Archives for category: 12 Step Program
Happy New Year! 2013!

Happy New Year! 2013!

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.”

― Federico García Lorca, Blood Wedding


Happy Half Way Point for The Other Woman Blog!

I’m back home now, in a self-imposed, silent retreat. Candles burning, fresh flowers before me and very loud rock music blaring. Something about the sharp contrast between the serene and the wild is feeding my soul today. I am going to try to unearth the purpose of my addictions…my over-indulgences with food and British Mystery Series. Let me be clear. I had no desire to write about this. But I made a promise when I began theotherwomanblog, 6 months ago…that whatever topic presented itself to me, on or around the day of writing, I would be courageous enough to write about it…no matter how uncomfortable it made me. Today is New Year’s Eve…now New Year’s Day! (I began yesterday but made little progress…I was like the class clown, who uses humour and silly antics to avoid work…after several hours with no discernible progress in my writing, I closed my computer and watched a British Mystery while eating chocolates-the realization that I was finally coming close to understanding my addictive tendencies, made me giddy, but afraid.) 

The following incident brought today’s topic to me through the magic of synchronicity, where an innocuous event in the external world has unexpected significance to me and me alone! Often though, once explained, others, too, may understand. 

I had no sooner finished last week’s post, on Christmas Eve, when this week’s topic landed in my lap, literally. This synchronistic event occurred during Christmas dinner, which I was spending with two of my tall, thin girlfriends( of which I seem to have an inordinate number). After cooking for hours, we made our way to the candle lit table, set for 3, each place adorned with a pretty red Christmas Cracker…neither the chair nor the Cracker was pre-assigned. Once seated, we 3 crossed arms and pulled on each other’s Christmas Crackers, until 3 snaps were heard …in the flurry of noise and ripping Crackers, the gifts flew about…the other women located their cheap little games on the table before them, but my trinket was no where to be seen. In seconds though, my gaze was drawn down…and there, on my chubby lap, lay a well constructed, heavy duty, TAPE MEASURE!  COME ON UNIVERSE! This was supposed to be a celebration. I reluctantly snapped 2 photos, for the Blog Post, I knew I had to write.

Survey Time ! Who has ever received anything useful in a Christmas Cracker? I have tried to embed a survey in this Post. If it did not work, blame my Editor, who has gone out for New Year’s Eve…I’m not whining…I chose this…I needed to concentrate…self-imposed silent retreats are a priceless luxury, especially after 2 weeks of fun and frivolity. 


My Analysis of Addictive Tendencies

Maybe watching British Mystery Series doesn’t warrant its own branch in the 12 Step Recovery Program, as Overeaters Anonymous does, but I am definitely a British Mystery Series-aholic. My definition of addiction is broad-based but non-judgemental. If I engage in an activity that makes no sense, but I do it anyway, then I feel I am dealing with addictive tendencies. Easy to apply this definition to heroin, more difficult with food and British Mystery Series. You may say, “What’s wrong with a little entertainment and the odd treat?” Simply put, nothing. But when life is so precious, why would I waste mine watching others perform? In addition, when I have worked so hard to become healthy, why would I jeopardize this by eating sugar? I’m neither stupid nor lazy, although it has taken me years to end these judgements… so what drives these self-destructive, punishing, tendencies? What bottomless pit am I trying to fill? What am I really yearning for?

 The opening quote by Federico Lorca gave me my clue. What have I deeply desired in my life, but have not experienced? More than anything, I have dreamed to live from the depths of my spirit, feeling confident and free to express my views and observations, feeling confident and free to follow my intuition, my instinctual drives…using my skill, talent and intuition in the creation of my life. But this has not been my experience in the least. Instead I felt constrained and defined…socialized to the point of dispiritedness…listlessness.

I started theotherwomanblog when I became aware of feeling contained as a woman in today’s prescriptive culture…”Do this, don’t do that…Look like this, not like that…Feel this way, ignore your instincts, your intuition…” As with us all, this process began in childhood, when I was compulsively instructed. Yes, I was given choices, but was I ever given the choice to do nothing or to do whatever was my heart’s desire?  It was as though my parents feared I would become a cretin, devoid of any natural desire to be productive or well behaved, without their prescription for a productive life.

Aspirations for Week 26 of 52 

Changing My New Year’s Resolution

Just like Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, I am trying to find my way back home, the home of my soul, so that I no longer yearn for that ineffable yet desirable life. I am starved for a meaningful existence…not as defined by others but that is defined by me. In fulfilling my deepest wishes, my yearning will lessen and I will no longer attempt to satiate a need for a soulful life with the illusory, momentary fix of a British Mystery Series or food.

So for Week 26 of 52, I resolve to design my life, relying on my intuition and instincts, having faith that I have the skills and drive to make it happen!

Finding My Way Home

Finding My Way Home



Was it worth it, I ask myself? 5000 kilometres, 2 weeks, 10 beds. Why did I have to actually experience the town, the house, the street, the school, the people,  where I spent my first 12 years? Wouldn’t it have been enough to look up the town’s news on Google? Check out my old house on ‘Street View’ of Google Maps? If I wanted to change my perception of my childhood in the hopes of feeling more positive about it, why not just try some of the suggestions from my .28 second search that produced 137,000,000 sites about positive thinking!! For example:

  1. Always use only positive words while thinking and while talking. Use words such as, ‘I can’, ‘I am able’, ‘it is possible’, ‘it can be done’, etc.
  2. Allow into my awareness only feelings of happiness, strength and success.
  3. In my conversation use words that evoke feelings and mental images of strength, happiness and success.
  4. Before starting with any plan or action, visualize clearly in your mind its successful outcome.
  5. Associate yourself with people who think positively.
  6. Always sit and walk with my back straight. This will strengthen my confidence and inner strength.

