Welcome to Hidden Angel Records and Hidden Angel Publishing!

Everything Is My Fault, a new book by Juliet Wright

Everything Is My FaultJuliet has just recently released her first book, Everything Is My Fault.

You can order the book online in paperback or e-reader form through the Hidden Angel’s Online Store , or you can purchase it through Amazon.com

You can also purchase the paperback version at:

East West Bookstore, 324 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041, 650-988-9800, www.eastwest.com

Bennington Bookshop, 467 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201. 802/442-5059.

A long, dark journey into light

 

Also available is her latest compact disc, Fearless Moral Inventory which you can also purchace through our online store or via CD Baby or through bandcamp, or through Amazon.

Header Photo by Alice Garik: www.alicegarik.com

Photo by http://raikohartman.com/

“These past five years have been a time of grieving, acceptance, growth and renewal for me. I rely heavily on God, who is my reason for living. Contained in this compact disc are my very personal stories, experiences, wishes and dreams that I have put into song in an effort to heal. I hope they inspire you to create some of your own as part of your recovery.”

Order the CDs Fearless Moral InventoryBeloved and the paperback version of Everything Is My Fault for just $35!

Meet Author/Songwriter/Musician –  Juliet Wright

Juliet is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, author, and teacher who was born and raised in Central Vermont.

She spent much of her young life as an equestrian and was always active in music and theatre. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy from 1979-1982, where she studied piano, music composition, theatre, and dance. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, in 1986 with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz Guitar Performance.

After leaving Miami, Juliet moved to Burlington, Vermont, to pursue her career as a jazz guitarist. She moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where she pursued her career as a guitarist and performer of pop and rock music. For the next 13 years, she made her living singing, and playing the guitar, piano, and saxophone in clubs and at private functions all over California.

She married Alex in 1996 and the two divorced in 2004.

In 1997, she began teaching general vocal music for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

She moved back to Vermont, in 2007, where she currently lives. She writes books and composes and records her own music. She also teaches stringed instruments to elementary school students in a nearby Massachusetts school district.

Her hobbies include writing and recording music, oil painting, knitting, and nurturing all the baby trees she has planted on her property. She is a devout Quaker and is active in her Quaker meeting. Codependency recovery is very important to Juliet, and she donates much of her time giving back to CoDA.

News

Perseverance

Perseverance

 

But in front of me.
Is a man who’s done his time.

He’s learned his lessons fine for now.

He’ll be taken back.

To try and try again.

Our lessons they send us back.
But can I see?

Can I see?

Can I see?

 

~ In Front of Me, from Fearless Moral Inventory,

by Juliet, A. Wright, copyright 2008, all rights reserved

 

 

I must work diligently if I am going to continue to recover from codependency. As the saying goes, “It works if you work it.” I have found this to be very true for me.

 

Perseverance is the spiritual principle behind Step 10.

 

Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.[1]

 

 

To me, perseverance means that I keep trying and don’t quit — no matter what. I put one foot in front of the other foot. I keep watch over my behavior patterns and work to change them for the better. I know that these new behavior patterns will lead me closer to God.
Some behaviors and thought processes take much time and effort to change. My over-responsibility and caretaking defects are good examples of this. I have been actively practicing these behaviors for many, many years now. So getting rid of them and building in new ones will take time. It is taking me a long time to learn to take care of myself, let others be responsible for their feelings, and to speak honestly about how I feel and what I need. Sometimes I succeed, many times I fail. I do experience small increments of growth if I work hard. I am taking baby steps.

 

So I keep trying. I keep going. I lie in bed every night and ask God, “Did I do what you wanted me to do today?” Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t get an answer, then I accept that what I did was God’s will for me, and that I did my best. If I made mistakes, I admit them and try to do better the next day, not repeating the same mistakes.

 

Part of the process of building in these new behavior patterns involves doing my step work. I try to do my step work every single week: write something, read it, and then send it to my sponsor.

 

Every morning, I get on my knees, say The Lord’s Prayer, and give my life to God.

I ask God to do my teaching for me, my step work for me, my writing for me, my work for me. Then I get up and go do my best.
When I take a personal inventory, sometimes I realize I am wrong and I admit it. Like yesterday, I was teaching students from one of my elementary schools and I started working with the violinists on baby mi (E) string.(I teach my students to name the strings, grandpa, papa, mama and baby. This helps them remember which string is which.) One student said, “I don’t remember doing this string,” and his book was blank. So was another student’s. Soon, I had to admit I was wrong. I looked at my notes, and on the last lesson, we had only prepared for the concert. That was it. So I admitted I was wrong and started teaching it to them. Now I know the first student has had baby mi (E) string before, last year. But he lost his book, and struggles with practicing, so he probably doesn’t think he has had it before. My point is that I had to admit I was wrong.

 

I need to add humility to this equation. To me, correctly admitting I’m wrong means “humbly” admitting I’m wrong. This means knocking off the resentful attitude that finds something to criticize in another person to make myself feel better. I am that small sometimes and am embarrassed to say so. It has just been so engrained in my mind that I have to be perfect that sometimes I still try like heck to make it someone else’s fault. That’s just being really honest. If it is someone else’s fault, it’s not my fault. Then I’m okay. I’m still perfect.

 

But wait a minute! I’m not perfect! I am a flawed human being. There is only one perfect being in existence and that is God. It’s okay for me to makes mistakes.

 

While I’m diligent in my efforts to do the best job I can, I admit I’m wrong. I made other mistakes at that school that same week. I thought I had only one lesson with those students that month, so I told them I wouldn’t see them for a couple of weeks. Then I looked again at the calendar, talked to the secretary, and there was a lesson the next week. So I had to call their parents and say, “Sorry, I was wrong; there is violin lesson next week.” I was wrong and I survived. It’s true!

 

I also have to admit when I’m right. Like in reviewing my perseverance, I see that I’ve been working very hard at not raging anymore. I did pretty well this week. I didn’t have any rage attacks.
My over-responsibility and caretaking recovery is in the process of taking two steps forward and one step back. I have been overly worried about my sister to the point of obsession the last few days. I was taking my morning walk in the woods when this type of thing occurred. Every time the obsession would start, I would have to catch it and bring myself back into the moment. And it was a beautiful moment. The forest near my house is one of the most beautiful places in the world as far as I’m concerned. Anyone who would walk there and still say there is no God would have to be declared insane, in my opinion. So I kept redirecting my attention. It does not serve me to obsess.

 

Last night, I did some caretaking of a friend who called on the phone. (That blasted telephone again.) I spent all of my vacuuming time talking to her on the phone. I compromised and swept with a broom while talking to her instead. I tried to do what I could to make it okay with myself but deep down I really wanted to vacuum the house. So next time I should let the person leave a message and then I’ll call them back.

 

The other night, I learned that a colleague’s husband died at a relatively young age. I started internalizing it, feeling her feelings, I was very, very sad. Then I caught myself. I can’t fix it. I can’t bring him back. I don’t have to feel her feelings. I can have compassion and empathy. I sent a card. I signed their online funeral list. That’s enough. I caught myself getting enmeshed with these people, and I did some step work to correct it.

