Sunday, October 30, 2011


It has been an astonishingly beautiful weekend with cool temperatures, just right for snuggling in the morning.  We have lazed around, fixed breakfast, taken naps, and not done much that is productive.

Last night, we stayed with C.'s dad so that the live-in caregivers, Elias and Karin, could have the night off to go to dinner.  My mother-in-law is back in the hospital after fainting on Friday.  It may be a blood pressure problem, but she is staying in the hospital until they figure out what is wrong.  My father-in-law griped about the doctors, especially the female physician his wife sees.  He thinks that she doesn't do her job, is not giving good care, and so on.  My wife sees the same doctor and has a completely different opinion, finding her caring, attentive, and skilled.  Perceptions can be so different, depending upon what filter we are viewing others through.

Some studies have shown that those who describe others in a positive way are indeed more positive and happier themselves.  The tendency to describe people negatively is a sign of depression and other mental health issues.  I have decided that it is much easier for me to be around those who have a happy outlook.  I don't want to spend a lot of time with someone who is downing others.

I see myself as a person who has a positive outlook about people and life. I have been a "glass is half full" person as far back as I can remember.  Even at times in life when things weren't good,  I had hope that the next day would be better.  Early in recovery,  I sometimes had to try to quiet my mind from negative thinking and panic for just 15 minutes.  My fear was getting out of control.

Gradually though, my perceptions have changed.  I don't feel as gripped by fear now.  I wish that I could help others to see that perceptions can be so distorted, tricking us into thinking the worst about people and situations.  But I can only do my part to keep myself on the optimistic path and continue to be around those who exude some positive energy.


  1. nice to give the care givers a break...ugh on the MIL being back in the hospital...hope it is a short stay...i hear you on the attitude and outlook making it easier to be around some people....

  2. I wish I were a more positive person. Some days I truly am. Other days I struggle.

  3. Nice that you two had a quiet morning together. Sorry to hear about your MIL being back in the hospital. Hope it is a short stay and only blood pressure problem.

  4. I do believe that there are those who are born into a positive mental outlook. Then there are those of us who are not, for whatever reason. Working toward changing this takes courage, faith, and definitely a Higher Power. I'm so grateful for Al-Anon,my friends, and a new life that teaches me a new way to live. It helps my attitude change. I do agree, water seeks it's own level, and I need to seek positive people too.

  5. It's an amazing thing how, when I can let myself, taking the full glass point of view makes everything that surrounds the situation instantly lighter and less threatening. Simply pausing before reacting can, when I am present enough, provide the time to choose grace.

  6. 've almost always found it easy to be around anyone despite their outlook or anything else; and including most addicts. Even including assholes because they can be such putty in the hands.

    But as the demands and exposures and risks of intimacy increased during years with an alcoholic spouse, that gradually changed. Eventually - among many other symptoms - seeing the worst in people and in situations most of the time, was shocking. Genuinely shocking. Sooo not me. A bottom, and a clue that my wellbeing was crashing. It was frightening because my very self and my way of being and my own inner resources and joy seemed to be closing off to me.

    Well, they weren't closed off it turns out. I am still intact. What I inherently know is still intact.

    Inevitable problems including fear of intimacy, began long ago with alcoholic and other circumstances in my formative years; added to that, the untreated aging and deterioration of my view. My lens. A perception thing, like you said.

    With Alanon, well, perhaps I have new glasses. And I'm liking what I see again, everywhere, including the mirror. And Im loving reality as it becomes clearer and clearer. In a word, I'm recovering. Uncovering, too.

    Just thinking. Something that occurred to me long ago, I don't remember when or why, comes back once in awhile, and fits quite well in discussion of perception. The truth is one thing; a lie can be anything of everything else. Same with reality. Reality is one thing; unreality can be anything of everything else. Truth and reality offer limits and stability. Lies and fantasy offer you the world on quicksand.

    I appreciate your posts and the remarks they inspire.

  7. Perception - one word, so huge. I am always thankful for your posts, but some more than others, LOL. (My perception, or your posts? Ha Ha!)

    My struggle with perception invariably does the most damage with my perception of myself. I remember over 20 years ago, the first time I went to see a counselor. I distinctly remember telling her that if my life were a movie, I would be the bad/evil character and my mom would be the "good guy." I believed that to my very core at the time. Of course, my perception was skewed - my mother was ill, both addictions and undiagnosed mental health issues. She physically, emotionally, and verbally abused me, and blamed me when the men she dated or married did the same.

    And at 19, I sincerely believed that I was in the wrong.

    Today, I know that's not true about my past, and I have, thanks to Al-Anon, been given the grace to raise my own child (now 21) as a nurturing parent and forgive my mom. I even tell her when she talks about how sorry she is that I am grown, I am okay, and it's probably time she let herself off the hook. Life is good.

    My default perception of myself, however, is that I am wrong, less than, the problem, etc., etc., etc. Al-Anon helps me to push back that screen of misperception. And grace helps me to move forward every day, in a good life, even when I can't :).

  8. Being rested, being busy, being involved in service...all of that contributes to a sense of hope and fulfillment, the glass being half full. You're taking care of self and family, and you see the good in life around you.

    I can't convince someone with a poor outlook that there's reason for hope. I think we get hope only when we see our desperate need to change ourselves and surrender to whatever offers some viable promise of accomplishing that, be it a 12-Step program or whatever.

    But we can sure turn the sunlight of the spirit on the wounded people around us, let our little lights shine, eh?

  9. You have made me think...nothing has ever changed my basically optimistic outlook. Not addiction, marital strife, financial problems. Nothing.

  10. I hope your mother-in-law is better soon. I was so happy to hear she was wearing lipstick!

    I am working with a sponsee who can see evil intentions in the most loving act. I believe she can learn to do otherwise, but only with a lot of work.

    I know this because my tendency is the same.

  11. I am also a "glass is half full" kind of person. When I encounter people like your dad-in-law was being that evening, I love it, because I always view it as a challenge. I can usually win them over and before too long they are happier and smiling more and that is selfishly very rewarding to me! lol I feel like I made a difference.

    Oh Syd....your day of early morning snuggling and non-productivity sounds absolutely exquisite. :o)

  12. The people in my life that have been negative have helped me, now that I am in Al-Anon, to be more aware of the things I am negative about. I try with the help of my HP to see it from my HP's point of view. Aware, accept, action. GRATITUDE!

  13. Good post, Syd. True, there is no reality, only perception. I'm working on coming from a place of positivity, but without being PollyAnna-ish. :)

  14. Some studies have shown that those who describe others in a positive way are indeed more positive and happier themselves. The tendency to describe people negatively is a sign of depression and other mental health issues.

    Boy, am I in trouble. Laugh.

    You know I ADORE you. How's that for positive? I have a select few I adore.


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