Twelve Step program

What do you mean my journey isn’t about me? or How self-promotion CAN benefit others

28 Days to a New Me: Day 2 A Purposeful walk . . . and unlikely gratitude was how I began my day. It was, for the most part, all about me and what I’m doing on my path to increasing my health and wellbeing through walking and how I have to motivate myself to do good things for me by attaching them to something I see as more of a priority – such as applying to get Luna into a full day pre-school program at our neighborhood elementary school.

The process of making the accompanying video and getting it completely set up on YouTube (captions and all!) was also primarily about me. I LOVE learning new things and I’m pretty ecstatic over the way I’ve been able to figure out how to put together a decent video as part of my process of developing technical skills, building my portfolio, and even, dare I say it?, “branding” and “platform building.” If I want to become competetive and “saleable” as an employee or as a free-lanceer with my writing, I absolutely HAVE to be able to provide evidence that not only can I write solid and interesting content, but that I am capable of engaging an audience in a myriad of ways via social networking and visually engaging content as well as written content. I’ve been working on increasing my familiarity and skill with image creation AND I’ve been learning to swim instead of sink in the seas of social media. However, Video content, well, that was not something I had ever seriously considered doing. However, thanks in large part to all the work I’ve done here, with the help and encouragement of many of my readers, I finally had the courage and a modicum of self-confidence to take that leap of faith.

Me. Me. Me. My health. My wellness. My journey. My dreams. My goals. My hopes. My growth. My development . . .

Well, THAT was fun! Where was I? Oh yeah, talkin’ ’bout me.

About eight months ago, I shared about a conversation I’d had with a pastor from a small church I was attending at the time. You can read about it here if it of interest to you. However, since it’s just more about me and I’m trying to change the subject, please don’t feel obligated.

Here’s where I was, inside of myself and in my ability, or lack thereof, to engage in relationship with others:

I also know that I’m at my limit and just trying to be present and show up in my life takes everything I have, so I don’t have much of anything to give to anyone more. So, if I can’t reciprocate in the investment of time, energy, and caring in building new relationships with new people, how can I expect new people to do that for me and in my life?

He counseled me with facts and information about relationship building that I already knew. He explained that just genuinely and sincerely asking someone else about what’s going on in their lives without winding up bringing the conversation back around to myself, my life, and my woes would go a long way to building relationships.

Not something I was capable of then, no matter how much I wanted to or how hard I tried to force myself to play by relationship-building rules. Believe me when I say, I have lost more good friends because of my inability to not make everything about me, than I care to think about. Some have walked away, others I have pushed away, the rest I just let go of and since our relational connections were tenuous at best, they didn’t even know I needed them to hold onto me.


Thanks in large part to the work I’ve been doing here and learning, not just about me, but also about online relationship building via social media tools and communities, I’ve had some people who had moved on . . . come back into my life. Sometimes it’s been very positive and edifying. Other times, not so much. However, even those times brought with them opportunities for learning, growth and change. I’m learning to be thankful for the unlikeliest of things . . . including learning that my journey isn’t about me, or at least not all of it and probably not most of it.

Which brings me to the first title questions: What do you mean my journey isn’t about me?

It was, in the beginning, sort of. Sure, I wanted to feel better, and to stop being so full of bitterness, anxiety, and fear all the time. However, those fears revolved around another human being, Luna. I was desperate to raise her better, different, happier than LaLa and Marco got to be while they were growing up – in large part because I wasn’t better and my kind of different was very problematic for both me and them. As for happier, happiness and I were on about the same terms as I had with self-esteem and self-confidens. In other words, not in the very least.

However, the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Twelve Step Recovery processes, in most of the “Anonymous” organizations are not about the person in recovery, but about how that person interacts in relationship with those around him or her. Steps 8 and 9 are about making amends to those whom we’ve caused harm or damage to in the past, as long as our efforts to make amends do not compound the harm or damage. Step 10 states: “[We] Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” These steps are about how we deal with those we are already in relationship with.

The 12th Step is about service to others:

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.

It sounds like proselytizing or evangelism. However, the spiritual awakening inside of us allows us to practice all these principles in all our affairs, which is the biggest and only message that anyone caught in the throes of addictive or compulsive behavior will likely recognize as something life-changingly different.