 I would have spent the 2 weeks reciting positive aphorisms, instead of having the real experience if I believed it would have resulted in any real, long lasting change. But I know, because I learned it the hard way,  that there is a real difference in thinking about a potential experience and having that experience. 

My drive towards The Pas occurred with the brakes on…virtual brakes…internal brakes…ones that screamed “I don’t want to go there. Bad things happened there. Dogs died, kids cried, goblins lived under the beds.”

And then I was there, my daughter behind the wheel, driving into The Pas. We passed the town Cemetery where I celebrated Birthday parties. The grounds were lovely with massive oak trees, rolling hills and beautiful grave markers. Nearby hills of sand provided a setting fit for a party! No longer did I question my Mother’s choice for the location of my party. This was the first shift in my perception of my childhood.

Then we drove down Constant Avenue, my family home mid way down the block. In my ‘Story’ about my childhood I have always used the street name ‘constant’ to reflect the constant despair I felt as a child, the constant practising I had to do, and the constant work as child labourer I endured.

But now the street looked so pretty with flowers in neatly kept yards,and shade tress welcoming a traveller to come and sit awhile to enjoy the peace. Unexpectedly, I began recalling happy childhood events;  riding up and down the streets playing Chicken on my bike…you know where you drive as fast as you can towards another biker to see who turns away first!

Then I remembered the countless games of marbles I played and the skipping and hoola hoop games I created with my friends Marilyn and Jocelyn.

I could almost picture the walls of snow in winter where I built huge snow forts, with a kitchen and living room, the hills for sledding and our rink in the back yard, that Dad built for us each winter.

Where were all these positive memories before? Why now? What has allowed me to feel the joy and happiness of my childhood now? Why had I clung only to the pain of my childhood? Where was the balanced view? The mix of the yin and yang, the good with the bad, the dark with the light?I am not entirely sure why I can see both sides now, but I hope I come to understand this during my exploration of The Other Woman. No doubt my past adherence to my ‘Story’ contributed to my ‘stance’ on life, the one that has had me repeating patterns of behaviour that were destructive to me and those I love.

My most unexpected experience in The Pas though, was the attitude others had towards my Mother…they loved her, unequivocally. I heard this from my childhood friends and from kids who had lived on our street and from her friends, and from people she sang with in the choir. Why had I held such a jaundiced view of her? Had I not experienced her love as they obviously had, or did I just get stuck, like a burr on a bear, to the negative?


We cannot change anything until we accept it.

Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

– Carl Jung

via Every form of addiction is bad, by Carl Jung.

The first step of any 12 Step Program centres around admitting one’s powerlessness over something. But this step presented a conundrum for me. Being the First Step it was apparent to me that the next 11 could not be attempted without acquiescence to the first.

But feeling powerless made me feel weak and weakness is obviously not an admirable trait, so I skipped over the step and have asserted my will over most everything and everyone in my life…for years.

I pictured myself as The Little Engine that Could…do anything if I tried hard enough. And as I am a Romaniuk, I have a very strong will.  I willed my way through life, bulldozing what needed to bulldozed, building what needed to be built…with me as architect/creator! Well I did this until my body cried “Uncle” and quit cooperating with willful Contrary Mary. 

Surrender to your fear so you may triumph over it.Choose me,open your soul to me, and embrace the Devouring.”

― Simon Holt, The Devouring

So now I have come to believe that admitting powerlessness is more akin to surrendering my wilfulness than being weak willed, I can admit when I am powerless in a situation.This brings me to MY ESCAPE ARTIST.There is a transition point between believing I am in control of a particular aspect of my life or a person in my life and the acceptance of the fact that  I am not…that I, in fact, was NOT put in charge, and that no amount of cajoling, browbeating or flattery is going to make things go my way.This transition point can last a nano-second  or days or years if I am honest. I call it a TRANSITION because eventually my will is broken, and I succumb to the truth, that there is a power greater than myself in charge.The purpose of my ESCAPE ARTIST is to submerse me into unconsciousness. When I don’t want to accept life as it presents itself, I choose to escape this reality by:

  1. Watching British Mystery Series. American series don’t work.
  2. Playing FreeCell on my phone
  3. Eating 
  4. Drinking
  5. Under Dire Circumstances…Do All 4 Simultaneously

For example, when I arrived back home from my emotional roller coaster ride to The Pas, I felt some disquiet, some dissonance. My Childhood ‘Story’ has been safely tucked in my hip pocket for ready access whenever I needed some sympathy, some ‘ahhh, poor you’ directed my way . But now a new picture was emerging and I wasn’t comfortable with its prettiness.So first I hit the couch and watched the waves, hoping Nature would calm me down…when that didn’t work I found a British Mystery Series to watch…and when that didn’t distract me enough my Escape Artist reminded me that I have FreeCell on my phone …and when that didn’t work I added a loaf of bread…and when that didn’t work I mixed a very large Vodka/Tonic and promptly passed out. I’m a little shocked at the lengths I would go to avoid feeling only to wake up and have the feelings there…still waiting to be acknowledged.So, for Week 6 of 52 and for the rest of the year, I will live in the moment as it is given to me, in an attempt to side-step and outwit the Escape Artist.

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?  Surrender to what is. “― Eckhart Tolle

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