There is an acronym in Alcoholics Anonymous, that like so many of the little sayings / acronyms / aphorisms of recovery carry great Truth and can be invaluable tools in helping us to keep from swinging too far out of balance in reaction to life. This acronym is HALT. It stands for: Hungry Angry Lonely Tired. When we have any of these conditions going on - and especially if we have two or more of them happening simultaneously - we are more impatient than normal, more emotionally vulnerable, and are much more vulnerable to our codependency. These kinds of physical and emotional conditions weaken our defenses, magnify and distort our emotional reactions, and make it much harder to keep from slipping into the old ruts of black and white thinking. (Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1) They sap our energy, cause us to lose focus, and make it much more important to put some energy into maintaining internal boundaries with the critical parent voice and the emotional triggers from our childhood so we don't slip back into a victim perspective. We are more emotionally volatile at these times and much more reactive with the people in our lives.
Just stopping and asking ourselves if there is some reason we are feeling the way we are feeling that may have to do with such conditions can be a very valuable aid in not setting ourselves up to overreact to other people and life events.
I have my own version of this acronym, which includes a few more conditions that I know greatly affect us - and that are important to pay attention to.
My version of this is HALTSHH - Hungry Angry Lonely Tired Sick Hurt Hormonal. These are all times when it is important to be patient and kind and nurturing to ourselves. Times when we need to pay some attention to those conditions and not judge what we are feeling or where we are at - because we are not seeing reality very clearly when we have such things impacting us emotionally.
An injury, an infection, and a BIG surprise
The H occurred in early September, when I injured my leg.
"It has been a wonderful opportunity to see how much I have changed the intellectual paradigm that is defining life for me. It has given me wonderful opportunities to practice patience and take things in small steps - both literally and figuratively. It has been a revelation to see that my inner children have not been involved in coping with this life event. Really cool."The trauma to my leg wiped me out physically so that I couldn't write. I didn't have the energy, or ability to focus, that I need for my writing - I was needing to take several naps a day and just take things real slowly. Between the depletion of energy that came from that injury, and a chronic sinus infection that flared up when my immune system was depleted, I lost almost a month of writing time. I just didn't have the energy to be able to focus and write - another wonderful opportunity to practice patience, and acceptance, and surrendering to my Higher Power's plan.
Then, in part because of the injury and insights that came from it, I needed to write for my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal. The processing I had done in that personal journal in June - and the events that Universe brought my way in early July to stimulate my process - continued into other levels in both early October, and then for a period of several weeks in late October and early November. I have added 5 pages to that personal journal since early October.
(As I am writing this, I was realizing that 4 chapters of the online book, plus the 5 pages in my journal - given that my average web article pages are in the range of 7,000 to 8,000 words - means that I only added about 60,000 or 70,000 words of new writing to the site since the beginning of August. Only!?! Those old tapes about not being productive enough sure don't have as much power as they used to - but they are still there running subtly in the background.)
The journal processing was perfect for the unfolding mosaic of my recovery journey - as usual. The areas of my issues that I was uncovering and discovering new levels of, led me to be writing about some specific issues on a day that I got some earthshaking news. Earthshaking in my life anyway.
Writing that last line caused me to look back to past writing where I have used an analogy about earthquakes to give some perspective on the progress I have made in my process - to try to convey how much different my experience of life and life events is, compared to what it used to be - due to my recovery. I actually found two instances - one that I had forgotten about.
I had mentioned in some writing I did in May for my Future Publications page, that I felt some major, dramatic change was going to be taking place in my life this fall - and that it would change my life in a way that would severely limit my time to write. Well, what happened is I found out about a dramatic change that is going to happen next year. Next year my son is going to be coming to live with me."I was trying to control my life because I was afraid that I wouldn't get the things done that I thought I needed to get done to take care of myself, to meet my needs. I was afraid of the unknown future, so I had designed my own agenda, and then was getting angry and frustrated that I could not meet my own agenda.
