Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Emotional Vampires and Self Care

Get out of my bathroom!

Today’s prompt for Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is: Vampires.

There are many types of vampires. I’m going to write about the emotional vampires – people or jobs that try to suck the life out of us.

After I retired, my husband said, “That job was sucking the life out of you.” (That’s my one liner unless I find one that’s more positive.)

It wasn’t always like that. But it got worse in the last five years of my 30 year career when demands became unreasonable. It was common to work through lunch and take work home – physically as well as emotionally. Never mind the emotional risks of trying to help people fight the monster of addiction – that I could understand and deal with. It came with the territory. Addiction is a vampire. There was always the Serenity Prayer and I used it often.

During those last five years on the job, I often told myself, “I’m not going to let this job kill me.” That’s a little more positive for a one liner.

I am thankful to be free, is even better.

Being in a relationship with an emotional vampire who is a person can also suck the life out of you. It can be subtle at first, and sometimes it’s obvious. Maybe the person has unreasonable demands on your time. Maybe he or she talks constantly or yells a lot. Maybe he or she is narcistic and manipulative.

If you find yourself stuck in a life sucking relationship, here are some ways to take care of yourself and save your own life:

  1. Clarify your boundaries. First do this by yourself or with a trusted friend who is not a life sucker. Put your boundaries in writing. This is as much for yourself as anyone else.
  2. Be assertive. State what you want and need. Be specific: “I need an afternoon to work on my art by myself.” or “I’ve been listening to you for a ___ minutes. I need you to (or will you please) listen to me without interrupting for ___ minutes,” or “I don’t take calls or texts between 11pm and 9am.” If you don’t feel safe being assertive, focus on 3, 4, and 5 below:
  3. Self care: Surround yourself with safe, nurturing people and/or pets. Engage in activities that add positive energy and comfort to your life. Take care of yourself in every way you can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Believe that your health and time are valuable.
  4. Create Distance from the vampire. This could mean making a plan to leave. It could mean actually walking away from the relationship. But it could also mean limiting the amount of time you spend with the person or how much you think them. I had to make myself stop thinking about my job when I was home by using mindfulness and positive distraction.
  5. Be safe. Develop a support network and let a trusted person know your situation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, and don’t feel safe physically or emotionally, make a safety plan. Here is just one example.

Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill. For details, visit:

One-Liner Wednesday/JusJoJan the 27th, 2021 – Vampires | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Blue Serenity

stream-of-consciousness-saturday-2018-19

Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is:

“blue.” Talk about the first blue object you see when you sit down to write your post. Have fun!

Blue happens to be my favorite color, just in front of green, yellow, amber, purple….. When I read the prompt, I was sitting in my dining area – it’s a little room with not as much blue as my bedroom, but I don’t usually write the SoCS post in the bedroom. The first thing I looked at after reading the prompt was the bulletin board, sort of a dream board, which has a lot of blue on it. I zeroed in on “The Other Serenity Prayer” posted on the lower right corner. Blue does seem to be the color of serenity, doesn’t it?

Blue Other Serenity Prayer on Bulletin Board

Here’s what it says in case you weren’t able to read it:

God, grant me the serenity to stop beating myself for not doing things perfectly,

the courage to forgive myself because I’m working on doing better,

And the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.

Eleanor Brownn, with 2 Ns

It’s interesting that this thing about forgiving myself for not being perfect comes up now, since I have been beating myself up lately about a couple of mistakes. They are not huge mistakes, but I make them bigger in my mind. Why? Because I’m not supposed to make mistakes, which is BS. I think it’s more important to remember the lessons in a positive way, like investigate thoroughly would be one of those lessons. One of the mistakes was, I should have held back and considered all the options instead of losing my temper which I rarely lose. The other is that I should have stepped out and questioned someone’s behavior. I don’t want to go into the details. I think it’s enough that we remember the lessons without shaming ourselves or being overly critical. Both of these things on my mind (there are probably more, but STOP) would be helped by asking questions. Questions are often helpful. But back to serenity.  God loves us just the way we are.

I have nothing against the regular Serenity Prayer. In fact, I have found it very useful and a saver of my sanity on many occasions.

God grant me the serenity

To Accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Here are some random photos with blue:

blue designs by Agnes Kasparkova

Agnes Kasparkova is 90 something.  She paints in Czechoslovakia

blue bottle

I have a thing for blue glass.

blue twilight cover photo (2)

birds on beach w blue

lake trail lake view

Oh, that reminds me of a song I’ve been singing lately: “Blue Skies”

Happy Saturday!

