Many people believe that our past affects us, sometimes negatively and sometimes positively. In mental health counseling and the recovery community the idea of your past is usually referred to in the negative sense. Some believe that the past is the problem and it has to be worked through in order for you to transform your life. However, some believe that your past does not exist, actually that it never existed. All you have is the present, the moment, the Now. This is all that you have ever had, from one moment to the next moment. Our belief that we have a past is the first part of the problem and the second is that inside this belief about the past are events that need to be resolved. The barrier or constraint to our life is exactly this, our beliefs about the existence of the past. To the degree that we believe that a past exists and that it somehow has or is still affecting our life will create and generate negative experiences for us. The constraints and barriers are ones we make up, that we generate from our mind and impose it on the world, on what we believe to be the world or reality. Simply stated we cause the constraint or barrier that limits us in life.
Becoming present to and sharing ones Red Flags with respect to their recovery can make a big difference in their program.
1. When a person is not listening in groups or meetings but doing something else besides listening or participating.
2. When a person is crating disruptions in groups or meetings.
3. When a person is falling asleep or being tired in groups or meetings.
4. When a person is being resistant or arguing about the topic or subject of the group or meeting.
5. When a person leaves a group or meeting before it is finished.
6. When a person creates an intimate relationship early in the recovery process.
The key to any change is ones motivation to do the work and change ones life. If the desire to change is not present then there will be no change, no recovery and no transformation. We have to have the desire to be different and to show up differently before we change, before we actually transform our life and show up differently. We have to do what we need to do to keep this desire alive, to keep it showing up for us regardless of takes place in our life, regardless of the things that life throughs at us. Simply put, we have to stay hungry for our change, for our transformation, for our recovery. It is inside of this hungry that we have to continue to do the work, whatever it is that is necessary for us to bring about the transformation into our life. Given that our recovery and transformation passes out of existence when we go to sleep in the evening, we have to reinvent or transform ourselves every morning when we get up, we have recreate our program of recovery and transformation everyday upon our awaking.
In addition to simply not wanting to pursue recovery and continue to use drugs or alcohol there are certain Red Flags that someone can see in themselves or another:
1. Becoming too busy in life to do the work of recovery.
2. Never doing the homework that is assigned by a sponsor or even a counselor.
3. Leaving groups or meetings to make phone calls, to go to the restroom, etc.
4. Never sharing in groups or meetings about themselves.
5. Always complaining about the groups, meetings, sponsor or counselor.
We will continue to identify more Red Flags for recovery. Once noticed it is important that they be shared with your sponsor or counselor.
Our tendency is to continue in the direction that we are headed. Our tendency is to continue in the direction that we are headed unless something happens that will create a necessity to alter our chosen path. Once we pause to contemplate the direction that we are headed and begin to consider a possibility our life we do enter a space of true change and transformation. For us to utilize the insight that is generated from this space will require that we seek the assistance of another person, of another human being. If we do not seek the assistance of another person our tendency will be to get back into the habitual way of being from which we came, that created our current life situation. This requires that we communicate with another person and allow that individual to help direct us, to assist us in our journey. No recovery or transformation takes place unless we communicate with another human being. To gain the benefits of this communication requires that we take suggestions from another human being.
It is important that we keep life in perspective. It is important for us keep life in perspective to be able to live our life authentically. Much of the time people live life as if it will never end, as if we will live forever. For some, they become addicted to thinking that they will continue forever, that we will never die. Even if we do not declare this overtly, our behavior appears to be in alignment with the belief in our immortality. In all of our affairs it is important for us to keep in mind that life is not forever and that we consider all of our priorities with this in mind. Given this perspective it is my opinion that it is not material concerns that are important but rather our relationships with others, with other human beings, that being of service and assistance is truly what matters in life.
Besides the fact of someone just wanting to leave recovery or the treatment program he or she is in, there are a few Red Flags that a person should be present to and able to respond to adequately.
1. Being out of communication with his or her sponsor or counselor.
2. The person starts to have major upsets appearing in his or her life.
3. Missing or being late for an NA or AA meeting or group counseling.
4. Missing or being late for calls with his or her sponsor or counselor.
5. The person will start to have many emergencies happening in his or her life.
All of the above Red Flags are designed to take one away from his or her recovery, to distract them. Being aware of them, that one is doing them, can help them to talk about them with someone and eventually stop doing them.
It is our expectations that will cause us to be emotionally upset. It is our expectations that will cause us to be frustrated and even angry. These expectations can apply to people, places and things. With respect to people, to others, we need to especially be careful of the expectations that we create. If I have an expectation that someone should be a certain way, act a certain way, then I have the possibility of being upset, of the expectation not being fulfilled and me emotionally affected. The degree of the upset will be proportional to the attachment that I have with respect to the other person. The key is not to never have expectations as to have them is part of being human. We will create expectations of others, as we will of places and things. Our transformative work is to recognize them when they are not being fulfilled and then to give them up, to let them go. Giving them up and letting them go of the expectation allows one to not be attached to the expectation, thereby avoiding being emotionally upset. Our body, how we feel, is the key to our recognition of being emotionally upset and frustrated.