This morning I had to re-read the chapter in my book “Learning to Let Go of Resistance and Attachments.” My book, “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” comes out this Wednesday, September 1, 2010. I have bitten every one of my nails as I anxiously await the day. This has been a work in progress for over a year when I started writing the proposal, and really two and a half years ago when I landed on the radio with Dr. Drew Pinsky, and I suppose even longer than that, when I entered my first AA meeting. All of these experiences has brought me to the launching of my very own book about healing addictions.
Through this process, I have gone through many goals, one of which is just wanting to help people heal as they go through the process of getting sober. Then the goals morphed into writing a book that I could be proud of and gain some success at the same time. When I think of success, I also think of my “ego” getting in the way. I also think of getting attached to the results of this endeavor.
In my book I write, “When you live with the Law of Sobriety as your guidepost, you are able to deal with whatever is in front of you because you are not attached to having things turn out exactly as you imagined them.” This week I must confess I have been attached to having things turn out a certain way starting with expecting those around me who have been part of the process to do things “my way.” When you write a book there are many people involved in the process of getting the book out into the reader’s hands, and unfortunately sometimes their vision and way of doing things does not always match with the authors. That has been the case at times and especially this week. I am having lots of feelings that range from excitement that this is one of the biggest weeks of my career to self doubt that I will be disappointed with what may transpire this week. I keep forgetting that September 1, 2010 is only one day and that this book will be around for a very long time.
Finally, when I wrote, “When you let go of the way you believe things are supposed to be, you free yourself from negativity….the perpetual disappointment, doubt, and frustration that come when things don’t turn out as you thought they would,” I realize that is where I need to shift my focus starting right now. I am only feeling self-doubt because my expectations of people, places, and things are off the chart. I can only control my actions and no one else’s, and really in the end, it is god’s will, not mine, that is in charge. I am so glad I chose to read this excerpt today so I can free myself and surrender once again to my higher power, who I know, always has my best interest.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and for Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters, and is a sought after speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information about life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her blogs at Counselor Magazine.com and The Law of Sobriety Blog at HCI.
The trauma and grief of growing in a an alcoholic or addicted family create a lifetime of
baggage. If you grew up in an addicted family, the dysfunction that permeated every
aspect of your childhood may have seemed “normal,” and you may not even realize the level of affect alcohol still has on your adult life–whether or not you drink.
Often you chose relationships that reenact what you grew up with such as having partners that are not emotionally or physically present, such as your parents. You may find yourself contributing to enabling behaviors as your parents did growing up. You might chose to live in denial about important issues in your life, because that is the only defense mechanism you feel comfortable with when you are in pain. You might feel chronically numb (a living dead feeling) because the trauma you grew up with still lives in every cell of your being.
If you are one of the millions of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOAs), the cost of your childhood pain can be unbearable, says Jane Middelton-Moz and Lorie Dwinell in their book “After the Tears.” (Health Communications, Inc.) You may have learned how to “survive,” but are you “living” your life? Do you fear normal conflict? Do you blame yourself when something goes wrong–even when it isn’t your fault? Are you a chaos junkie? Or do you just fear relationships because they are too difficult or too painful?
I hope to hear some of your answers to these important questions about the affects alcohol or addictions have had on your family.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters, and is a sought-after speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information aobut life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her blogs at Counselor Magazine and The Law of Sobriety Blog
Get Ready as I join 2 MOMS AND A MIC August 25, 2010 at 1400 KKZZ.com 8 AM Pacific Time to discuss everything you always wanted to know about addiction and rehab.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.” Everyone knows that little serenity prayer, and many 12-step meetings close with it. If you’re still finding your way to sobriety, the second part–“the courage to change the things I can”–may seem especially important to you right now, as you work to change your life. But I heard a talk recently about how important the first part–“the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”–can be the key to lasting happiness.
The talk was by Matthieu Richard, a French molecular biologist who left science behind and moved to the Himalayas to become a Buddhist monk (you can watch his talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness.html). He says you can actually train your mind to be happy, no matter what your circumstances.
Richard starts by explaining the difference between happiness and pleasure. Pleasure is external to our inner consciousness, and it doesn’t last. For example, maybe a piece of chocolate cake brings us pleasure, but as soon as we’ve eaten it, the pleasure is gone. Happiness is something lasting and deep. It’s not just a pleasurable sensation, he says, but “a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment, a state that actually pervades and underlies all emotional states and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way. . . . Can we have this kind of well-being while being sad? In a way, why not? Because we are speaking of a different level.”
This kind of happiness is doomed if we look outside ourselves for it, because the world is full of the things we cannot change. However, inside ourselves, we can change anything. Says Richard, “That is the ground for mind training. Mind training is based on the idea that two opposite mental factors cannot happen at the same time. You could go from love to hate. But you cannot, at the same time, toward the same object, the same person, want to harm and want to do good.”
So, if your typical reaction to something is to want to do harm, you can train your mind to think of doing good instead. And if you usually react to something with anger or disappointment or resistance, you can train your mind to accept it with serenity instead.
Is this really possible? Studies show that it is. For example, people who meditate on loving-kindness show actual changes in their brain. Over time, these changes become part of the way the brain reacts. Richard compares this to a violinist who practices a piece over and over. Eventually, the musician learns the piece so well that new pathways are formed in her brain and she can play it without thinking consciously about it. The same is true when we practice happiness and serenity as ways of reacting to events in our lives. Eventually, they become automatic reactions, new ways of being, that give us the serenity to accept what we cannot change.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is a frequent contributor to anthologies, blogs, and newsletters, and sought out speaker. Visit Sherry at www.sgabatherapy.com for information about life-coaching programs, teleseminars, and webinars, and read her other blog at Counsellor Magazine and The Law of Sobriety Blog with HCI Publications.