Category: Rob’s World

How I Don’t Drink Anymore

wp-1484928101125.jpgWith just over 14 months sober, I can honestly tell you life as I used to know it is dead and buried.  Goodbye chaos.  Goodbye troubles.  Goodbye anxiety, exhaustion, worry. I know have peace of mind in my life.  I can now approach difficult situations with a level head.  I don’t get too up or too down.

I have a pause button–fuck I could have used that 36 years ago.  So how did I do it? Why was it fairly easy for me to turn my back on booze and walk into “normalcy?”  I am so glad you asked!  I thought I would list five tips that have been highly effective in maintaining my recovery.

Image result for control emotionsControl Those Emotions–When  you are able to keep your emotions in check, the likelihood of you wanting to go out and bash your head into a bottle of vodka are slim. Never getting too up, or too down, an even-keeled approach to life keeps you stable and in control.

 

Nip It In The Bud–Life is going to deal you hand after shitty hand.  If one of     them gets out of control–resentments, problem with another human, depression, anxiety over a topic–nip it in the bud!  Confront whatever situation is causing  you instability and deal with it, asap!  Burying emotions or situations is going to cause you problems as issues and situations build up.

Find What Works and Work It–Are 12 step meetings your thing?  Perhaps your religion? How about meditation, reading, writing, singing, dancing, walking, hiking…you get the idea.  Find what works for you and keeps you in that happy place and work it!  Do it, and I mean frequently! Don’t go overboard, of course, but do the activities that give you pleasure, keep you grounded.

Image result for control emotionsMeditate, Meditate, MeditateDid I mention MEDITATE?  I am guilty of not doing this as much as I should.  But I will tell you, the benefits of meditation are so numerous, I am surprised it is not practiced in every school in this country.

Start off with just 5 minutes a day, then build up to over 30 minutes.  You will thank me a thousand times over. My Youtube Channel has over 85 meditations you can choose from.

One Day At A Time–12 Step meetings may not be my thing, but boy are their slogans dead on!  Yes, living each day for itself will keep you from biting off more than you can chew.  It will keep you from languishing in the past, and worrying about the future.  We only have today, embrace it and stay sober.  JUST FOR TODAY.  Want more great slogans?  GO HERE!  AND HERE!

Well, there you have it.  There have been other things that have helped me stay sober, but these five principles have been my bedrock.  They have been my go to ways of living and today I can honestly use the word happy in my vocabulary.  What has kept you in recovery?

Through Everything and More

rageandgrief slayer on justruminating men's blog

(part II of Through Everything)

Deep do not in a sadness stay
I will take back a dark day
If you ever feel misunderstood
I will listen until you are good
Oh feel not lonely at all with me
But I will always keep you company
Sure some nightmares might appear
With my magic they would disappear
You’ll have some time with depression
Though I’ll stop it short of oppression
At times life will be disenchanting
We will find new dreams for planting
Life exhausting surely can be
But you can borrow energy from me
If within you feel so fragile
Sit with me and we will love awhile
No doubt grouchy you will become
I can smile and not be glum
Maybe stress will get you
Then I’d do those things I do
If with life you’re surely bored
I’d entertain you so you’re floored
Should you lose your way in life
I’d map it out for you my wife
Doubt can come and cloud your view
But I will warmly reassure you
Normal to be of some things afraid
But I’ll shed light on them instead
If you need solitude awhile
I will part with a warm smile
And as I turn A kiss I’d send
And tell you I’ll be back my friend
Through all of this and more and more
This is what all of my love is for!

(for  my girl)

Through Everything

deathfromabove on justruminating men's blog

( in response to my loves entreaties )

