Five Years of a Blessed Commitment

♥ Today marks my FIVE year anniversary, being committed to Al-Anon. ♥

I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting on May 16, 2010 and instantly felt like I was home. I started attending meetings regularly and could feel myself healing from many of my emotional wounds. Then I got pregnant again, and our world slowed to a crawl due a very difficult pregnancy. I still read my literature and tried to practice the principals, but no longer attended meetings on a regular basis, if at all.

On January 3, 2012,  I went to what would become my home group meeting for the next few years. Instantly there was peace in the center of my mental storm. I committed to my program that day, because I wanted to be better for my girls. I wanted them to have a different life, and sense of self, than I had. I wanted to break the cycle of self-loathing and self-destruction. I went for them, but I stayed for me.

It’s been almost 7 years since my first meeting, and 5 years since I committed to this amazing program, and today I can say that I am a different person. I look at the “pre-Al-Anon” me, and cannot even believe that I still have friends from that time, I was so horrible. I thank God every day for the people who loved me enough to stay, even when I could not stand to be around myself. Today, I love myself and I am proud of the progress I have made. I am not perfect, nor would I ever wish to be, because God created me to be human with all my imperfections as tools to build a better me.

Daily I pray only for the willingness and strength to carry out His will, and not force mine. An example of His will versus mine is that yesterday I visited my grandmother, for the first time in over 10 years. I honestly had no intention of seeing her anytime soon, I had given thought to seeing her when I reached Step 9, but God had other plans.  I followed His message and did as He asked. It was a nice visit. We sat down like old friends, talked about current life and reminisced about the old days. Then when we were leaving, we hugged and agreed that we did not want to rehash the ugliness of the past, but start with a clean slate going forward. This visit brought me some peace, and gifted my father and grandmother with much happiness. I am not sure what the future will hold, but I know God has a plan, and my job is to follow the path He lays in front of me.

Thank you Al-Anon for helping me build a loving relationship with my Higher Power, whom I call God. Thank you God for loving me and blessing me with your grace.

ss-serenity-prayer

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Mother’s Day 2016

Good morning, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Holidays and parties are HARD for our family. We need to prepare by doing a lot of resting prior, and then we must prepare for the inevitable meltdowns and struggles that will follow. Beth and Anne can usually “hold it together” while we are there, because they truly WANT to be there. The problem is that it is too much for their systems, especially Beth. The one thing our loved ones will never understand is the “happy meltdown.” The “happy meltdown” is the fallout as Beth’s system tries to process all the excitement and happy she experienced at the gathering.

After many PAINFUL holidays this past year, we are doing things differently. It is upsetting to people that want to see the girls at parties, but I cannot please everyone and my girls’ mental health cones first. So today, I will spend the morning with my amazing daughters, then this afternoon I will go visit with my family (mom, gram, aunt, etc…) to celebrate Mother’s Day. Our decision was not popular, but I must admit that once it was made, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

Today is Mother’s Day, and EVERY Mother should celebrate in a way that puts a happy in HER heart. We should not celebrate in ways that only make others happy. We must put ourselves first sometimes, and today is the perfect day to do that.  Remember Different is just different; it is not better or worse, and you need not justify your choices to anyone. May your day be filled with laughter and love; may it also be meltdown free and relaxing.

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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World Autism Day 2016 ~ I Can’t. She Can. I Think I’ll Let Her.

In Al-Anon the first three steps (from the 12 steps) are the foundation of our program. We tend to shorten those steps to: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.” The actual steps read as:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

I look at it like this… I am powerless over people, places and things. My Higher Power, whom I call God, will help them on their path, just as He is always with me on my journey. The only person I have control over is myself, and I must use that control to always conduct myself like the woman God knows I can be.

Today as I prepare for another April, where I inevitably spend most of my time cringing at many of the posts, I am seeing the world through my program eyes. I understand that I cannot control what other people believe, or what they choose to share. I accept that we are all just trying to do the best we can for our families, and we don’t have to agree to treat each other with respect and kindness. I am praying for Autistics everywhere to know that their value is not tied to the opinions of others, but is rooted in themselves. I am praying for a better world, where everyone treats each other with Love and Respect, while celebrating and embracing diversity.

