Recovery, Like Life, is a Circle

Recovery, Like Life, is a Circle

Thank heavens for Rose. If it weren’t for her, my blog would be nonexistent. I just have not felt like writing in quite some time (which is super sad and probably means there is internal stuff I need to work on). Rose’s post speaks to me so much right now – I feel like the same stuff pops up in recovery and life. Maybe it’s time to listen?

By Rose Lockinger

I was told an analogy when I was first getting sober that made sense at the time but only in a theoretical sort of way. Someone told me that our character defects are like a Whack-a-Mole game. When you hit one down another will pop up. This person went on to say that we go around whacking them down only to have old ones that we thought we had already dealt with pop back up again, and this goes on for the rest of our lives or until we have thoroughly learned the lesson that we need to learn.

I remember thinking at the time, ‘yea that sounds about right’, but I didn’t really understand exactly what this meant. I didn’t realize that it meant that I would be continuously faced with half-Déjà vu moments, where after dealing with some issue or concern of mine, I’d realize, I’ve been here before, but just from a different angle.

That is one of the things that I’ve come to realize during the course of my sobriety; that recovery, like life, is a circle of lessons that come back around to teach you again and again.  It also is a venture down the road of progress not perfection early on in sobriety this was a mind boggling concept.  It can still be challenging at times as I try to grasp control of things I cannot control.  

circleAt first, I remember this was kind of daunting and I’d get a little upset because each time a lesson came back around, it’d remind me that I still had a lot further to go in my spiritual quest for wholeness. I’d get annoyed because I’d think, ‘didn’t I already learn this lesson’ and I’d also get down on myself for not being further along, whatever that means. But as time progressed I realized that this was the wrong way of looking at the circle of lessons that recovery brings and that I should be grateful that I even have the opportunity to learn and grow today.

I just want to say flat out that this is my opinion and I am in no way, shape or form a guru of anything, but I believe that the lessons of recovery come in circular waves for two reasons: to remind us of lessons we are beginning to forget and to show us more of the picture that we couldn’t see the first time around.

My ego has a tendency to rebuild itself and when it does, I can begin to unlearn some of the hard-won truths from the past. For instance, I learned fairly early on that humility and honesty were essential for my recovery. This lesson was hammered into me and given the state I was in when I first came in, being humble and honest weren’t really that difficult. I felt empty on the inside and felt as if I had nothing to offer in the way of staying sober, so I was open to learning and open to listening.

 

As time went on and I started to feel better there were times when I started to feel like I got this, or I’d start to think that I had done most of this on my own. When this started to happen I would notice that certain aspects of my life began getting out of whack. I would say something that I immediately regretted or I just wouldn’t feel the calm that I had when I was being honest and humble, and so as life has a propensity of doing, it showed me how I’d gotten off the path and gave me a nice little reminder to get back on the path.

It is interesting because when you start to live a spiritually based life, depending on God for guidance, you can be both aware and unaware that you are moving away from him. There is always a little nagging feeling that you might be moving in the wrong direction and if you’re lucky and open to life showing you the way, then this nagging voice will eventually become overwhelming and you know that you have to change course. Since I am human and prone to error, this will continue for the rest of my life, and the circle of lessons will continue to come back around whenever I start to lose my way.

However, life lessons don’t always come back around in order to remind us of something that we forgot. They sometimes come back around in order to show us a deeper meaning or give us a better understanding.

Most people that I meet seem to struggle in one particular area of their life, more so than in others. I would say that a good portion of the people that I have met in recovery struggle with relationships in one form or another and to watch them over the years repeat the same mistakes over and over again seems like madness, but it isn’t really. If you take the time to talk to them, you’ll realize that they learn something new from each of these repeated situations, something that they couldn’t have learned the first time.

I remember I once heard a woman say in a meeting, ‘If I knew everything that I know about myself now when I first got sober, I think my brain would have exploded.’ I remember that I laughed when she said this because it is so true. God and life will not give us more then we can handle and so we experience a repetition of lessons in order to understand more and see further inside of ourselves.

Today when I realize that I am experiencing a lesson that I may have already learned, I try my best to just go with it. I try not to resist or think ‘poor me, why is this happening again.’ I am not always capable of doing this, but I find that when I allow life to unfold in the way that it is meant to and I stay open to whatever lessons I am being shown, I tend to be happier and I tend to be able to move on quicker.

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rlRose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

I Could Be A Child Abuser

I Could Be A Child Abuser

Recently, I attended a work training about how to be a mandatory reporter of child/elder abuse. I’m a registered nurse and an employee of the county health department, so I must report any instance of child or elder abuse that I see or have reasonable suspicion of. It’s a duty I don’t take lightly and one I hope I never have to perform.

Inevitably, the topic of spanking comes up. Is it child abuse? Oregon law says no, unless it leaves marks and bruises on a child. Legal or not – my husband and I don’t spank our children. It was a conscious decision, as we don’t believe it’s an effective form of discipline. I was spanked a few times as a child. I don’t remember the circumstances or the lesson I was supposed to learn. All I remember is it hurting, and being afraid.