 

Today I learned that a Quaker friend of mine knows someone whose kids were killed by their nanny. How awful. Not fair. I can’t internalize that either. I am only responsible for myself. Baby steps.

 

There’s always another chance to try again. I just have to be tenacious. I only fail if I stop trying. I can’t do that. I have to keep working on my recovery; otherwise, these defects will eat me alive.

 

I persevere with trying to learn the violin. I bought an awesome machine that plays Music Minus One CDs but slows them down. Very cool! Very fun. Using this machine helps my practice time to go very quickly and is very fulfilling.
I admit that my rage doesn’t serve me. So my therapist asked me what I could do to get out of rage, go into the Observer and, distract the inner spoiled six-year-old child inside of me that has tantrums when I don’t get what I want and start raging. I said, “Music might work.” Lincoln Park, The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded soundtracks, Tom Petty, and Porcupine Tree all fit the bill as music that will get my rage safely out of my body. So now they’re in my car, along with my Angry Bird mascots that sit on my dashboard.

 

I persevere in trying to do Weight Watchers and do my diet. When I go over my points, I admit it and try again.

 

I persevere in trying to not feel responsible for everyone.

 

I persevere in trying to keep Hidden Angel Company going, while teaching full-time. It’s very busy.
I am determined to do a good job teaching. It’s going pretty well. I told my therapist that it seems like God must want me to do that. She said, “When you do what God wants you to do, he rewards you.”

 

I persisted in getting my first book done and published and now I have 16 good reviews. My sponsor says that this is God’s way of saying “good for you” 16 times.

 

I am determined to recover from my defects. I will practice new behaviors every day. I will do this by:

 

  1. Letting others take care of themselves.
  2. Stopping work when I’m too tired to continue.
  3. Getting more sleep.
  4. Being kind to others.
  5. Breathing in and out.
  6. Bringing myself back to this moment when obsessing.
  7. Practicing gratitude, instead of negativity.
  8. Leaving myself enough time to do things so that I can be more patient.

 

I will not give up.

 

I persevere in trying to get closer to God, to surrender to him, to give up control, which I think I secretly idolize. I preserve in trying to listen to Him and hear Him. I need more sleep to do this.

 

Just like my car won’t run right if I don’t check the oil, get the tires changed and balanced, and keep the windshield washing fluid dispenser full, I won’t get better from codependency if I don’t do my 10th Step every day and keep trying to get closer to God, healthier, and rid of my defects.

 

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • Use your inner wisdom
  • Humans make mistakes; that’s okay.
  • Change your self-judgment habit.
  • Do your best, do your Make a Plan Process (covered in the first book), let go and let God.
  • I am doing the best I can in this moment to nurture my career and myself.
  • Treat it like the front page of the paper.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10.

I have positive affirmations that help me with my perseverance:

 

  • It’s okay that you’re not perfect.
  • It’s okay for me to make mistakes every day.
  • It’s okay for my child and me to be who we are, ourselves. We are loveable.
  • I will listen to the truth, which is that I am a good person.
  • I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I am a good person.
  • Today I am Gods brand new creation.
  • Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.

The steps I take to practice perseverance:

 

  • More Journaling: I journal as much as necessary to get my feelings out of me and on paper.
  • Worship: I talk to God through prayer to get the strength I need to get through my day. Then I listen through meditation to what God has to say by sitting in silent worship and waiting upon him. This helps me to get up and keep trying again for another day. At night before I go to sleep, I ask God, “Did I do what you dswanted me to do today?” I listen. Accept. Sleep.
  • Exercise: working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill and lifting weights all help me get the perseverance to keep going and try again.
  • Constant God Connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers and listening for His direction throughout my day. Sometimes he speaks to me through other people at Quaker meeting, at my CoDA group, through a radio sermon, in a book, during a bible study, or through people I see during my day.
  • Program Literature: I read the Codependents Anonymous Basic Text, the Codependents Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook (often called the 12 and 12) and other literature. Reading this literature helps me to better understand the purpose behind Step 10 the benefits of perseverance.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is charge of my life, he must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do. His word has a lot to say about perseverance.
  • Willingness: I pray for the willingness to get up and try again, one day at a time.
  • Read the Daily List: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask him to remove them if and when he is ready. I become recommitted to overcoming these defects.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “Don’t quit before the miracle happens,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let him,” “Willingness is key,” “When all else fails, follow directions,” “Progress not perfection” and “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
  • Let it go: once I give it to God, I let go and trust Him. Move on. I consider that it is as it’s supposed to be at this moment.

 

I have a very happy life and I have gratitude and happiness more than ever before thanks to the work I do with my sponsor and this program. I have been given a gift. Thank you, God!

 

 

 

[1] Ibid., p. iv.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

~ Ephesians 4:32

 

But with you there is forgiveness,

So that we can, with reverence, serve you.

 

~ Psalm 130:4

 

Forgiveness has really been on my mind lately. It has been on my mind in relation to myself. It is a vital, fundamental spiritual principle. Without it, I cannot lead a healthy spirit-filled life. I must be able to forgive others and myself. Otherwise, my grudges will turn me into a dark, gnarled mess. Forgiveness comes directly out of my step work.

 

To me forgiveness means that I am releasing the anger, resentment and blame that I feel towards someone or myself for a wrong that has been done against me. I let it all go and move forward.

 

The principle of forgiveness is related to Step 9.

 

Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.[1]

 

The Lord’s Prayer asks the Lord to forgive us the way we forgive others.

 

     And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

~ Matthew 6:12

 

Saying I’m sorry is one of the easiest, yet hardest things for me to do. It’s easy in that I have the defect of over-responsibility and think everything is my fault, so of course I have to say I’m sorry for everything I’ve done wrong, which is everything. I say I’m sorry a lot. I always have. What makes saying I’m sorry difficult is the fear of abandonment and fear of rejection that come with saying I’m sorry and making amends with someone.
Since I’ve been in program, I have learned that part of making amends is changing one’s behavior. Part of that change, for me, is coming face to face with what I’ve done and the person I’ve done it to, say I’m sorry and make an effort to change.

 

Based on what the Lord’s Prayer says, if I don’t forgive others, that God shouldn’t forgive me. Not good. I want forgiveness. So I have to give forgiveness if I want to receive it in return.
How do I know if I’ve forgiven someone? Well, if I’m still crabbing about something someone has done to me, that probably means I’m still ticked off about it. That means I’m probably harboring resentments about whatever it is I think they did to me. In my mind, it means I haven’t truly forgiven them.
So this means that if God forgives me the way I’ve forgiven that parent Jenny for hurting my feelings at a concert recently, then he hasn’t forgiven me. I obviously haven’t forgiven the parent because I’m still complaining about their behavior and thinking negative thoughts about it. I’m harboring a grudge.

