Tag Archives: Mindfulness

My Miscellany: Unrealistic Expectations (2)

my_miscellany_on_recoverywise

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 lo

ving 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

My Recovery: Goodbye Misery Goodbye Hell

my_recovery

It’s hard to believe that I am celebrating my 11th month of sobriety!  I mean, in a way it is not, I have been doing the work and staying the course.

However, when I look back at where I was 11 months ago, trying to escape the grips of misery and hell, I could never imagined that my life would turn out so good!

I will be transitioning to a much more lenient Transition House on the 24th, about 2 hours away from this godforsaken city they call Brockton; the worse place I ever lived.  The place of all my troubles.  Walking out of the VA everyday to go the store, I was constantly reminded of my old life.  No more, I will be in a remote part of the state, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I was reflecting recently on what has gotten me to this point in my Recovery.  And at this point it is Recovery.  To me, Sobriety is getting sober, Recovery is staying sober.  I have a very close friend who has done more for me in my Recovery than anyone.  You know who you are.

I may not have told you this.  I want you to know that your strength and determination in your own life are inspirational to me in my life!  I only hope that I can give you 1/10th of what you have given me!  I value your friendship tremendously, so thank you so very much for you!

I might have posted these things a bit back, but I wanted to share them with you again.  Because, for me, in addition to having someone truly special in my life, it really comes down to these 5 things:

Gratitude:  Being humble and grateful for what I have.  Not concentrating on what I do not have.  Being grateful for others and showing them gratitude for being in my life.

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Acceptance:  Being at peace with how things are.  Being able to appreciate when I cannot control a particular situation.  More importantly, accepting those around me for who they are, and accepting myself; even if I falter, as long as I continue to try to be and do better.

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Mindfulness:  Being aware of my emotions and controlling them.  Avoiding extreme highs or lows.  Being aware of the situations I find myself in and making good decisions.

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Spirituality:  Still seeking my ultimate Higher Power, but at least seeking!  Right now I concentrate on meditating, to tap into my inner spirit.  I take walks to spend time with nature, the ultimate Higher Power.  I am reading books which are leading me deeper into the essence of life, of people, of myself.

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Now:  Spending as much time in the present moment.  Avoiding a future that has not come, and a past that is no longer.  I sometimes visit them, for practical purposes, but work diligently to stay in the moment.  That is all I have, is Now, and I am doing the best I can not to waste it.  By doing this I remain calm and in control.

And that’s it!  I believe firmly that as long as I do what I can to remember these principles, I cannot fail.  I have had no desire to drink, no urge to drink.  I know what will happen if I drink.  It is no longer an option for me, it is no longer a part of my life!

There is hope for those of you still suffering, or for those of you who know someone who is suffering!  If I can do it for the first time in 35 years, I know in my heart that anyone can do it.  Goodbye to misery, and goodbye to hell!

My Recovery: It’s Now Or Never

my_recovery

So it’s been a little while since I discussed my recovery.  I can’t catch you all up if you haven’t been following, but here is the Reader’s Digest version:

On May 12, 2016 I went to jail for 5 months.  I cam out sober into a 2 month program, then I went to the current program.  I’ve been here for 3 1/2 months.

There you go!  Well, on Tuesday I had a phone interview with the new place I have been considering.  Normally I have been applying the principles of Acceptance, Gratitude, Spirituality, Mindfulness and living in the Now, to cope with day to day situations.  Alas, after my phone call, this was not to be!

What happened is that I turned all the information about the new place into negatives.  I was also upset that they wanted me to move there next Monday or Tuesday.  I had a meltdown.  I got sad, pissed, depressed.  I was considering looking for another program.  If it were not for my best friend, it could have been much worse.  But, thanks to her love, understanding, and insightful advice, I was able to come to my senses.

It was about a 2 hour period of time that I was distraught.  I was pissed at myself for not utilizing my coping strategies.  I should have seen this coming.  By the time I went to bed that evening, I had pretty much resolved the situation in my mind.  I was back to my old self-pretty much-and decided to bite the bullet.  But the situation had me wondering:  why the meltdown?”  Why such an emotional response to moving onward and upward in my sobriety?

The answer crept up on me sometime yesterday.  I was afraid!  I feared moving out of the safety and security of the institutions I’ve been part of for nearly 11 months!  I was shocked.  This new program is much more like living on your own than relying upon a program with a slew of staff at your beck and call.  I realized that in treatment I may have gotten a little too comfortable.  I did what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t put in due diligence and fully prepare for re-entry into the “real” world.  I will not make that mistake again, I can assure you.

The new place quite demanding in getting you to pursue a job and a place to live as soon as possible.  They require rent.  They require you to provide for yourself in every basic way.  They also do not drug test.  So recovery is now “real:”  no safety net to keep you from drinking.  I realized that the thought of being thrust into society like that made me very apprehensive.  Then I started thinking it through and had the kinds of thought processes I have had all along:  I GOT THIS.  It’s time to get it done.

Any program or place I go is going to have its pluses and minuses.  I reacted immaturely, and irrationally.  But I recovered quickly and got my head out of my ass!  Any place I go is going to be one step closer to getting my life back.  Any place I go I will need to integrate myself back into living my own life.  It’s one step closer to perhaps going back to school.  Life is standing at my doorstep.  Sink or Swim.  Game Time.  The Big Show.  And you know what?  I GOT THIS.

I am going to face the challenges head on and come out on top.  I am not going to worry about finding a place to live, a job, food, rent, or any other obstacle.  I am going to live in the NOW, as in right this moment.  I am going to focus on what I can control and let go of what I cannot.  And, although I did lose my shit for a few hours, I got myself back to good pretty quickly.  And I allowed myself to show vulnerability to my friend, and she came through with flying colors.  I am blessed.  Truly.

So that’s it folks.  I should be moving out of here within 2 weeks.  Onward and upward.  I’m ready for the next challenge.  I will update you once I get settled.  And I am ready for Spring!

My Recovery: Surviving Alcoholism, Surviving Life

my_recovery

I 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!

Spirituality: Noble Eightfold Path

According to Wikipedia:  The Noble Eightfold Path (Pali: ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, Sanskrit: āryāṣṭāṅgamārga)[1] is an early summary of the path of Buddhist practices leading to liberation from samsara, the painful cycle of rebirth.[2][3]

The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and  right “samadhi”  (meditative absorption or union).[4] In the earliest Buddhism these practices started with insight (right view), nobleeightfoldpath on justruminating men's blogculminating in dhyana/samadhi as the core soteriological practice.[5] In later Buddhism insight (prajna) became the central soteriological instrument, leading to a different concept and structure of the path.[5][6]

The Eightfold Path teaches that by restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation, house-leavers (monks and nuns) attain nirvana and stop their craving, clinging and karmic accumulations, thereby ending their rebirth and suffering.[7][8][9][3][10][11]

The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Theravada Buddhism, leading to Arhatship.[12] In the Theravada tradition, this path is also summarized as sila (morals), samadhi (meditation) and prajna (insight). In Mahayana Buddhism it is contrasted with the Bodhisattva path, which culminates in full Buddhahood.[12]

In Buddhist symbolism, the Noble Eightfold Path is often represented by means of the dharma wheel (dharmachakra), whose eight spokes represent the eight elements of the path.

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