I was doing some reading recently on “detachment with love” in preparation for leading a topic meeting, and what really caught my attention was a reading from CAL that suggested we must sometimes strive to “detach from ourselves.” That idea intrigued me. I understand at least a little bit about detaching from others and refusing to become entangled in someone else’s emotional chaos. Today I know that I am a whole and complete person, spiritually and emotionally separate, even from my much-loved sexaholic husband. Having found myself, why would I need to detach from myself?

After pondering, letting it rest, and pondering some more, here’s what that reading is saying to me. I have some patterns of thinking that are so deeply embedded that sometimes, before I know it, a negative thought pattern (emotional chaos) is triggered and I am 3/4 of the way down the road to a resentment before I even know it. Or some memory from the unhealthy past has caused the tape to start playing in my head that tells me I am not “enough.” “I don’t do enough, I don’t know enough,” I feel unworthy, alone and afraid (emotional chaos) in spite of any factual information to the contrary. Do I not need to detach from my own emotional chaos?

The reading further suggests to me that I can recognize that I have been “triggered” and use all the “will power” I have to gain some emotional distance from those thoughts and feelings by challenging their validity. In most cases, they are not real and true reflections of who I am today but tired voices from the past that had my full attention for many, many years. They have only the power I give them. What a concept. I can detach from those feelings, and “attach” to my Higher Power, asking to be restored to sanity, and make a concerted effort to turn my thoughts in a positive direction by making a program call, reading some CAL or other spiritual literature, more prayer, journaling, anything that affirms my recovery and drowns out those voices.

Wait. I almost forgot the most important part: the part where I “detach with love.” For me, detaching from myself with love means that I resist beating myself up by entertaining thoughts like, “You should know better by now.” “You must not be working a very good program if you are having those feelings.” “Why can’t you just get over it?” “If you didn’t have so many character defects, you wouldn’t be feeling this way.” These are not loving ways to think about myself. Today I am a card-carrying member of the human race, working to accept my good and not so good points with equal humility. It is progress for me to gently accept myself fully, including all my thoughts and feelings, even if I don’t want to entertain some of those thoughts for very long. (“Thanks for stopping by, but I have to go now.”) I am aware that I don’t work any part of this program perfectly, but I do it with the sincere intention of striving to be of the greatest use to God and others that I can be, and that is enough. I am truly grateful for all of the CAL that we have at our disposal, and for the changes that can occur in my thinking when I read something I have read before, but somehow understand it in a new and more positive way. It is another miracle of the program.

Reprinted from the Winter 2009 issue of The S-Anews©.


 March 22, 2021

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