 

I have done extensive step work in regards to my mother and father. I have looked at these relationships through the lenses of relationship inventories, defects of character inventories, and codependency patterns. This step work has helped me to heal these relationships, even though they have both passed on. Completing my Step 9 and making amends with my parents further helped me heal these relationships. Although my father made his transition in 2003, I feel I was able to make amends and heal this relationship through step work, prayer, meditation, journaling, and therapy after he died. I did a Step 9 with my mother before she passed away and much healing was accomplished as a result.

 

This step work has enabled me to forgive my parents for all of the unhealthy behaviors and lack of nurturing in my life. My hard work has enabled me to let go of the anger and resentment that I once felt toward them. They did the best they could. Their lives were turned upside down by many incidents, including disbarment, addiction, miscarriages, and infidelity. As a child, I was caught up in that and wasn’t in the position to stick up for myself or correct anything.
Resentment is a dangerous feeling that weights one down with darkness that can be life-long and harmful. I carried the bag of bricks of resentment for a long time. Thank heavens, I got into recovery and learned I could put that bag of bricks down. My childhood was filled with fear, doubt, pain, self-blame, shame, loneliness, and a terrible lack of a strong spiritual foundation. I was taught to look without f0r all of my approval, self-worth, love, and acceptance. Since I didn’t get that at home, I looked to my peers at school, boys, food, academic success, physical beauty, and success in extracurricular activities – such as music and horse showing. Nothing filled that empty space inside.

 

My mother tried to fill the empty space inside with alcohol. Dad filled it with power, control, and other women. I chose food. It didn’t work for any of us.

 

I grant pardon to my mother for drinking and not being a good Mom sometimes. She was hurting and did the best she could.
I grant pardon to my father for yelling at me about how fat I was in that restaurant (covered in the first book). He was in pain too and was taking it out on me. He was shattered by the loss of his career.

 

I forgive Brad (a man I dated who I discuss in the first book) for being controlling, manipulative, and self-serving. I know everything that happened between us happened for a reason and for our highest good. My relationship with him was one of the primary relationships in my life that brought me to CoDA and for that I am grateful.

 

I forgive Alex (my ex-husband; covered in first book) for having a change of heart and wanting out of our marriage. Our relationship has gone through a lot of healing and amends since I wrote my last book. I am very, very grateful to God for this. My friendship with Alex has grown a lot since we made amends and I very happy about that.

 

I absolve Betty (a friend) for not emailing me back six years ago when I sent her that beautiful email in which I poured out my heart to her. I accept that she was at a place where she felt her boundaries needed to be established a little farther out than I would have liked.

 

Forgiveness requires letting go. It requires that I let go of what I want. It requires that I accept where the person is at and stop trying to change that. It also obliges me to take care of myself.

 

When I need to forgive someone for something, the background is that I probably have not gotten something from him or her that I felt I wanted or deserved. It could also mean that I feel that I got treated poorly when I didn’t deserve that.

 

Sometimes this treatment is not on purpose. Often the person does not even realize they are doing it. And besides that, it’s not being done to me. Much of the time, the person is just reaching out or expressing themselves, trying to rid themselves of stress, extreme sadness, panic, or despair. When this happens to me, nine times out of ten, the timing doesn’t work for me. So then I get mad at them like they are doing something bad to me. Then I try to forgive them. But they didn’t do anything. For instance, I’m the one who answered the phone late at night and let the person’s sadness get all over me.

 

What happens is that I take on the other person’s feelings. I feel what they feel and want to fix them. This is my over-responsibility and caretaking. This is how I harm myself. In cases like this, I need to disengage, detach, give the person back their problems, and go take care of myself. This happened a lot with my sister during my brother-in-law’s illness. This behavior pattern caused me a lot of distress. I do this kind of thing to myself; I am aware of this. I need to forgive myself for being a caretaker, and start detaching and taking care of myself.

 

Sometimes, as was the case with Brad, I was manipulated, which caused a lot of confusion, suffering, self-blame, and shame. The manipulation in that relationship also led me to engage in behaviors that I felt shame about, that I was not comfortable with. Why did I do this? I’m a people pleaser. I get my self-worth from what others think of me.

 

Juliet’s Codependency Patterns:

 

I shower you with favors and pleasures to make you stay.

My fear of abandonment and fear of rejection determine how I behave.
I shove my morals under the carpet to be with you.

 

Of all the people I need to forgive, the one I need to forgive the most is myself. I am very hard on myself. I have a difficult time releasing the anger, resentment and blame that I feel towards myself for something I have done wrong. I turn all of that blame, anger and resentment inward. It does not feel good and it doesn’t serve me. If I can’t forgive myself, how I can I forgive others? I can’t. It has to start with me. I need to change this behavior and learn to forgive myself. I need to do a Step 9 on myself.

 

For example, I really have to work on cancelling the debts I feel I owe myself for not getting enough done each day. I have traditionally beat myself up mercilessly for not accomplishing huge amounts of work on my book, not practicing my music, not writing blogs and not doing book promotion. Thank goodness (because of the work I do with my step work and in program), I am starting to realize that there are only so many hours in a day. I can get only so much done in a 24-hour period. And you know what? There’s always tomorrow. Even if I think the world is going to end if I don’t accomplish everything on my three page “to do” list, it’s not true. Life will go on. It will be okay.

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • Hold the outcome in the Light of God.
  • Treat it like the front page of the paper.
  • Remember your bubble. My therapist told me to imagine a protective bubble around myself so that when hurtful things happen, I am not affected. The bad stuff only hits the outside of the bubble.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10.

I have positive affirmations that help me with my forgiveness:

 

  • Today I forgive myself and others.
  • I forgive myself for not being perfect.
  • It’s okay for me to make mistakes every day.
  • It’s okay for my child and me to be who we are, ourselves. We are loveable.
  • I will listen to the truth, which is that I am a good person.
  • I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I am a good person.
  • It’s okay that you’re not perfect.
  • Today I am Gods brand new creation.
  • Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.

The steps I take to practice forgiveness:

 

  • More Journaling: I journal as much as necessary to rid myself of resentment, anger, blame and guilt.
  • Worship: I talk to God about my resentment, anger, blame and guilt through prayer. I ask God to fill the empty space inside me and to give me what I thought I needed from the other person. Then I listen through meditation to what God has to say by sitting in silent worship and waiting upon him. This helps me move to a place of forgiveness.
  • Exercise: working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill and lifting weights all help me to get rid of the anger, blame and resentment inside, which brings me closer to the forgiveness of myself and others.
  • Constant God Connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers and listening for His direction throughout my day. Sometimes he speaks to me through other people at Quaker meeting, at my CoDA group, through a radio sermon, in a book, during a bible study, or through people I see during my day.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is charge of my life, he must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do. His word has a lot to say about forgiveness and I find it very helpful.
  • Willingness: I pray for the willingness to forgive the person and myself.
  • Read the Daily List: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask him to remove them if and when he is ready. I forgive myself for having these defects.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
  • Let it Go: I realize that things happen. I don’t have control over what goes on. I’m doing the best I can.

