Sunday, May 5, 2013

Do I need to stop isolating myself?

I realized this past Friday that it has been about one year since I walked into the LDS 12 Step Program, sat down. I wondered what in the world was I going to do, who could I talk to, where could I turn for peace? And after the meeting was over, God sent me an answer in the form of a woman who called herself "Shelly". Shelly asked me if I was going to attend and I hesitated. I quickly yelled out in my mind "What can I do God?" and then I decided to just spell my beans and tell Shelly my pain. She listened, we walked out to her car and talked more and she listened, and about 30 minutes later the burden of having kept silent for so long was lifted and I felt hope once again.

Months passed and then God lead me to a new 12 Step program where I have been for the past eight months. It still  surprises me that though I am not an alcoholic, I can related to how an alcoholic feels in the reading of A.A. One of the things you learn quickly in a 12 step environment is the need to trust in a higher power and to surrender your will to that higher power. It's a learning, growing, developing encounter for me with set backs on occasion. At times it works wonderfully and I have a happy, hopeful, fun, and joyous day. Other days it's a battle to get all that life requires of me accomplished and I feel stressed, agitated, and unhappy. It's during those 'other days' that I see how much God, my higher power, needs me to surrender my will over to him. I may still need to do all of the daily stuff but as I give my desires over to God to take care of I see my day go differently, smoothly, without me getting upset or agitated just because I have to leave the home once more to meet an appointment.

Did you know that I'm a homebody type of person? I have for the longest time thought of that as being a good quality. That is, I thought so until last Thursdays evening while attending a 12 step meeting. We were reading about the subject of love from a wonderful little book called As Bill Sees It. Bill was a co-founder of A.A. Here is the massage that found the bulls-eye of my heart.

 "Almost without exception, alcoholics (any addicts) are tortured by loneliness. Even before our (addiction) got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn't quite belong. Either we were shy,...or we were noisy...constantly craving attention and companionship, but rarely getting it. There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand....we were finally struck down and left in terrified isolation."

I heard and read this statement and something inside of me came to live with the awakening of this fact about myself. Now, I am currently working Step 7 but I keep Step 6 open for any opportunity I may have to clearly see and name one of my many character defects. Here was my 5th (yes I have lots more but I am being very specific with examples and direct names and even with determining if this is a defect I am ready or willing to give up and surrender over to God.) My defect: Isolating Myself From Others! 

Ouch ouch ouch!!!

I have been doing this for many many years let me tell you! Rats! rats! rats! Now I know this and kind of see it clearly. I have alienated myself from my family, in-laws, good old friendships, and keep myself from developing deep friendships now. I also see that since accepting this current 12 Step Program, I have become even more isolating! 

 My addiction involves food. So whenever there has been a dinner or potluck over the past 8 months I don't go. At first it was to help protect myself from slipping and going into some terrible sugar induced binge but now it's just easier to stay away and not have to talk or mingle.
When I understood this two days ago I felt frustrated and even annoyed to realize this and almost wished I could hide from it. Now I wish more to heal and learn and make some corrections according to what my Higher Power wants me to do.

Today I know I need to plan and attend church/social functions and bring my own food or take enough for me and enough to serve others. I just hate having to say this right now. It is like a little battle in my head to want to stay at home and not be seen. URGH!  However, I want to improve. I need not go back into my cave. I want the light of friends and siblings. But will they want me??? Well, all I can do is try. And again this says to me to surrender to God my will and His Will  will open the doors as I trust in His time and not mine.

O.K. I think this is what I was needing to type for myself today. Do you suffer too? Have you grown out of isolating yourself? How did you go about doing that? I can hear it already :) One day at a time and with Serenity Prayer. Oh, I can also hear the 12 steps calling out to be followed, worked, and tried, again and again and again.

Yes! I do need to stop isolating. It's so big. God grant me the serenity to accept this change, to turn my will over to Thee, Help me to live just for today with Thy love and Thy grace...amen

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