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

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Tako
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My Awakening

Post by Tako » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:00 pm

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Nar-Anon has offered me a "way out" of my misery: I didn't even know how miserable my life was until I had some hindsight to shed some light on it. By "showing up" and listening for the messages I needed to hear, I learned that I could let go of the chaos that had enveloped me. Oh, but my fingers had to be pried loose from the grip I had on my addicted loved ones...........I thought my "holding on" would save them from themselves. No one was holding me, I was free to let go...........I just didn't know how.

Then, I had an awakening................we each had our own Higher Power to help guide us out of the darkness we found ourselves in! I couldn't believe that a moment of clarity could change MY life, but it did. I started to step back from the insanity to see how each of us would do without me being attached to all the misery: I found my freedom to just live my life on my terms, not theirs.

Amazing! Awakenings are so simple and yet, life changing.

I'm so glad I didn't leave before the miracle happened.

Tako
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Learning to create a “new normal.”

Post by Tako » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:30 am

Whenever I think of how I reacted to the addicts and the disease of addiction when I first became aware of it in my home, I think of the crazy person I became because I became obsessed with eradicating the disease and curing the addicts who looked just like my children, but who had been body snatched. I reacted and overreacted and, in time, I didn’t know what I was doing or why. Dr. Phil’s question always comes to mind, “How’s that working for you?” OMG, nothing was working and I was growing as sick as they were.
I wanted things to change and I wanted immediate results because my family was in crisis. As they spun out of control, so was I! We used the intervention method to get my kids into their rehabs, but then lived in fear of what the heck to do upon their release. What would they do? What would we do? What would I do? I wanted them to be willing to get clean and embrace recovery so that they could have lives worth living. I forgot that I needed a life worth living too. The message came to me from their counselors………………you need to recover from this trauma too, go check out Nar-Anon, ASAP.

I agreed to check it out, but I really felt that I didn’t need additional support; after all, they were the addicts and as soon as they got into recovery, we could be “normal” again. I didn’t realize that life, as I knew it, had come to an end and there was no normal to return to: I was going to have to create a “new normal” for myself (just as they would have to do for themselves). The chapter had ended and we were embarking on a new chapter that would be of our own creation.

I couldn’t go back to my expectations because no one in those scripts existed anymore. Addiction, if it doesn’t kill you, changes everything. There is a point of “no return,” which might be construed to be that proverbial “hitting bottom,” but I’m not so sure that it isn’t just an adjustment on the navigational compass: where to next?
So, I never was going to have the “Leave it to Beaver” life that I had grown up expecting my family to look and act like: I sure didn’t have that cute little figure that Mrs. Beaver had nor was I always perky and happy with ruby red lips! (LOL) Nope, life didn’t turn out that way……………we were real, they were actors playing parts. But I digress: on to creating a “new normal,” after the wrath of addiction.

So, I started attending Nar-Anon as a “visitor” and observer. I never volunteered to do service and I didn’t get a sense that I was needed to join the team. A meeting takes a team effort; there are many jobs that can contribute to the ongoing efforts (e.g., secretary, treasurer, literature, set up, clean up): always leaving it to “someone else” prevents me from becoming a contributing member. Eventually, I raised my hand and then I did it again and again until I no longer felt like or behaved like a visitor.

I took a long hard look at my home life and made a conscious decision to make healthy changes that would make ME happy and change my home from a disaster area to a sanctuary………………..I started to grasp the meaning of those mysterious STEPS and embraced them as a compass for the rest of my life: I prayed that my kids wouldn’t give up on their recovery programs and committed myself to my own recovery program. Then I got up the courage to ask a wonderful woman to be my sponsor; I met her at a convention and knew immediately that I wanted her in my life. Working STEP 4 was a real eye opener for me: I wasn’t totally comfortable with it, but I came to understand that it was the beginning of my new normal. I embraced getting honest about me and my life and I so wanted things to change: I don’t think I really realized how much I was evolving by doing my own recovery work. I wasn’t who I thought I was, but I was willing to make an effort to be better than that. I found out that I am worth the effort and that I can create a new me as I create my “new normal.”