When I practice the spiritual principle of forgiveness I feel the blessed ease of spirit that comes from forgiving myself and others. I thank God for helping me to be able to forgive myself, which opens the door to forgiving others.

 

The way that you deal with forgiveness and any of the principles is by dealing with your feelings. Get them out of you. Look at your feelings and accept them. Come to a place where you are all right.

 

Thank you, God for this learning.

 

[1] Ibid., p. iv.

Willingness

 

Willingness

 

Your hands made me and formed me;

Give me understanding to learn your commands.

~ Psalm 119: 73 (NIV)

 

 

Willingness is a spiritual principle that is vital to my recovery from codependency. Willingness is directly connected to the success or failure of my spiritual life. I must be willing to change, grow, accept, surrender control, work hard, and admit when I’m wrong.
Willingness to me means that I have made a positive choice inside of me to try to do what I’m supposed to do.

 

Willingness is the spiritual principle behind Step 8:

 

  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.[1]

 

In Step 8, I’m getting ready to say I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I’m making a list of those I have to say it to in my life. This can be a really scary thing for me. I have fear of abandonment and fear of rejection. Plus making amends with someone could potentially lead to conflict. They could still be ticked off about whatever it is that I did, or said, or didn’t do or say. I am a conflict-avoidant codependent. This could keep me from making the list at all, throwing it away, or burning it in my wood stove and saying, “Forget it.” I must first make a positive choice inside myself to bravely make a list of the people that my codependent behaviors have affected. Then I need to choose to make amends to them all because that is the right thing to do. That is willingness. That is Step 8.

 

I think that part of this process involves turning the outcome of the amends over to God and letting go of expectations. Expectations often lead to disappointment. I can see myself as I make the list, playing out all the amends with these various folks in my head. My codependent “all or nothing” catastrophic thinking often leads me down the path of doom. They are going to yell at me, get mad at me, tell me I’m bad and leave me forever. I’m too scared. This is what I would tell myself. This “all or nothing” catastrophic thinking would make me not want to make the list or the amends. It would take away all my willingness.
If I decide to do what is right, make amends, and detach myself from any outcomes, giving them to God, this makes the process easier and takes a lot of the threat away. This opens the door to me becoming willing.

 

Part of making the list is knowing what people to put on the list for amends and who stays off the list. I make the initial list in this regard and my sponsor helps me weed this list out. My family of origin goes on the list. Others outside my family of origin went on the list, but for one reason or another did not make the final cut.

 

My family of origin taught me that everything was my fault. I was the scapegoat. Thus I developed the defects of over-responsibility and caretaking. Since I was responsible for everyone, everything was my fault. Love was taken away when I did something wrong. I was bad and unlovable. So I’ve grown up thinking that. And now, sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes, I take responsibility for things that aren’t my fault. This could lead me to put people on the amends list that don’t belong there.

 

So I need to keep these things in mind when I’m making my list. This is one of the many places that my sponsor can come in handy. She can listen to me tell my stories of what has happened and what I think I’ve done wrong and help me get clarity on what I actually need to say and to whom. This helps me with my list and with my willingness.
Another thing that helps me with my willingness is self-love. If I can separate my self-worth from my behaviors, a lot of the fear goes away. If I know that I am a beloved child of God no matter what I’ve done or what happens, I can more easily become ready to put myself out there, admit what I’ve done, and let the outcome be as it may.

 

Letting go of my defect of over-responsibility and caretaking will help me to become more cheerfully ready to make my list and my amends. If I am no longer responsible for someone else’s life or feelings, then I can become more willing to make amends to them because there is less to lose. I am not responsible for their feelings. I am only responsible for myself. This takes a lot of pressure off me. It makes life easier.

 

So I make my list, go over it with my sponsor, discuss my defects, fears and worries, and a plan is developed. All of this required my willingness. I became willing. I’m ready to put myself out there.

 

During this process, I have to constantly make the positive choice to stop being overly responsible for other people and take care of myself. This means giving the person I’m obsessing about back to God and letting go. Then I have to do the right thing to take care of myself, which is to unplug the phone, turn off my brain, and stop obsessing, stop trying to fix it, solve it, kill the pain for the other person. That is tough for me. Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to be willing to change this behavior. I can only do this with God’s help. God help me to do the right thing.

 

I am willing to let God be the center of my life. I am willing to keep turning over my life to Him and let Him be the boss. I am willing to let Him write my amends list for me. And He should be the focus of my mind, heart, and soul anyway. It’s about the amends He wants me to make, not the ones I think I need to make. He knows better than me.

 

Then I need to be willing to say I did the best I could for today in making my amends list. If I find myself unable to do this, I pray for the willingness to be willing to say I did the best I could for today. I need to trust my ability to hear and follow God’s directions.

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • You are doing God’s work.
  • Relax and watch.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I have Positive Affirmations that help me with my willingness:

  • I humble myself before the Lord; I will listen.
  • It’s not about what I want, it’s about what God wants.
  • I submit to the will of the Lord.
  • God will live my life for me today. I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is be a body.
  • God will overcome the false prophets in my head.

 

So the spiritual principle of willingness has a very vital place in my life. It is the concrete foundation under my Step 8 work as I make my amends list and prepare to go forward with my amends. It’s necessary for me to do what God wants me to do.

 

Additional practices I engage in when working the Principle of Willingness:

  • Renunciation: I get down on my knees in the morning, give my life and my day to God, and ask that His will be done. I say The Lord’s Prayer and The Serenity Prayer. This helps me to become willing. At night before I go to sleep, I say to God, “I surrender God. Dear God, I surrender.” I listen. I breathe. I sleep.
  • Prayer: When I’m not cheerfully consenting to do what God wants me to do, I pray the following prayers:
    • I pray for the willingness to be willing.
    • I ask God for the strength to do it.
    • I ask God to do it for me.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to do it through me.
  • More journaling: I get all of my resistance, fears, selfish desires, and control issues out of me and on paper. I write about things like: What am I willing to do? What is keeping me from being willing to do what He wants me to do?
  • Worship: Talking to God through consistent morning prayers and meditation is a vital step in my becoming willing to give up what I want for what He wants. Meditation is necessary because that is where I just sit and listen for His guidance.
  • Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to calm down and see things more clearly.
  • Program literature: I read Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA’s basic text), The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook of Co-Dependents Anonymous (often called The 12 and 12), and other literature. Reading this literature helps me to better understand the purpose behind Step 8 and become willing to write my list.
  • Scripture: When I need to become willing, I often read the following scripture:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
~Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

  • Constant God connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This helps me to become willing, as I want to do His will and please Him. It helps me to remember He is in charge, not me.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let Him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass,” “Act as if,” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.

 

[1] Ibid.

New Album – Fearless Moral Inventory:

This album is a very personal journey of a singer/songwriter/Christian/Quaker. This is my journal in song form. It is a recovery/self help Cd. It will help anyone who is in recovery from codependence or other twelve step programs.

Buy the CD from our online store!

Welcome to Hidden Angel Records and Hidden Angel Publishing!

