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Giving up CONTROL...

Old 05-08-2015, 05:56 AM
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Giving up CONTROL...

Hi guys,

I've been trying to decide if I should post this for a few days but have finally decided to.

I'm a CONTROL freak! I want everything to turn out the way "I"'want it to and when it doesn't I get pretty pissed and sometimes even drink over it. I'm sure I am not unique to this but I have a week sober again and DO NOT WANT TO DRINK ever again!

I have a really hard time turning things over to God and just not worrying about the results. IT WOULD BE SO FREEING IF I COULD JUST LET GO! :-)

*I say the Serenity Prayer constantly but need more tools. Any tools you can share for letting go of control and outcomes and accepting whatever happens?

P.S. I don't go to AA anymore and am not planning to. It does more harm than good for me. (I know it works for others though and that's great!) But I DO like the Serenity Prayer although that's not exclusive to AA.

Thank you in advance for the advice!
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:00 AM
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A phrase I repeat to myself often is 'everything is unfolding exactly as it should'.

Also: meditation

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Old 05-08-2015, 06:08 AM
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I do love that Serenity Prayer! I do a ten minute meditation in the middle of the day and it works well for me. I like to remember that whatever happens, I'm only in control of my part, then it's out of my hands.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:33 AM
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I wish I had a magic answer to the question of how to stay sober, but I think the answer is different for each person.

I personally use meditation and a sauna after work, which were the worst times of my boozing. It helps me relax in a healthy way.

I also keep notes I made when I was in withdrawal close at hand incase I forget how much of a hell it was.
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:59 AM
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Mediation can certainly help. Have you considered therapy?
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:10 AM
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Ever try writing a list of things you do have control over
Then write a list of the things you don't have control over.

Your post reminds me of something I first read years back in early recovery

This is what helped me a lot

Attitude

by Charles Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:46 AM
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I understand your feelings about AA, however the Big Book is a great tool even without meetings:

"The first requirement is that we be convinced that a life run on self-will can hardly be a succes. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish, and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.
"What usually happens? the show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
"Our actor is self-centered-ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
"Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!

Big Book, pgs 60-62
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:02 AM
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a couple good practical lessons are:

Drink 32-64 ounces of water, in a short period of time (half hour). Then see just how long you can CONTROL your own bladder.

Go stand at the ocean shore and WILL the tide to come in upon your command.

Look up at the sun at high noon and command it to set NOW.

Stay in bed ALL day and notice what happens with the rest of the world - earth still manages to spin on it's axis, traffic lights work, commerce goes on, LIFE goes on - without your express permission to do so.

Examine your own life and where you are RIGHT NOW and ask honestly if you've really done such a bang up job of orchestrating everything.

any of the above should have a HUMBLING effect. which is exactly what our EGOS need. we may want what we want when we want it, but to echo another post, that is just our Self Will Run Riot. Our agenda isn't to actually bring about order and calm, we are instead seeking just another "excuse" when things don't go OUR WAY to pout and fuss and drink at it.
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:11 AM
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I have a tendency to get frustrated with others and unfairness in my daily life and can easily find myself building resentments on these, so I use an adaptation of Mother Teresa's "Do It Anyway" every morning which tends to get me in a good strong frame of mind ...

God, help me to accept that people may be unreasonable and self-centred. Let me forgive them anyway.
Help me to accept that if I am kind, people may accuse me of ulterior motives. And let me be kind anyway.
Help me to accept that if I find happiness, people may be jealous. And let me be happy anyway.
Help me accept that the good I do today may be forgotten tomorrow. And let me do good anyway.
Help me to accept that I may give the world my best, and it may never be good enough. And let me give my best anyway.
God. Help me to remember that it is between you and me. And it was never between me and them anyway.

I also say some of the steps prayers, and ask God to direct my thinking, and divorce it from self-pity, dishonesty and self-seeking motives. (Often the resentment prayer features quite strongly as well if I know that I'm going to be working with someone who I've had resentments about in the past )
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Old 05-08-2015, 10:38 AM
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Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:02 AM
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I think at times I have to look at why I want it to turn out my way.

Most, if not all, of the time I want it that way because A) I benefit or B) I think it will make my life easier to live or a combination of the two.

Looking at the selfishness involved in wanting things to go my way helped me a great deal. After a while I stopped trying to make everything go my way, I stopped trying to have everything and everybody sway in my direction to make my life easier or so that I could benefit while they suffered.

I found that not trying to control everything was actually the answer to making my life easier. The stress was gone, the scenario building was gone, the fretting about this and that was gone, the worry was gone and if things did not work out the way I had hoped the sky did not fall and the oceans did not dry up. It happened the way it was supposed to happen with no interference from me.

The hard part after all that was accepting it. When I stopped trying to prove that I had the power, I found the power to control me and only me.

It then became clear that was all the power and control I really ever had. I can only truly control myself, my actions and my reactions. Everything else, is not mine to control. I was free.

Now I still have days I try and take that control back. I get frustrated with work, at the company and other coworkers, I get frustrated at the man driving to slow in front of me. I get frustrated because every single light on the way home on a Friday afternoon must turn red seconds before I get to it, it is a conspiracy!

