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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in recoverythought's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, August 19th, 2018
5:57 am
The Parable Of The Black Belt
A parable tells about a martial artist who kneels before a master sensei in a ceremony to receive the hard-earned Black Belt. After years of relentless training, the student has finally reached a pinnacle of achievement in the discipline. "Before granting the belt, you must pass one more test," the sensei solemnly tells the young man.

"I'm ready," responds the student, expecting perhaps one more round of sparring.
"You must answer the essential question: What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?"

"Why, the end of my journey," says the student. "A well-deserved reward for my hard work." The master waits for more. Clearly, he is not satisfied.
The sensei finally speaks: "You are not ready for the Black Belt. Return in one year."

As the student kneels before his master a year later, he is again asked the question, "What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?"

"It is a symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art," the young man responds. Again the master waits for more.

Still unsatisfied, he says once more: "You are not ready for the Black Belt. Return in one year."

A year later the student kneels before his sensei and hears the question, "What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?"

This time he answers, "The Black Belt represents not the end, but the beginning, the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, work and the pursuit of an ever higher standard."

"Yes," says the master. "You are now ready to receive the Black Belt and begin your work."

You may not be hoping for a Black Belt, but you might be at a crucial point. Maybe you're facing a life change, perhaps even a painful one. Or maybe you are awaiting something you have worked hard to attain -- graduation, a new job, a promotion, or even retirement. All wise people see that changes can be new beginnings. Change need not be feared. And neither should we be looking for a permanent resting place, for a full and happy life is never stagnant.

Does the change you face represent not just an ending, but a new beginning in your life's journey? If so, you may be ready to move forward.

by Steve Goodier
Saturday, August 18th, 2018
5:51 am
Relationships - All or Nothing
If you love me
for what you see,
only your eyes would be
in love with me.

If you love me
for what you’ve heard,
then you would love me
for my words.

If you love
my heart and mind,
then you will love me,
for all that I am.

But if you don’t love
my every flaw,
then you mustn’t love me –
not at all.

Lang Leav
Friday, August 17th, 2018
5:26 am
Relapse
Driving down the highway
Storm clouds up ahead
A tempest I my rear view
A sense of fear and dread

I won’t admit where I am heading
But it’s a road I know too well
The course never really varies
It leads me straight to hell

A gentle voice whispers in my ear
It’ll be different wait and see
You’ve got all the power
And power sets you free

I tell myself I’m different now
Just a stumble … not a fall
But I'll turn my back on everything
To not feel anything at all

No matter how I work it
I play the same old game
A million tiny cuts
And I bleed out just the same

I fucking hate myself
I hate what I do willing will do
I’ll give away everything I have
And then steal everything from you

The universe it taunts me
It laughs right in my face
It knows my destination
Will be the same old place

And nothing there has changed
It’s only gotten worse
The old escape from where I’m bound
Is on my knees or in a hearse

Tim Garner
Thursday, August 16th, 2018
4:51 am
The Fear of Appearing Dumb
Living in fear of sounding intelligent can rob your friends of knowing the real you.

The universal need to be accepted by others can be a barrier that prevents us from being ourselves around them. When we fear that the people we encounter will perceive us as inept or unintelligent, we frequently try to flaunt our grasp of large words or clever witticisms or our professional expertise in an effort to convince them that we are smart and capable. The reasons for feeling this way can be many, and they can often stem from as far back as your childhood. Many women in particular have the fear that they may appear not smart. Yet overcompensating for this fear can have the opposite effect if others are driven away by what they see as an immodest attitude or sense that you are urgently trying to prove yourself. The simple desire to be judged smart by both new and old acquaintances can cause you to reject your true self and adopt an affected persona. But in trying so persistently to project an image of supreme intelligence or capability, you deny others the opportunity to become acquainted with the real and terrific individual you truly are.

The fear that others will perceive you as unintelligent can further influence your behavior, causing you to consciously avoid speaking your mind or asking questions. You may feel uncomfortable participating in activities if there is a chance that you won't excel or taking part in discussions with others who may have more knowledge than you. In essence, you become ashamed of who you are and attempt to encase your identity in a veneer that others will find pleasing and impressive. It is, however, a common fear - one experienced by almost everyone at some point in their lives. The simplest way to combat it is to make a personal commitment to being yourself in your home, your workplace, and among strangers. Ask yourself how you believe the individuals you encounter will react should you speak awkwardly, need clarification, or fail to be the best at some activity. By being yourself, you will discover that all people make mistakes and ask questions and that others will like and respect you because they recognize the goodness in your soul.