Everything Is My Fault, a new book by Juliet Wright

Everything Is My FaultJuliet has just recently released her first book, Everything Is My Fault.

You can order the book online in paperback or e-reader form through the Hidden Angel’s Online Store , or you can purchase it through Amazon.com

You can also purchase the paperback version at:

East West Bookstore, 324 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041, 650-988-9800, www.eastwest.com

Bennington Bookshop, 467 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201. 802/442-5059.

A long, dark journey into light

 

Also available is her latest compact disc, Fearless Moral Inventory which you can also purchace through our online store or via CD Baby or through bandcamp, or through Amazon.

Header Photo by Alice Garik: www.alicegarik.com

Photo by http://raikohartman.com/

“These past five years have been a time of grieving, acceptance, growth and renewal for me. I rely heavily on God, who is my reason for living. Contained in this compact disc are my very personal stories, experiences, wishes and dreams that I have put into song in an effort to heal. I hope they inspire you to create some of your own as part of your recovery.”

Order the CDs Fearless Moral InventoryBeloved and the paperback version of Everything Is My Fault for just $35!

Meet Author/Songwriter/Musician –  Juliet Wright

Juliet is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, author, and teacher who was born and raised in Central Vermont.

She spent much of her young life as an equestrian and was always active in music and theatre. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy from 1979-1982, where she studied piano, music composition, theatre, and dance. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, in 1986 with a degree in Studio Music and Jazz Guitar Performance.

After leaving Miami, Juliet moved to Burlington, Vermont, to pursue her career as a jazz guitarist. She moved to Los Angeles in 1987, where she pursued her career as a guitarist and performer of pop and rock music. For the next 13 years, she made her living singing, and playing the guitar, piano, and saxophone in clubs and at private functions all over California.

She married Alex in 1996 and the two divorced in 2004.

In 1997, she began teaching general vocal music for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

She moved back to Vermont, in 2007, where she currently lives. She writes books and composes and records her own music. She also teaches stringed instruments to elementary school students in a nearby Massachusetts school district.

Her hobbies include writing and recording music, oil painting, knitting, and nurturing all the baby trees she has planted on her property. She is a devout Quaker and is active in her Quaker meeting. Codependency recovery is very important to Juliet, and she donates much of her time giving back to CoDA.

News

Perseverance

Perseverance

 

But in front of me.
Is a man who’s done his time.

He’s learned his lessons fine for now.

He’ll be taken back.

To try and try again.

Our lessons they send us back.
But can I see?

Can I see?

Can I see?

 

~ In Front of Me, from Fearless Moral Inventory,

by Juliet, A. Wright, copyright 2008, all rights reserved

 

 

I must work diligently if I am going to continue to recover from codependency. As the saying goes, “It works if you work it.” I have found this to be very true for me.

 

Perseverance is the spiritual principle behind Step 10.

 

Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.[1]

 

 

To me, perseverance means that I keep trying and don’t quit — no matter what. I put one foot in front of the other foot. I keep watch over my behavior patterns and work to change them for the better. I know that these new behavior patterns will lead me closer to God.
Some behaviors and thought processes take much time and effort to change. My over-responsibility and caretaking defects are good examples of this. I have been actively practicing these behaviors for many, many years now. So getting rid of them and building in new ones will take time. It is taking me a long time to learn to take care of myself, let others be responsible for their feelings, and to speak honestly about how I feel and what I need. Sometimes I succeed, many times I fail. I do experience small increments of growth if I work hard. I am taking baby steps.

 

So I keep trying. I keep going. I lie in bed every night and ask God, “Did I do what you wanted me to do today?” Sometimes I get an answer, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t get an answer, then I accept that what I did was God’s will for me, and that I did my best. If I made mistakes, I admit them and try to do better the next day, not repeating the same mistakes.

 

Part of the process of building in these new behavior patterns involves doing my step work. I try to do my step work every single week: write something, read it, and then send it to my sponsor.

 

Every morning, I get on my knees, say The Lord’s Prayer, and give my life to God.

I ask God to do my teaching for me, my step work for me, my writing for me, my work for me. Then I get up and go do my best.
When I take a personal inventory, sometimes I realize I am wrong and I admit it. Like yesterday, I was teaching students from one of my elementary schools and I started working with the violinists on baby mi (E) string.(I teach my students to name the strings, grandpa, papa, mama and baby. This helps them remember which string is which.) One student said, “I don’t remember doing this string,” and his book was blank. So was another student’s. Soon, I had to admit I was wrong. I looked at my notes, and on the last lesson, we had only prepared for the concert. That was it. So I admitted I was wrong and started teaching it to them. Now I know the first student has had baby mi (E) string before, last year. But he lost his book, and struggles with practicing, so he probably doesn’t think he has had it before. My point is that I had to admit I was wrong.

 

I need to add humility to this equation. To me, correctly admitting I’m wrong means “humbly” admitting I’m wrong. This means knocking off the resentful attitude that finds something to criticize in another person to make myself feel better. I am that small sometimes and am embarrassed to say so. It has just been so engrained in my mind that I have to be perfect that sometimes I still try like heck to make it someone else’s fault. That’s just being really honest. If it is someone else’s fault, it’s not my fault. Then I’m okay. I’m still perfect.

 

But wait a minute! I’m not perfect! I am a flawed human being. There is only one perfect being in existence and that is God. It’s okay for me to makes mistakes.

 

While I’m diligent in my efforts to do the best job I can, I admit I’m wrong. I made other mistakes at that school that same week. I thought I had only one lesson with those students that month, so I told them I wouldn’t see them for a couple of weeks. Then I looked again at the calendar, talked to the secretary, and there was a lesson the next week. So I had to call their parents and say, “Sorry, I was wrong; there is violin lesson next week.” I was wrong and I survived. It’s true!

 

I also have to admit when I’m right. Like in reviewing my perseverance, I see that I’ve been working very hard at not raging anymore. I did pretty well this week. I didn’t have any rage attacks.
My over-responsibility and caretaking recovery is in the process of taking two steps forward and one step back. I have been overly worried about my sister to the point of obsession the last few days. I was taking my morning walk in the woods when this type of thing occurred. Every time the obsession would start, I would have to catch it and bring myself back into the moment. And it was a beautiful moment. The forest near my house is one of the most beautiful places in the world as far as I’m concerned. Anyone who would walk there and still say there is no God would have to be declared insane, in my opinion. So I kept redirecting my attention. It does not serve me to obsess.

 

Last night, I did some caretaking of a friend who called on the phone. (That blasted telephone again.) I spent all of my vacuuming time talking to her on the phone. I compromised and swept with a broom while talking to her instead. I tried to do what I could to make it okay with myself but deep down I really wanted to vacuum the house. So next time I should let the person leave a message and then I’ll call them back.

 

The other night, I learned that a colleague’s husband died at a relatively young age. I started internalizing it, feeling her feelings, I was very, very sad. Then I caught myself. I can’t fix it. I can’t bring him back. I don’t have to feel her feelings. I can have compassion and empathy. I sent a card. I signed their online funeral list. That’s enough. I caught myself getting enmeshed with these people, and I did some step work to correct it.

