Thuy Smith Outreach International- Living on Purpose

Health and Wellness, Mindfulness, Spirituality, Relationships, Lessons Learned, Recovery, Healing, Empowerment


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There is no love from someone else if I can’t love myself

Self-love and self-care is not selfish, but rather self-full.

Fill yourself up  first so you are able to pour into others,

while not burning yourself out.

See Powerful Video clip

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Feelings are something we have the most of but know the least of how to deal with

Aurora Community Counseling
Wendy Prigge LSW-CSAC
Guest Post

Aurora Community Counseling was a partner (Honorary Sponsor) with TSOI’s past Recovery Month events.

*No Blogs were meant to substitute professional counseling or other assistance

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Image result for feelings and addiction recovery

Feelings are something we have the most of but know the least of how to deal with. We learn from our role models who are often our parents, grandparents, other family members, teachers, or a friend. Sometimes we have good role models and sometimes not. Some families are very open and too much in everyone’s business. Some are very quiet and avoid sharing much of anything. People go through life avoiding any significant disclosures which leads to people playing roles trying to be the kind of person they think others expect.

In chemical dependent families there is usually the “NO TALK” rule. There can be an elephant in the living room but no one talks about it. The family pretends everything is ok. Everyone is expected to protect the family by keeping the dirty laundry a secret. The family members are expected to seek help only within the family but even within the family we don’t talk about certain things such as how mom or dad acted last night when he or she was drinking. This is what we call denial. It occurs with the family and with the person who is chemically dependent or alcoholic.

So why would we talk about feelings in recovery? People addicted to alcohol and drugs use or drink for relief. The first symptom of this disease is to use or drink for relief. The second symptom of the disease is constant relief using or drinking. The number one trigger for those who are alcoholic to drink again is negative emotional effect or negative feelings. So people with chemical dependence stuff their feelings. The whole family learns to stuff feelings. Because people who are alcoholic learn to stuff their feelings they don’t learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings. This leaves them at risk for relapse.

So why are feelings important anyway? What is the big deal? Our feelings are a big part of who we are. We need to be able to identify them and share them with the people closest to us so they can know us. When we hide our feeling people have to guess what you are feeling. People may assume they know what you are feeling which leads to wrong assumptions. This can lead to conflict. The people who want to know us such as our family and friends can be left in the dark.

Some people who are alcoholic or chemically dependent get high or drunk and do or say things that are very upsetting or mean. Often there are broken promises, broken trust, and strained relationships in families where drinking or drug use occurs. This behavior can result in hurt and angry feelings. Families and people who are chemically dependent need to be able to sort through their problems and feelings from the past to repair their relationships.

Healing occurs when people are able to share honestly and openly without fear. We are human beings that are alive and always growing and changing. We have feelings that are comfortable or uncomfortable but not good or bad. Our feelings are our very personal possessions and need to be managed as they come. In recovery we need to be able to identify our feelings, avoid suppressing them, and develop coping skills to manage them.  We need to know how to share our feelings appropriately. They are always changing.

Related Posts-

Recidivism in Recovery, Our emotions our not our enemy  although belief systems may be

Passive, assertive, aggressive

*TSOI recognizes that the lack of communication not only happens to families where substance abuse is involved, but to a variety of families and situations. Just because alcohol or other drugs may not be involved doesn’t mean that the dynamics in the family are healthy.


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Be Careful What You See- Today’s Reflection

 

Today’s Reflection- Be Careful What You See

 

 

con·fir·ma·tion bi·as

The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

Perfect Example:

Bus seats mistaken for burqas by members of anti-immigrant group –https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/02/bus-seats-mistaken-burqas-anti-immigrant-group-norwegian

She is a sweet and cute girl– who could be smiling to your face and then gossip up a storm behind your back

He looks like a bum. Get a job. – In actuality may be dealing with severe depression, other mental illness, and / or trauma yet would give the shirt off his back to someone who needed it.

He is dressed in a suit– must be highly successful, educated, and important, but in actuality could be a narcissistic scam artist and an asshole.

He has tattoos and colored spiked hair– must be a thug, but in actuality could be a compassionate humanitarian.

A black guy wearing a hoodie– can even be killed for it. Must be a thug / gang member

She is speaking in another language– must be illegal. Go back to your country. In actuality she is an American who was born here and is simply bilingual which isn’t illegal to be. Or someone who just migrated to the U.S. and is currently learning English.

She is young and attractive– this must be why she is successful. In actuality she is educated, dedicated, and worked hard to get where she is.

OR- She is young and attractive- must be brainless

She is young. What could she know. I’ve been on this earth much longer. – Wisdom doesn’t always comes through age.

You get the point- perceptions, stereotypes, confirmation biases, generalizations, prejudices, discrimination, racism, sexism, ageism, etc.

Things aren’t always as they seem…… Let’s continue to be mindful of this.


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Stuff, stuff, stuff- My new life simplified.

Stuff, stuff, stuff- My new life simplified.