The fact that you are willing to be yourself, letting your many affirmative attributes express themselves naturally, will help you make a positive first impression on everyone you meet and earn the esteem of your family and friends. Your confidence and easygoing manner will say, "this is who I am and I am proud of the person I have become."

By Madisyn Taylor of Daily OM
Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
5:39 am
An Autobiography In Five Short Chapters
I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.
II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place
but, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
V
I walk down another street.

By Portia Nelson
Tuesday, August 14th, 2018
5:42 am
Caring For My Soul
Philosophers have tended to define the soul as a double principle inside every living being.

For them, the soul is both the principle of life and energy inside us as well as the principle of integration. In essence, the soul is two things: It’s the fire inside us giving us life and energy and it’s the glue that holds us together.

Since the soul is a double principle doing two things for us, there are two corresponding ways of losing our souls. We can have our vitality and energy go dead or we can become unglued and fall apart, petrification or dissipation. In either case, we lose our souls.

If that is true, then these very much nuances the question of how we should care for our souls. What is healthy food for our souls? For instance, if I am watching television on a given night, what’s good for my soul? A religious channel? A sports channel? A mindless sitcom? The nature channel? Some talk-show?

This is a legitimate question, but also a trick one. We lose our soul in opposite ways and thus care of the soul is a refined alchemy that has to know when to heat things up and when to cool things down: What’s healthy for my soul on a given night depends a lot upon what I’m struggling with more on that night: Am I losing my soul because I’m losing vitality, energy, hope, and graciousness in my life? Am I growing bitter, rigid, sterile, becoming a person who’s painful to be around?

Or, conversely, am I full of life and energy but so full of it that I am falling apart, dissipating, losing my sense of self? Am I petrifying or dissipating? Both are a loss of soul. In the former situation, the soul needs more fire, something to rekindle its energy. In the latter case, the soul already has too much fire; it needs some cooling down and some glue.

We can weaken or destroy the God-given life inside us by either petrification or dissipation. We can lose our souls by not having enough fire or we can lose them by not having enough glue.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
Monday, August 13th, 2018
5:37 am
Led Around By Your "Gotta Haves"
Two women who had just met at a health spa were talking about their lifestyles and how they hope to stay healthy. One asked the other to detail her daily routine.

“I eat moderately,” she replied, “I exercise moderately, I drink moderately, and I live moderately.”

“Is there anything else you do?” her new friend asked.

“Yes,” she said, “I lie extensively.”

A Hindu proverb says, “Even nectar is poison if taken in excess.” I believe in moderation. But moderation takes a certain amount of self discipline. It’s about saying no from time to time. But how does it feel to never say no? To be out of control? Success and even happiness are simply not possible without some inner discipline.

One hospital patient aptly described the problem. When visiting with a chaplain, this patient, who was being treated for venereal disease, said, “Reverend, my trouble is I’ve been led around by my ‘gotta haves’ all my life.”

Without learning how to say no to ourselves at the appropriate times, it’s like we’re led around by our “gotta haves” all our lives. Whatever we think we gotta have this moment is what we go after. We gotta have more pleasure or less discomfort or this experience or that new thing or another glass or more of this or a bigger and better something else.... You fill in the blanks.

On the other hand, some of the happiest people I know feel in control of themselves most of the time. If they overdo, their excessiveness does not become a lifestyle. If they deviate from the goals they’ve set, they soon get back on course. They know how to have fun without being led around by their gotta haves.

I like the words of Bernard Baruch. “In the last analysis,” he said, “our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves.” The point is -- control is going to come from somewhere. If not from ourselves, then from somebody else.

Discipline is deciding not to be led around by our gotta haves. It is the task of a lifetime, an indispensable prerequisite to success, and the only way to be truly free.

-- Steve Goodier
Sunday, August 12th, 2018
6:18 am
Importance of Forgiveness
Learning to forgive is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

When someone has hurt us, consciously or unconsciously, one of the most difficult things we have to face in resolving the situation is the act of forgiveness. Sometimes it feels like it‚s easier not to forgive and that the answer is to simply cut the person in question out of our lives. In some cases, ending the relationship may be the right thing to do, but even in that case, we will only be free if we have truly forgiven. If we harbor bitterness in our hearts against anyone, we only hurt ourselves because we are the ones harboring the bitterness. Choosing to forgive is choosing to alleviate ourselves of that burden, choosing to be free of the past, and choosing not to perceive ourselves as victims.

