Sunday, October 26, 2014

Note To Self

I sometimes need to remind myself to live in the moment. I have this tendency to want to take a certain action and I overthink it.  If I do this, then this might happen, then surely this person will react this way, and then this will happen and things are just going to go to heck in a hand basket.

I call it the spiral.  One moment, life is good. I go to work, do my job, love my life, exercise my body, encourage others and eat really good vegetarian food with some fish. The next moment, I contemplate a change. And from there my thinking starts to get out of control. My fears start to get out of control.

I didn't have a lot of what one might call 'consistency' when I was growing up. Not a lot of firm ground. As a consequence, my fears always culminate in me losing my job, my house, my loved ones and ends with a picture of me and my cat living under a bridge by Seattle, with our own shopping cart and a machete for protection.  Don't worry, I know how to use it. For variety, my fears now include taking my husband with me and his favorite handmade afghan for comfort and warmth.

Anyway, a few things have happened lately to make me think about insecurity and the more distant idea that someday I will lose everything dear to me.  It all boils down to fear and not being in control every minute of every day.  I think that some people would do well to maybe just let me run their lives- as though that were my business and as though I could do so.  I can barely manage my own life, let alone someone else's.

It's about alcoholism, of course, and my bad reaction to it.

When someone I love gets all crazy in their sickness, I almost never give an outward sign. It's not my business. Except when it could hurt someone besides themselves, says my brain. No. It's not my business.  Alcoholism always does hurt others, but mostly the alcoholic. I still hate it.  And it makes me scared. It's still my job to first protect myself, then to love.

I used to be self destructive skip that first step of self protection. I just can't afford to do that anymore. My life means something to me and even my wellbeing means something to G, and I have to take care of my heart and all the soft parts that want to make things better for someone else who isn't just on a path of if they self destruct, but when and how hard and how many others have to go through hell too...

For me that means not to rescue anyone from jail. Not to offer to make things better. Not to enable, not to nod affirmation to something I think inherently is not right.  It means that I love and don't judge- or at least do my best to not judge by saying mean things to or about someone- and that I keep my own circle of sanity nice and clean.

It's not really that I worry that I'll end up living under a bridge. Eleanor is a tough old cat. We'd have an afghan and a machete. G could tell jokes and everything would be ok. We like rain.

I worry about the fallout for everyone else, for people that aren't as good at curling up in a little ball as I am, as we all wait for the current hurricane to pass. I try to not take this personally. Because really, this isn't about me.

I am reminded of something we used to say a few years ago, in Al-Anon.  It's an organization for the friends and loved ones of alcoholics.  Ready?

You did not cause it. 
You cannot control it. 
You cannot change it. 

And you don't have to contribute to it.  

Making a little note to myself.  

I spent a lot of time in Al-Anon, and I am forever grateful for the women and men who helped me when I so desperately needed help with boundaries, detaching with love, and giving myself permission to enjoy life.  Sorry if this is somewhat of a bummer of a post. I try to keep the things I write light. If I'm not careful, I can drift too far towards the ills in the world.  But you know, life isn't always light or bright. It's what we do in those hours that define us.


  1. I wonder whether your scenario of the downward spiral is some kind of "female thing?" I have had these thoughts myself, but when I get to the bottom of the spiral, I remember that God is in control and He will take care of me as has been my past experience.
    I am sorry you are experiencing a hurricane right now, but glad you have learned those three things. I hope that writing down your feelings helped you.

  2. "I love you." We are so blessed that you are "family".
    The fact that you care so deeply is part of what makes you the special, lovely person you are. Please don't beat yourself up over things/people you have no control over.