"Pletcher and Bartolameolli are undisputed experts on the subject of co-sex addiction.  They know more about it than anyone I know and have presented  an expose that with great clarity supersedes anything I have read before."

– John Bradshaw

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Service and Surrender

To live a life of service is my intention and desire. In 12 step recovery, service and giving back what has been given us is a value and tenet that we speak of and hopefully, live. It can be challenging to be of service to others when we are living our own addictive behaviors and ego challenges. Our wounds show up in our interactions with others and can be time and energy consuming to deal with on our own.

It is why this is a Spiritual Program and calls us to reach out to a Power greater than ourselves. We define this Higher Power/Spiritual Source in any way that we choose. It is a personal relationship and may or may not include elements of our upbringing or resemble any societal religious tenets.

Here are some steps to keep us on track in our desire to serve and live a spiritual life. It is shared within the belief that what serves other's highest good, serves our own and what serves our highest good, serves others.

1. First-remind yourself daily of your intention and desire to be of service to others and to live a spiritual life. This repeated intention will become a habit in your thinking and in your behaving.

2. Notice when you are consumed and occupied with your own obsessive thoughts, resentments, fears, jealousy and ego wounds. Noticing and embracing this internal dynamic is important. Be kind and gentle with yourself at the moment of this consciousness.

3. Breathe into this knowing and acknowledge your want and need for a Higher Power. Ask your higher power to assist with the pain you are feeling and surrender the thoughts, behaviors and internal dynamic to this power greater than yourself. Accept your own powerlessness over this internal dynamic. Keep breathing.

4. Once your awareness and powerlessness over this dynamic is acknowledged, you are ready to receive the serenity and power that comes from letting go. In letting go and releasing this painful dynamic, you are able to receive the energy of your Higher Power and the peace that comes from releasing the difficulty.

5. Now allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. Ask your Higher Power how you can be of service and go about the business of caring well for yourself and enjoying your day.

I know that these simple steps may not seem so simple or easily accessible in the midst of the internal emotional distress we sometimes carry inside. When we slow down and become present to the internal distress inside, we can begin to intervene on this dynamic and use tools to redirect our energy.

These steps serve as a simple reminder that we do have some tools to assist us in moving through our own challenges. These tools will remind us what we are really committed to and what are values are for living a spiritual life of service and surrender.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Making Amends

Making amends, as we learn in our 12 step recovery, is both freeing and challenging. Discernment is called for. Early in my recovery and emotional maturity, I took responsibility for other's behavior, as co-dependents often do, and could not distinguish between what was really my part and what was not. It took time to continually mature in perspective and be able to see myself and my character defects honestly.

Early on, we often feel so much shame when we see our own behavior and make mistakes and we are not able to distinguish between feeling defective as a human being and simple having defects. This carried shame is above and beyond what is really appropriate as we are unable to distinguish between the "shame" we have been carrying for other people's behavior and our own appropriate guilt and healthy shame when we contradict our own values. Healing this shame and the messages that we are inherently defective and bad takes time.

Another pitfall in making amends may be thinking we are responsible for someone else's behavior when we are not. In addition, making "amends" can also be an attempt for us to try and "fix" a relationship or alter uncomfortable feelings. We might just plow through an issue or difficulty with someone because we haven't developed the maturity to allow ourselves to simple be with the discomfort and seek assistance to determine what is actually our part and what is not. Conflict can be uncomfortable and we may have used making amends as a way to eliminate the discomfort we feel. Sometimes just apologizing and doing what we can to repair a connection with someone seems the easiest and quickest way to handle the upset.

Over time, we learn a more mature approach to making amends, to others and ourselves. We seek prayer and meditation as a means of teaching us discernment and self-care. We learn to distinguish between what is our part in any given relationship and what is not, allowing others the dignity of their own responsibility as well. In making amends, we realize what a great gift it is to ourselves as we are able to restore our own integrity by owning our behavior and doing our part to ask forgiveness when appropriate. Whether someone is able to receive our amends or take responsibility for their part or not is their business, not ours.

Authentic amends requires a spiritual perspective and emotional maturity. We learn this in time.

Blessings on your journey,