Stuff, stuff, stuff- My new life simplified.

For the last seven years I’ve read about people who gave up on maintaining their homes especially the big homes they didn’t really need anymore. They decided to simplify and live more sustainably. Some sold their homes and built smaller efficient ones. There were those who decided to embrace the downtown living and all that it offers. Others hit the road and began their new journey with a fifth wheel.

My husband and I have built and owned three homes. The last two were especially beautiful with one being across the Namekagon River. We know the joy of having your own home, but also about everything that is involved in keeping and maintaining that home. Throughout the years we have done quite a bit of downsizing. I had to tell friends and family to PLEASE do not buy us anymore stuff!

The items they bought were nice, but it was just more of what we really didn’t need. It came to the point where we didn’t have a place to display everything. The items began to blend into each other as a compilation of stuff rather than as a showcase of unique, beautiful, and interesting pieces.

It took a few years, but I finally got through to everyone to stop buying us anymore items. We asked if they insisted on giving something, to give it to a charity in our name or get us something that is more along the lines of a consumable item.  It could be a certificate to a movie, a restaurant, or specialty food basket. Of course you can never go wrong with chocolate.

Throughout the years (starting seven years ago) we continued to have garage sales, moving sales, donated items, threw out items, and gave some away. We have always prided ourselves in keeping things simple and not having a lot of stuff. However, it wasn’t until our last home that we realized even after all that we had downsized, we had a long way to go. We were not hoarders by any means and it was just the two of us. No children, no pets. When you have a bigger house you simply accumulate more stuff.

NO more! Bye-bye stuff! Never see you again! We put our house on the market and within the first week we had an interested buyer. He immediately put in an offer. While preparing for the move with packing and yet another moving sale, it had been both liberating and stressful with the realization that we still had so much more than what we needed or wanted.

We moved into less than half the square footage of our last home and decided to do the downtown living. We rented a beautiful apartment on the river while deciding our next move.

One day I came across this ad and couldn’t help, but smile. It said, “Live the American Dream. Stop renting, own your own home”.

We loved our new apartment and the fact we no longer had any maintenance to worry about. We decided that if we ever owned a home again, it wouldn’t be any more than 1000 square feet and 10 minutes tops for maintaining a yard.

We have since then bought a condo and we are in way less than the 1000 square feet I mentioned earlier and have never been happier.

This blog category-My New Life Simplified will be about how I downsized and simplified my life. I will share simple prep recipes, products I love that are useful, and what I’ve learned from designing and building three of my own homes. I will share about our downtown living (first with an apartment and now a condo) and its many activities and the people we meet along the way. I will talk about the ways we have incorporated to live more sustainably.  I will share about health and wellness. It will be about the things I love and ideas I learned in my new simplified life and sharing them with you.

 


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Christianity Today- What would Jesus Say?

Jesus, whether you believe he is the son of God, a prophet, good teacher, or just a fictional character from history, etc., he is an example and a model of what we could all learn from on one level or another about forgiveness, love, compassion, mercy, etc…

Man, myth, God, whatever or whoever, went against the norms, broke the rules, and was either really hated or really loved……

Jesus was not hung up in titles, status, money, or positions. In fact he says……let the first be last and the last be first. He washed his disciples feet in the ultimate act of humility although he was their teacher. He recognized the woman who had little to give, but gave with all her heart versus the man who had much, but gave very little in comparison.

Did Jesus condone or enable wrong doing? Of course not. He encouraged and challenged people to turn from their ways. However, he was fair, balanced, tried to meet people where they were at in love, yet not afraid to point out at times denial and hypocrisy. Wrong doing is wrong doing. He was clear on that spreading gossip, malice, and slander was also just as wrong as other “sins”.

At the same time he was friends with and took time for those who would normally be marginalized then and in our world today including by many in the church. Jesus became friends with the prostitutes, the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, the criminals from the least to the worst rich and poor, people with addictions, and so on.  He understood situations where people were unhealthy, hurting, spiritually lacking or even deprived. He wanted people to find peace and freedom within and reached out through love and example of what was possible rather than condemn and shame. He did not expect people to go and “clean themselves up” before they were acceptable for his kingdom,  in today’s world, church.

However, sometimes he did come down hard on the religious leaders of the time because they were professing to be the righteous, yet their actions were the opposite of, all the more of what a spiritual / religious leader should encompass………..love, peace, mercy, grace, compassion, tolerance. In fact, it was the religious leaders who were responsible for having Jesus crucified.

What if God came in disguise today as one of us? The “least” of any of us? Would those who say they believe have the heart of Jesus or at least pray to have the heart of Jesus?  If one were to fail, be willing to make amends that may be needed and from a place of all sincerity? When people see this, then they will know you are a Christian without you having to tell them.

Maybe some of you who read this do not profess to be a christian or is not sure if Jesus was real or whether he was a man, prophet, or otherwise. One thing that can be said, real or not, the Jesus that was just described here and throughout history, sure seems to be one cool dude.