 

Today I learned that a Quaker friend of mine knows someone whose kids were killed by their nanny. How awful. Not fair. I can’t internalize that either. I am only responsible for myself. Baby steps.

 

There’s always another chance to try again. I just have to be tenacious. I only fail if I stop trying. I can’t do that. I have to keep working on my recovery; otherwise, these defects will eat me alive.

 

I persevere with trying to learn the violin. I bought an awesome machine that plays Music Minus One CDs but slows them down. Very cool! Very fun. Using this machine helps my practice time to go very quickly and is very fulfilling.
I admit that my rage doesn’t serve me. So my therapist asked me what I could do to get out of rage, go into the Observer and, distract the inner spoiled six-year-old child inside of me that has tantrums when I don’t get what I want and start raging. I said, “Music might work.” Lincoln Park, The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded soundtracks, Tom Petty, and Porcupine Tree all fit the bill as music that will get my rage safely out of my body. So now they’re in my car, along with my Angry Bird mascots that sit on my dashboard.

 

I persevere in trying to do Weight Watchers and do my diet. When I go over my points, I admit it and try again.

 

I persevere in trying to not feel responsible for everyone.

 

I persevere in trying to keep Hidden Angel Company going, while teaching full-time. It’s very busy.
I am determined to do a good job teaching. It’s going pretty well. I told my therapist that it seems like God must want me to do that. She said, “When you do what God wants you to do, he rewards you.”

 

I persisted in getting my first book done and published and now I have 16 good reviews. My sponsor says that this is God’s way of saying “good for you” 16 times.

 

I am determined to recover from my defects. I will practice new behaviors every day. I will do this by:

 

  1. Letting others take care of themselves.
  2. Stopping work when I’m too tired to continue.
  3. Getting more sleep.
  4. Being kind to others.
  5. Breathing in and out.
  6. Bringing myself back to this moment when obsessing.
  7. Practicing gratitude, instead of negativity.
  8. Leaving myself enough time to do things so that I can be more patient.

 

I will not give up.

 

I persevere in trying to get closer to God, to surrender to him, to give up control, which I think I secretly idolize. I preserve in trying to listen to Him and hear Him. I need more sleep to do this.

 

Just like my car won’t run right if I don’t check the oil, get the tires changed and balanced, and keep the windshield washing fluid dispenser full, I won’t get better from codependency if I don’t do my 10th Step every day and keep trying to get closer to God, healthier, and rid of my defects.

 

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • Use your inner wisdom
  • Humans make mistakes; that’s okay.
  • Change your self-judgment habit.
  • Do your best, do your Make a Plan Process (covered in the first book), let go and let God.
  • I am doing the best I can in this moment to nurture my career and myself.
  • Treat it like the front page of the paper.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10.

I have positive affirmations that help me with my perseverance:

 

  • It’s okay that you’re not perfect.
  • It’s okay for me to make mistakes every day.
  • It’s okay for my child and me to be who we are, ourselves. We are loveable.
  • I will listen to the truth, which is that I am a good person.
  • I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I am a good person.
  • Today I am Gods brand new creation.
  • Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.

The steps I take to practice perseverance:

 

  • More Journaling: I journal as much as necessary to get my feelings out of me and on paper.
  • Worship: I talk to God through prayer to get the strength I need to get through my day. Then I listen through meditation to what God has to say by sitting in silent worship and waiting upon him. This helps me to get up and keep trying again for another day. At night before I go to sleep, I ask God, “Did I do what you dswanted me to do today?” I listen. Accept. Sleep.
  • Exercise: working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill and lifting weights all help me get the perseverance to keep going and try again.
  • Constant God Connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers and listening for His direction throughout my day. Sometimes he speaks to me through other people at Quaker meeting, at my CoDA group, through a radio sermon, in a book, during a bible study, or through people I see during my day.
  • Program Literature: I read the Codependents Anonymous Basic Text, the Codependents Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook (often called the 12 and 12) and other literature. Reading this literature helps me to better understand the purpose behind Step 10 the benefits of perseverance.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is charge of my life, he must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do. His word has a lot to say about perseverance.
  • Willingness: I pray for the willingness to get up and try again, one day at a time.
  • Read the Daily List: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask him to remove them if and when he is ready. I become recommitted to overcoming these defects.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “Don’t quit before the miracle happens,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let him,” “Willingness is key,” “When all else fails, follow directions,” “Progress not perfection” and “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
  • Let it go: once I give it to God, I let go and trust Him. Move on. I consider that it is as it’s supposed to be at this moment.

 

I have a very happy life and I have gratitude and happiness more than ever before thanks to the work I do with my sponsor and this program. I have been given a gift. Thank you, God!

 

 

 

[1] Ibid., p. iv.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

~ Ephesians 4:32

 

But with you there is forgiveness,

So that we can, with reverence, serve you.

 

~ Psalm 130:4

 

Forgiveness has really been on my mind lately. It has been on my mind in relation to myself. It is a vital, fundamental spiritual principle. Without it, I cannot lead a healthy spirit-filled life. I must be able to forgive others and myself. Otherwise, my grudges will turn me into a dark, gnarled mess. Forgiveness comes directly out of my step work.

 

To me forgiveness means that I am releasing the anger, resentment and blame that I feel towards someone or myself for a wrong that has been done against me. I let it all go and move forward.

 

The principle of forgiveness is related to Step 9.

 

Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.[1]

 

The Lord’s Prayer asks the Lord to forgive us the way we forgive others.

 

     And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

~ Matthew 6:12

 

Saying I’m sorry is one of the easiest, yet hardest things for me to do. It’s easy in that I have the defect of over-responsibility and think everything is my fault, so of course I have to say I’m sorry for everything I’ve done wrong, which is everything. I say I’m sorry a lot. I always have. What makes saying I’m sorry difficult is the fear of abandonment and fear of rejection that come with saying I’m sorry and making amends with someone.
Since I’ve been in program, I have learned that part of making amends is changing one’s behavior. Part of that change, for me, is coming face to face with what I’ve done and the person I’ve done it to, say I’m sorry and make an effort to change.

 

Based on what the Lord’s Prayer says, if I don’t forgive others, that God shouldn’t forgive me. Not good. I want forgiveness. So I have to give forgiveness if I want to receive it in return.
How do I know if I’ve forgiven someone? Well, if I’m still crabbing about something someone has done to me, that probably means I’m still ticked off about it. That means I’m probably harboring resentments about whatever it is I think they did to me. In my mind, it means I haven’t truly forgiven them.
So this means that if God forgives me the way I’ve forgiven that parent Jenny for hurting my feelings at a concert recently, then he hasn’t forgiven me. I obviously haven’t forgiven the parent because I’m still complaining about their behavior and thinking negative thoughts about it. I’m harboring a grudge.

