never realized that “taking control” could be a harmful thing, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was trying to prevent the consequences of someone else’s behaviors and that, in doing so, I could help him stay in his disease longer and give him the opportunity to self-destruct because of my enabling.

It took me a while to get the connection of how enabling can be a form of controlling, but once the light bulb went on, I realized that I had to change in order to NOT make my addict’s life so easy and comfortable that all he had to focus on was, when and how he could get his next high.

Nar-Anon has helped me to focus on the behaviors that I used to control someone else; in letting go of those behaviors, I relieved myself of my misunderstood duty and set myself free to live a meaningful and purposeful life. The upside of "letting go of my end of the rope" is that my loved one started growing leaps and bounds in his own maturity and sense of self-preservation (which had diminished throughout his years of drug use).

I hope you will join me in this journey of self-discovery; you have nothing to lose but a heap of pain and fear.

Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Using my recovery tools………….

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:09 am

There’s only so much a program can offer an individual who comes in search of a remedy for his/her pain. We empathize and welcome the newcomer, but it doesn’t take long before it becomes apparent that the newcomer disappears into the unknown or continues to keep coming back, but without commitment to his/her own recovery program.

I remember one of our forum members calling it the, “addict update,” where the Nar-Anon member just keeps updating us all on his/her addict’s chaos and insanity: continuing the saga of what I call, “As the Stomach Turns.” It becomes apparent that the member is still in denial and avoiding what we have to offer……………..recovery tools that can change his/her life.

The first tool we offer is Nar-Anon literature …………….a healthy meeting will hand out literature and direct the member to the WSO website where he/she can purchase more insightful items:
:arrow: http://nar-anon.org/Nar-Anon/Nar-Anon_Literature.html

The second tool we offer is the Principles of Nar-Anon (The Steps, The Traditions and The Concepts):
:arrow: http://nar-anon.org/Nar-Anon/Nar-Anon_Principles.html

The third tool we offer is a Phone Support List: make sure you get one at your meeting and keep it close by for those times when you need to reach out in a crisis or just for a little support.

The fourth tool we offer is group support that is only available to those who show up. If you aren’t at your meeting, then you have not availed yourself of the gift of support. It is in showing up that can give and receive experience, strength and hope (ESH). Recovery is a gift you give yourself: it is available to you, just like it is to the addict you love. A past forum member used to remind members that “your satisfaction is guaranteed or your pain will be refunded.”
A fifth tool that is available is outside opportunities to meet with other Nar-Anon members (e.g., our wonderful Nar-Anon Family Forum and conventions/events):
:arrow: http://www.naranon.com/forum
:arrow: http://nar-anon.org/Nar-Anon/Conventions_Events.html

A sixth tool is the gift of knowledge; much of which is available on the World Service Office website: :arrow: www.nar-anon.org

A seventh tool is the opportunity to commit to doing service so that your involvement in Nar-Anon is enhanced with the knowledge of how our organization works and how our growth and success depends on the service of our members. We are a service driven non-profit organization that offers free recovery programs around the world. What you give away strengthens your own program………it is an amazing journey. Service can be given in many ways (e.g., making coffee, volunteering for a position in your group, volunteering to man a helpline, working at an event or convention and many other opportunities). What is important to remember is that becoming a “regular” and showing up to your meeting is also a gift of service you give to your fellow members.

Nar—Anon offers many tools to put in your tool box…….now, all you have to do is pick up your tools and do the work: are you ready to get to work?

Keep coming back; it works IF you work it!

Tako

Tako
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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If you’re going through hell

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:10 am

Just thought I'd share some situationally appropriate song lyrics with those who find themselves in an unhappy place at this time of year (or at any time of year). At our face-to-face (f2f) meeting, members shared about their various Christmas experiences and I found myself thinking about this song. The words remind us to face our fears (and our bad situations) and to keep moving rather than staying in the problem and getting ourselves stuck in the fire.

Let's make 2010 the healthiest year of all.............let's keep on movin' in our recovery, regardless of the choices our loved ones make. Tako

"If You're Going Through Hell"
by Rodney Atkins

Well, you know those times when you feel like
There's a sign there on your back
That says I don't mind if you kick me, seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You think it can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Used the needle of your compass, to sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie in a bottle of Jim Beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth
If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down; if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

I've been deep down in that darkness
I've been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons breathin' fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled, I'd fall right into the trap
That they were layin', yeah

But the good news is, there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holdin' out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been draggin' for so long
You're on your knees, might as well be prayin'
Guess what I'm sayin'
Yeah, if you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down; if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
When you're goin' through hell keep on movin'
Face that fire, walk right through it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

Yeah, if you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
When you're goin' through hell keep on movin'
Face that fire walk right through it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Taking care of ourselves starts with gratitude.

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:12 am

by Tako » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:18 pm

One of the things that I am most grateful about in my Nar-Anon journey is the lesson I learned about taking care of myself. When I first came into Nar-Anon I wasn't aware that I had been neglecting myself and was rather surprised to hear that the "disease of addiction" could destroy my happiness too! As a matter of fact, it already had, but I was so busy (AKA, obsessed) with the chaos and insanity of my son's addiction, that I neglected to see the collateral damage that had piled up on me.

I had gained weight, smoked like a chimney, rarely slept through an entire night, canceled trips and social plans, and put projects and dreams aside in order to remain focused on my son's pathetic life; I felt compelled to correct his life (e.g., pay his bills, make excuses, keep him out of jail, etc.) and to "fix" him so that addiction wouldn't further ruin his life. While I was intent on saving him, I totally disregarded my health, my happiness and my life in general: I believed that a "good" parent was required to become a martyr if that's what it took to save a precious child's life (at that time I mistakenly thought I was his HP). The problem with martyrdom is that it really only affects the person who sacrifices himself/herself; the rest of the population keeps on going and the world keeps spinning, but the martyr disappears into the abyss.

Thankfully, through the experience, strength, and hope (ESH) shared with me over the years, I've learned to value each precious life: including my own. I have learned that love doesn't require me to sacrifice myself in order to exist: I can, and have, loved from a distance. In distancing myself from the chaos and insanity, I have given myself the gift of time and I have learned to use that time wisely; I spend it with those who enjoy my company and I spend it volunteering in my community.

I used to be "my own worst enemy," now I am my own best friend. I have learned that taking care of ourselves starts with gratitude for all the lessons we share through our experience, strength and hope.

I am a grateful Nar-Anon member, Tako

Tako
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:19 pm
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Staying in my hula hoop!

Post by Tako » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:35 am

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