Hear my pledges my new love
On bended knee hear my pleas
Which I speak to you and God above
Let me put your heart at ease
Never used will you be
Equal partners you and me
Though hell may visit in the light
Together we can make it again alright
I will toss you pillows when you fall
Take you in my arms while standing tall
Be unreasonable  and let it all out
I’ll patiently listen to what it’s about
Should the storm of past abuse take you down
The constant wind of my love will blow all around
And when you question the depth of my love
I’ll smile, hug you, and pray up above
When the day imaginary war is at hand
I will take arms and side by side we’ll stand
It hurts to think that you’d want to die
I’d show you life, insist on life and show why
One day you won’t look at yourself with disgust
But when that happens I will ignite your lust
We all doubt our mind or our soul
I will remind you of your goodness make you whole
My trust may be stolen by demons past
I understand and will love you until it’s past
So true you’ll fight me, making no sense
I’ll smile gently lots of tact I’ll dispense
You and me together means you’ll never break
In your darkest hour I never would you forsake
If in the abyss you sadly must go
I will hold vigil, guard you in your woe
On those days you cannot walk
Carry you gladly, I’ll be your rock
If suddenly you should struggle in your breath
I shall kiss you deep give my breath until death
Should you feel people dropped you from their midst
My constant loving will show you surely exist
If your words should leave you mute
I will champion your cause, I’ll be astute
You may shut down and look down
But I will embrace your head kiss away your frown
In the days when God can’t be found
My love I’ve always spoken for you He will be found
God rue the days when you feel unloved
My eyes will pierce that woe my beloved.

You will break (I will mend) and fight (I will take the blows) and cry (take my should) and question (If I don’t have the answers, we will find them together) and fall on your face (I will cushion the fall, and then pick up wipe off your tears, look into your eyes, smile and kiss you) and scream (This is where I put my headphones on) and push me away (And I will stay right here) because of reasons of past lives (That one day will fade into oblivion).  I love you through everything! I promise all these things and man many more that you have forgotten.

Relationships: Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations

So we’ve been talking in the last few posts about unrealistic expectations.  I talked about what they are, why they happen, and I created a great 30 question quiz you and your partner can have fun answering.  The main reason I have been posting on this is that I have been unfairly using unrealistic expectations with my girl, and I wanted to learn how to stop before I pushed her completely away.

I’d like to get into how to manage expectations and ways to openly express realistic expectations and how to make those expectations agreements.  Here are the links to the previous 3 posts:

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (1)

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (2)

30 Great Relationship Questions

Steps in Identifying and Handling Expectations

1.  Identify Faulty Assumptions–For some reason, when we get close to a person, we start to demand that this person act in a certain way.  We reason that “if you loved me, you would…”  This type of reasoning is based on two faulty assumptions

  1. That love can be defined in a certain way
  2. That the other person agrees with this definition

Neither assumption is reasonable, and once you accept that your way of thinking is not the only right way, you’ll find it easy to reject the assumption and therefore adjust or even completely drop your expectations.

2.  Seek To Understand–People show love in different ways, as explained by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”:  words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch.  Someone else may speak a love language that you do not understand because your love language is different.

When someone tries to love you in their own way, it is you who may not understand.  This does not mean that they are not trying.  It is not their actions that you need to change, it is your understanding.

3.  Observe Carefully–When you stop expecting a certain behavior from others, you free yourself to see more clearly.  You will start to observe what they actually do, instead of constantly seeing the gap between what they do and what you want them to do.

4.  Recognize The Consequences–You would probably be upset if somebody loved you only when you behaved a certain way.  Spouses or partners who feel they are not good enough for their partners may seek acceptance somewhere else.

Relationships are not transactions.  If you’re in a relationship because of what you get out of it, it is a transaction.  We all have needs that have to be met, but it is futile to expect the other person to meet these needs.   It is easy to let go of expectations once we accept responsibility to meet our needs ourselves, and are in a relationship not for what we can get but for who we can be.

5.  Ask For Agreement–If an expectation you have is important because it touches on non-negotiable values or morality, seek to convert that expectation into an agreement.  Agreements are not expectations.  Expectations exist in your own mind, often without the knowledge of the other person.  Agreements are explicit verbal commitments by both parties on a set of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

Decide on what is non-negotiable to you.  Highlight these to the other person and explain why it is so important.  I’ve found that calm discussions work much better in this case than yelling matches.  IF you cannot convert a non-negotiable expectation to an agreement, you’ll have to make a tough choice.  You have to decide whether to let go of the expectation or the person.

Let go of your expectations.  With one simple change of thinking, you free two people at one time.  The other person is free from having to behave in a certain way, and you are free to love better.  Letting go is hard, but definitely worth it.

6.  Talk Openly About Your Unrealistic Expectations–Telling your loved one that you realize, for example, that it is unreasonable for her to always be available for texting, and explaining you will no longer have such an expectation, will surely relieve her that the burden of your unrealistic expectation has been lifted from her back.  And yes, that is an example of an unrealistic expectation I have had for my own partner.

