Control. Who ME??

I’ve been wrestling with and dealing with ideas and issues of control over the past few days. Well, longer than that I suppose, but a few things have come up in the past week that really brought it to the forefront. Two specific situations and I would love your feedback on what you think. So feel free to pipe in!

First let me start off by saying one of the first things we learn in Al Anon is that we only have control over ourselves. We can not an alcoholic anymore than we can control the sunrise. This is very true and also very very hard to grasp. We think to ourselves that if only I (insert your choice here: try harder, love more, get mad, take away affection, look through email, drive by where I think s/he may be, on and on) that it will get them to change their behavior. That in itself is a sickness. It becomes an obsession of what am I going to do to change this person. It doesn’t work that way.

Too many times in a relationship, we become so enmeshed with the other person we tend to lose ourselves. We start to think only about “us” and not as separate people. We allow others to look at the behavior of one as a reflection of both. Isn’t it strange how this works with addiction but not other diseases? If a spouse has cancer, it’s not a reflection of the healthy spouse. There is sympathy and empathy and help offered. Maybe addiction is such an anomaly that others outside the family don’t know how to respond? But I digress (as usual! )

When someone becomes so focused on controlling the other person in a relationship, whether addiction is in play or not, that they can’t see what they are doing in their own lives, it becomes dangerous. Delusional. Lost. Only when you can truly come to terms with the fact that you can only yourself that things can begin to change. Strange, right? When you learn to take control over your own life, your own dreams, your own future, that’s when true change begins. True change. And guess what also happens? The other person in your relationship is then free to change too. Or not. But it’s their choice. And that alone is one of the most freeing aspects of letting go of that control you held on to so tightly. When your partner sees change in you, and I’m talking real change, not manipulation, they have a few decisions to make of their own. They can continue to do what they’ve been doing or they themselves can decide to change.

There’s an empowerment that comes with letting go of the control over someone else. You get to decide what you will tolerate and what you won’t. You get to decide if you want to live the way you are or if you want something different. If you want something different, you are in control of your own life to make that change! Do you see how freeing it is? Stop controlling and get out of your own way! Life is too short to be unhappy.

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The second part of this has nothing to do with addiction but much more about parenting and how things have changed in the past, um, few decades. This comes from a discussion over the past few weeks with Michael about Ryan. Ryan seems to have a problem with not texting us when he arrives some place. I know, shocking right? I’m sure he’s the only teenager who “forgets” to text his parents. But it was seriously driving me crazy. After everything that has happened the past 6 months, I think a simple text saying “I made it” or “I’m here” shouldn’t be difficult.

Yesterday I had a little epiphany. He was going to the zoo with his girlfriend. I asked him to text me when he got to her house and again when he got to the zoo. I didn’t think that was asking much. Guess who didn’t text me? Yep. So I texted him. “You get there ok?” No response. Tick. Tick. Tick. “Hello?” No response. Tick. Tick. Tick. So I texted the girlfriends mom. “Ryan make it there ok? I haven’t heard from him.” No response. Tick. Tick. Tick.

So by now you’ve probably guessed that I’m about .03 seconds away from calling hospitals, police, jail, wherever I need to in order to track down my son who I’m sure is laying dead or injured in a ditch and they were only able to reach the girlfriends mom who has now rushed to her daughters side and no thought to call me. Seriously, this is the way my sick mind works.

I finally get a text back from Ryan. “We were driving and just pulled into the zoo.” Ok. He’s alive. Close Google window with local hospital phone number listed. Breathe.

And then it hit me. Out of nowhere. What in the hell was I doing to myself? I got myself in that panic. I was trying to control a situation I really didn’t need to or should control. I started thinking about how when I was a 17 almost 18 year old. When I took my car and told my mom I was going to the zoo or the movies or wherever, I sure didn’t have a cell phone. I wasn’t texting her telling her I arrived at the movies ok. I was holding a device that allowed her to ping my exact location at any given time. I told her where I was going and she would tell me to have fun, be back by curfew and out the door I went. I don’t know for a fact, but I bet she wasn’t pacing the floor every minute I was gone. And look how I turned out!!!! (Ok, that made me laugh!) But why, just because we have this amazing technology, do I use that to try to control my almost adult child? Especially when it does nothing but frustrate me.

So I’m making a conscience effort to let go. He has a phone. He can call if something happens. I don’t need to track or ping or worry. Because I’m only driving myself further insane. I’m not saying he’s going to be given some free-for-all with no accountability. After all, it’s MY cell phone he has and it’s Michael’s car he’s been given with permission, and it’s OUR house rules he has to abide by, but I think I’m going to try, really really hard to not demand a text that I don’t get.

I’m giving up that control too. I can learn to unlearn that behavior. And just maybe, he’ll learn something too.

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Mark it Down baby!!

I finally finally finally hit my all too elusive goal! And what’s even more astonishing is it happened the week after Thanksgiving! I have officially lost 70 pounds. 70. Seven Zero. 70 big ones. Say WHAT???

I have been hovering around the same weight for about a month. Very discouraging when I’m trying and not really doing anything different. But I stepped on that scale and my magic number came up and I was doing the happy dance in the bathroom! I know, not a visual you need in your head. Sorry.

I am transformed. Inside and out. And the questions I have received have really made me take inventory of my own life. This is MORE than just weight loss or numbers on the scale. This is truly about life altering all over internal changes, which brings about the bonus of external change.

