Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Contrarian Soul Training

"Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same." ~ Francesca Reigler

I recently read something encouraging me to love myself. We've all encountered this inducement in meditations, devotionals and self-help books.  This time the message came with a twist. The challenge was to go so far as to love even my "fears, frustrations, pain, boredom and despair". (1)

Well that was different.

"This is a little like extending our hand in friendship to a neighbor we can't stand," I reflected.

Then I countered: "No, it's exactly like that!"

We all experience our own plateaus, valleys, mountaintops and gorges in our recovery process as parents of addicts and substance abusers. When light turns to darkness we can lose sight of what our focus is, what it should and can be if we have the tools to maintain, to stay the course.

We have our imperfections, failings and character tendencies that pull us off track in our paths to recovery. Some of us have identified these shortcomings, or at least some of them. We know they exist. We don't have to search for constant reminders that we are not perfect. We can instead accept and own our flaws and rather than fighting them, let go and make some changes in the way we pursue life, love and happiness. The behavior we have exhibited may not be (?!?) working for us. We may wish to try other paths. We can train ourselves to ACT differently. We can take control of our lives, accept the good and expand upon the positive foundations we have built for ourselves. We can call this positive contrary thinking, unlearning or inversion. Some contrarian steps we can take can be:

  • Reaching out to that neighbor we don't particularly get along with
  • Contacting friends and family we've lost touch with
  • Applying our best efforts to improving our lives and and the lives of others using tools and talents the Great Creator has provided each of us
  • Taking responsibility for our financial well being
  • Truly nourishing our bodies with foods selected from the perimeter of our local grocery - think about it!
  • Nurturing our spiritual selves through meditation, prayer and quietude
  • Loving ourselves, faults and all, and accepting our negative tendencies head on without our fall-back martyr's self deprecation
  • Unequivocally trusting that the Universe has a plan for us that we cannot begin to fathom and that we WILL BE fine, mind, body and soul
It's training for the soul that allows us to accept ourselves. We WILL want more out of life and progress beyond anger, bitterness, rage and despair to a life we deserve. It requires acceptance of ourselves and where we are on our journey right now, while refusing to accept eternal life in the shadow of our child's addiction.

It's a little like loving the addict but hating the addiction.

"Or perhaps, it's exactly like that!"

This is not a long list nor is it the only list. There are as many lists as there are parents progressing along recovery journeys. Some of us who are not "list people" may simply wish to utilize meditation, prayer and quietude to hand over control of the uncontrollable to a Power greater than ourselves. 

Whatever path and tools we choose, we can move on, out of the darkness to higher ground.

And you know what: The hills ARE alive!

… keep coming back

(1) Copyright 1991 In God's Care - Karen Casey