Tag: change

Surviving Alcoholism, Surviving Life

wp-1484928101125.jpgI am 53 and for the first time in my life I am in extended recovery from alcoholism.  Although I was sober for 3 months once, I have never actually been in recovery.

I just passed my 10th month sobriety/recovery!  And, although I have had many challenges during this time, I have learned 4 major concepts that have instrumental in keeping me a clean and sober man today.  Dare I say, these 4 things may also be a helpful roadmap to any of you who might be suffering in one way or another.

faith on justruminating men's blogFaith–“complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  I’m not going to sit here and tell you me and my Higher Powers are having lunch everyday.  Yes, I said Powers.  It’s plural because I have complete trust and confidence in several entities.  My Higher Powers take many forms.  The important thing is that when life is punching me in the face, because I believe in something greater than myself, I am able to take the hits and keep moving forward.

gratitude on justruminating men's blogGratitude–“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”  I have learned that being grateful for the little things can add up to great things.

Appreciating what I have, instead of whining about what I don’t have.  Reaching out to others in acts of service or kindness is deeply fulfilling and gives me a sense of gratitude.  Seeing the good in people and in life is a major shift in my way of thinking.  Practicing this has had a great impact on my daily attitude as well.

mindfulness on justruminating men's blogMindfulness–“the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”  There was another, more fancy definition, but this will suffice.  Mindfulness has completely changed my life.  I can’t emphasize this enough.

I have learned to be in the moment, to live in what Eckhart Tolle has written in his powerful book “The Power of Now.”  When I am able to practice this successfully, I can simply observe myself being myself, and make adjustments accordingly.  I used to let my emotions and feelings rule the day.  Each day I am getting better at just being in the now and operating my life from a position of strength.

acceptance on justruminating men's blogAcceptance–“assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest.”  A cornerstone to the famous “Serenity Prayer.”

I have learned to simply live life on life’s terms, come what may.  I can also accept people, places, and things that may not be desirable or agreeable to me, and I can be ok with that.  I used to whine and complain about everything, because it wasn’t for or about me.  I am learning how to sit with Acceptance and simply be ok.  I can also let you simply be.  And that’s ok too.

So there you have it.  To me, these are 4 powerful concepts that, when practiced with diligence and determination, can keep me in full recovery for the rest of my life.  Of course, they are not the only things that are effective for keeping someone sober.  You may very well have your own.  However, I will say this:  If I had to choose only 4 concepts to guide me, I’m going with these.

I would add that living in the NOW would be a 5th concept. living in the now on justruminating mens blog It has also brought me to a way of thinking and being that has dramatically improved the quality of my life as well.  So 5 then.  Lol. Not only that, but I honestly believe they will continue to be life changing for me for the rest of my life as well.

I had a guy on Etsy create a wooden token for me.  I wanted to give myself–and the guys (and gal) here in the program something they could put in their pockets.

Something that might remind them of their daily struggle and the coping skills that they might be able to rely upon to get them through life’s situations.  I carry my AA medallions with me and am always playing with them to remind me of what my purpose is.  Here is what he came up with, showing both sides of the coin.  I love it!

If you, or a loved one, is suffering from addiction or living a life of misery and unhappiness, I urge you to look into these concepts for yourself.  Oh, and buy Tolle’s “The Power of Now.”  It will completely change the way you view and live your life!

Living Life Well: How’s Your Bed?

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

Every action you take, every decision you make, everything you do causes an immediate effect on those around you–and on you.  And this is the important bit.  There is such a thing as instant karma.  It is your bed, and you are going to have to lie in it.  Therefore:  Choose How You Make Your Bed!

Your actions will dictate whether in general your life is going to run happily or badly, smoothly or as if the wheels have fallen off.  If you are selfish and manipulative, it will rebound on you.  bed1If you are generally loving and thoughtful, you will get your just rewards–and not in heaven (or the next life or whatever you believe) but right here, right now.

Trust me.  Whatever you do and how you do it will come back to you in spades.  This isn’t a threat for living.  It’s an observation.  It’s happened to me time and time again.  Those who do good, get good.  Those who do bad, get bad.

bed2I know we can all point to people who seem to have it made and are still pretty vile.  But, trust me, they don’t sleep well at night, if at all.  They have no one to really love them.

Inside they are sad and lonely and frightened.  Those who go around sharing a bit of love and kindness get rewarded with the same coming back.

So be careful how you make your bed.  What goes around, comes around.  There is instant karma.  What you sow you reap.  Better to stand up and be counted right from the start.  Do the right thing, every time.  You know what it is.  Then when you get in the bed you’ve made, not only will you be able to sleep at night, but you’ll sleep the sleep of the just.

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Living Life Well: Laugh A Little!

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

As we struggle through this life–and it can be a struggle–we need to keep a sense of proportion about it.  What we do and what we take seriously can often be so far removed from what it is actually all about that it is laughable.

So today, we want to try to the best we can and have a sense of humor.  We get bogged down in trivia, lost in irrelevant detail to such an extent that our life can whizz past and we don’t even notice.  laughter1By letting go of things that really aren’t important, we can put ourselves back on the right track.

And the best way to do that is through humor–laughing at ourselves, laughing at our situation, but never laughing at others–although it’s hard some days lol–they’re just as lost as us.