There’s another reason I don’t spank my children. It’s because one of my character defects is being reactive. I’m afraid that if I let myself spank them, I’d take it too far in anger. Possibly cross the line into child abuse. And THAT terrifies me beyond measure.

icouldbeachildabuser

 

My children inspire the most intense emotions in me. It’s like everything is amplified – love, fear, joy, and yes – anger. Nobody can make me see red faster than my sweet darlings. I’d wager most mothers would say something similar!

 

I think the similarities end in the reaction. Sometimes when my children upset me, my first instinct is to hurt them back. That’s my anger problem jumping in. It’s such a primal, toddler-like response: You hurt me, so I should hurt you back.

Except the problem (one of many) with that way of thinking is their perception. My boys wouldn’t be able to make the connection of, “Oh, I did that thing that made mommy mad, so she spanked me and I shouldn’t do it again.” They’d think, “Mommy just hit me and it really hurt.” They wouldn’t learn any lesson or change the behavior; all they’d know is mama got mad and hit.

It’s taken me awhile to recognize why I wanted to “hurt” my children in retaliation. First I had to get past the insane amount of guilt and shame (WTF is wrong with me for even thinking about hurting him???). And truthfully, I’m not completely past that. Especially because there have been times when I haven’t hurt my children, but I know I haven’t been as gentle as I should – grabbed an arm, picked them up roughly, etc. I still beat myself up about those times (which still happen – I’m definitely not perfect).

I’ve done enough work on myself that I can now notice the urge as it’s happening. Like today in Target, when Jack was throwing a fit and elbowed me in the throat four times (I now understand why people talk about throat-punching people/things they don’t like. That shit hurts). With every blow to the throat, I thought my heart was going to explode in anger. I could feel the urge to give an “eye for an eye” rising. I had to say the words, “Stop. Breathe.” in my head. I had to walk around, wailing toddler in my arms. I had to speak to him in a flat, calm voice (I’ve read that is a technique for helping children calm down, but forcing myself to speak in measured tones helps me calm down too). I told him he needed to calm down – the message was for me, too. And then when he smacked me again, I had to give him to his father and spend a few minutes alone. I was too far gone in the stress response (plus I legit felt like I was going to throw up because of the throat punches).

My “techniques” aren’t anything special. But, I’m proud of them. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I used to either lash out in anger or hold it in, stewing about it until I eventually exploded. Sometimes I still hold things in for a little bit, but I’m pretty good about talking about them before it blows up into a bigger issue. I’m very much a work in progress.

Mamas, what do you do when your babes test your patience?

Breastfeeding Management: It’s so much more than just the latch

Love this…breastfeeding support needs to be holistic and not just focused on the mechanics of breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding Medicine

Breastfeeding initiation and the period of the first month after birth for the mother and infant can often be complicated by medical and psychosocial challenges which may be difficult for lactation specialists alone to address. In a published article in March 2014 in the Journal of Human Lactation, we describe an integrated mental health approach which we have coined the ‘Trifecta†Approach’ as a model of breastfeeding management. († We borrow the term Trifecta which is a betting term for predicting 1st , 2nd and 3rd places in a horse race. It is also synonymous with the likes of winning an Oscar award for a movie). Our breastfeeding consultation clinic developed a multidisciplinary team comprised of : 1) a pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding medicine (myself), 2) a lactation consultant (nurse with IBCLC), and 3) a clinical psychologist specializing in infant mental health and child development.

The Trifecta The Trifecta Conceptual Model

The lactation…

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Wondering how to become an IBCLC?

I often get asked how to become an IBCLC. And I love it! But my responses were often long and cumbersome. Now, ILCA has a straightforward article about becoming an IBCLC with links to more in-depth information when necessary. I’ll always happily answer questions on how to become an IBCLC, but this article is a great place to start!

Wondering How To Become An IBCLC-
Are you an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) who gets questions about how to join the profession? Or are you considering becoming an IBCLC?

The International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) has a number of resources to help you become an IBCLC and prepare for the certification examination.

The basic requirements needed to become an IBCLC

To become an IBCLC, you’ll need to take certain health science courses, acquire lactation education hours, obtain clinical hours supporting breastfeeding families, and sit for the certification exam. The exam is developed and overseen by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®).

There are three pathways to becoming an IBCLC. The one you choose may depend on whether you have a background in health sciences and how you plan to obtain your clinical hours. You can learn more about the three pathways here at IBLCE’s site.

Finding the right course for you to become an…

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Twisted MixTape: I Hate the World

The theme for this week’s MixTape is free-for-all. I decided to do a MixTape in honor of the chronic irritation that I’ve been living with. Seriously, some days I’m such an asshole I don’t even want to be in the same room as myself! I feel bad for my kiddo (the one on the outside); I try to hide my pissiness but with a very spirited and strong-minded 3 year old…it’s challenging.