One of the reasons that forgiveness can be so challenging is that we feel we are condoning the actions of the person who caused our suffering, but this is a misunderstanding of what is required. In order to forgive, we simply need to get to a place where we are ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and our forgiveness of others is an extension of our readiness to let go of our own pain. Getting to this point begins with fully accepting what has happened. Through this acceptance, we allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions.

It can be helpful to articulate our feelings in writing over a period of days or even weeks. As we allow ourselves to say what we need to say and ask for what we need to heal, we will find that this changes each day. It may be confusing, but it is a sign of progress. At times we may feel as if we are slogging uphill through dense mud and thick trees, getting nowhere. If we keep going, however, we will reach a summit and see clearly that we are finally free of the past. From here, we recognize that suffering comes from suffering, and compassion for those who have hurt us naturally arises, enhancing our new perspective

By Madisyn Taylor of The Daily OM
Friday, August 10th, 2018
5:04 am
Healing What Hurts
When we are carrying the burden of our unprocessed pain, sooner or later it will inconvenience us.

Many of us are going through our lives aware of a well of pain underlying our daily awareness that we've felt for so long we aren't even sure where it comes from. It almost seems as if it's part of who we are or the way we see the world, but it's important to realize that this pain is something that needs to be acknowledged and processed. The longer we sit on it, the harder it is to work through, and the more likely it is that we will be forced to acknowledge it as it makes itself known to us in ways we can't predict. Rather than waiting for this to happen, we can empower ourselves by identifying the pain and resolving to take action toward healing it.

The very thought of this brings up feelings of resistance in most of us, especially if, on the surface, our lives seem to be in order. It's difficult to dig up the past and go into it unless we are being seriously inconvenienced by the hurt. The thing is, when we are carrying the burden of our unprocessed pain, sooner or later, it will inconvenience us. If we can be brave and proactive, we can save ourselves a lot of future suffering and free up the energy that is tied up in keeping the pain down.

There are many ways to do this, but the first step is to recognize the pain and honor it by moving our awareness into it. In this process, even if it's just five minutes during meditation, we will begin to have a sense of what the pain is made of. It might be fear of abandonment, childhood abuse, anger at being mistreated, or some other long-held wound. As we sit with the pain, we will also have a sense of whether we can deal with it by ourselves, or not. It may be time to work with a counselor or form a healing circle with close friends. Whatever path you choose, resolve to go deep into the pain, so that you can release it fully, and set yourself free. Remember, it is never too late in life to heal what hurts, and there is never a better time than now.

By Madisyn Taylor of Daily OM
Wednesday, August 8th, 2018
5:46 am
Understanding and Appreciating Our Differences
In both the Jewish and the Christian scriptures there is the strong, recurring motif that God’s message to us generally comes through the stranger, the foreigner, from the one who is different from us, from a source from which we would never expect to hear God’s voice.

Added to this is the notion that when God speaks to us, we generally experience it as a surprise, as something unexpected, and as something that does not easily square with our normal expectations as to how God should work and how we should learn. There’s a reason for this.
Simply put, when we think we are hearing God’s voice in what’s familiar, comfortable, and secure, the temptation is always to reshape the message according to our own image and likeness, and so God often comes to us through the unfamiliar.

What’s familiar is comfortable and offers us security; but, as we know, real transformative growth mostly happens when, like the aged Sarah and Abraham, we are forced to set off to a place that’s foreign and frightening and that strips us of all that is comfortable and secure. Set off, God told Sarah and Abraham, to a land where you don’t know where you’re going. Real growth happens, and real grace breaks in when we have to deal with what is other, foreign, different. Learn to understand, writes John of the Cross, more by not understanding than by understanding.

What’s dark, unfamiliar, frightening, and uninvited will stretch us in ways that the familiar and secure cannot. God sends his word to the earth through “angels” and they’re not exactly something we’re familiar with.

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
5:36 am
Failure
When the word "failure" comes up, it's a call for us to apply a more enlightened consciousness to the matter at hand.

The word failure puts forward a very simplistic way of thinking that allows for only two possibilities: failure or success. Few things in the universe are black and white, yet much of our language reads as if they are. The word failure signifies a paradigm in which all subtlety is lost. When we regard something we have done, or ourselves, as a failure, we lose our ability to see the truth, which is no doubt considerably more complex. In addition, we hurt ourselves. All you have to do is speak or read the word failure and see how it makes you feel.

