Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Your Problem?

I have been looking forward to having some down time this week since the kids went back to school.  But, alas...a minor playground injury on the first day of school, my oldest now home running a fever (unrelated to the playground incident), plus a husband who's been home sick for the last few days makes for a busier, more stressful week than normal.  It just goes to show that I can never be sure about how absolutely opposite my days can turn out to be from what I expected.  And there in lies my problem:  Expectations! 

Before learning how to "live life on life's terms" from people in the program, I would have used all of the unexpected events this week as reasons to drink.  Feeling stressed out and tired, I would have said, "I deserve to get drunk after taking care of everyone all week."  (I play a great martyr!)  Feeling angry about the week not going as I planned followed by feeling guilty for being angry that my family got sick (like they can help it!), I would have drank to drown those feelings away.  I drank a lot in order to escape from my feelings, especially anxiety, anger, and guilt.

During my first few years in recovery, I thought I wasn't going to feel angry, anxious, or guilty anymore.  I thought life was supposed to get easier and that I would magically be happy all of the time.  Then I learned, as it says in the Big Book, my "liquor was but a symptom."  My real problem is the way I think.  When my thinking is out of sorts, my feelings are soon out of control, usually followed by harmful behavior. 

Later, I learned more about identifying my feelings and experiencing and processing them in the safety of the rooms of the programs and in the arms of my sponsor rather than running away from them.  I learned, through working Steps 4 and 5 again, how my thinking problem (not drinking problem) caused these feelings to grow out of control.  I learned, through working Steps 6 and 7 again, how God can change my thinking so that my feelings stay in check instead of intensifying to levels that cause me to behave in ways that are harmful to myself and others.  I have to let go of all of my old ideas and allow God's ideas (or will) to take their place. 

Take this week for example.  When taking care of all the sickies around me, I have to remember (or be reminded by my sponsor) to let go of the idea that I am Super Mom.  When I can let go of this idea then I am less likely to become overwhelmed.  When I am not overwhelmed, I am better able to quiet my mind and when I am able to quiet my mind, I have a greater chance at consciously connecting with God (Step 11).  This conscious contact with my Higher Power gives me a feeling of peace I cannot describe except to say, it gives me the strength I need to continue to be of service (Step 12), which I believe is God's idea. 

I just realized that in this case, my idea and God's idea are the same:  for me to be of service.  Actually, this is probably God's idea in all cases. (Yikes!) 

Excuse me while I take a quick intermission to process a spiritual awakening...

OK, I'm back. 

As I was going to say, my "Super Mom idea" means I am trying to serve others on my own power.  God's idea means my service to others is fueled by the power that I receive from Him.  Let me power versus God's power... It's a no brainer, right?  I mean, DUH!!!  When I put it that way, I feel Super Silly to even think about doing anything on my own power.  But, like I said before, my real problem is the way I think.

Love to you all.


  1. You absolutely rock woman! We have a lot in common. I totally get you when you say all that happened this week would have been a great reason to get drunk. I used to thrive on drama and chaos because it gave me never ending excuses to drink. And martyr, I'm there. I loved to "bitch" about all the stuff I had to do, or did for everybody. You are sooooo right, it's in our thinking. I would so love to run, hide, and never face a problem. I never realized what a coward I was. Now when I don't feel like doing something, I tell myself, walk through the fear, you are making it bigger than it is, and the sooner you get going the sooner it will pass. And it does. A great verse that gives me courage and comfort is Isaiah 45 verses 2-3
    I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

    45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
    Hang in there and have an awesome weekend!

  2. Mine is a thinking problem for sure. I can think my way into all kinds of stuff. But luckily I know how to stop my compulsive mind. That is why I love Al-Anon.

  3. Thanks for sharing the verse.


Thank you for sharing!