For more blue streams of consciousness, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2019/09/13/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-14-19/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!


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Rx

IMG_1469

I recently accompanied my husband on his consult for unexpected outpatient surgery which is now scheduled for the middle of this busy month. When the doctor mentioned post-op pain meds, my dear husband shook his head. When questioned about this, he said he didn’t want any narcotics. The doctor said he’d prefer to write the script, just in case, since the pain meds can’t be called in. But he also indicated that it’s possible my husband will do okay with just over the counter pain meds. This led to a discussion about the whole dilemma of pain medication and my experience of being prescribed way more pain meds than needed for relatively minor surgeries or injuries. My experiences as an addictions counselor have likely added to my frustration.

During the consultation, I appreciated learning more about the prescriber’s perspective: doctors who prescribe less than the standard amount of pain meds, in this case, 30 pills (!), are more likely to be harassed, yelled at and even threatened by patients. They lose patients and can’t stay in business.

What’s a doctor to do?

After hearing this, I’m not as sure as I used to be. And I’m glad I don’t have to be the one between that rock and the hard place.

One solution would be to have more disposal options for unused medication. We’re learning that it’s bad for the environment to flush unused medications, and keeping leftovers around, “just in case”  increases the risk of addiction or pills falling into the wrong hands. Though Opiate/narcotic addiction is a particularly bad problem where I live, we only have two medication drop off events per year. Of course, there’s always the burial in a container of damp coffee grounds, which may be the best option we have right now.  Hill

I know this is a complicated issue. Some people legitimately need a lot of pain medication. But it’s a slippery slope for those with substance abuse and addiction problems.

 

 

Which reminds me, that recovery can be pretty good where I live, too. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, there are all night  AA meetings, called Alcathons. These open meetings start at 6pm and run on the even hours until noon Christmas day and New Year’s Day ending in a shared meal. Narcotics Anonymous usually has Narcathons which are similar. I hope these are available where you live.

Here are some links that can help you find meetings:

http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-aa-resources

http://www.na.org/

http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

To all those who suffer from addiction, there is help. Recovery is possible. Find a program, then work the program, every day.  Life can get better. One day at a time. Like they often say after the Serenity Prayer:

” Keep coming back, It works if you work it, but you gotta work it every day…and night.”

To all those who do not suffer from addiction, be aware this can be a hard time for those who do. Have plenty of alcohol-free beverages at your social gatherings. Label food and drinks containing alcohol. Even a taste can be a trigger. Invite a recovering friend to go to an alcohol free/drug free event.

May your holidays be holy days, full of peace and joy.

Tree in Winter Sunset

 

 

 


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path  opening up to lake

Take a step toward opportunity.

     I was thinking about acceptance and the Serenity Prayer this morning right before I came upon a news story about a “fast food worker” telling the CEO of McDonald’s she can’t feed her kids on the $8.25 an hour she makes after 10 years with his company.  She had accepted this job for 10 years. Now apparently her hours have been cut since she made the public statement. The article did not say anything about whether she had asked for a raise previously or about her performance. The CEO’s response, that he had been with the company for 40 years, was not only dismissive, but rude. He didn’t say how much he made. He should have taken her name and said, “We’ll look into your history and work performance and get back to you.”

     My recommendation to the employee would be to ask this question: “What do I need to do to get a raise?” The employee needs to sit down with any supervisor who will give her some time (by asking, when is a good time to talk?) and ask if it’s possible to get a raise and how can she do it. If she is told “it’s not possible,” (which I wouldn’t believe) then it’s time to find another job. It’s human to want to share that you are struggling to feed your two kids, but the focus needs to be on: How can I change this? instead of “I can’t….”

Acceptance doesn’t mean we have to like it. But when we  catch ourselves thinking, “I can’t…,” we need to focus on changing the things we can. What are the small steps you can take to improve on a situation you don’t like? Small steps can add up to big changes. The things we can change fall under two categories: our thoughts and our actions. Thoughts make up our attitudes and beliefs. We can always tweak our thoughts for the better.  Our actions include changing our clothes, our our tone of voice and how we breathe. In any situation, we can always take a deeper or longer breath, well unless we’re under water, then we can kick our feet and swim to the surface. (That’s what I get for questioning my “always.”)  Taking a deeper or longer breath can help  calm us into wiser decisions or give us strength to face a challenge. But we can always pray and we can ask for help when we need it. How we ask for help makes a big difference.  If we only criticize what’s wrong, we are less likely to get help.  If we ask, “How can we make this better?” we move toward a solution.

Have Courage and ask the right questions!

God, grand me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference…..Amen.