At some point, the word may not have been so loaded with the weight of negativity, and it simply referred to something that did not go according to plan. Unfortunately, in our culture it is often used very negatively, such as when a person is labeled a failure, even though it is impossible for something as vast and subtle as a human being to be reduced in such a way. It also acts as a deterrent, scaring us from taking risks for fear of failure. It has somehow come to represent the worst possible outcome. Failure is a word so burdened with fearful and unconscious energy that we can all benefit from consciously examining our use of it, because the language we use influences the way we think and feel.

Next time you feel like a failure or fear failure, know that you are under the influence of an outmoded way of perceiving the world. When the word failure comes up, it's a call for us to apply a more enlightened consciousness to the matter at hand. When you are consciously aware of the word and its baggage you will not fall victim to its darkness. In your own use of language, you may choose to stop using the word failure altogether. This might encourage you to articulate more clearly the truth of the situation, opening your mind to subtleties and possibilities the word failure would never have allowed.

By Madisyn Taylor of Daily OM
Monday, August 6th, 2018
5:08 am
Releasing Your Expectations
The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become.

As we endeavor to find personal fulfillment and realize our individual ideals, we naturally form emotional attachments to those outcomes we hope will come to pass. These expectations can serve as a source of stability, allowing us to draft plans based on our visions of the future, but they can also limit our potential for happiness by blinding us to equally satisfying yet unexpected outcomes. Instead of taking pleasure in the surprising circumstances unfolding around us, we mourn for the anticipation left unfulfilled. When we think of letting go of our expectations, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a small inner voice that admonishes us to strive for specific goals, even if they continually elude us. However, the opposite of expectation is not pessimism. We can retain our optimism and free ourselves from the need to focus on specific probabilities by opening our hearts and minds to a wide variety of possible outcomes.

When we expect a situation, event, or confrontation to unfold in a certain way, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the surprises that have the potential to become profound blessings. Likewise, we may feel that we failed to meet our inner objectives because we were unable to bring about the desired results through our choices and actions. Consider, though, that we are all at the mercy of the universal flow, and our best intentions are often thwarted by fate. As you grow increasingly open to unforeseen outcomes, you will be more apt to look for and recognize the positive elements of your new circumstances. This receptivity to the unexpected can serve you well when you are called upon to compromise with others, your life plans seem to go awry, or the world moves forward in an unanticipated manner by granting you the flexibility to see the positive aspects of almost any outcome.

The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become. Though a situation in which you find yourself may not correspond to your initial wants, needs, or goals, ask yourself how you can make the most of it and then do your best to adapt. Your life’s journey will likely take many unpredicted and astonishing twists because you are willing to release your expectations.

By Madisyn Taylor of The Daily OM
Sunday, August 5th, 2018
6:05 am
Recovery Principles
• There are many pathways to recovery

• Recovery is self-directed and empowering

• Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation

• Recovery is holistic including physical, mental, relational, and spiritual issues

• Recovery is the personal responsibility of each individual involving taking steps toward one’s goals

• Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness which may contain occasional setbacks and learning from these experiences

• Recovery emerges from the hope that people can and do overcome the barriers and obstacles that confront them

• Recovery includes building upon personal strengths, including coping abilities, resiliency, inherent worth, and capabilities of individuals

• Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition

• Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma

• Recovery is supported by peers and allies

• Recovery involves (re)-joining and (re)-building a life in the community

• Recovery involves discipline and a commitment to doing what is necessary to not drink or use or act out today

• Recovery is a reality
Saturday, August 4th, 2018
12:46 am
Lying and Sex Addiction
Why is lying so common in sex addiction?

When an addict is caught in his behaviors, there is typically a behavior pattern that drives his wife crazy: lying. There are three essential ways addicts lie, each one more destructive to the relationship.

I hear from spouses all the time that they are so tired of being lied to. While the physical act of sexually acting out is something a lot of women are able to work through, the betrayal of being lied to, being made to feel like they are crazy, and the lying about the lying, all add up to be an almost insurmountable obstacle.

1. Denial: The Lie Highway
The first lie is the most obvious – straight up denial. Even if you have pictures as proof, he will deny it. Am I right? His defenses are so high that he is not able to make rational decisions about his words and behavior. Shame keeps him from admitting the truth. The denial supports the belief most sex addicts have: “If you really knew me, you would reject me.” He can’t admit something that would spell disaster for his marriage.