My “Three Steps” for treating my daughter with the respect she deserves:

  1. I Can’t…

I can’t live life for Beth, because I can never fully understand what occurs in her beautiful mind/body from day to day. I must always respect her boundaries and space, because I do not experience the world in the same way she does. My job as her parent is to support her in any way possible, but I should NEVER try to control her.  I can’t think for her, and therefore should not speak for her either.

      1. She Can…

She can, and does, live a pretty awesome life. As she learns to navigate this overwhelming world, she tries to share her experiences with us. She can tell (or show) us what she feels, and how certain things affect her. All we need to do is “listen” with our ears, eyes and most importantly our hearts. She can speak for herself, and reminds us of that when we forget.

        1. I Think I’ll Let Her…

I think I’ll let her live life on her terms. She is constantly helping us see the world in a different way. She helps us, and people who meet her, see the struggles and blessings of Autism. She has an amazing voice, which she uses to spread love and light everywhere she ventures. By letting her share her message, how she chooses, we are changing the world for the better, one person at a time.

World Autism Day 3 Steps

Today is World Autism Day; this month is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. By the end of April, you will see a LOT of information shared in various forms. You may find yourself with more questions than answers. If you have questions about Autism, the best place to go is an Autistic person. As a parent, I cannot express the level of my gratitude for the Autistic Adults, who are willing to share their journey in order to help the next generation. There are many wonderful pages/sites that can address your questions, and help you see Autism for what it is… A neurological difference; It is NOT less, neither is it more, it is simply a different way of processing the world.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Stress and Praise

Hello friends, I hope you are all doing well. I know I have been missing-in-action for many months, but life has been a bit more chaotic then usual. I cannot seem to find the time to devote to blogging, and I suppose it is because so many other things in life are simply more of a priority at this time. I keep searching for the secret that will leave me some energy at the end of the night, so I can start writing again, but so far it has not materialized. We all know that Life is One Day At A Time, and I have faith that soon there will be a better balance in my life.

As I have been searching for that balance, one thing stands out to me… the repetitive pattern of problem and solution. The majority of my problems come from stress, which is a result of me trying to control everything. Most of my solutions come from prayer, which is putting my faith in my Higher Power, whom I call God. When I stress, and allow my worse-case-scenario imagination to run rampant, I end up exhausted and sick. When I praise God, and thank Him (and His angels) for being with me always, I am peaceful and strong. It really comes down to putting my pesky ego in it’s place, and accepting that through God all things are possible, if I am willing to get out of my own way and let Him work.  As we say in program: “I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let Him.”

 

Stress and Praise

 

 

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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Befriending Myself

I was recently talking to someone about who I am now, versus who I was prior to Al-Anon. The truth is, had I met myself back then, I would not have wanted to be my friend. After three years of being committed to my Al-Anon journey, and working the program the way it is meant to be worked, I actually like myself most days.

The problem is there are still a lot of days, when I don’t like myself. There are still far too many days when I cannot be a good friend to myself. How will I ever teach my girls to treat themselves with Respect and Kindness, if I cannot do it for myself? The sad answer is: I won’t. In order to break the cycle, and help them be good friends to themselves, I must start treating myself better, NOW.

My greatest dream for Beth and Anne is for them to LOVE themselves in every way. I pray for them to have self-worth; to be proud of all that they are and have confidence in all that they do. Basically, I pray for them to grow-up feeling the opposite of how I did.

As I work my program, I am slowly beginning to love myself, as completely and unconditionally as I love my children. One day, I will be proud of all that I am, because I will be the person God knows I can be. Some day, I will have confidence in all that I do, because my actions will be based in the serenity of recovery.