For someone who has lived alone for all but 3 years in that last 3 decades, I think that becoming the primary, single parent to a 13 year old boy qualifies as a major, dramatic life change. Another wonderful opportunity for growth - to practice patience, and acceptance, and surrendering to my Higher Power's plan. ;-)
This is probably not going to happen until after the end of the school year - unless the Universe manifests a major chunk of money that makes it possible for me to make the transition by January. When it happens, this change will severely limit my time to both do phone counseling and write. Since all of my income comes through sales - of either the book and tapes, etc., or phone counseling - I have no guaranteed income. It is all right for me to live day to day with no guarantee that I will be able to pay the rent - with no security other than faith in the process - by myself. But with my son in my life I will need to consider getting some kind of job with some guaranteed income.
One of those more will be revealed things. If I think about the details - finding the money to move to a bigger place and all the expense involved in that, feeding a voracious teenager, the complete restructuring of my life, losing time to write, etc., - it is very terrifying. When I think about the responsibility of being a hands on parent, and trying to carve out a healthy relationship with him given both my history and his, I feel petrified. Luckily I don't have to know how those details are going to work out today. I get to practice letting go of the future while doing my best to plant any seeds I need to make the transition.
The fear flutters in my gut just writing that last paragraph. ;-)
They say that God made the world round so we can't see too far over the horizon. The details about how those events over the horizon are going to work out are not my business today. If I am putting all my energy into figuring out how I am going to cross the mountain way off in the distance, then I am liable to step into a hole that is directly in front of me on my path today. (Could cause me to hurt my leg ;-) I need to keep an eye on the horizon so that I can make any adjustments to my heading that I need to make - but most of my attention and energy needs to be focused on what is in front of me to do and experience in my life today. I want to be present for my life today and be able to enjoy the scenery that is part of the texture of my journey today. In my codependency, my fear and shame driven relationship with life caused me to be incapable of being present in the moment because I was focused on the future or the past. One of the gifts of my recovery is the ability to be here today, to be available for moments of happiness and Joy no matter how many frightening unknowns are looming on the horizon - no matter how impossible it looks to me for me to ever get there.
I haven't reached a point in my journey from which it is possible to see the details of how this transition is going to unfold. My part as a co-creator in this life experience means that I am responsible for planting seeds and gathering information and doing the footwork to prepare myself for those events on and over the horizon - but the details will not become clear until I have reached the point in my journey when I need to see them clearly. One of the greatest stress reducers in my recovery was the insight that it wasn't doing me any good to worry about decisions that it was not yet time to make - that worry was in fact a symptom that I was in my disease trying to figure out how to control life because of my fear, and it created more fear. A very dysfunctional dynamic - that is the essence of the condition of codependency - which prevented me from ever really living life, until recovery.
"Worry - which is negative fantasizing - is a reaction to fear of the unknown which creates more fear, which creates more worry, which creates more fear, etc. This fear is not a normal human fear of the unknown. It is codependent fear: a distorted, magnified, virulent, mutated species of fear caused by the poisonous combination of a false belief that being human is shameful with a polarized (black and white, right and wrong) perspective of life. This self perpetuating, self destructive type of obsessive thinking feeds not only on fear, but on shaming ourselves for feeling the fear.I am not writing the script, am not in control of this human experience, so I need to do what I am led to do when I am led to do it - with faith that a Loving plan is unfolding. Worry is negative fantasy. Fear of the future does not serve me on my path today - takes away my ability to be here now. The fear will come up certainly - just as it did when I wrote the paragraph above - but that is normal and human. I can use my recovery tools to let go of that fear of the unknown - and have boundaries with the critical parent voice in my head which wants me to project a fantasy of impending doom, a horror movie in my mind, that will cause me to create artificial fear in my life today. As I talked about in my August Update, I learned that 90% of the stress in my life before codependency recovery was my responsibility, something I had some control over - and I do not have to create that kind of stress in my life any more, thanks to recovery and my faith in the Great Spirit.
So, I don't know how things are going to work out. Maybe the book will finally hit the hundredth monkey and some big publisher will want to pay me a lot of money for the reprint rights. There are some interesting developments in regard to The Dance. A German translation of the book is in progress, and there has been some interest in a Spanish translation. A distributor in South Africa has expressed interest in distributing it there. No increase in income in the foreseeable future from any of these developments - but perhaps just the beginning of a groundswell. ??