How can you tell he is lying? It can be difficult to know when someone is telling the truth or not. But there are some telltale signs of a liar:

• He can’t look you in the eyes. He looks away, up, down or closes his eyes, but never holds your gaze.
• When he touches his face as he is talking: the mouth, nose, or rubbing his eyes as he is talking.
• Withdrawing. If his posture is one of pulling back, almost as if he wanted to leave the room.

What are some of the lies a sex addict will tell you? Check out this list to see if any of them sound familiar.

2. Gaslighting: Making the Spouse Crazy
The word comes from a 1938 play “Gas Light” which was about psychological manipulation. When you believe there is an issue, but he makes you feel like you are crazy for thinking that, he has ‘gaslighted’ you. This manipulation takes many forms, from getting irate and storming out the room, to acting puzzled and confused as to your concerns.

Check out this Carol Burnett Video for a funny, but accurate example of gaslighting.
There are clues in his behavior that give away the gaslighting lie:

• His voice gets really loud or almost manic
• Getting angry as he denies something, instead of staying calm
• Adding more details around the lie to add more ‘realism’ to it

3. Lying to Himself
The hardest lie to understand is the one of habitual lying. The sex addict has maintained secrets for a long time through his lying. If he were perfectly honest, I’d bet he take a little pride in his ability to lie with the best of them. He lies about anything and everything, for no apparent reason. He has been lying for so long he believes the lies he tells himself. “I’m a great father” is a classic example of lying to yourself. Would a great Dad sleep with prostitutes and risk breaking up the family? Yet in his addiction, he is able to separate his married, family life from his acting out. When this level of lying is ingrained in a person, it makes the recovery effort more difficult to break through.

So How Do I Stop Lying?
That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? I work with men all the time who have been caught in their lies. Even as a person begins recovery and has some sobriety under his belt, dishonesty keeps creeping back in. Recovery is a progressive unraveling of the knot of secrets he has maintained for perhaps years.

Challenging the belief that ‘If you really knew me (the real me), then you would leave me’ is the first and most important way to change the lying behavior. Spouses have to understand the nature of the addiction and that lying and ‘incremental honesty’ are an expected part of the healing process.
Learning to admit when we are lying, even when it is about the small stuff is the first step. Find a friend who can be trusted 100% with your secrets, a 12-step program with other addicts, or a counselor who is trained in helping you get more honest. In a safe environment, you can learn to be honest and find that you can still be accepted.
Friday, August 3rd, 2018
5:39 am
Going Deep
To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below layers to the deepest parts of ourselves.

There are times when life urges us to seek more. Small changes to our comfort zone may fail to alleviate any sense of stagnancy or frustration, and we may need to examine our lives and ourselves more deeply to find the right place to start. Everything we need for success and joy lies within. But so often, life's debris accumulates, building layers around our core that makes it difficult to access the truth that resides within. To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves.

The first layer can be found in our minds. Our to-do lists and busy work are usually less important than we think, so we must look past them to examine the thoughts that matter most to us. The next layer can be found in our hearts, where past hurts and disappointments can sometimes cover up our vulnerabilities, as well as the truth of who and what really stirs the love within us. We can choose to go even deeper – to our center. If we can go beyond anything that has affected us to the point that it blocks us at the gut level, we can reconnect with our power, our raw instincts, our organic yeses. Here, at the core, lies our truth. Our core is our foundation that supports us and what we'd like to build our authentic life upon.

When we examine ourselves to these depths, we are able to find what we wish to bring to the surface and what we wish to let go. When we remember what lies beneath our layers, we can look at what was floating on the surface, causing blocks and pains, and understand the purpose that they served. Oftentimes, it is the built up debris that causes us to go deeper, so we can search for the truth. Go deep, live life from your truth within, and watch your innate beauty manifest outward.

By Madisyn Taylor of Daily OM
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
5:57 am
Self-Care
Self-Care Ideas for Mental Health
• Relax and allow yourself to do nothing (no cellphones allowed!)
• Meditate
• Read an educational book with a focus on personal growth
• Listen to an educational podcast (news is not included as educational)
• Play with your pet
• Cuddle your significant other
• Do something that makes you smile
• Create something artistic or play an instrument
• Listen to music you love
• Practice gratitude with a gratitude journal

Self-Care Ideas for Emotional Health
• Forgive someone you have been holding a grudge against
• Do something that’s scared you that you’ve always wanted to do
• Focus on your own needs and goals instead of comparing yourself to others
• Practice compassion for yourself
• Take a break from social media
• Allow yourself to feel your feelings instead of running from them or distracting yourself
• Read a fictional book that lifts your spirits
• Take a break from technology—unplug
• Help someone and don’t expect anything in return
• Practice positive affirmations (Example: You are enough just as you are right now in this moment.)
• Write down a few things you appreciate yourself