I do not have to accept limits, I do not have to allow someone else to dictate how I will live, I do not have to accept disrespect or disregard: I have the right to detach from people who bring me pain and suffering. I have choices, I am no one’s victim! I am no longer a visitor in my life or in Nar-Anon..........I have created a "new normal."

Tako

Tako
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Welcoming the Newcomer

Post by Tako » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:40 pm

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I distinctly remember hearing someone say (at my first meeting), "The newcomer is the most important person in the room." OMG, I wanted to get up and run! :shock: The last thing I wanted was the spotlight put on me; after all, I had been isolating and living in the shadows of addiction for quite some time. I really wanted to go in the "back of the room" and hide, but Nar-Anon meetings aren't that large, so I had to join the circle and face my reality.

Nar-Anon has validated the old adage, "What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger." For me, that has been a truism..............Nar-Anon has taught me how to shed my denial and embrace a life free of drugs and chaos. Surviving the tornadic whirlwind that addiction brings with it, takes courage: courage I didn't know I had. Once recovery occurs and takes hold, it can become easy to get complacent; believing things have changed and I don't need to work a program of my own anymore: that's when my serenity becomes threatened. Letting go is not about recovery, it is about chaos and insanity: I mustn't forget the work put in to this effort to be free of the family disease. I didn't just flip a switch or wave a wand, my peace and serenity is a direct result of the effort I put in with my sponsor and the weeks, months and years of working my own program. I can never take any of it for granted: I remember the pain all too well because I see it in every newcomer's face.

I am grateful to the newcomer for reminding me of where I've been and where I never want to return. I am also reminded of the terrifying fear and the agonizing pain that sears straight through the heart. I arrived exhausted from chasing the addict, trying to fix the addict and never being able to sleep through a night. I was desperate for answers and had no clue that they were in ME................all I had to do was "keep coming back," and taking what I needed. At some point I reached a time where I could share and feel that I was, somehow "giving back." That was when I realized that just "showing up" is service work. If I'm not there, who will greet the newcomer? If I'm not there, what will I miss?

We are in this together................we give, we take and we share: Nar-Anon is only as strong as it's members.

Keep coming back, it works only if you work it!!!

Tako

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MY AWAKENING

Post by Tako » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:11 pm

I''m not a religious person; so I knew, right from the beginning that I would struggle with the whole "Higher Power" (HP) concept in Nar-Anon. Sometimes I envied those who arrived with a preconceived idea of what their Higher Power was, but I didn't have that added comfort: I had to search deep to learn what that concept would mean to me.

I never let it become a "hurdle," because I didn't want to create road blocks for myself; I needed to relieve myself of all the pain and fear I carried around with me, so I was willing to wait for clarity. I was told that it was perfectly acceptable to identify the Unity of the Group as my HP, so that is what I have done and it has worked for me. I always come away a little lighter and wiser for attending on a regular basis, so the unity I feel is very real.

In my Nar-Anon travels, I kept hearing about an "awakening" and wondered how that could ever happen to me, since I'm not religious. Were the skies going to open or the seas part for me on a particular day? No, I didn't believe that would happen. What did happen is that I was given the gift of "clarity." It occurred to me that my addicted loved one had a Higher Power of his own and that it was NOT ME!!!! I was relieved of duty!!!! I could let go and move on without fear and guilt trips to weigh me down.

I was free to work my own recovery program, as was he: my awakening set us both free!!!!

Tako

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Re: Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved

Post by newbiemom » Thu May 23, 2013 8:28 pm

There's a lot of good stuff here

Tako
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What is “Normal?”

Post by Tako » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:55 pm

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Ever since addiction came into my life, through someone else’s choices, I have been seeking a sense of normalcy, or as I refer to it now, “balance.” At first, I pleaded with God to just restore my family to what I understood “normal” to be. I just wanted a redo of the years prior to and including those that were destroyed in the destruction that addiction inflicted on my family. I didn’t realize that “normal” would never be so easily defined, ever again. In the wrath of the Disease of Addiction, we were all changed, that’s why it’s called the, “Family Disease.”

