12th Step

Disclaimers and Disclosures

This is MY blog.  That means I get to choose what to write and how I go about it.  I have been very clear that this is basically an open journal that I use to process my thoughts and emotions as I go through a self-directed healing and recovery process. I am not an expert and do not claim any credentials to imply that I am an authority in any field related to psychological, emotional, medical, social, or legal processes or organizations.

Due to certain experiences, conditions, and factors in my life I have gained insight, knowledge, and understanding in many of these areas.  However, that is limited and incomplete, filtered through my individual perceptions, preconceptions, values, and personality. Any statement made is a statement of MY truth and MY reality and not intended to dictate, sway, or convince anyone, anywhere that I have THE answers to anyone else’s questions or problems.

I have been very open and clear that I am living life to the best of my ability while dealing with the untreated conditions of depression and fibromyalgia, both of which have physiological, psychological, emotional, and cognitive effects. The impact of these conditions on my reasoning, perceptions, and responses can be profound and often  factor into my relationships with my family and others.

My personal past includes frequent cycles of chaos, conflict, and emotional disturbance. I often feel overwhelmed and incapable of functioning in my life or interacting with people. As a result my present life also consists of these things as I attempt to identify and address patterns of behavior, thought, and conflict. This blog is the place where I have and will continue to work through the details of triggering events. Many of these things have to do with people I interact with in my daily life, including the bureaucrats on the phone, pastors, fellow bloggers, and strangers on the street, as well as my family and friends.

To some this may seem like airing my dirty laundry and targeting individuals to point out how I feel I have been victimized by them. This is not my intent at all. While I may include the details of what others have said or done as it relates to me, the focus is on my feelings, thoughts, choices, actions, and how I navigated the situation either effectively or where I went wrong and what I need to take from it in order to move forward. I do my best to not focus on what the other person did wrong or how they should have done it better. Although, there are times when that does happen because I may have to work through those feelings and thoughts before I can view them, the situation, and myself in a more objective light. I express how I feel about myself in response to my interaction with them and how I would like to have been treated or spoken to.

I have done my best honor their anonymity by changing names so that those who do not know me or us will not readily identify them. I have not widely advertised this blog among people who know us and the few I have informed are either people I trust to be cautious and caring. I have informed the people mentioned in my blog that I have a blog and have provided them links to it at different times, inviting them to read and giving them the opportunity to read and respond if they choose to.  However, I do not send them a link each time I have a post in which an interaction I have had with them is disclosed.

Recently, my failure to inform someone that I had or would be disclosing details of our interactions contributed to tensions in our relationship with each other. It was not my overt intent to target this person in a negative way or imply that this person was bad while I was good or hurt this person in any way. I was working through my own issues and my own feelings and my own thoughts.  The things that transpired between this person and myself were used as specific examples of the kinds of interactions that take  place between any number of people I care about and myself.

Doing this on a public blog instead of in a private journal is risky because of all of these things and perhaps there are those who believe that I am out of line for doing so.  There are a couple of key reasons why I choose this public forum.  The first is that keeping private journals has not worked for me in the past. I would start a journal and then after a few days, weeks, or a month I would stop and then misplace the thing I was keeping it in. I’ve lost track of the number of notebooks and journals I have started and stopped, lost and found, and then read through to discover I’m still stuck writing the same things over and over again. This blog is the first medium I have ever been able to utilize in a way to write consistently and it has given me tools to be able organize my thoughts and review what I’ve already written to be able to effectively identify themes and issues or be able to recognize cycles and realize positive growth.

Secondly, this is my effort to reach out to others and get connected after having isolated and ostracized myself for so long. Since I am limited in personal resources to actively and consistently  participate in community in my “real” world, this has been my path back to socialization. Through this blog I have expanded expanded my virtual community and begun taking steps to reconnect and grow in community in my day to day life.

Third, battling depression and fibromyalgia, recovering from the affects of childhood neglect and abuse, and trying to change life-long coping skills and habits of co-dependency and food addiction are not things that can be done alone. By sharing my realities, experiences, successes, and failures I have been receiving encouragement, support, and hope from others. As I have done this, I have encountered others who are receiving the same from me just by reading my blog. The Twelfth Step is about helping others, sharing experience, strength and hope from a perspective of one who has truly been there, done that, and come out the other side.

To find out more about 12 Step Recovery, start here at Recovery Corner. The article, Why We Were Chosen, illustrates the Twelfth Step perfectly.

Rebirth: Everything is new again

It’s a new month, a new week, and a new day. It’s also time for a new challenge ~ Ultimate Blog Challenge that is.

I’ve been thinking about this for the past four or five days and considering whether I wanted to try to do this challenge in the midst of my current life’s circumstances. I’ve also been thinking about why I would want to participate in this challenge again. When I signed up for the challenge the first time, I didn’t really understand that a lot of the focus of the challenge creators and participants would be about increasing visibility from a sales and marketing perspective. The idea of driving traffic to my blog in order to get people to purchase something from me just doesn’t sit well with me. I understand that people who have businesses and products to sell need a platform to get themselves and their products noticed. I completely get the need for small, home-based, entrepreneurial businesses to see rapid growth in order to have income to support themselves and their families. I’m not against any of that. It just isn’t where I am at in my life or the purpose of my blog.

On top of it, there has been lot of self-doubt that what I do here has any value to offer anyone other than myself. I don’t have any answers or solutions to problems that people are generally seeking. I’m working to discover the right questions and any answers I find are pure trial and error and not able to be wrapped up in a pretty package and applied universally to anyone else.

Which leaves me with why would I want to put my blog on people’s radar and what do I have to offer that they would invest their time and energy reading it?

I think I may have figured it out during the course of last week’s events that I wrote in my two previous posts. Truth and hope.

The truth is that healing, growth, relationships, life and recovery are painful, messy, and scary things to face. This isn’t a message that many people want to hear. But it is the truth we all need to hear, accept, and stop avoiding. As a person who has lived through and is currently facing many messy and painful life circumstances, I may not have the answers, but sharing my experiences, processes, and outcomes can help others. I know this because having been on the receiving end of reading and receiving these things from other people’s lives has helped me. It’s why the 12th step is such a critical piece of the whole 12 step process of recovery.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

This past week has been a week of reawakening for me, both spiritually and personally. It’s been a long time in coming. It’s been painful at times. Other times there’s just been a lot of sitting, waiting, and seemingly little or nothing happening inside of me. Life has continued on cycling through the ebb and flow of circumstantial challenges that have sometimes affected my internal growth in ways that I recognize. More often than not I couldn’t see the growth at the time and may not yet recognize that it happened at all. The important thing is that it happened.

Many Twelve Step organizations follow the calendar in doing their step studies, focusing on a particular Step in the corresponding month. Since October is the 10th month, the 10th step would be the focus.

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

Part of the personal inventory process includes seeing the good as well as the bad. Examining the details of our lives and ourselves in the light and seeing the truth in its entirety about ourselves. Historically, a lot of us are really good at self-blame, self-recrimination, and emotional (if not physical) self-flagellation. I know this is true for me. So, part of my focus this month is going to be looking for the whole truth and seeking out what’s good in the truth I know. I’m going to actively look for the silver lining in the dark clouds of my life. I’m going to open myself up to experiencing happiness, contentment, and joy even in the midst of the depression, pain, and fear that has become such an ingrained and inherent part of my life.

I doubt I’ll ever be Pollyanna, but I will certainly become a happier me.