It was soooo easy to resign myself to “this is me” and the “I’m not changing my diet/exercise” or whatever else it is that everyone tells themselves because I’m perfectly happy the way I am. So what if I have to shop in the Women’s Department? So what if everything I do revolves around what food I’m making, or someone is bringing, or what restaurant we’re going to? So what if this is my third piece of pie? No one is counting and screw ’em if they are!

When I started blogging about my weight loss, I shared that I was in a very fragile place. I had lost my bff of 25 years and felt like I was a ship lost at sea. A boat without an anchor. (Ok, I’ll stop with the boat analogies) I said how in that loss, I turned to food even more than I did normally when I was stressed out. Which seemed like it was too often. I was turning to an external fix for internal problem. How many of us do that? Food. Alcohol. Drugs. Sex. Gambling. Oh, it’s fun alright, don’t get me wrong! Having a night out with friends is something I look forward to. I did it just last night and we had a blast! I’m doing it again tonight with different friends. I will be a blast too! But it will be fun because of the people I’m with and the joy that comes from being with them. Not about how much or little we drink, how much food we order and eat or don’t eat. It’s about the time together and shared memories. What happens when that last bite is gone? Or the last drop from your alcoholic beverage of choice is gone? What happens when that last quarter is dropped into the slot and it comes up a loser again? Are you satisfied and can walk away? Or are you already thinking of the next bite/drink/chance?

In my weight loss journey, I have become bolder. Yes, me. Even BOLDER than normal. If you thought I was bold before, look out baby! I have pared down my Facebook friends, I’ve cut my Christmas card list (If you haven’t sent me a card for the past few years, you’re CUT!) and I’m spending time with family and friends who in turn want to spend time with me. I no longer mourn the loss of what might have been or what I should have/could have/might have done differently. That was a monumental shift for me the perpetual people pleaser.

I truly, honestly, passionately have found inner peace. Inner happiness. I have no time for people who continually let me down, lie, make promises with no intention of keeping them, or don’t make time for me. I count just as much. No chasing, no begging to change, no fear of being alone. Because I’m quite happy with myself. When I can take a few moments to take a breath, to calm my mind and actually be present, I find things can go much smoother. My previous way of thinking was always a blur, going 100 mph, saying the first thing that came to mind. That usually got me in trouble and/or made the situation worse.

And just to clear my own conscience, I certainly don’t want this post to come across as me preaching. It is soooooo far from that. It’s the opposite of that. I have no control over anyone but me. And that’s what I’ve discovered to be the biggest key in all of this. I can control me. If you can’t control yourself, that’s no longer my concern or my problem. If you want my help, ask. I would be there for you in a New York minute. But in shedding that weight, I have come alive. I feel empowered. I feel confident. I feel healthy. I feel happy. I feel FREE!

I was telling my friends last night that I would love to lose another 10 pounds. I think they think I’m becoming anorexic now. (I love chocolate, and ice cream and yes, wine! lol) I am focusing on being healthy, on being the best me I can be. And there were still plenty of jiggles as I danced around the bathroom this morning. Perhaps “toning” would be a better choice of words. Toning and firming. And getting my arms ripped like Linda Hamilton in T2. Which is still a goal.

If anyone would like to have more information about my amazing yogi, trainer and friend Yolanda and her website, please visit http://www.strongcalmsexy.com and learn more about her program. Your body AND your mind will thank you.

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Intuition or something bigger?

Have you ever had a relationship with someone who moves in and then out of your life for no specific reason, but then reconnect years later and it almost seems as if there is a force pulling you together?

Similar circumstances, similar life occurrences, similar children, similar in most ways. Parallel lives without realizing it until that one moment of reaching out. 

And what if that reason for reaching out was a feeling so strong that it couldn’t be ignored? Have you felt that? Have you acted on that? Have you felt so strongly to do something that if you didn’t do it you physically felt let down? 

That happened to me yesterday with someone who used to be a dear friend, a strong relationship, and as it appears, a forever bond. She felt compelled to reach to out to me, and did. And our conversation was one of revelation and wonder. One of amazement and disbelief. We were on the phone for at least an hour, these friends who haven’t spoken in over 2 decades. And we didn’t want to hang up because there was so much left to be said. So many questions to still be answered. Dreams to be talked through and analyzed.

After we were done with our phone call, I had a sudden flash of the message this week in church. The phone call and the message, quite literally, went hand in hand. It was actually a little freaky when I realized how much they were connected. Anyone can poo-poo it away all they want. This goes beyond. And I’m amazed with wonder.

I think we all get these feelings or thoughts of reaching out to someone; someone you lost touch with, someone you’re upset with, someone you’re judging, someone that things aren’t just quite “right” with. What is stopping you from reaching out? Fear? Control? Anxiety? Not caring about the other persons feeling? Contempt?

What if that was all wiped away and you could start fresh? What if a true genuine outreach could change the trajectory of someone else’s life? Wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

I’m so thankful that this person did listen to her inner voice, because I think she had something very powerful to share with me, after all this time. I don’t think it’s coincidence. I think that it was meant to be. And that is very hard to ignore.

So the next time you feel that pull, that person who pops into your mind, please don’t ignore it. act on it. Do it. Use it. The feeling doesn’t come often so listen to it. You have nothing to lose.

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