When I hear people say, “Oh I went to a meeting, but they were all older than me or they were all parents and I’m a partner/girlfriend/spouse and couldn’t relate,” I am reminded of that folkloric story about the boiling frog. (The Boiling Frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually. – Wikipedia)

As parents, we’re usually introduced to the chaos over time; little bits of horror come into our lives and we’re either oblivious or we choose the path of least resistance, denial. Those who date an addict (using or not) are usually mislead to believe either they aren’t using at all or they went to rehab Jiffy Lube and are “all fixed.” Is that gullibility or denial? My friend Dr. Phil, always says, “There is no reality, there is only perception.”

So, what is normal? I still love that cute little saying that “Normal is just a level on a washing machine.” The reality is that normal can become twisted and violent in homes were addiction is active and not dealt with appropriately. Children are the innocent victims in these unhealthy relationships, while the rest of us stay in them voluntarily at our own peril.
In my situation, I looked for “normal” everywhere. I wanted to appear normal, act normal, go to work in a normal fashion (never letting on that my life was in chaos or that my heart had been broken repeatedly), I had lengthy conversations with friends and avoided all comments about the addicts in our family; brushing over their painful existences and my horrible state of being. No matter where I looked, no matter how much I pretended, there I was, empty and alone in my not so normal world.

When I stumbled across the threshold of my local Nar-Anon meeting, I felt exhausted and depleted. I didn’t know who my loved ones were and had lost myself along the way. When I finally got the courage to speak, all I could say through my tears was that I just wanted our normal family back and was there to unlock the secret to making that happen.
I didn’t learn this right away, but rather came to an awakening that “normal” was a constantly evolving state of being and that it never could be relived (addiction or not). I grew to understand the importance of being in charge of creating my own sense of normalcy and the happiness that would go along with being at peace with my own reality.

My “normal” changes frequently as people come and go in my life; I don’t hold on to anyone with that “death grip” of old. I also don’t feel responsible for anyone else’s behaviors/choices. In the past, I always worried what others would think and shuddered at the thought of being judged too harshly (perhaps a reflection of my own character defect) and then I heard this wonderful NA saying, “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” Wow, what a load that little saying lifted off my shoulders.

Now that I can be mindful of the space and time around me, I can be honest with myself and work an honest program with my sponsor. I carry memories with me (good and bad), but I no longer wish to relive those days; they are gone.

My regular attendance at Nar-Anon, throughout the years, has given me a firm support base to learn from others and to reinvent myself. I am not that “normal” person who lived in my body previously, I am ME and I am enough: I am my own "new normal."

Findinghope
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Re: Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved

Post by Findinghope » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:08 am

Every time I read I read these posts, i find something insightful and new.
You can't think your way into a new way of living . . . you have to live your way into a new way of thinking.

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Re: Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved

Post by cybermom » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:49 pm

Tako:
Absolutely love this ESH! Keep it coming.

Really hoping this holds true...
'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). '

Even if it doesn't, my arms were getting tired from holding the rope for so long and my hands were raw from rope burn.

So many good shares, I really appreciate you retrieving it for the newer members to see and learn.

Love,
Cybermom

Tako
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Making a commitment to my own recovery program……………

Post by Tako » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:03 pm

Can’t remember when it was, but after a year or so of “visiting” Nar-Anon, I decided to commit to my own recovery program. I had pleaded with my addicts to work their own recovery programs, but I hadn’t actually committed to working my own. I think it had something to do with my lack of self-worth. Was I worth the time and effort to commit to my own well-being? Could I continue making excuses as to why I was “too busy?”

It is so much easier to do nothing and just visit the Nar-Anon program, but then what I noticed is that when I didn't commit, I got stuck in pain and misery: God knows, I stayed in my pain waaaaaaaaaay too long. My misery wasn’t enough to get me to Nar-Anon for an entire year after I became aware of its existence. It took another year or so before I realized that I couldn’t really comprehend the Nar-Anon experience until I worked my Steps with a sponsor.

