Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Taking Recovery to Work: What Does That Mean?

This year I have been thinking and writing about this idea of consciously taking principles of recovery to the work place. We do, “practice these principles in all our affairs” but sometimes when I listen to others in meetings—or listen to myself driving home from work—I really wonder about that “All of our affairs” part.

I know that we strive for “progress not perfection,” but still.  I think this is a good topic for women and men in long-term recovery: How are we, as recovering people, doing in our work/career/retirement lives? 
Here’s what I jotted down last night. See if any of this resonates with you:

My recovery tells me not to use drugs, alcohol, food, sex or other behaviors as a way to squash feelings or things I don’t want to look at. So in my work life how am I doing with control, perfectionism, workaholism, or sloth?

My recovery tells me to trust my Higher Power and that there is a plan for my life. Do I pray about my work? Do I trust the processes there?

My recovery tells me to be honest: both the  “cash register honesty” and people honesty. And to be honest with myself. Am I honest at work? With time, with responsibility? 

My recovery tells me to look at myself first and to “pull my projections” as Carl Jung taught Bill Wilson. We have the Tenth Step Axiom: When I am upset, the upset is something inside of me. That’s a hard one to practice at work. Ouchy!

My recovery tells me to “Think, Think, Think” and to “Let Go and Let God”. Can I apply that at work?

My recovery tells me that when I feel down or I’m struggling that I should work with a newcomer or another alcoholic. So, is the workplace equivalent mean that when I feel unhappy at work I should go help a coworker? Or do a helpful task that I don’t get credit for? Maybe just pitch in and be of service and not look for credit or praise? Maybe it means I should mentor someone or offer encouragement to someone at my workplace.

My recovery tells me, “Don’t use no matter what.” So, at work maybe that means that I should not use fear, dishonesty, unkindness, or ego.

My recovery tells me to take an inventory once a year—or as needed. So maybe for my job or career I could also look at my “saleable goods” (skills, talents, abilities) and decide what I can let go of: old pride, past accomplishments and the grudges that I am holding on to. 

Recovery tells me to make amends quickly and only point out my side of the street. So, am I able to say, “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong” and “I made a mistake” at work?

My recovery tells me that I am a work in progress, and that I always have more to learn. So, can I remember Dr. Bob’s great words when I am at work, and post this quote on my laptop:

“Humility is perpetual quietness of the heart.”?

To read more about long-term recovery check out the book: Out of the Woods published by Central Recovery Press.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"I'm the One Who Got Away

Andrea Jarrell’s new book, “I’m the One Who Got Away” is both a cautionary and
celebratory tale of one woman—and ultimately many women.

You will find yourself in this story, and you’ll understand yourself just a little bit better as you watch Jarrell navigate from childhood to adulthood, from her mother’s life through becoming a mother herself.

“I’m the One Who Got Away” is a wonderful read for all women in recovery. All of the things you have faced are right here—and just as when, in a meeting, you find yourself saying, “I never expected to identify with that person” and then you do,  you’ll feel that here as you receive Jarrell's gift.

Jarrell is a child when her mother takes her and they flee from an abusive husband. Their relationship and journey lead to unspoken promises and misunderstandings that take years to unravel. You know those moments when it clicks:  “So, that’s why I do that!”

 Her story reads like one of the best recovery speakers—the one’s we wish for at the podium. You’ll see all the stages of trying, testing and healing that you have gone through in Jarrell’s story—and you’ll laugh, sigh, and maybe like me you will be saying, “Oh, no” and then “Oh, good!” out loud as you read this memoir.

Jarrell’s honesty about her attractions, mistakes, desires, and ultimately her recovery will draw you deeply into I’m the One Who Got Away, and you’ll turn the last page saying, “Me too, sister. Me too.”

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Codependence--You Just Gotta Laugh

Sometimes the best way to move through a stuck place is to laugh. And for woman in recovery, codependence can be a very sticky place.

How do we parse caring and codependence? When should we persevere, and when should we let go? Whether as a mother, lover or friend—even as a sponsor—is it admirable to “go to any lengths”? Or is that pure self-destruction and denial?

A codependent person is one who has let another person’s behavior affect her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person’s behavior

So, clearly there's no do-it-yourself discernment.

In the waters of codependence, you need a good therapist, sponsor and a couple of smart recovering friends. You want friends who will tell you the truth. Yes, you hope they’ll tell you gently, but more important you hope they will just tell it even if they have to say, “You did what!!!” or “That is not kindness you crazy girl!” or maybe they will grin and say, “Sounds like you need some Co-Tylenol.”

You do know that Co-Tylenol is what a codependent takes when her partner has a headache?

You just gotta laugh. It’s actually therapeutic --big belly laughs can shake the crazy right out of you.

So, here’s what I heard last week:

In recovery, we are told to learn to stay present, in the here and
now. Our shorthand for that is, “Look down at your shoes, and be where your feet are.” But if you are codependent, you may actually be looking down at someone else’s shoes.