One of those things that demonstrate my Higher Power's sense of humor occurred in late October, ten days or so before I made the commitment to take my son next year. Someone sent me an e-mail asking me if I could do some writing specifically focused on parenting. I replied that with all the writing projects I had on the agenda there would be no time in the foreseeable future to do that. Hah. Before 2003 is over, I have a feeling that parenting will be one of the topics I write about. Kind of a psychic premonition you know, a little precognition. ;-)
More will, of course, be revealed.
Oh, and I want to mention also, that I added links in the right hand column above, to two articles that are helpful at this time of year with the Holidays approaching - one on Thanksgiving and one about why Holidays can be so difficult for us codependents. My Holiday message to you is contained in these articles.
of Joy, Love & Abundance to Me and You,
PS. Speaking of the Holidays, I also added a special holiday link to Amazon.com on the New Page - and just decided to include it also at the bottom of this page. Amazon.com is now offering all kinds of clothing and shoes, so that you can get most anything there. They have holiday gift wrapping and free shipping offers and are one of the best places online to get gifts - and if you go there through one of the links on my site, I get a small percentage of any sale. ;-)
Which reminds me that I also added a link on the New page to Amazon.ca - the new Canadian version of Amazon. I added links on the New page to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Hazelden for the book Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It is a daily meditation book that every recovering codependent will find helpful. If you think my book might be a little too radical for someone on your gift list, but still would like to plant some seeds of recovery, this book is a good choice.
It is not possible to buy my book through either Hazelden or the Canadian version of Amazon. Hazelden because they carry their own publications primarily, and did not respond to a communication I sent them about carrying my book. Amazon.ca because I cannot get listed with them without a Canadian Distributor. The Canadian Distributors that I have contacted, or who contacted me, charge a fee in the range of $125 to $200 to carry a book. That is something that I haven't had room in my budget for - one of the many things.
This is something I wrote in May of 2001 for that Future Publications page - the situation I describe here hasn't changed since then.
"For example: More book stores would stock the book if it was carried by a national distributor (in US and elsewhere) - these charge $150 - $200 up front to stock a book; In order to get it carried in British books stores it requires a United Kingdom ISBN number which costs about $150; the distributor that I do have, New Leaf, offers me a free ad in its catalog - but it would cost over $100 to get the ad made up to specs; getting the web site listed in Yahoo costs $199; etc., etc. Since I am happy at this point just to have enough money for rent each month, any one of these costs is beyond my means at this time. (My distributor New Leaf is a national distributor, but they have a minimum order of $100 - so book stores cannot just order my book from them. I have had two national distributors that went bankrupt, and another that dropped the book due to low sales several years ago before my web site got established.)"When I say the situation hasn't changed since that writing in May 2001, I mean that I am still happy and grateful every month to pay my rent - and still not able to afford spending a couple of hundred dollars here and there for things that would actually generate more income. The capitalistic dilemma - it takes money to make money.
This has been one of those wonderful opportunities for growth for me - letting go of expectations and accepting my path as it has unfolded. Being able to sell the book in Canada, and Great Britain, and Australia, and so many other places, would really help spread the message and make the book available to so many more people. My more recent musings on that Future Publications page about my wish that I could bring the audio version out on CD, and publish some e-books with collections of articles or future books, are wishes that I need to let go of, and opportunities to (this seems to be the chorus here ;-) to practice patience, and acceptance, and surrendering to my Higher Power's plan.
I have, in fact, found what seems to be a really good resource where I could publish both e-books available through the internet, and hard copies of books (either collections, or books crafted out of all the writing I have been doing for the last 4 years) on a print on demand basis, for a pretty reasonable price.
So, I need to do the footwork, gather information, plant seeds, and then let go of the outcome. The paradox of recovery, take action to make my dreams come true and then let go of thinking that I am not going to be okay until they manifest.
"We are on a Journey - the point is to be present for the journey, not to reach a destination.