Life is for living, enjoying the sunshine, big things–not getting in a terrible mood because you dropped some eggs on the supermarket floor, someone didn’t hold the door open as you were approaching.

GIFSec.comLaughing at yourself and situations you find yourself in has a double positive effect.  First, it diffuses tension and helps regain a sense of proportion; and second, it has real physical as well as mental benefits.  Laughter causes the release of endorphins, which make you feel better and give you a better perspective on life.

If you observe any aspect of human behavior, you can see the ridiculousness in all of it.  Learn to find the funny side of everything.  It’s the best technique for instant stress relief and dissolves anxiety and doubt.  Try it!

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Living Life Well: Time For You

Gems for living a life of wellness. Lessons I have learned, or am learning, during this crazy journey through life.

Most people think they get this next concept, leave some space for yourself everyday, but most people might be wrong.  YOu may think you have a little quality time each day for yourself, but I bet you don’t.  

You see, even in our time alone we spend so much of it worrying about others, caring for our family, friends, and loved ones, that there is very little left over entirely for ourselves.  what I am proposing isn’t revolutionary or difficult or extreme.

In fact, it’s pretty easy.  Just leave a little space for yourself each day.  Perhaps only 10 minutes (ideally half an hour) put aside and devoted entirely to yourself?  Selfish?  You bet. metime2 Of course it is, and justifiably so–you are the captain, the engine, the driving force, the motivator, the rock.  You need that time to regenerate, renew, invigorate yourself.  If you don’t, you aren’t taking on fresh fuel, your engine will run down and so will you.

So what are you going to do with that time? Answer:  absolutely nothing.  And I do mean nothing.  This isn’t time for lying in the bathtub, meditating, reading the paper, or sleeping.  This is a little space for you, a breather, a time to sit still and do absolutely nothing.  I find just sitting in a comfy chair just breathing is a fantastic boost a couple of times a day if I can manage it.

I find time spent doing nothing really important and as soon as I complicate it, it loses something.  If I add a cup of coffee to my solitude, then it’s a coffee break and not a space just for me.  If I listen to music, then it’s a music break.  If I have a companion with me and we chat, then it’s a social occasion.  I have moved away entirely from the concept of a little space for me.  Keep it simple.  Keep it bare.  Keep it pure!

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My Ruminations: Split Personalities?

justruminatingWell folks, I guess it’s time to introduce you to the three personalities that represent me.  Technically I don’t have Split Personality Disorder.  According to Freud, our psyches are structured into three parts  the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives.

And, while he insisted that these are not parts of the brain, or any way physical, somehow my id and superego popped out of my head in the form of Robmoji and AnnaMoji.  You heard right, my id and superego are emojis!

Before I introduce them to you–some of you already know Robmoji–I want to give you a crash course in psychology 101.  According to Freud’s model of the psyche, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience; and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.

Ego (Rob)–I

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The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision making component of personality. Ideally the ego works by reason, whereas the id is chaotic and totally unreasonable (perfect description of Robmoji).

Often the ego is weak relative to the headstrong id and the best the ego can do is stay on, pointing the id in the right direction and claiming some credit at the end as if the action were its own.

The ego engages in secondary process thinking, which is rational, realistic, and orientated towards problem solving. If a plan of action does not work, then it is thought through again until a solution is found. This is know as reality testing, and enables the person to control their impulses and demonstrate self-control, via mastery of the ego.

I’m the one who has to live with these two. Over my 35+ years of addiction, I have been weak relative to the headstrong Robmoji and the best I’ve been able to do is stay on, pointing Robmoji in the right direction and claiming some credit at the end as if the action were my own.  But in recovery I am getting stronger and stronger and I am more willing to hand the reins over to Annamoji, because she really is the glue.

Id (Robmoji)–It

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The id remains infantile in it’s function throughout a persons life, and does not change with time or experience, as it is not in touch with the external world. The id is not affected by reality, logic or the everyday world, as it operates within the unconscious part of the mind.

The id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive, illogical, irrational, and fantasy oriented. This form of process thinking has no comprehension of objective reality, and is selfish and wishful in nature.

Robmoji lives up to his reputation as id:  he’s impulsive, arrogant, sarcastic, disrespectful and lives for him and him alone.  So please, don’t ever take what he says seriously.

SuperEgo (Annamoji)–Above I

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The superego’s function is to control the id’s impulses, especially those which society forbids, such as sex and aggression. It also has the function of persuading the ego to turn to moralistic goals rather than simply realistic ones and to strive for perfection.

The superego consists of two systems: The conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego through causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to the id’s demands, the superego may make the person feel bad through guilt. The ideal self (or ego-ideal) is an imaginary picture of how you ought to be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat other people, and how to behave as a member of society.

So, basically, we are all in a struggle to balance these different deeply rooted parts of our self.  Because of my childhood trauma, Bipolar Disorder I, Borderline Personality Disorder (thanks Robmoji), and alcoholism, my id and ego have suffered greatly.

Annamoji, my superego, has been the glue that has kept us together.  Therefore, I have decided she is the best one to tell my entire story through something she wants to call “Chronicles of Rob.”  Unfortunately, Robmoji is going to continue to be Robmoji. freud on justruminating men's blog