Forgiveness

When you or your loved one(s) suffer from an unhealthy habit, blame and anger or guilt and shame,  are states of mind that many of us are all too familiar with. We feel guilty and ashamed for the suffering we cause. We are angry and blame others for our own pain.  What we sometimes do not realize is that these states become an unhealthy habit in themselves. We become used to them. Our lives and the way way deal with people, places and events, and especially how we perceive them, are dominated by them. It has become a form of energy we fuel our lives with. But why would we want to be fueling something that causes us pain and negativity? And what can we do to end this behavior?  I have found that forgiveness is the key.

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About al-anon’s “step one”

To get rid of unhealthy habits many people turn to so-called 12-step programs, such as AA, CA, Al-Anon, to name just a few of the more than 50.

Regular meetings in which the participants suffering from the same habits share their personal stories and experience form the basis of these programs.

It is common practice to have a so-called “step 1 meeting” when there are newcomers in the group. I remember my first al-anon meeting vividly (note: al-anon is a 12 step program for people living or having lived with an alcoholic partner, family member, parent , child, friend, colleague, etc.) and it may be worth while to share this experience with you.

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Denial

Sometimes things happen in your life that are so painful that you put them away in the deepest realms of our mind. Sometimes you even deny them. This denial protects you from having to feel or relive pain or suffering. Read more
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Life on life’s terms

As you may have noticed I have not been posting any new articles for almost 12 months.

I chose to dedicate most of my time to my mother and father who were both suffering from severe health problems. After 53 years of marriage they were admitted in separate health care facilities 20 miles apart in The Netherlands. On Friday August 24th my father passed away. My mother is still in critical, albeit stable, condition. So “life  on life’s terms” seemed to be an appropriate titel to pick up where I left off.

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The Higher Power paradox

[:nl]The dictionary defines the word paradox as: a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. In Greek the word literally translates as “conflicting with expectation”. Accepting powerlessness over unhealthy habits and the unmanageability of our lives and the belief that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, are the essence of recovery in 12 step programs, such as AA, Al-anon, CA, NA, OA, etc.

However, accepting our powerlessness and unmanageability is a hard nut to crack. We do not like to admit we are wrong or that we have “failed”. Basically it means admitting that until now, all the efforts that you have put in changing yourself or someone else were pointless. This a source of frustration to most people.

Secondly, accepting a higher power that can restore us to sanity is also difficult to many. Many people do not believe in a supreme being, a Higher Power, a God.

After all, isn’t this higher power also responsible for the current state of suffering in our lives and in the world? So how on earth can we turn to it for such a positive thing as our recovery.

Overcoming our mental resistance because of this paradox is key to recovery and is simpler that you think.

We  can only accept reality, now, as it occurs. Our lives are an inseparable part of this reality. The belief that we can change reality is – of course – insane. We cannot change the past, nor can we change the now as it occurs.

The only thing reality can logically  collide with is expectation. If we expect something that is different from reality, this creates anger, frustration and fear.  Once we stop expecting and accept reality as it occurs, our suffering disappears.

When we stop expecting our alcoholic partner to quit drinking,  our children to stop smoking or to become lawyers or doctors, ourselves  to lose (or gain) weight or to drive a new BMW, our lives suddenly change.

What seems to be so difficult (accepting powerlessness) is in fact totally logical and liberating. Reality is undoubtedly a power greater than ourselves. And this realization restores us to sanity.

Instead of using our lives and wasting our mental energies on fighting reality, by trying to force solutions on others, by trying to make reality agree with our own expectations of it, we now have the opportunity to make new choices in peace and serenity.  We can stop judging, condemning, lying, cheating, pretending, yelling, wrestling, arguing, upsetting, fearing.  We can start loving, we can be honest, we can be compassionate, we can forgive, we can give unconditionally, we can be grateful.  What a relief!

[:en]The dictionary defines the word paradox as: a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true. In Greek the word literally translates as “conflicting with expectation”. Accepting powerlessness over unhealthy habits and the unmanageability of our lives and the belief that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, are the essence of recovery in 12 step programs, such as AA, Al-anon, CA, NA, OA, etc.

However, accepting our powerlessness and unmanageability is a hard nut to crack. We do not like to admit we are wrong or that we have “failed”. Basically it means admitting that until now, all the efforts that you have put in changing yourself or someone else were pointless. This a source of frustration to most people.

Secondly, accepting a higher power that can restore us to sanity is also difficult to many. Many people do not believe in a supreme being, a Higher Power, a God.

After all, isn’t this higher power also responsible for the current state of suffering in our lives and in the world? So how on earth can we turn to it for such a positive thing as our recovery.

Overcoming our mental resistance because of this paradox is key to recovery and is simpler that you think.

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Powerlessness: step one towards recovery

Admitting that we are powerless… Hmmm, at first sight this seems like defeat. Most people like to believe that the people places and things around them are under their control. Especially the addictive behavior of someone we love, or Read more

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Blame: a lesson in accepting reality

[:nl]When we blame ourselves, other people, places or things, we can be sure of one thing: we are not happy with reality as it occurs. And the same is true for others, when they blame us. This is undeniably insane, since reality, the now, has already occurred and we cannot change the past.

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