Writing the above about the little things I haven't been able to afford to do in promoting the book, led me to looking for a quote from a past Update about the perfection of my process.
"As I have talked about previously, I resist writing because I never know exactly where it will go once I start writing. I certainly had no plans to write a new series of articles. I have two series already that I haven't worked on since early in 2000 - Spirituality and Sexuality. Because of some responses I got to writing about my resistance to writing in the March Update, I ended up doing a five part (6 page) series on The Recovery Process for inner child healing - finding emotional balance. That series was of course perfect for what I was going through in my process at the time, but it wasn't something I had planned on writing.One of the fears that came up for me in relationship to the mind boggling details of how I could possibly cope financially with my son coming to live with me, was that I might have to stop utilizing the pay per click service I talk about in this quote. That service - which used to be called goto.com - is now called Overture, and they are an even more important force on the internet than they were then. It is the one marketing thing that I make room for in my budget. At the cost of between $200 and $250 a month, I have been getting over 3,000 new visitors to my site every month. They kind of give me the last laugh on Yahoo, because the search results that are listed first on their search page (sponsored listings) are now from Overture. So, I get a lot of hits from Yahoo, even though I have never been able to get listed in their directory.
The thoughts of having my son live with me and the impact that would have on my time to do phone counseling and writing, was mind boggling to me. I often spend 12 hours a day divided between the counseling and my writing. Having him live with me will definitely cut down on my time to do the counseling (because I am sure not going to let him just sit and watch television while I am on the phone like I had to do this past May when he was here) which will impact my income - but more importantly to me, will greatly reduce my writing time. The fear that came up about this was increased when I realized that one of the ways I might have to create income was to stop my Overture advertising. Since the above quote they have raised their minimum bid, but grand fathered in old clients - and if I ever stop the service for awhile I will have to give up maybe half the terms I have now.
So, this added fear on top of fear. I also knew that if I need to do that I will. I am willing to do whatever my path requires, willing to - as I said in my January Update this year - be homeless again, if that is what is in front of me. Being homeless isn't really a viable option however with my son living with me. Anyway, these are some of the fears that came up.
Pulling up that quote from my January 2001 Update led me to rereading the last paragraph of it - which had come to mind repeatedly while writing the online book I am writing now. It is a perfect description for what is happening with this body of writing. I am looking at facets and levels of the process - both the wounding and the recovery process - from perspectives that are a little different, and sometimes go a little deeper, than I have previously.
It is also a reminder for me of how absolutely perfectly this writing and my healing process have unfolded in relationship to this web site over the past 4 years. The Recovery Process for inner child healing - finding emotional balance series of articles followed the True Nature of Love series. The True Nature of Love series is something I started writing in 1999 - shortly after I started my Joy2MeU Journal, and the personal journal I share in it. I started writing both of those bodies of work while I was homeless - shortly after the end of My Adventure in Romance - Loving and losing successfully.
The Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility series led directly into the processing that I did about my fear of intimacy issues in the Newsletters of the May 2001 Update. That processing led to a major breakthrough in my personal recovery process.
"One of the things that I am realizing in the processing that was set off by this latest breakthrough in my process, is that I seem to just now be reaching - on a personal level - the level of consciousness that my book was written out of. It has been over 10 years now, since I wrote the core of what was to become Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls - over a period of 48 frenzied hours of writing, to be able to give a talk that I had scheduled months before."That breakthrough in consciousness on a personal level prepared me to take the risk of sharing my Truth and my beliefs with the world in a way that I had never envisioned putting my Truth out to the general public. When the events of September 11, 2001 occurred, I almost immediately started writing and publishing Attack on America - A Spiritual Healing Perspective & Call for Higher Consciousness. My decision in January of 2002 (Update January 2002 & 2 Newsletters) to move the bulk of that online book to the Joy2MeU Journal is what provided the spark for writing The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages!