So, here is an ode to my hormonal bitchiness. Go away.

Blue Monday by Orgy

I have to do the Orgy version because it’s so much angrier sounding than the New Order original. This is probably what my son is thinking whenever I’m around.

Du Haust by Rammstein

“You hate me.” ‘Nuff said.

Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit

Fred Durst is a douche canoe, but he makes good angry music.

Bodies by Drowning Pool

I actually played this song at my wedding. It was during the garter toss. I think I was the only one amused by it.

Bitches by Insane Clown Posse

This one is pretty bad. It kind of makes me laugh because it’s just so over-the-top sexist, misogynistic and generally just awful to women. So not only is it angry music, but it makes me laugh which then kind of puts me in a better mood.

There is one song missing from this list, and that is “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. OF COURSE I’d listen to that one when angry. It’s just that I used it in my running MixTape so don’t want to overuse it. Oh what the hell, it’s a good song. Here it is:

Don’t forget to check out the host: Jen Kehl at My Skewed View. Also head over to the blog hop to find some other awesome MixTapes.

Hey, I’m back! And I don’t care what you want to read!

I occasionally read other blogs. If you looked at my Bloglovin’ feed, you’d think I spent my entire day reading them. Nope – I actually probably read other blogs maybe a few times a week.

Even though I don’t read them much, one thing I often see is the blog writer asking readers what they want to see. What do you want me to write about? Do you want funny, fluff stuff? Do you want heartwarming, deeply convicted pieces? Do you want pictures of cats wearing stupid costumes?

Questions like that crack me up, and also made me realize something very important about my own blog experiences: I don’t give a shit what my readers want to see.

Here’s the thing. I write because I have things swirling around in my head, and because there is limited space in my head already I need to get those things out. So I spew them out onto the Internet. Well, I’m going to start spewing them out onto the Internet, anyway.

I stopped blogging several months ago. Part of the reason was because it started to feel more like a chore than a fun diversion. I was too concerned about page views and reader comments, obsessed with writing that one piece that would go viral and net me some online popularity. It was exhausting and took up way more of my time than I wanted. So I walked away from all of it.

Recently, I’ve felt the call to write again. Life has stabilized a bit, which may  have something to do with it. Or maybe pregnancy hormones are causing traffic jams of thoughts in my head and I want them out. Either way, if I write something, it will be for me, not you. If you enjoy it – cool! If you don’t – that’s cool too!

My new blogging mantra is this:

If you write it, they will come. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, it’s a win because I’m writing again.

A post about nothing

So, I have been both unable and unwilling to write for quite some time.

I could blame it on circumstances. I have been busy, after all. We moved into a new apartment. We received our household goods out of storage. We’ve been downsizing our stuff in an attempt to fit a 2-bedroom townhouse into a 1-bedroom apartment (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t really happen). Our family has been doing fun stuff in the evenings and weekends, which was practically unheard of at my husband’s last base. I’ve been trying to find my housewife/SAHM routine so that the house stays (somewhat) organized, healthy food is on the table, the toddler is clothed, fed and entertained and I get my fill of The Sims 3 (don’t be so jelly of my glamorous life). We had a failed attempt at potty training. Oh and I started working out again, too (Thank Jeebus, so tired of feeling like a lardass). So yeah, there’s a lot going on.

But normally, I’d write about all that stuff. So what’s my deal now? I don’t know, it just seems like every time I think about writing, my brain goes, “Hey! SQUIRREL!” and I wander off, distracted by something random. Even now as I write this, I start daydreaming about my Sim’s career or when I should start dinner and kind of have to force myself to finish sentences.

I think I’m getting in my own way. I need this blog for my outlet, but sometimes I get intimidated. I’m part of an amazing group of bloggers who share information and support each other. Some are newbies like me, and some make money and go to blogging conferences. I guess I feel like I need to be up to that caliber. I don’t know if I’ll ever be up there; it takes a lot of time and energy to build a blog like that. I just don’t think I have the desire, but somehow think I have to do it anyway…

Hmm, I’m trying to force myself to strive for something I don’t really want because I think I “have to” for some reason? Hello compulsive behaviors, I wondered where you’d pop up next. I used to do a lot of things compulsively – things I didn’t really want to do or knew were bad, but felt that I “had to” because “someone” thought I should. I’ve weeded out my most harmful compulsive behaviors. However, the compulsive, addictive part of me is going to always be looking out for something to latch on to. Right now it’s writing. Sometimes I get so caught up in whether I’m writing the “right” stuff or if this post will go viral or get published on a bigger blog, that I forget why I write: for me. I don’t write to please people; I write to keep myself sane. Maybe I should get that tattooed on me somewhere.

Or better yet, just get the word THINK tattooed somewhere to remind me to be on the lookout for that sneaky bastard compulsive thinking.

Well, I managed a lot of words about how I can’t write words lately. That’s pretty good. I have some ideas for theme days on the blog, to help me focus my thoughts better. We’ll see how that goes. This blog, like my life, is a perpetual work-in-progress.