I have experienced many holidays as a single person (or worse-wishing I was single), with the accompanying loneliness that seems to be magnified by each “special” day.
Here in the States, practically every holiday has become another way for the cards & gift businesses to get rich. God forbid you don’t decorate your trees & bushes with orange and green lights for Halloween, and giant blow-up rabbits for Easter! It goes without saying that any day that’s deemed a holiday on the American calendar, you will be expected to buy cards and gifts.
And when you’re a single person, all this gift-giving can feel like a big foam finger singling you out: “LOOK! It’s a table for ONE!!” (Gasps) “Wonder what’s wrong with her? Nobody is eating with her!” …Followed by the pitying shaking of their heads and “tsk, tsk, tsk.” At least that’s how I felt.
Of course in my mind the world was pointing and whispering because DUH it was all about me. I was always concerned about what “they” would think of me, and guess what? They weren’t thinking about me, at all! Most people seem to be too worried about keeping up appearances to realize that they’re just NOT THAT IMPORTANT to the passers-by on the street.
Anyway. I wanted to write a post to say something about being unattached, or single on Valentine’s Day. I know it was horribly lonely for me before I began my journey into sobriety. I honestly didn’t know how to behave unless I had a Significant Other.
Once I got clean & sober, I was focused on my baby and exhausted, so I didn’t notice the loneliness as much.
The folks in the rooms talked about being lonely, and sometimes it was a sincere conversation, whereas other times it came from a Newbie who had a tale of woe, full of stories how she didn’t understand him, or she did him wrong; (you know, the stuff pretty much any old time country song was made of)…He (or she) would look around the room then down at the floor and say “I’m just so lonely!” Then he would look up slightly to see which of the women were taking the bait… Yeah, I’m not interested in that brand of loneliness, for this post.
I began to feel the deep, empty-heart feelings of loneliness, and it wasn’t like it had been before. I didn’t really want to have a “relationship” to keep me company, even though a person to become enmeshed with would certainly help to distract me from that hollow place in my gut.
After working some of the Steps with a Sponsor I began to feel less heavy in my soul. When I completed 4 & 5, it was as if the pool of loneliness had been drained. Strange, huh?
I talked to my Sponsor and my Higher Power about it, and this is what I realised: I wasn’t lonely because I was alone. I’d felt lonely for all those years because I couldn’t stand my own company! Pre-recovery (and even long after, to a much lesser degree), wherever I went, the radio or TV were on.
It kept the voices in my head down to a dull roar, for the most part. I’d noticed that about myself and wondered why it was, until I got past those Steps and learned that I’m actually NOT a horrible and worthless person. I began to get some acceptance of who I was and why I’d done those things. It became possible for me to spend time in the quiet. It was even pleasant!
So, for me, the “Universal Loneliness” that I was told plagued all of us alkie/druggies was really a treatable malady. The chemicals were just a symptom, and the solution was in the Steps.
I hope that you had a great day today, whether there were cards and kisses involved, or whether you just spent a while with yourself.
I am learning to be content, whatever situation I turn out to be in. I know there are many ways to find peace & contentment once the self-induced anesthesia wears off. The Steps are the simple, practical way that has set and IS setting me free.
Happy February 14th!
For those in early sobriety, this time of year can be fraught with potential (recovery) land mines.
Workplace Christmas parties, family get-togethers that we can be under a lot of pressure to attend, and the increasing reminders of alcohol (& etc) everywhere can all be overwhelming.
For many of us, just the thought of spending an extended period of time with our families can be a stressful proposition. Past hurts are revisited, and the family can be confused or angry at the sober person for no longer partaking with them…
What I know is that there are always AA/NA meetings. Usually there are marathon meetings on Christmas and New Year’s, which are back-to-back meetings for 24 hours. Christmas/Hanukkah will have events in church/temple, for those who prefer those instead of (or in addition to) 12-step meetings.