Three Keys To Managing Relationship Expectations

  1.  Identifying Relationship Expectations–It may be near impossible to identify every expectation we have of every relationship in our lives.  Still, we can try to identify as many as we can for the most important relationships.  This is especially important for relationships that are already under strain.  This happens when one or both parties are not living up to the other’s expectations, or quarreling about whether these expectations are reasonable.

Make a list of all the expectations you have of your partner relationship.  It helps to start each sentence with “I expect…”  This reinforces the fact that expectations don’t exist out there, but only in our minds.  It also helps us take responsibility for our relationship expectations.

Making this list can be quite a wake up call, as we usually don’t realize how many expectations we have of a person.  Seeing our list in writing can also help us to get rid of the unrealistic expectations, so that we can focus on dealing with those that are most important.  Once you make your list, cross off all the ones YOU YOURSELF do not do 100% of the times.  Then, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and honestly ask yourself if what you are expecting is reasonable or not.  That should pare your list down pretty significantly.

2.  Communicating Relationship Expectations–There are two things to bear in mind when communicating relationship expectations.  Firstly, focus only on the most important so we don’t overwhelm the other person.  Secondly, choose the right time.  Ideally we should communicate only the single most important expectation we have and deal with that.  However, it may be tiresome to have this conversation about relationship expectations several times, so focusing on the most important three at one time is a good compromise.

Whenever possible choose the right time.  Communicate the expectation BEFORE there is a chance to fail to meet it.

3.  Seeking Agreement on Relationship Expectations–An expectation that is not identified nor communicated remains an expectation.  Once an expectation is communicated, however, there is a chance of reaching agreements.  It is crucial that in seeking agreement, we respect the other person’s right not to agree.

If the other person is aware of your relationship expectations and accepts these are reasonable, there is a high chance of reaching agreement.  Present your expectation in as reasonable a way as possible.

The other person may not agree to our relationship expectations for two reasons:

  1.  They find the expectation unreasonable.
  2. They cannot commit to meeting it.

When there is no agreement, your expectation remains an expectation.  You will then have to decide what to do about it.  It’s very difficult to let go of expectations you have of the future and of your partner.  Still, it’s the one thing that can improve your relationship dramatically.

Allowing our happiness to depend on someone else will make us miserable since we can’t control another’s actions.  It also places a huge burden on the other person to make us happy, a burden that is not fair because no single person can fulfill all our needs.

Final Tips

 1.   Live In The Moment–Not everyone has the blessing of being with a person who loves them.  Whenever you find your mind wandering into the future, bring it back into the moment and enjoy it, whether you’re with her or doing something else in your life. This moment will never come again.  Live it to the fullest.

2.  Be Grateful–It’s very human to desire certain outcomes.  Only those who learn to be grateful can escape the never-ending spiral of wanting more rather than being happy with what we have.  And we have so much, if only we had eyes to see.  Whenever you find yourself wishing for more in the relationship, shift your focus instead to what you already have, and count your blessings.

Final Thought

I have learned quite a lot over the last day or so about my shortcomings in my relationship.  I have certainly come to appreciate not only why I have been doing this, but also what to avoid and how.  I do plan on one other post regarding using CBT and Emotion Regulation when you might find your emotions getting caught up–usually because of an unrealistic expectation–and how to keep yourself centered and avoid further harm to your partner and yourself.

Having realistic expectations for others involves realizing that all of us are less than perfect.  Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest.  We must leave our self-blame behind and find ways to untwist our thinking and behavior to make our lives more fulfilling and manageable.  It is important to value and accept our partners and friends for who they are.  It is in our best interest not to spend our energy trying to change them to fit an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us!

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (2)

So in my other post Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (1),  I basically introduced you to the fact that I have slowly burying my girl under unrealistic expectations.  My goal in posting some things over this weekend is that I could gain a better understanding as to WHY I was doing that, WHAT unrealistic expectations are and HOW I can prevent myself from this type of behavior.

Unrealistic Expectations

Often we have an idea of what our partner should be like.  We might expect them to clean up after themselves, be considerate, to always think of us first, to surprise us, to support us, to always have a smile, to always be present.  Not necessarily these expectations, but almost always we have expectations of our partner.

Having some expectations is fine–we should expect our partner to be faithful, for example.  But sometimes, without realizing it ourselves, we have expectations that are too high to meet.  Our partner isn’t perfect–no one is.  We can’t expect them to be cheerful and loving every minute of the day–everyone has their moods.  We can’t expect them to always think of us, as they will obviously think of themselves or others sometimes too.  We can’t expect them to be exactly as we are, as everyone is different.