But today, I can take a breath, know I am not in control, I am trying to take that control back and let it go again.

Progress, not perfection. I don’t think will ever be so serene that things in life won’t ever bother me but I will get better at letting it get me angry or upset and I will let it go faster. I am already better at it than I was two years ago so I think that is progress.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:05 PM
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Just like everything else it takes practice. It makes life so much easier And peaceful though.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:10 PM
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It also helps to holler 'I SURRENDER!!!' At the top of your lungs into a canyon, out over the sea, up at the night sky, down the mountainside.... Anywhere that places you properly in the context of exactly how small and insignificant 'you' are.

Train that ego.....

We all need that kind of training.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:40 PM
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Hi, Serenidad. Great thread. Hmmmm. I learned a lot about how useless control can be when I attended a meditation retreat recently. The only way to get away from the suffering that 10 hours of sitting a day can create was to accept it totally. That took me about five days to figure out. I'm a slow learner
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Old 05-08-2015, 06:52 PM
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Serenidad,
the way i let go of/give up control is to really look and see if i have it.
of many things, i don't.
therefore, there's nothing to give up or let go of if i don't have control to begin with.
getting clarity on that is the basis for me.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:01 PM
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ishallnotwant, I was going to mention the same thing!

I like the big book (not so much aa)

Until I really sat down and thought about it, I didn't realize that my want for control was my selfishness a lot of the time. Now every time I get frustrated that things aren't going my way I take a minute to think about why everything needs to go my way in the first place. Am I actually right and justified or am I just being selfish?

Meditation can be a good tool as well. Sometimes if I can manage that, even just for 5 minutes, I don't care as much when I come back to the situation.
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:11 PM
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I've found that learning to let go of outcomes has been a real gift.

I would have the great life I have if I'd planned it, simply because my imagination wouldn't have gone the way Fate has taken me

When I say learning to let go of outcomes, I don't mean we're passive either.

I know my responsibilities and I know what is mine to fix.

I've simply learned what my role in things really is.

Sometimes I play a big part, other times a small one - and sometimes none at all

D
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Old 05-08-2015, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Serenidad View Post
Hi guys,

I've been trying to decide if I should post this for a few days but have finally decided to.

I'm a CONTROL freak! I want everything to turn out the way "I"'want it to and when it doesn't I get pretty pissed and sometimes even drink over it. I'm sure I am not unique to this but I have a week sober again and DO NOT WANT TO DRINK ever again!

I have a really hard time turning things over to God and just not worrying about the results. IT WOULD BE SO FREEING IF I COULD JUST LET GO! :-)

*I say the Serenity Prayer constantly but need more tools. Any tools you can share for letting go of control and outcomes and accepting whatever happens?

P.S. I don't go to AA anymore and am not planning to. It does more harm than good for me. (I know it works for others though and that's great!) But I DO like the Serenity Prayer although that's not exclusive to AA.

Thank you in advance for the advice!
I discovered early on by reading the AA text that AA meetings are not the suggested program of recovery, never have been. The 12 Steps is the suggested program of recovery, of which the tenets are 1000’s of years old. The tenets are self-examination. So it’s not necessary to attend AA meetings to get down to the causes and conditions through self-examination for why I became alcoholic and couldn’t maintain abstinence.

My control issues were making all sorts of excuses why I couldn’t take an honest look at myself and continued to rationalize my life away, until I reached my bottom and surrendered which was a result of experiencing more fear that I could ever imagine.

I use to talk about how sober I was, but I wasn’t sober until after I reached my bottom and surrendered. Abstinence isn’t sobriety; it just scratches the surface of recovery. Recovery goes far beyond abstinence.
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Old 05-08-2015, 08:43 PM
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I struggle with this too....

When I think to myself, "I wish this happened," or, "I wished this didn't happen," I often recall this story:

The Story of the Taoist Farmer

Version 1:

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, "What makes you think it is so terrible?"

A month later, the horse came home--this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer's good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, "What makes you think this is good fortune?"

The farmer's son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, "What makes you think it is bad?"

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer's son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. "What makes you think this is good?" said the farmer.

As told by Executive editor, Elise Hancock, in the Johns Hopkins Magazine, November 1993, page 2, in section entitled Editor's Note.
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Old 05-09-2015, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by GracieLou View Post
I found that not trying to control everything was actually the answer to making my life easier. The stress was gone, the scenario building was gone, the fretting about this and that was gone, the worry was gone and if things did not work out the way I had hoped the sky did not fall and the oceans did not dry up. It happened the way it was supposed to happen with no interference from me.

The hard part after all that was accepting it. When I stopped trying to prove that I had the power, I found the power to control me and only me.
.....
But today, I can take a breath, know I am not in control, I am trying to take that control back and let it go again.

Progress, not perfection. I donít think will ever be so serene that things in life wonít ever bother me but I will get better at letting it get me angry or upset and I will let it go faster. I am already better at it than I was two years ago so I think that is progress.
Gah - the mindfulness and 'being in the moment' that I've lost to 'scenario building' while trying to control situations in the past. And energy spent generating anxiety or anger over things that never happened in the end.

Goodness me - I wish I could have double or treble liked / thanked this post!!
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