Are you seeing the pattern here? And the thoughts (messages from my intuition) that caused me to write this PS, also caused me to look for something I remember writing about how learning to let go of the future has allowed me the freedom to be happy today no matter what my circumstances - even if I never had any money or another relationship or whatever. I never did find the quote I was looking for - although I found something close to it on my Future Publications page. In looking however, I came across this page from my Newsletter of November 1998 for my Joy to You & Me silcom site - something that I had written several months before Joy2MeU.com was born. It was finding this quote and realizing the message the Universe was sending me today while I am writing this Update, that caused the explosion of Joy and Gratitude within me. (This was also the Newsletter where I announced the publication of the articles for the Holidays - another coincidence.;-)
"Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about. I am so incredibly grateful for this path I am on. The miracle of the Twelve Step Recovery Program Spiritual Principles first saved my life when I was trying to kill myself - then saved my life again when my Codependence was close to killing me. My Codependence Recovery then turned living from something which was miserable and unbearable for me into a Glorious Exciting Adventure. I am so glad to be alive today - and have a life work that I passionately believe in, Love doing - and which brings me great Joy. I am not sure how I am going to pay my rent next month, haven't had anything close to a Love relationship for several years, and have some health problems - but those don't matter today. I am free to be Happy and Joyous in the moment for the majority of the moments of every day.I wrote the above on November 21st 1998. The next day at that church service, I started the relationship with the woman who gave me the opportunity to see that my worst fears in a relationship could come true and I could be okay with it. The reason I was okay with it, is because it is the first time I did a romantic relationship without my self worth being enmeshed with my emotional reactions - the very thing I talk about in Emotional Anorexia.
I am writing this on November 19th 2002. And I am going to now repeat the affirmation that I wrote almost 4 years ago to the day. What I am seeing clearly - and feeling in my gut - as I write this, is that my son coming to live with me is going to be an opportunity to learn about Love in ways that would probably not be possible in any other way.
So, I once again reaffirm my commitment to being an ally with the Spirit where Love lives instead of with the disease where fear rules. I Joyously, with tears running down my cheeks and sobs of Joy bubbling up my throat, proclaim and declare to you; to the Universe; to my Higher Power; to The God-Force, Goddess Energy, Great Spirit, Holy Mother Source Energy; to all that is blessed and holy; Fuck the fear I say - full speed ahead in the direction of Love.
I trumpet and broadcast proudly out into the Universe: my commitment to my recovery journey; to my Karmic mission; to speaking my Truth; and say: "Bring it on Bubba baby!" Because it is so worth it! Every second of suffering and pain, terror and loneliness, is worth being able to access the Truth of Unconditional Love. Amen. So be it. So it is. Blessed be.
Should be interesting to see what happens now, don't you think. ;-)
Here is a quote from the Medicine Card book about the significance of Moose:
"The bellow of the male Moose can be viewed as a positive force, since it represents his willingness to "tell the world" about his feelings.This process is soooooo awesome!!!
New Page Site Index The codependency movement is NOT ruining marriages! Information Pages Index
|The Medicine Card (This link and the one on the graphic will take you to the page it is offered on Amazon.com) have been a very valuable tool in my recovery process. Although I don't have permission to quote this specific quote from the Medicine card book here - Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls from: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, copyright 1988, Bear & Co. Reprinted by permission Bear & Co., P.O. Box 2860, Santa Fe, NM 87504. (Since the book was published they have moved to P.O. Box 3876, Gettysburg, PA 17325)||
"I learned that I was not a frog who needed
a princess to kiss me in order to turn into a prince - that I am a prince
already, and just need to learn to accept that state of Grace, that princeness."
"This age is a time for growing and learning, a time to become conscious of the True nature of the Source Energy, a time of Spiritual Awakening. We have been given the wonder-full gift of having the ability and the tools to start integrating the Truth of a Loving Universal Force into our day-to-day experience of life. We now have the knowledge and guidance that we need to start bringing some balance to our relationships - with ourselves and our God/Goddess, with other people and the planet - so that we can live in a way that allows us to experience some Peace and Love on our life path.
We can heal our wounded souls enough to change the dance of life from a dance of endurance and suffering to a dance that celebrates living. We now have access to the power to transform the dance of Codependence to a dance of healing and Joy."
Dancing with Joy here. ;-)