Self-Care Ideas for Physical Health
• Practice deep breathing
• Move to music you love
• Get adequate sleep
• Lift weights
• Walk
• Play a sport
• Go outside—get some sunlight on your skin
• Try yoga or another mindful movement practice (also good for your mental health)
• Eat healthfully (i.e.: fruits and veggies, unrefined foods)
• Look in a mirror and love your body as it is right now, without judgment

From Daily OM
Wednesday, August 1st, 2018
6:30 am
Houses
"I walk in and out of many worlds." - Joy Harjo, Creek/Cherokee

In my mind are many dwellings. Each of the dwellings we create ourselves - the house of anger, the house of despair, the house of self pity, the house of indifference, the house of negative, the house of positive, the house of hope, the house of joy, the house of peace, the house of enthusiasm, the house of cooperation, the house of giving. Each of these houses we visit each day. We can stay in any house for as long as we want. We can leave these mental houses any time we wish. We create the dwelling, we stay in the dwelling, we leave the dwelling whenever we wish. We can create new rooms, new houses. Whenever we enter these dwellings, this becomes our world until we leave for another. What world will we live in today?

Creator, no one can determine which dwelling I choose to enter. No one has the power to do so, only me. Let me choose wisely today.

From - Elder's Meditation of the Day
Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
6:03 am
Self-Management Goals
1. Relationships – Avoid isolating yourself. Attend social functions or go to coffee with friends and of-workers. Foster supportive relationships with those around you.

2. Self-Rewards – Schedule at lease one activity each week that you have found enjoyable and relaxing in your past. This can be a simple as reading a good book, listening to music, taking up an old hobby or attending a special event.

3. Productivity – Start of continue working on a regular basis. Stay or become involved in personal, family, workplace or community events or projects.

4. Healthy Lifestyle – Exercise regularly. Examples of healthy activities include walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, biking and golf. Maintain healthy eating habits by having well-balanced meals at a regular time in a relaxed manner. Avoid taking addictive substances.

5. Spirituality – Look for ways to renew attention to your spiritual needs. This can include formal services/ceremonies, quiet study, conversations or meditation.

6. Adherence to Treatment Plan – Take medications as prescribed. Attend and participate in counseling/group sessions. Keep appointments.

And, of course, maintain abstinence from mood and mind altering alcohol and other chemicals!

From Mayo Clinic
Monday, July 30th, 2018
5:23 am
Reclaiming Ourselvs
“Reclaiming ourselves usually means coming to recognize and accept that we have in us both sides of everything. We are capable of fear and courage, generosity and selfishness, vulnerability and strength. These things do not cancel each other out but offer us a full range of power and response to life. Life is as complex as we are. Sometimes our vulnerability is our strength, our fear develops our courage, and our woundedness is the road to our integrity. It is not an either/or world. It is a real world. In calling ourselves "heads" or "tails," we may never own and spend our human currency, the pure gold of which our coin is made.

But judgment may heal over time. One of the blessings of growing older is the discovery that many of the things I once believed to be my shortcomings have turned out in the long run to be my strengths, and other things of which I was unduly proud have revealed themselves in the end to be among my shortcomings. Things that I have hidden from others for years turn out to be the anchor and enrichment of my middle age. What a blessing it is to outlive your self-judgments and harvest your failures.”

― Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal
Sunday, July 29th, 2018
12:05 am
A Buddhist's 12 Steps
1. We admitted our addictive craving over alcohol, and recognized its consequences in our lives.
2. Came to believe that a power other than self could restore us to wholeness.
3. Made a decision to go for refuge to this other power as we understood it.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves and another human being the exact moral nature of our past.
6. Became entirely ready to work at transforming ourselves.
7. With the assistance of others and our own firm resolve, we transformed unskillful aspects of ourselves and cultivated positive ones.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed.
9. Made direct amends to such people where possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. In addition, made a conscientious effort to forgive all those who harmed us.
10. Continue to maintain awareness of our actions and motives, and when we acted unskillfully promptly admitted it.
11. Engaged through the practice of meditation to improve our conscious contact with our true selves, and seeking that beyond self. Also used prayer as a means to cultivate positive attitudes and states of mind.
12. Having gained spiritual insight as a result of these steps, we practice these principles in all areas of our lives, and make this message available to others in need of recovery.
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