I am not perfect, but as long as I am making progress, I am healing. As long as I am healing, I have the opportunity to be the kind of mommy my girls deserve. Personally, I can think of no better friend to have, than the woman they already think I am.  So I am befriending myself, and giving us all a brighter future. ❤

Background image is property of Lindsey Schultz. It is used by Serenity Spectrum with her permission.  Text Reads:

Background image is property of Lindsey Schultz. It is used by Serenity Spectrum with her permission.
Text Reads: “I will spend more time with myself in this lifetime than anyone else. Let me learn to be the kind of person I would like to have as a friend.” ~ Anonymous

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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The Labyrinth

This past weekend, I attended an Al-Anon Round-Up, which was held on some of the most spiritual grounds I have ever set foot on. This is my third year attending the Round-Up at this location, and my favorite part of the weekend is walking the Labyrinth.

The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking our replica of the Chartres Labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral around 1220, you are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn. Walking the labyrinth is an ancient spiritual act and a physical meditation that is being rediscovered during our time.  A labyrinth is an ancient circular diagram. It consists of a single concentric circular path with no possibility of going astray. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart. Anyone from any tradition or spiritual path can walk into the labyrinth and benefit, through reflecting in the present moment.

The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking our replica of the Chartres Labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral around 1220, you are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn. Walking the labyrinth is an ancient spiritual act and a physical meditation that is being rediscovered during our time. A labyrinth is an ancient circular diagram. It consists of a single concentric circular path with no possibility of going astray. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart. Anyone from any tradition or spiritual path can walk into the labyrinth and benefit, through reflecting in the present moment.

Typically I experience a myriad of emotions during my meditative journey through the Labyrinth, while also receiving spiritual messages I may need at the time. This year the messages were different. This year I received specific, repetitive messages and actually wrote them down when I got back to the car. Here are the messages I received:

Thoughts based in Faith
Vision based in Beauty
Smells based in Sweetness
Words based in Kindness
Heart based in Love
Soul based in Respect
Energy based in Light
Roots based in Positivity
**Walk with Me and follow My beacons of Hope and Joy.**

Honestly, I do not know the extent of what these messages mean; however, at face value they are a magical blueprint to live by. I suspect they tie into my Chakras in  some way, but I will need to pray and meditate about these messages, before I can fully understand their significance.  If you have any thoughts on what my Higher Power was trying to convey, please feel free to share your insights.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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The C Word

While I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion, when you talk/write about any Autistic individual, especially my daughter, there are two words that will awaken indignation in me. The C word is by far the worst; if you tell me about a cure for Autism, I cannot be held accountable for my actions. If you mention recovery from Autism, I probably won’t be much more rational.

In recent weeks, I have had complete strangers contact me about how to cure Autism, so I can help my daughter. I have also had friends, some of which have Autistic children, discuss similar topics. I thank God that I have been in Al-Anon for so many years, because the pre-Al-Anon me would not have been able to ignore (or politely respond to) such offensive contact.

I try VERY hard to be a positive example for my children. I try to lead by example and show them that we should treat everyone with respect, kindness and love. Unfortunately, I am human and when you say something so upsetting and outrageous, I sometimes forget to work my program. I think I need to print this up, and simply start handing them out to people who use these and other offensive terms:

Autism is an integral part of Beth, it is interwoven into every fiber of her being. Beth is exactly the person God intended her to be, there is NOTHING about her that needs to be cured or recovered! She is a whole person, who is amazing! Yes she struggles some days, but don’t we all? Her struggles are unique to her body’s neurology, but those struggles do not make her any less of a person. When people talk about Autistic people like there is something wrong with them, they are talking about my daughter and countless others like her, who add immeasurable magic to our world. It is INSULTING when so many special people are disrespected, and viewed in such a negative manner. EVERY person deserves to be treated with respect and kindness! Stop judging people who are different, embrace diversity, and love them for the extraordinary people they are. 

PLEASE THINK before you speak; try to imagine how you would feel if someone wanted to change you, or your loved ones. How would you feel if someone told you that you, or your child, needed to be cured or recovered? If you would be offended, like we are, then PLEASE don’t say it. Instead of spreading damaging stereotypes, PLEASE take the time to get to know an Autistic person. I promise it will change your life for the better, because there is a certain magic than can only be seen through their beautiful minds.

Have a blessed day everyone, and don’t forget to smile. ♥

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