The biggest thing that will help you to make it through the next couple of weeks with your clean/sober date intact is to be PROACTIVE. Spend time with people who are also in recovery. Non-drinkers or users can be great people, but they’re not gonna be able to share with you their experience in celebrating the holidays sober, in spite of themselves. I know I went to at least one meeting for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s of my first 5+ years.
If your recovery is your priority, you will be able to begin 2017 with the same clean date that you have now.
I am grateful for this new way of life, and for being able to be present for my family. I am grateful to be able to learn how to care for MYSELF, as well as others.
See more every Saturday @ http://www.drunkless.com !
I am not, by nature, a patient person. Never have been. The evidence of my having grown some small semblance of patience is seen in my children: still alive, not maimed…
It’s interesting how patient I have learned to be in certain instances. For example, our neighbor has a roaming hen named Goldie. (I haven’t met a mammal yet that I didn’t love. Sure, some were easier to love than others, but overall, I love being with animals.)
Goldie is semi-tame, I guess, in that she will come close enough to take cat food from my hand, but she won’t let me touch her. I have positioned my hand in such a way that my fingers graze her breast feathers when she’s taking the food from me, and they’re so soft. As it gets colder outside, and she is noticeably cold, I wish I could hold her and get her warm, but so far, she’s not ready. So far.
In the case of winning over an animal’s trust, wild or just skittish, I have deep wells of patience. I think it’s because of my own difficulties in trusting people. Heck, when I was just 9 or 10, I set out to win over several feral kittens. It took a little while, but not too long. And it was very gratifying when they finally allowed me to pet them.
So, why does it come so easy to me to wait for a positive response from a chicken, yet waiting for God to move…not so much.
I think the difference may be in KNOWING the desired outcome versus NOT knowing much about what the goal is actually going to look like, when it’s met. I know that I can very likely get Goldie to trust me. She’s already come close to hopping up the steps into the house! But, while I am convinced that God has my best in mind, it’s hard for me to know whether I will recognize His best when I get there.
I’m thinking about currently waiting to be moved into a place (career) where I can put down roots and flourish. There are a couple of different things I am skilled at, but I guess my problem is WAITING for God to move everything/me into the BEST position.
I have had 3 different employers in 2016, and I am longing to work somewhere that I can put my skills and experience to the best use. I have seen in my life proof of the verse that says that if I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart. Yes, this is a thing I know.
I just hate waiting. I’m sitting at the starting late revving my engine…and sitting…and sitting.
The good news is, my trust is in the Lord. I wish He would work in MY time frame more often, but none the less, I know that if I don’t die from the an-tici—-pation, it will turn out to be perfect.
And the fact of the matter is that His timing has always been perfect.
I remember once, at a group home where I used to work, celebrating the fact that a client actually used the toilet instead of her chair. The next time wasn’t quite as spectacular, but there for a minute, we were All-Stars.
When I went off to work I jokingly (or not) told my hubby that it was a good day if I didn’t get poop actually ON me. That night, I told of the amazing feat of my lady actually using the bathroom facilities for a change. I knew he wanted to support me, but his face had kind of a blank look whenever I shared this kind of news. Fair enough. I didn’t fully appreciate the goings-on at his place of employment, but I was glad to see him happy. Probably the same way he does me.
Sometimes when I’ve had a client with me out in the community, people have said something like “It takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work.” I appreciate it. I guess it does take a special something to do this work, but no more special than any other job that requires a lot of emotional weight-lifting, along with the usual physical manipulations of assisting an up-to 250 lb. infant/toddler go through their daily activities…
I mean, everything that an infant or toddler relies on their parents for, our clients depend on us to do for and with them. There’s kind of an inside joke among myself and my co-workers, that the bosses get us to start working there for super low pay, knowing that we’ll fall in love with our charges and basically put up with (no pay increases ever) any Managerial shenanigans so that we can be sure the clients are getting cared for by people who genuinely care about them. It’s the Hotel California trick.
