September 25, 2019

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Finding Balance

The goal of recovery is balance - that precious middle ground.

Many of us have gone from one extreme to another: years of taking care of everyone but ourselves, followed by a time of refusing to focus on anyone's needs but our own.

We may have spent years refusing to identify, feel, and deal with our feelings, followed by a period of absolute obsession with every trace of emotional energy that passes through our body.

We may succumb to powerlessness, helplessness, and victimization, then we swing to the other extreme by aggressively wielding power over those around us.

We can learn to give to others while taking responsibility for ourselves. We can learn to take care of our feelings, as well as our physical, mental, and spiritual needs. We can nurture the quiet confidence of owning our power as equals in our relationships with others.

The goal of recovery is balance, but sometimes we get there by going to extremes.

Today, I will be gentle with myself, understanding that sometimes to reach the middle ground of balance, I need to explore the peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the only way I can extricate myself from a valley is to jump high enough to land on a peak, and then slowly ease myself down.
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Letting Go of Guilt

"There's a good trick that people in dysfunctional relationships use," said one recovering woman. "The other person does something inappropriate or wrong, then stands there until you feel guilty and end up apologizing."

It's imperative that we stop feeling so guilty.

Much of the time, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.

Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests, and in other people's best interests. Guilt can stop us from taking healthy care of ourselves.

We don't have to let others count on the fact that we'll always feel guilty. We don't have to allow ourselves to be controlled by guilt - earned or unearned! We can break through the barrier of guilt that holds us back from self care. Push. Push harder. We are not at fault, crazy, or wrong. We have a right to set boundaries and to insist on appropriate treatment. We can separate another's issues from our issues, and let the person experience the consequences of his or her own behavior, including guilt. We can trust ourselves to know when our boundaries are being violated.

Today, I will let go of my big and little guilty feelings. Light and love are on my side.
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Fear

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and. you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear can be a big stopper for many of us: fear of fragility, fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of what others might think, fear of success. We may second-guess our next action or word until we talk ourselves out of participating in life.

"But I failed before!" "I can't do it good enough!" "Look at what happened last time!" "What if.. .?" These statements may disguise fear. Sometimes the fear is disguising shame.

After I finished the first two chapters of a book I was writing, I read them and grimaced. "No good," I thought. "Can't do it." I was ready to pitch the chapters, and my writing career, out the window. A writer friend called, and I told her about my problem. She listened and told me: "those chapters are fine. Stop being afraid. Stop criticizing yourself. And keep on writing."

I followed her advice. The book I almost threw away became a New York Times best seller.

Relax. Our best is good enough. It may be better than we think. Even our failures may turn out to be important learning experiences that lead directly to - and are necessary for - an upcoming success.

Feel the fear, and then let it go. Jump in and do it - whatever it is. If our instincts and path have led us there, it's where we need to be.

Today, I will participate in life to the best of my ability. Regardless of the outcome, that makes me a winner.
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Do what we do and you'll get what we get! ... See MoreSee Less

The Sydney Retreat is commencing Feb 2021. It's all very exciting. We have now hired our CEO, Program Director & Admin Manager and have commenced interviewing Retreat Assistants.

We now need to fill the role of full-time cook. The cook is an essential cornerstone of the Retreat philosophy. To have great home cooked style meals, to show guests how to prepare fresh, wholesome meals and to be able to converse about things pertaining to recovery is essential.

The cook does not need to be a chef but must have experience running a cafe or other type of small food business. They will need to plan meals, order the food, buy the food, prep and cook. The menu provides for a continental breakfast and 2 prepared meals per day for 15-25 people.

We believe the role would be best suited to someone who has significant exposure to 12 step recovery who doesnt mind sharing their experience, strength and hope with guests on occasion as involving the guests will form part of the day’s work in the kitchen. This is a paid full-time role.

Do you know anyone who would be interested? Please pass this onto them and make contact with John on the details below.

John Malone
CEO
The Sydney Retreat
jmalone@thesydneyretreat.org.au

223 Trafalgar St
Stanmore NSW 2048
www.thesydneyretreat.org.au
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When I began my spiritual journey in 1984 the first book I read was Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled"
I opened the book and began reading and the first paragraph changed my life forever.

"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult."

I thought my outer life would get better if I began a meditation/mindfulness practice, and when I read this paragraph, at first I thought, "Oh no, you're kidding, the truth is life is difficult?"

Then as I continued reading I had this profound "Aha" moment; life is difficult this is true, and if I embrace this truth, and understand deeply that I have no control out there anyway. My true power is accepting this truth and understanding that I have 100% control over my choices and actions. This is a great truth, I believe this deeply, so it doesn't matter how difficult life is, I know that I will survive, this too will pass, and I will ultimately thrive.
I love you dear friends.
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Our Sydney Whanau sums it up beautifully in this short video - you drink - the drink causes you problems and then you keep drinking anyway - you need help and you are not alone - help is waiting for you ... See MoreSee Less

Healthy Limits

Boundaries are vital to recovery. Having and setting healthy limits' is connected to all phases of recovery: growing in self esteem, dealing with feelings, and learning to really love and value ourselves.

Boundaries emerge from deep within. They are connected to letting go of guilt and shame, and to changing our beliefs about what we deserve. As our thinking about this becomes dearer, so will our boundaries.

Boundaries are also connected to a Higher Timing than our own. We'll set a limit when we're ready, and not a moment before. So will others.

There's something magical about reaching that point of becoming ready to set a limit. We know we mean what we say; others take us seriously too. Things change, not because we're controlling others, but because we've changed.

Today, I will trust that I will learn, grow, and set the limits I need in my life at my own pace. This timing need only be right for me.
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Nurturing Self Care

...there isn't a guidebook for setting boundaries. Each of us has our own guide inside ourselves. If we continue to work at recovery, our boundaries will develop. They will get healthy and sensitive. Our selves will tell us what we need to know, and we'll love ourselves enough to listen.
—Beyond Codependency

What do we need to do to take care of ourselves?

Listen to that voice inside. What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What don't you trust? What doesn't feel right? What can't you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? Need? What don't you want and need? What do you like? What would feel good?

In recovery, we learn that self care leads us on the path to God's will and plan for our life. Self-care never leads away from our highest good; it leads toward it.

Learn to nurture that voice inside. We can trust ourselves. We can take care of ourselves. We are wiser than we think. Our guide is within, ever present. Listen to, trust, and nurture that guide.

Today, I will affirm that I am a gift to the Universe and myself. I will remember that nurturing self care delivers that gift in its highest form.
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Affirming the Good

Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.
—Beyond Codependency

Wait, and expect good things - for yourself and your loved ones.

When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands to receive it. Claim it, and it is yours.

See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment.

Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become.

Wait, and expect good things.

Today, when I think abut the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming.
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