At first, I thought it would be like taking a night class at the local community college and then I learned that it was a casual relationship with someone who would walk beside me as I journeyed through my path to awareness and acceptance. While engaged in the process, I had the great fortune to read Eckhart Tolle’s books and participated in Oprah’s televised class with him: the entire experience complemented my Nar-Anon experience and I was sure that Eckhart was a Nar-Anon member too, as we had very similar outlooks.

What I learned is that recovery is a gift we give ourselves. In sponsorship, we give back what was so graciously shared with us. I am forever indebted to my sponsor; she walked with me through my darkest days and inspired me to stay in Nar-Anon and never walk away from the program that saved my life and my sanity.

My Nar-Anon motto is, “I’ll be there for you and hope you’ll be there for me.”

Tako

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I gave all I could give...........

Post by Tako » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:03 pm

From the first moment I saw my child, I knew that his life depended upon me. The sense of being needed on that level was overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. How could something so tiny be dictating my every thought and making demands on me that I would never allow anyone else to put on me? Those were the crazy days of early parenthood, when the future was just a blur and my world was as small as my child’s hand. Everything I said or did was about HIM. After a while, my life was consumed with children and all the responsibilities attached to their well beings and bright futures. Their teeth, hair, clothing, fevers, cuts and scrapes , multitude of stitches, activities, school books and grades were the focal points of my life. I can’t remember going out with my husband and taking an evening off just to make it about US; it was always about them.

Perhaps I gained some misguided perspectives (of motherhood) while observing my mother struggle through a horrid divorce and come through a premeditated period of abject poverty. Witnessing my mother go through all that taught me survival skills, but I took away from it that mothers must be martyrs and must give up everything to protect her children. I didn’t even realize that my parenting reached a certain level of martyrdom until addiction brought me to my knees. I didn’t realize until I walked through the doors of my first Nar-Anon meeting, that I had been lost for many years………………heck, I barely existed.

Immediately, I learned that I needed to change my focus if I was going to survive the nightmare of addiction in my home. It was such a foreign thought, that it basically was received as a message in a foreign language (of which I had no understanding). I had questions; lots of questions like: Are you telling me to let go of my unhealthy attachments and start figuring out who I am and how I want to live? Are you telling me I have choices to make and the right to make them? Are you telling me that I don’t have to live this way and that I can live in peace and serenity? Why, oh why, did I wait so long to get here? Why was I too stubborn to surrender my misguided will to a life saving program? Am I just like the addict who wpn’t even consider recovery? Where did this know-it-all attitude come from and why did I let it get in the way of my happiness?

When I finally realized that I had been living in someone else’s misery and had nurtured that misery and pain, I got angry and determined to take my life back. I knew that I was never going to stop loving the people who brought so much chaos into my life and my home, but I wasn’t going to be a martyr and sacrifice my life for a disease that has no respect for anyone’s life.

I let the addict know that there was support and recovery available, whenever he was ready to turn his life and his will over to a power greater than himself. I let him know that I was not his “Higher Power,” and I knew that because I had given all I could give and it didn’t accomplish anything except to bring my life into ruins. I gave all I could give and I was done.

Tako

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Hangin’ on to my recovery……………

Post by Tako » Tue Aug 13, 2013 12:49 pm

At first I wondered, why I should be working a recovery program when I wasn’t even an addict. Then I realized that recovery offered me a way out of my miserable life. In my confusion, I was repeatedly reminded to, “Keep Coming Back.” I thought that was a corny little phrase to encourage attendance; I had no clue that it was a subtle reminder to make myself a priority and not to let anything get in my way; not even myself and my lame excuses (e.g., it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s raining, I’m tired, I'm too busy).