High expectations lead to disappointment and frustration, especially if we do not communicate these expectations.  How can we expect our partner to meet these expectations if they don’t know about them?  More importantly, how can we expect our partners to meet expectations that are too high or unrealistic?  How do we know if they are unrealistic in the first place?  Here’s a thorough list of unrealistic expectations.Check off each one you think you are guilty of, or perhaps that someone expects of you.

((I have put !! next to the ones I feel I sometimes engage in, a few more than I thought, being brutally honest with stuff like this can be extremely uncomfortable, but do you really want to lose your love?  I know I sure as fuck don’t.))

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

We will meet all of each other’s needs. (!!)
They will know what I’m thinking or feeling without me having to say (and vice versa).
They will never want to discuss feelings or talk about the future.
We will spend all our time together. (!!)
We will agree on everything.
They will earn a certain amount of money or have a certain status.
I will not budge from my ideals of how they should look.
They will never challenge me.
They will always make me feel happy.  (!!)
We will immediately know that we belong together, so we will definitely get married.
They will always do what I say.
I will not have to change, but they will change for me.
They will be stronger in their faith, so they will always know what to do.
I will only date the person I know God has told me to marry.
It will be easy.
My partner should always give me unconditional positive regard and constant reinforcement (!!)
My partner should always take responsible for all my feelings, happiness, and well- being.
My partner should always compliment me- and always tell me he/she loves me. (!!)
My partner should be the person I imagine her to be- or- who I want her to be.
My partner and I should have all the same likes, beliefs, wants, and needs.
My partner should be able to know what I am thinking, feeling; and always know my wants and needs.
My partner should spend all of his/her free time with me- never apart. (!!)
My partner should be sexual – all the time- anytime. (!!)
Relationship should always have passion and excitement- never boring. (!!)
When I assign my attention, value, and time to my partner, he/she will reciprocate (!!)

Yeah, doesn’t look pretty does it?  Well, if you read my earlier blog post you will know that much of time this is not a conscious choice you make.  There are many factors involved in this type of behavior–unless of course your are a sociopath, and why would you be reading this blog anyway?  The good news is there’s help.  It’s called KNOCK THE SHIT OFF!

Actually, I’ve got a pretty good mass of information I boiled down here, and then I want to talk about using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and Emotion Regulation skills that will tidy up this behavior for you.  Finally, it is very important for you to be honest with your partner and ask them to help recognize when you are engaging in these expectations!  Before you know it, your relationship will rocket ship to a new orbit—oops, unrealistic–will be at a much more harmonious place than you even thought was possible!

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

We will have fun together.
We will be open with each other and grow in trust and commitment.
I will remain true to myself as I seek to change for the better.
We will work through disagreements.
We will have a similar view of relationships.
Sometimes we will need some space, but we will always try to communicate well.
We will share core beliefs and values, and enjoy debating areas where we differ.
We will seek to bring out the best in each other.
We will consider each other’s needs.
We will spend time apart.
We will encourage each other.
We will make every effort to talk to one another openly and honestly.
We will share a connection that we will want to nurture into something more.
We will be open to God speaking to us, together and individually, about our relationship.
To be treated respectfully
To have a partner who is caring, supportive, loyal
To share common interests (not all)
To compromise and negotiate when problems arise
To feel safe, secure
To respect personal feelings
To be trustworthy and honest with each other
To be empathetic or sympathetic
To be connected/close, more often than not
To have a satisfying sexual relationship
To be emotionally and physically faithful
To not abuse alcohol or drugs
To feel like best friends

The one thing that shatters relationships and ruins friendships more than any other is expectations.  When we say that someone is not meeting our ‘needs’, we usually mean that he or she is not living up to our expectations.  True needs are very few, but expectations are limitless.

When a person’s behavior does not match your expectations, you can try to change their behavior, or you could let go of your expectations.  The first is an exercise in frustration and causes untold damage to relationships.  The second is also difficult, but possible and worthwhile.  Learn to let go.

Coming Up:

  1.  Understanding Unrealistic Expectations
  2.  Steps To Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations
  3. CBT and Emotion Regulation
  4. 50 Question Relationship Quiz
  5. Letter To My Love

Have a great Relationship PDF, on me!  Click below to actual file:

Relationship Guide