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.

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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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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Why We Started Homeschooling, Part Two

A few weeks ago, I shared the emotional reason why we began homeschooling. Now, I would like to share the logical reasons.

Once I worked through the emotions of our situation, I started doing my research to see what would be best for Beth. Should I fight for change at our public school, or should I homeschool?

Our district is all-inclusive, which means it does not have any self-contained classrooms past preschool. This was something I was thrilled about when Beth first started school in 2012, but now saw as a negative, given our situation. Beth thrived in the self-contained classroom; but appeared to have had more bad than good experiences in the blended one. From kindergarten and on, she would be in a “pod classroom,” which would have 8-11 students with IEPs blended with 10-15 neurotypical  students. The students with IEPs would be given 30 minutes a day with a Special Education teacher for “extra help,” but would spend the other 4.5 hours with one teacher and one aide in the pod.

Having taught 4yr pre-k, and substituted in kindergarten, I could not see this ratio working for any of the kids. Being neurotypical, and without an IEP, does not mean those children will not need additional help. How could two adults possibly fulfill the needs of 18-27 students, and still provide a positive educational environment?

With that question in mind, I started examining the benchmarks and kindergarten readiness skills on different sites. I realized that Beth barely had 50% of the skills suggested to start kindergarten. Although, her IEP was in place because she learned at a different rate, than her typical peers, I also realized that her achievement of IEP goals had been overstated. Perhaps they could get her to “perform” one-on-one, but overall she did not possess the skills to utilize in the classroom (or other non-school) setting.

I brought my findings to her therapists (who have been with us since Beth was 2.5yrs old), and asked them for an honest opinion on  her chances of success in a pod classroom. The answer was unanimous, she would fall further behind, and would not be able to reach her God given potential, given the structure of the pod classroom. They also felt that this would only add to her anxiety, self-esteem, and confidence issues.

Henry and I discussed our options at length. Although he had several reservations, he supported my desire to attempt homeschooling.  We also debated whether to allow Anne to remain in public school, or withdraw her too. In the end we decided that if the school was not a safe, positive environment for Beth, then it was not for Anne either. Our girls deserved more respect, and a better chance of success in reaching their God given potential, than our public school could provide.

I am beyond grateful for the ugliness that stemmed from our request for help, because it opened my eyes and heart to the reality of our girls’ situation. We had put too much trust in the public school staff, and given them more power than they deserved, but that is a post for another time.

 

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

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Serenity Spectrum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.