Manic Monday: Making Courageous Choices

“I’m not a control freak, I just want everyone to be happy. Oh, and like me. Yes, I definitely want people to like me.  Why? Because that’s the only way I can like myself.” — me

Oh yah, no control issues here. Eye rolling is allowed.

I may “waller in defeat” from time to time, as my friend Tonya would say, but I don’t stay there.

Nobody, I don’t care who they are, or how famous and together we might think they are, leads a charmed life.

Everyone has problems.

Everyone has choices.

That’s why I like the Full Circle link so much. Here’s a guy, who hit rock bottom 19 years ago doing a benefit ride for the very place he got sober. I think that’s cool. I think that takes courage.

What does courage look like to you?

  • Is it public speaking?
  • Skydiving?
  • Saying no when you really need to even if it means disappointing someone?
  • Or is it risking feeling selfish and realizing that the greatest gift we can give this world is to be the best us we can be?

One of my favorite devotional pages says :

March 26 in The Little Blue Book ONE DAY at a TIME in AL-ANON:

Why is it so hard to admit we are powerless over alcohol, as the First Step suggests we do? All of us have heard and shared in discussions at Al-Anon meetings as to whether this should be interpreted as “alcohol” or the “alcoholic.” We have no power over either one. No one can control the insidious effect of alcohol or its power to destroy the graces and decencies of life. No one can control the alcoholic’s compulsion to drink. But we do have a power, derived from God, and that is the power to change our own lives. Acceptance does not mean submission to a degrading situation. It means accepting the fact of a situation and then deciding what we will do about it.

TODAY’S REMINDER

Progress begins when we stop trying to control the uncontrollable and when we go on to correct what we have the right to change. If we accept a situation full of misery and uncertainty, it is no one’s fault but our own. We can do something about it!

“Fighting futility is just a waste of energy, Samantha. Either do something or quit fretting.” – Celebra Tueli

While this particular page refers to alcoholism and alcoholics it can be about so much more. It hurts watching people we love destroy their lives. What causes even greater pain is putting our lives on hold while we wait for everyone else to get it together.

It has taken me a long time to really believe that I am powerless over people, places, and things, meaning I cannot control people or make their choices for them. I cannot control how people see me, or whether or not they like me. Nor can I control the weather, or disease/disabilities. Shoot, I struggle with controlling myself, thinking I can control others is pure ego.

All I have is the power to make the best choices for me.

That’s really where courage begins. Finding the power to make the best choices for ourselves regardless of the choices our loved ones make. This includes our spouses, siblings, friends, and dare I say it adult children.

I’m a firm believer that the power to change can only come from believing in a God that’s bigger than me. For some of us, finding that God takes courage.

My wish today for you and for myself is that we stop right where we are at and know beyond knowing that we can make better choices today than the ones we made yesterday — and then go do it. 

Maybe for some of us, that choice is simply the acceptance of knowing the we are loved beyond measure  no matter what and acting on that belief.

What choices are you making today?

Full Circle…

People ride bikes for different reasons. Some like the fellowship. Some like being outdoors. Me? I want to live. It really is that simple.

Tiffany’s death last fall scared me. We’d grown up together back in Michigan. One day she was Facebooking about the most recent cuteness of her 5-year-old son and the next day she was gone. pulmonary Embolism. That’s not fair.

My mother is 71 and is dying from COPD. She has suffered from severe depression on and off for most of my life and hasn’t had a drink since Aug 12, 1977. I would do anything for her, we even offered to buy her a house so she could live near us and she turned me down. Her depression keeps her from truly seeing and receiving love and some days it’s hard. She has convinced herself she would be miserable here and that she would die within six months if she moved. I have no choice but to let her live her end of life as she sees best.

While I spent roughly 30 years in Alanon, Mom doesn’t have a recovery program and I wish she did. Maybe that’s why I like Anne Lammot so much. She and my mother are a lot alike, only Anne chose a different path. I get jealous sometimes when I read her books. I still read them because I hope they can help me find my path and stop trying to live everyone else’s.

Don’t even ask about my Dad. I feel responsible for him as well.

I started having chest pains last summer and was sent to a cardiologist. When the tests came back perfect (except for a slight murmur) we assessed that perhaps my issues were more on the emotional bend rather than physical. I finally fessed up to some of the stress I was feeling and told her what was on my plate. Her response was a very simple statement. “I’d smoke too.”

Not the answer I was looking for, but she was right Codependency can kill.

I’m one of those people who puts off dealing with things until I can get away from people for a few days and have a private melt down. Then I pull up my bootstraps and carry on as the song goes. I didn’t get to do that last summer. August was full of commitments and I kept telling myself that this would have to wait. I could cope for a while, I’ll deal with it later. As if later will somehow take the sting away.

I should have known I was in trouble when I went in for my annual check up. If my doctor had been any nicer I would have burst into tears on the spot. It’s hard to handle kindness when we aren’t being very kind to ourselves. I had a very difficult time hearing his kindness over the voices in my head and my own woundedness screaming “What do you want from me!”

A middle of the night trip to the ER with stomach pain that made childbirth feel like a paper cut and chest pains that made me throw up scared me enough to change.

I can’t fix the people I love. I can’t make their choices for them, nor do I need to make myself responsible for their choices. The serenity prayer tells me to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and find the wisdom to know the difference.

Instead of buying a house for my Mom, I bought a bike for myself. That’s a good step in the right direction.

Instead of reading blogs on fixing other people, I read blogs written by people who are after the same things I am; Healthy living. Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically. The link below is one such writer. He’s a recovering alcoholic and is open about it. He rides to live, just like I do. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. Click on the link to read his story.  Full Circle….

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Let it begin with me.

Ride.

Live.