When we moved across the country last year, I was of course really sad that my older boy wasn’t coming with us, I still am every day. But he assured me that he was a Big Boy and didn’t need me anymore. So I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and we moved.
But deep inside of me, where I hadn’t even realized they were hiding, were my feelings about leaving behind “my” (non-verbal) little client. I really love working with the individuals who don’t speak. Possibly because of my personal experience in having to read body language as a child, and also because I know that they are the most vulnerable of any people group.
The lady I had been working with before we moved was just as close to being an actual angel as I’ve ever seen. It’s not that she was beautiful by society’s standards, but her spirit shone through. When she was happy, her entire body shook with joy. And she was happy a lot when I was there. She loved going to church with me and her roommate, and the people at church fell in love with her, too.
Some of the other staff at the group home would get irritated with me because when she saw me come in, the world stopped and she did her kind of lurching goose-step over to me and hugged me fiercely. She watched for me to arrive, and would have hugged me all day if I would have let her. It was really nice. Like having a daughter, I suppose.
But then we had to move. Leaving that sweet little girl behind was more difficult than I’d expected. Times when I’ve been home-sick, her smiling face has always come to mind.
I know she is ok. The staff there are very compassionate and capable of caring for her, complicated medical issues and all. But I’ll probably never forget her, and I can’t wait to see her in her perfect new body in Heaven…
I was back home briefly over the summer, and the first thought was to go see my special friend. Then I thought it through. And decided it would be selfish as hell for me to stop by & then leave again. So I didn’t go by the house where she lives.
I know for sure that the rewards of this field of work are monetarily minimal. But the intangible rewards can make it surprisingly easy. I’m amazed when I think of the trust I’m given, when caring for my clients. Whether it’s pushing a wheelchair, coloring a craft, changing their pants/diapers for the umpteenth time or going through the “feelings” flash cards again, it is a privilege.
Just another phenomenal blessing of sobriety.
“And for that, I am responsible.”
Are the 12 steps for a Christian?
Can they be used in a Christ like manner to bring us to a closer walk with Him? I say yes…the steps are Biblical in nature and this is how I view them as a Christian.
1. I am a sinner. My life is broken and chaotic.
2. Jesus I believe (trust in, rely on, adhere to) the fact that you can restore me to right thinking, action, speech, and relieve me from self destruction.
3. Jesus I turn my will and my life over to You.
4. I look to the past mistakes (sins) I look to the past victories and assess them all.
5. I share with God, myself and a trusted individual those things of my past. I confess and bring them to the light of exposure in humility.
6. I become ready to have God remove these defects of character. This sin nature.
7. I become willing to allow Him to remove my shortcomings. Those things that don’t glorify Him. We all fall short yet in Him by His grace they can be removed.
8. We make a list of those we have harmed and become willing to make amends. Sometimes it is just by the change that He produces that we becoming a living testimony, a blessing a true amends to family and friends whom or sins or shortcomings have affected. Also there might be financial amends but we should not let that hinder us from taking this step which releases us and mends our fears of the past.
9. We begin to work with Him on the amends and the healing process. This takes time, prayer and humility.
10. Daily we take into account our actions and reactions, if we fall short we promptly admit it. Honesty open-mindedness and willingness is a key to unlock this step. We don’t always have to be right we should be willing to admit our faults. This will free us from sliding down the wrong road.
11. We pray, we continue to search His will for us through the meditation of His Word, and we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to carry His will out in our day to day life.
12. Having been set free or a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we carry this message and practice these principles in all our affairs. We walk the walk not just talk the talk. Spiritual progress.
I’m definitely not a person who holds perfect adherence to these principles yet they to me are filled with Spirit and Truth and if worked in order continually can produce right relationship, right standing, or in biblical terms righteousness with Christ Who is our Righteousness. But that’s all contingent upon our spiritual maintenance. If this helps someone praise God. Be blessed and be a blessing.