 

I have done extensive step work in regards to my mother and father. I have looked at these relationships through the lenses of relationship inventories, defects of character inventories, and codependency patterns. This step work has helped me to heal these relationships, even though they have both passed on. Completing my Step 9 and making amends with my parents further helped me heal these relationships. Although my father made his transition in 2003, I feel I was able to make amends and heal this relationship through step work, prayer, meditation, journaling, and therapy after he died. I did a Step 9 with my mother before she passed away and much healing was accomplished as a result.

 

This step work has enabled me to forgive my parents for all of the unhealthy behaviors and lack of nurturing in my life. My hard work has enabled me to let go of the anger and resentment that I once felt toward them. They did the best they could. Their lives were turned upside down by many incidents, including disbarment, addiction, miscarriages, and infidelity. As a child, I was caught up in that and wasn’t in the position to stick up for myself or correct anything.
Resentment is a dangerous feeling that weights one down with darkness that can be life-long and harmful. I carried the bag of bricks of resentment for a long time. Thank heavens, I got into recovery and learned I could put that bag of bricks down. My childhood was filled with fear, doubt, pain, self-blame, shame, loneliness, and a terrible lack of a strong spiritual foundation. I was taught to look without f0r all of my approval, self-worth, love, and acceptance. Since I didn’t get that at home, I looked to my peers at school, boys, food, academic success, physical beauty, and success in extracurricular activities – such as music and horse showing. Nothing filled that empty space inside.

 

My mother tried to fill the empty space inside with alcohol. Dad filled it with power, control, and other women. I chose food. It didn’t work for any of us.

 

I grant pardon to my mother for drinking and not being a good Mom sometimes. She was hurting and did the best she could.
I grant pardon to my father for yelling at me about how fat I was in that restaurant (covered in the first book). He was in pain too and was taking it out on me. He was shattered by the loss of his career.

 

I forgive Brad (a man I dated who I discuss in the first book) for being controlling, manipulative, and self-serving. I know everything that happened between us happened for a reason and for our highest good. My relationship with him was one of the primary relationships in my life that brought me to CoDA and for that I am grateful.

 

I forgive Alex (my ex-husband; covered in first book) for having a change of heart and wanting out of our marriage. Our relationship has gone through a lot of healing and amends since I wrote my last book. I am very, very grateful to God for this. My friendship with Alex has grown a lot since we made amends and I very happy about that.

 

I absolve Betty (a friend) for not emailing me back six years ago when I sent her that beautiful email in which I poured out my heart to her. I accept that she was at a place where she felt her boundaries needed to be established a little farther out than I would have liked.

 

Forgiveness requires letting go. It requires that I let go of what I want. It requires that I accept where the person is at and stop trying to change that. It also obliges me to take care of myself.

 

When I need to forgive someone for something, the background is that I probably have not gotten something from him or her that I felt I wanted or deserved. It could also mean that I feel that I got treated poorly when I didn’t deserve that.

 

Sometimes this treatment is not on purpose. Often the person does not even realize they are doing it. And besides that, it’s not being done to me. Much of the time, the person is just reaching out or expressing themselves, trying to rid themselves of stress, extreme sadness, panic, or despair. When this happens to me, nine times out of ten, the timing doesn’t work for me. So then I get mad at them like they are doing something bad to me. Then I try to forgive them. But they didn’t do anything. For instance, I’m the one who answered the phone late at night and let the person’s sadness get all over me.

 

What happens is that I take on the other person’s feelings. I feel what they feel and want to fix them. This is my over-responsibility and caretaking. This is how I harm myself. In cases like this, I need to disengage, detach, give the person back their problems, and go take care of myself. This happened a lot with my sister during my brother-in-law’s illness. This behavior pattern caused me a lot of distress. I do this kind of thing to myself; I am aware of this. I need to forgive myself for being a caretaker, and start detaching and taking care of myself.

 

Sometimes, as was the case with Brad, I was manipulated, which caused a lot of confusion, suffering, self-blame, and shame. The manipulation in that relationship also led me to engage in behaviors that I felt shame about, that I was not comfortable with. Why did I do this? I’m a people pleaser. I get my self-worth from what others think of me.

 

Juliet’s Codependency Patterns:

 

I shower you with favors and pleasures to make you stay.

My fear of abandonment and fear of rejection determine how I behave.
I shove my morals under the carpet to be with you.

 

Of all the people I need to forgive, the one I need to forgive the most is myself. I am very hard on myself. I have a difficult time releasing the anger, resentment and blame that I feel towards myself for something I have done wrong. I turn all of that blame, anger and resentment inward. It does not feel good and it doesn’t serve me. If I can’t forgive myself, how I can I forgive others? I can’t. It has to start with me. I need to change this behavior and learn to forgive myself. I need to do a Step 9 on myself.

 

For example, I really have to work on cancelling the debts I feel I owe myself for not getting enough done each day. I have traditionally beat myself up mercilessly for not accomplishing huge amounts of work on my book, not practicing my music, not writing blogs and not doing book promotion. Thank goodness (because of the work I do with my step work and in program), I am starting to realize that there are only so many hours in a day. I can get only so much done in a 24-hour period. And you know what? There’s always tomorrow. Even if I think the world is going to end if I don’t accomplish everything on my three page “to do” list, it’s not true. Life will go on. It will be okay.

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • Hold the outcome in the Light of God.
  • Treat it like the front page of the paper.
  • Remember your bubble. My therapist told me to imagine a protective bubble around myself so that when hurtful things happen, I am not affected. The bad stuff only hits the outside of the bubble.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10.

I have positive affirmations that help me with my forgiveness:

 

  • Today I forgive myself and others.
  • I forgive myself for not being perfect.
  • It’s okay for me to make mistakes every day.
  • It’s okay for my child and me to be who we are, ourselves. We are loveable.
  • I will listen to the truth, which is that I am a good person.
  • I do the best I can in everything I do and that’s enough. I am a good person.
  • It’s okay that you’re not perfect.
  • Today I am Gods brand new creation.
  • Today everything God intends to accomplish in and through me shall be done.

The steps I take to practice forgiveness:

 

  • More Journaling: I journal as much as necessary to rid myself of resentment, anger, blame and guilt.
  • Worship: I talk to God about my resentment, anger, blame and guilt through prayer. I ask God to fill the empty space inside me and to give me what I thought I needed from the other person. Then I listen through meditation to what God has to say by sitting in silent worship and waiting upon him. This helps me move to a place of forgiveness.
  • Exercise: working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill and lifting weights all help me to get rid of the anger, blame and resentment inside, which brings me closer to the forgiveness of myself and others.
  • Constant God Connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers and listening for His direction throughout my day. Sometimes he speaks to me through other people at Quaker meeting, at my CoDA group, through a radio sermon, in a book, during a bible study, or through people I see during my day.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is charge of my life, he must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do. His word has a lot to say about forgiveness and I find it very helpful.
  • Willingness: I pray for the willingness to forgive the person and myself.
  • Read the Daily List: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask him to remove them if and when he is ready. I forgive myself for having these defects.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.
  • Let it Go: I realize that things happen. I don’t have control over what goes on. I’m doing the best I can.

