Thursday, 23 January 2014

Week 13

Very aware that my weeks are out of sync now and working hard on not letting that allow me to stop.  The question I ask myself is "are the exercises optional?"  If I'm the only one that has set myself an objective does that mean I'm allowed to flex the rules to suit myself, did I set any in the first place?  I know that I get things done when I have structure and have discussed that many times before.  Is it realistic to put structure around everything, is that workable?  In our household of 4, there's a lot of timetabling and the free times are precious.  I am a firm believer that balance is the key, so for me we need to have both in our lives.    The free times give us flexibility, rest, recuperation, time together as a family, out as a group.  Maybe we get more of this than other families but I have to remember that this is important to me and why I became a parent.  What I should do with it is pray for guidance, hand it over and let it go.
My counsellor set me a task last week which I actually wrote down, to make a list of positive thoughts that could replace the negative ones.  Theoretically, this should be a straightforward exercise.  Positive thoughts and suggestions are easy to create but listening to them, accepting them, letting them in is another thing entirely.  Watching myself bringing in the home guard and building barriers before the thought is even complete is amazing.  My complete and utter willingness to go to a place of defence against anything is incredulous and so needs to go.  Yet again, I am reminded that the only time that I feel better and find a way of living that works is when I go to an AA meeting.  Maybe coming to the end of my counselling sessions is no bad thing, I have the answer, I just need to put the work in!  Will pick that up with my sponsor when I see her later.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Week 12

This may get to be an additional post this week in an effort to catch up.  Week 12's chapter hopes that we are writing more than the exercises and that our habit is building nicely.  I think if it had been that easy then I probably wouldn't have needed the book.  To be fair, there's obviously more to this than just finding time so I will retract that thought and carry on plodding.  I'm still struggling with time, not just with writing time but with finding time for myself.  Christmas was a great example of how difficult I find it to detach myself from the family when completely in the thick of it.  Routine and structure work to a point but options for laziness are always there.  It won't surprise you to hear that I don't exercise even irregularly, walking the dog is my limit.  I enjoy a good dance but it's finding the space that is more of the issue.  Dancing is the one time that I can really let go and get on with being myself.  I don't like the idea of performing but have learned to ignore the fact that anyone may be watching and just get on with it.  It's probably something to do with the rarity with which I go dancing and the desire that I have to dance in a decent space.  It would be great if I could apply that to the other aspects of my life and see what progress can be made!  Perhaps even with researching for the novel.  A good friend who I haven't seen for a long time wondered why I hadn't considered wanting to write rather than just needing to.  A very fair question and one that I have been pondering on.  I have never worked hard and would like to think that didn't mean that I was necessarily lazy.  I can get very excited and driven by projects at work which then take over and become too much of a priority.  It was a bit of a coincidence that I found the following quote from Marianne Williamson the other day - “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  There are many statements that have given me strength during my recovery where light and dark are key players.  "Hold your face to the light, even though you do not see it".  My early days were very dark, dark and scary.  It took a while for me to realise how desperate I was, how chaotic my life was, how my way of living was completely unmanageable and  how I knew of no alternative.  I found it extremely difficult to accept that I could learn from those around me and that, while our drinking patterns may have been different, our thinking patterns were the same.  It was incredible to finally realise that I wasn't completely mad, that the people I met in the meetings were the same as me on so many levels.  I often imagined myself in a dark room with no windows and no doors, no furniture except for the big, comfy armchair in which I was sitting, feeling warm and safe.  I began to accept that it would be ok and, with the help of my higher power, began to hand over my fear of sobriety and of living in this world with the rest of you.  One day, without noticing, I found myself no longer in my comfy chair but standing in a dark tunnel, no longer feeling safe or warm.  As I stood there, looking around desperately, searching for light to work out which way to go, I became aware of friends from the rooms holding burning torches for me, helping me to see the way.  It was then that I knew that I didn't have to worry about where I was going or how to get there or what the future would hold because I would be ok, that the life that I was choosing for myself would be the right one and that I would always have the help that I needed.  I will never forget the faces of my torchbearers although some of them have moved away.  They are the ones that got me on my path, out of my armchair, reached out their hands even when I didn't know how to take them.  Recovery from addiction is a unique and individual experience and, to be honest, the first thing I have ever had to really work out.  It would be great to think that if I can do this then everything else should be achievable.  I had a timely reminder this week of just how desperate I had felt when I came into the rooms.  It reminded me of how far I have come and how much work I have done.  The key to my recovery has been to take one day at a time; to keep it simple; to think, think, think; to let go and let God.  Not exactly hard work unless I make it hard for myself and forget.  At the beginning of my blogging, I decided this was to be about working my way through the guide and not about writing my novel.  Perhaps I was being too hopeful that the novel wouldn't matter, I don't think that's the case.  I need, in fact, want, to do both.  

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Week 11

I really meant to write on time this week and then the exercise put me off.  The word ‘research’ arose and my lack of time management skills kicked in.  It’s one thing putting time aside to write but a completely different thing putting time aside to research and then write.  Sadly I achieved neither and have only just now started the (non-researched) writing bit, hoping that I manage to complete the exercise too.   I’ve realised that the opportunities of a new year don’t work well for me.  Too much expectation of the future and too much looking back into the past.  This year I am working at letting it all go and just looking at today.  It’s how I got sober and is such an amazing gift in terms of living that I don’t understand why it is so difficult for me to put it into practice in the rest of my life.  That probably comes back to the expectation of others and the habits of the past, that’s what I will be letting go of.

Exercise 6 – create an entirely fictional character from a country that you haven’t visited and write a paragraph in which that person introduces themselves.

Hei!  My name is Mooni, it comes from the Finnish name Salomon, meaning peace.  I live in the north of Finland, in a small town called Ivalo.   It is a great centre for people wishing to see the Northern Lights and, together with my wife Nelli, we run our own excursion company.  It is an incredibly beautiful place to live, not just for the lights but if you love the outdoor life.  In winter we can go skiing (both downhill and cross country), snowboarding, husky and reindeer sledge riding, whilst in the summer there is trekking and hiking in the Saariselk√§ fjells, canoeing in rivers, mountain biking and fishing.

How dull.  I don't think I really embraced that one.  Perhaps I should try again...

Hei! My name is Mooni, not quite Moomin, which is a relief as my wife, Nelli, is a huge Moomin fan.  We live in the home of the Moomins, Suomi also known as Finland, and we know them as Muumi not Moomins.  (Not sure if this is any more interesting or if I'm just not taking this seriously.)

What I may do here is take the chance to change and not follow the process, because at the moment, this doesn't suit me and I don't feel like writing it.  What is of more interest, is that I have found a really lovely cafe to write in right opposite the Costa that I have been going to for months.  Sadly am on my way to my counselling so can't sit here for long but it feels like somewhere right to write :) so will drop off now and come back later when I have time.  Maybe this will be the year of change, of doing the things I want to do, the way I want to do them.  That would be good if I can do it honestly and with love.  Love for those around me who have put up with so much and love for those who have had it easy.  Either way, it feels like a really good place today, amazing what a difference a day can make.