If I, with all my faults, foibles, hang ups and fears can risk exposure and show the true person behind the mask; if I come out of isolation and hiding, sharing the realities of what it’s like to be a co-dependent crazy, addicted to toxic relationships as well as a compulsive binge eater, who is clueless about how to be in relationship with her God, her self, or her own children, then I am opening myself to receive healing. More importantly though, others who are like me in any, all, or any combination/variant of those things sees, reads, and can “experience” through my words and my willingness to be exposed, will have a spark ignited within them as well.

I hope that my journey of learning how to self-promote does help others as much as I have been helped.

Meditation: God Can


Last month, I addressed the first of the Twelve Steps: Admitting powerlessness and the recognition that life is out of control when practicing addiction and habits, rehearsing and replaying hurts, and staying stuck in hang-ups. For me this meant I had to recognize my powerlessness over the loved ones in my life and how they relate to one another, or if they decide to relate at all. I had to accept that the fibromyalgia and depression are physiological factors I am unable to ignore or wish away. I even had to open my eyes and understanding to realize there is still another layer to my personal brand of insanity which alternates with the depression as a mild form of mania, and it has effects I have refused to see or acknowledge, until recently.

This much powerlessness, and the admission of it, can feel overwhelming and hopeless. However, it is only the first step in a journey that leads to living a life energized with hope.

The Twelve Step program(s) do not prescribe or dictate who or what Higher Power those of us seeking hope and an end to our endless cycling of addiction, compulsive behaviors, and destructive relationships with ourselves and others are to seek and follow. Merely that we admit and recognize that there is a Power Greater than ourselves able to do what we have not, restore us to sanity.

For myself, that Higher Power does come from my cultural setting and my initial understanding, as a child, that Jesus loves me and God has the whole world in His hands. However, I also believe that God is bigger than the boxes of various religions and that He/She/It chooses when, how, and in what form to connect and relate to people.

That being said, I have struggled, a lot, over the years, with my faith and practice in believing or trusting God in my life. I am definitely one of those people who tends to lean on their own understanding, focusing on the storms of life, and immersing myself in the worries, fears, and frustrations of the circumstances in my life and conditions of daily living. For a long time I felt guilty for those things. I kept hearing messages that implied or outright stated that I was willfully choosing to thwart God’s will and presence in my life by giving into these aspects of my inner nature and personality. Now, I’m coming to understand that God understands and accepts these things in me and that He knows my struggles, doubts, and fears. He is carrying me through all of these things in my life.

He is an ever present source of strength, courage, and inspiration. Even when I can’t see, feel, or hear Him, He is here with me. My inability to perceive His presence does not mean He is absent. My inclination to forget His character of love and instead to believe the lies and doubts, which are based on my interactions with other people and my own unstable emotions and imperfect thoughts, doesn’t mean that He is unstable, imperfect, or untrustworthy.

“To receive my Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. The only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand . . . You will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what.” ~ Jesus Calling, p. 38

I lived a life of hopelessness in the midst of being overwhelmed with the pain and fatigue of the depression and fibromyalgia. It was a hopeless existence to think I would be able to control and manipulate the people in my life into accepting and loving me or each other. Being stuck in the unresolved sorrow of the troubles and trials of my early life and how I kept cycling through the uncontrollable highs and lows of thought and emotion without being able to exert control over my own spikes and dips made it easier to despair than hope.

Yet, hope, is not a feeling. Hope, like Love, an action, a decision, and a characteristic of God, whose presence is inside of me as much as any of the other things which have been in control of my mind and my life.

The revelation I have had is this: pain, misery, despair, and all the negative, evil things that exist inside of my mind and in this world cannot and will not overcome hope. Hope keeps me believing that life is worth living, despite the pain and fatigue. Hope keeps me moving forward, even after I have traveled in circles and wound up back in the same places I’ve visited and lived before. Hope is more powerful than a wish, because Hope is an action, a choice, and a decision. Hope is part of the character of God and that means it is part of my character as well.

I now move from powerlessness into hope. I believe a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.