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Old 07-25-2012, 03:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why do I focus on the negatives?


Been to an AA meeting tonight. The main share was extremely moving and powerful. Someone who had completely turned her life around. She was inspirational. I had a good chat with my sponsor afterwards and am meeting her 1:1 next week to work through some issues. I've had a really relaxing day and was chilled out.
However, one of the guys in the meeting shared that he had relapsed during the weekend. He was the guy who greeted me on my very first meeting ever. He was just so lovely to me that night, told me the best meetings to go to, and he was thrilled with his new life. He sat tonight with his head in his hands, barely registering anyone. As I drove home I was filled with his despair, it seemed to really hit home. What if that happens to me? I would never have the courage he did to sit back in his usual chair listening to others who were reaching milestones.
I feel so sad for him, and strangely vulnerable in my own ability to stay sober.
I do not want a drink, but I always seem to focus on the negatives in life. Why couldn't I take the many positives from tonight? Why do I feel such sadness for him?
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Fear is powerful Jeni.

But I really believe that we get out of our recovery what we put into it - I dunno what happened with this guy but I know you've been working hard, damned hard, to stay sober and work a good recovery.

I have every confidence you'll continue to do that...and I reckon one day you'll be telling others how you turned your life around and inspiring them too...

I hope this other bloke will too

D
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Dee. Guess i am still very afraid. My relapse still haunts me.
But yes, I'm working hard and I'm not going to stop xxx
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Jeni I always feel that way when I hear about people relapsing. It's an odd sort of sensation and I am still working on figuring out why it is? Is my AV using someone else's troubles to get inside my head? Is it fear working it's ugly grip into my mind because I think that I may follow suit? Do I think that if I relapse that I can just go back to being sober again? I really can't figure it out but I imagine that it is a combination of these factors that adds up to a powerful sensation. I've seen a lot of AA members express anger at the people that keep coming in and out of the programs... I never really understood why. Isn't the returning/new member the most important? I am beginning to understand a little more why so many of them react the way that they do. That being said... I've still got a lot to learn about being sober. My recovery should be insulated from other people's actions/inactions. Not an easy thing to do for sure! Gotta keep working on it. Take care!
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks so much Jobei, that's exactly how I felt. Almost like a suggestion of failure was being whispered in my ear...."look at him, that could easily be you, why do you think you can do it when he couldn't?,do you think you're better than him? Well you're not, you're weak, he had nearly a year sober, you've only got a few months, look at him, that will be you......"
Ugh horrible. All I wanted to do was hug him and tell him it would all be ok.
Guess it was like facing my own vulnerability head on.
Anyway, it wasn't me. I'm ok. Gonna wake up tomorrow and these negative feelings will be gone. Thanks x
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You're empathetic Jeni, that's no bad thing.

That said though, focusing on the negative is a bad habit. I do it all the time. Although it sounds a bit trite I find that it does help to counteract every negative with a positive. It's all about balance. Yes this guy relapsed, but he came straight back to AA. That takes guts and he should be an inspiration.

I don't know if this will come out wrong but sometimes I find the most depressing shares can be the most uplifting. It takes me out of myself and stops things being about me and starts them being about the other person and what I could do to help them. I am in no position to help anyone however so I just give people hugs. You can never have enough hugs...:ghug3
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks Hypo xxxx. I always feel others pain as though it is my own, another bad habit. I need to start feeling their joy as though it is my own too, without sabotaging it and telling myself I don't deserve it!
Love you x
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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theres a chance that focusing on the negatives was something you did for a very long time. it takes T.I.M.E. and footwork to change that.
the positive?? the man was back at the meetings!!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jeni I'm 2 years sober, and that's what I am, a 2 year old in my new life. It's starting to set in that there is more to life than being sober. I too fear relapsing, maybe even more than in the beginning of my sobriety. I don't have urges that much anymore, but I haven't done much in the way of working on replacing old negative behavior with new positive behavior. The dominate emotion I still have is anger, and it is all directed at me. I'm the only human stopping myself from moving forward because I'm an ambivalent procrastinator. As and example, I knew a job was coming up and I waited to long to get on the list and I missed out. Now I'll have to wait until September when the next turnaround starts. I am no where near out of the woods so to speak, so I need to get on it, and quit jepardizing a good life.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That sounds like a great case of self-sabotage neferkamichael!
Why do we do that? I am also a great procrastinator, to the point of stopping myself from moving forward. Is it that we're scared of failure? Is it that we don't think we deserve success??
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
theres a chance that focusing on the negatives was something you did for a very long time. it takes T.I.M.E. and footwork to change that.
the positive?? the man was back at the meetings!!!
Old habits die hard. And with Alcoholism added to the mix there is no cure... only a daily reprieve.

There is a great lesson here, Jeni . All will be well.

Bob R
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Ya know Jeni, that probably right. Why don't I think I deserve to succeed? That 2 months of work would have meant $16,000 takehome pay. And ya know what my AV voice says, ahh, you'll be alright you got money in your pocket. i need to do better than "alright". It's STUPID.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:07 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You are not focusing on the negative, in my view. Rather, you are empathising with someone struggling. It shows a lot about your heart. One thing I will say for every alcoholic I know: they have a lot of heart. I commend you for that.

But, feeling badly for someone can go too far when we make it our own problem. Don't let his slip affect you deeply. Learn what you can and give the rest to God. Help your friend if there is a way that you can, but remember, its his issue, not yours. You have enough on your hands with your own alcoholism. We all do. Use his experience to help keep you sober, and thank him for that. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Jeni, I used to feel other's pain as my own too and it took a terrible toll on me. I thought I was being caring, but it was more than that. It was losing myself in bits and pieces. I had to learn about boundaries and understand that they were a good and healthy thing. You can feel secure in your recovery and at the same time understand that your friend is going through what he needs to go through on his journey.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I believe the addict's negative thinking is conditioned in child/teen years. Codependency is present in all "houses of addiction". Relationships with family or significant role models, create an unconscious emotional pattern of "connection, love bond, reveal, rejection, abandonment". Everytime the child/teen trys to connect and feel loved they soon discover codependnecy is "conditional" and the child/teen is rejected and never feels worthy or good enough. This pattern is unconscious and can be repeated thousands of times before the teen moves and and begins their own life.

The powerful unconscious conditioned message in life becomes, "I can't trust anything good because it won't last" and "I can't make this work, I must be broken and defective".

From this unconscious message we learn not to trust "good things" and our knee jerk reaction is to prepare ourselves for the worst.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:36 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I listened to a speaker share that "if there were 100 people in a room and 99 were cheering for him, and 1 person said "jerk" or something negative, he'd be focusing on that one person and trying to find out what he did wrong....

that's me. alkie at my finest! self-centered in the extreme!

ouch.

You're okay, Jeni! Keep staying stopped and working hard to recover. It all gets better!!

Love,
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks guys, what you said all makes complete sense, and I'm quite thoughtful today. I do tend to lose myself in others pain and if I'm really honest, focusing on that sometimes is a deflection I do to stop doing the important job of focusing on myself. Facing myself and what made me drink involves difficult and painful self analysis and I need to devote myself to doing just that for a while. I'm thinking a lot about my relationship with my alcoholic and abusive father today.
I don't mean he 'made' me drink, that was all down to me of course. But that child who suffered is still within me and her voice is getting louder the longer I'm sober. I need to listen to her in order to move forward. Not sure that made sense really, but I understand what I mean!!
Thanks for listening. I will get there. Work to do on growing up! X
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