When I practice the spiritual principle of forgiveness I feel the blessed ease of spirit that comes from forgiving myself and others. I thank God for helping me to be able to forgive myself, which opens the door to forgiving others.

 

The way that you deal with forgiveness and any of the principles is by dealing with your feelings. Get them out of you. Look at your feelings and accept them. Come to a place where you are all right.

 

Thank you, God for this learning.

 

[1] Ibid., p. iv.

Willingness

 

Willingness

 

Your hands made me and formed me;

Give me understanding to learn your commands.

~ Psalm 119: 73 (NIV)

 

 

Willingness is a spiritual principle that is vital to my recovery from codependency. Willingness is directly connected to the success or failure of my spiritual life. I must be willing to change, grow, accept, surrender control, work hard, and admit when I’m wrong.
Willingness to me means that I have made a positive choice inside of me to try to do what I’m supposed to do.

 

Willingness is the spiritual principle behind Step 8:

 

  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.[1]

 

In Step 8, I’m getting ready to say I’m sorry for what I’ve done and I’m making a list of those I have to say it to in my life. This can be a really scary thing for me. I have fear of abandonment and fear of rejection. Plus making amends with someone could potentially lead to conflict. They could still be ticked off about whatever it is that I did, or said, or didn’t do or say. I am a conflict-avoidant codependent. This could keep me from making the list at all, throwing it away, or burning it in my wood stove and saying, “Forget it.” I must first make a positive choice inside myself to bravely make a list of the people that my codependent behaviors have affected. Then I need to choose to make amends to them all because that is the right thing to do. That is willingness. That is Step 8.

 

I think that part of this process involves turning the outcome of the amends over to God and letting go of expectations. Expectations often lead to disappointment. I can see myself as I make the list, playing out all the amends with these various folks in my head. My codependent “all or nothing” catastrophic thinking often leads me down the path of doom. They are going to yell at me, get mad at me, tell me I’m bad and leave me forever. I’m too scared. This is what I would tell myself. This “all or nothing” catastrophic thinking would make me not want to make the list or the amends. It would take away all my willingness.
If I decide to do what is right, make amends, and detach myself from any outcomes, giving them to God, this makes the process easier and takes a lot of the threat away. This opens the door to me becoming willing.

 

Part of making the list is knowing what people to put on the list for amends and who stays off the list. I make the initial list in this regard and my sponsor helps me weed this list out. My family of origin goes on the list. Others outside my family of origin went on the list, but for one reason or another did not make the final cut.

 

My family of origin taught me that everything was my fault. I was the scapegoat. Thus I developed the defects of over-responsibility and caretaking. Since I was responsible for everyone, everything was my fault. Love was taken away when I did something wrong. I was bad and unlovable. So I’ve grown up thinking that. And now, sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes, I take responsibility for things that aren’t my fault. This could lead me to put people on the amends list that don’t belong there.

 

So I need to keep these things in mind when I’m making my list. This is one of the many places that my sponsor can come in handy. She can listen to me tell my stories of what has happened and what I think I’ve done wrong and help me get clarity on what I actually need to say and to whom. This helps me with my list and with my willingness.
Another thing that helps me with my willingness is self-love. If I can separate my self-worth from my behaviors, a lot of the fear goes away. If I know that I am a beloved child of God no matter what I’ve done or what happens, I can more easily become ready to put myself out there, admit what I’ve done, and let the outcome be as it may.

 

Letting go of my defect of over-responsibility and caretaking will help me to become more cheerfully ready to make my list and my amends. If I am no longer responsible for someone else’s life or feelings, then I can become more willing to make amends to them because there is less to lose. I am not responsible for their feelings. I am only responsible for myself. This takes a lot of pressure off me. It makes life easier.

 

So I make my list, go over it with my sponsor, discuss my defects, fears and worries, and a plan is developed. All of this required my willingness. I became willing. I’m ready to put myself out there.

 

During this process, I have to constantly make the positive choice to stop being overly responsible for other people and take care of myself. This means giving the person I’m obsessing about back to God and letting go. Then I have to do the right thing to take care of myself, which is to unplug the phone, turn off my brain, and stop obsessing, stop trying to fix it, solve it, kill the pain for the other person. That is tough for me. Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to be willing to change this behavior. I can only do this with God’s help. God help me to do the right thing.

 

I am willing to let God be the center of my life. I am willing to keep turning over my life to Him and let Him be the boss. I am willing to let Him write my amends list for me. And He should be the focus of my mind, heart, and soul anyway. It’s about the amends He wants me to make, not the ones I think I need to make. He knows better than me.

 

Then I need to be willing to say I did the best I could for today in making my amends list. If I find myself unable to do this, I pray for the willingness to be willing to say I did the best I could for today. I need to trust my ability to hear and follow God’s directions.

 

Juliet’s Mantras that Help:

  • You are doing God’s work.
  • Relax and watch.
  • You are only in control of where you put your attention.
  • I’m not in charge here.
  • Be still and know that I am God. ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I have Positive Affirmations that help me with my willingness:

  • I humble myself before the Lord; I will listen.
  • It’s not about what I want, it’s about what God wants.
  • I submit to the will of the Lord.
  • God will live my life for me today. I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is be a body.
  • God will overcome the false prophets in my head.

 

So the spiritual principle of willingness has a very vital place in my life. It is the concrete foundation under my Step 8 work as I make my amends list and prepare to go forward with my amends. It’s necessary for me to do what God wants me to do.

 

Additional practices I engage in when working the Principle of Willingness:

  • Renunciation: I get down on my knees in the morning, give my life and my day to God, and ask that His will be done. I say The Lord’s Prayer and The Serenity Prayer. This helps me to become willing. At night before I go to sleep, I say to God, “I surrender God. Dear God, I surrender.” I listen. I breathe. I sleep.
  • Prayer: When I’m not cheerfully consenting to do what God wants me to do, I pray the following prayers:
    • I pray for the willingness to be willing.
    • I ask God for the strength to do it.
    • I ask God to do it for me.
    • I ask the Holy Spirit to do it through me.
  • More journaling: I get all of my resistance, fears, selfish desires, and control issues out of me and on paper. I write about things like: What am I willing to do? What is keeping me from being willing to do what He wants me to do?
  • Worship: Talking to God through consistent morning prayers and meditation is a vital step in my becoming willing to give up what I want for what He wants. Meditation is necessary because that is where I just sit and listen for His guidance.
  • Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to calm down and see things more clearly.
  • Program literature: I read Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA’s basic text), The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions Workbook of Co-Dependents Anonymous (often called The 12 and 12), and other literature. Reading this literature helps me to better understand the purpose behind Step 8 and become willing to write my list.
  • Scripture: When I need to become willing, I often read the following scripture:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
~Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

  • Constant God connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This helps me to become willing, as I want to do His will and please Him. It helps me to remember He is in charge, not me.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God Can, I think I’ll let Him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass,” “Act as if,” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.

 

[1] Ibid.

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