As I heard more and more about the Steps and Traditions I thought about starting the process. After a year of “visiting” my Nar-Anon group, I wanted to know how I’d feel if I truly embraced recovery and made the working of my own Steps a priority in my life. One of the first blessings I realized that had come from my committed attendance was that I was becoming a better listener. Prior to Nar-Anon, I was always thinking about my response when someone was talking; it prevented me from really hearing what the other person had to say. Honing my listening skills served me well, because I had to listen well in order to find my sponsor: her words spoke to me without her even addressing me. After the event where she spoke, I made a beeline straight to her.

When my addicted loved one seemed to be in the clear and had some sober time, I wondered if it was still necessary for me to continue working my program. Was he done? Was I done? Nope, life brought me many challenges besides the addict and his chaotic addict behavior; I needed the constant support of my recovery program to get through those challenges without reverting to old unhealthy behaviors: I needed to “practice these principles* in all my affairs.”

Many years later, I am feeling confident in my recovery. When I am in an unhealthy situation or just perplexed by all the horrors I hear about, I have a “Family of Friends” and a set of principles to help me navigate through those murky waters. Just like I take my vitamins and force myself to exercise every day, I also need my spiritual and emotional needs met too.

I’m hangin’ on to my recovery.


*Nar-Anon’s Principles: http://50.63.54.209/naranon/About_Nar-Anon/Principles

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simplemom
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Re: Let There Be Peace (Living Consciously) 1 year retrieved

Post by simplemom » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:46 pm

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AMEN!

I am hanging on to my recovery and embracing this journey in life with you and everyone else who 'practices these principles in all our affairs'.
Karen (simplemom)
"I am not afraid of storms, I am learning to sail my own ship."
Louise May Alcott

Tako
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Stay on the ride or get off it……….

Post by Tako » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:57 am

I rode the roller coaster ride along side the addict(s) in my life. I thought I had to stay on the ride because I thought he/she might die if I stopped and got off. Somehow, I misconstrued my role in the addict’s life; I truly believed I needed to stay on and be the conductor of his/her life.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to divert a runaway roller coaster; if the brakes give out, it spirals out of control and eventually falls off the track. How can one person prevent such a ride or such a disaster? It is only in hindsight that I realize that when I rode that roller coaster, my life, too, was spiraling out of control: I was becoming as sick as he/she was.

The sicker I got, the harder it was to disembark (detach); after all, I was “hanging on for dear life” theirs and mine. I had accepted the chaos and created a “new normal” for myself; I didn’t realize that I was stuck in someone else’s nightmare and was dying a slow death of my own.

Nar-Anon offered me the tools I needed to get myself off the roller coaster and get a life of my own. I felt lost at first, I think I even missed the chaos and nasty calls back then. Eventually, when I stopped enabling, they stopped calling. At first the silence was frightening, but then it became comfortable and afforded me many opportunities to get busy in my own life.
I chose to create a better life for myself; I chose to live rather than just exist.

I am a grateful Nar-Anon member who never forgets from where she came.

Tako

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SELF CARE: Don't Forget to Drink Your Water

Post by Tako » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:49 pm

Of all the things I do to make my life better, I do believe that it's vitally important to drink my water every day!

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Tako
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Journaling and Choosing Gratitude

Post by Tako » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:35 am

So, I went to my meeting the other night and was in the process of calming myself down after a few days of building rage from myriad frustrations. I was in such a "funk" that I could barely get myself to the meeting. It only took a few minutes of being in the presence of my fellowship for me to reflect on that wonderful piece of literature on the 14th page of our little blue booklet, "On Friendship - Nar-Anon Style."

Another member shared about her need to embrace the concept of "gratitude" no matter what circumstances she finds herself in. I thought about that truism and made a conscious decision to order my Nar-Anon Journal (http://nar-anon-webstore.myshopify.com/ ... on-journal) and give myself the opportunity to express my gratitude for an entire year.

I'm planning ahead for my New Year resolution..........a year of gratitude!

Tako
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IF THE ONLY PRAYER YOU SAID IN YOUR LIFE WAS "THANK YOU", THAT WOULD SUFFICE. ~Meister Eckhart

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