Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Regrets

I keep thinking about my first post.

How much should I explain?

How much detail do I need?

But seriously, I think I should just write as I have always written, and hope people understand. 

I'm sure this will be easier once I just start, and then maybe explanations will come with less difficulty later.

So here I go--- my first post.

Lets hope it isn't lame.

I am going to go through the entire 12 steps of the LDS Addiction Recovery Program-- again. (click on that line to be taken there)

I have done it once before, for my body image issues.

And I must say-- it helped immensely.  I am a different girl because of it.

But this time, I want to do it for anger.  I don't know if you know what it is like to have a horrible temper.  To be a person who is generally fun and easy to get along with.  That is, until something doesn't go your way.  My dad says that ever since I was about 11, I would have this switch.  And once my switch flipped, I was a different person.    He didn't tell me this until a few weeks ago.

I recently read "Little Women."  I can't believe I hadn't read it yet!  It was an awesome book.  Because the women in it are sweet, and quaint, and lovely, but not because they were born that way.  It is because they strove to be that way in their youth, resulting in lovely women as adults.  It was fascinating for me.

Jo, one of the little women, has anger issues.  Imagine that?  The way she describes her anger issues is the same way I would describe mine!  How wonderful, how relieving!  I am not the only one! Here is an excerpt from the lovely novel.  My favorite part.  Life changing, it is.

"You don't know, you can't guess how bad it is!  It seems as if I could do anything when I'm in a passion.  I get so savage, I could hurt anyone and enjoy it.  I'm afraid I shall do something dreadful some day, and  spoil my life, and make everybody hate me.  Oh, Mother, Help me, do help me!"

Then her mother does help her,

"I will my child, I will.  Don't cry so bitterly, but remember this day, and resolve with all your soul that you will never know another like it.  Jo, dear, we all have our temptations, some far greater than yours, and it often takes us all our lives to conquer them.  You think you temper is the worst in the world, but mine used to be just like it." 

"Yours Mother?  Why, you are never angry!"  And for the moment Jo forgot remorse in surprise.

"I've been trying to cure it for forty years, and have only succeeded in controlling it.  I am angry nearly every day of my life, Jo, but I have learned not to show it, and I still hope to learn not to feel it, though it may take me another forty years to do so."

The patience and humility of the face she love so well was a better lesson to Jo than the wisest lecture, the sharpest reproof...

"Mother, are you angry when you fold your lips tight together and go out of the room sometimes, when Aunt March scolds or people worry you?"

"Yes, I've learned to check the hasty words that rise to my lips, and when I feel they they mean to break out against my will, I just go away for a minute, and give myself a little shake for being so weak and wicked,"  answered Mrs. March with a sigh and a smile...

"How did you learn to keep still?  That is what troubles me, for the sharp words fly out before I  know what I'm about, and the more I say the worse I get, till it's a pleasure to hurt people's feelings and say dreadful things.  Tell me how you do it, Marmee dear."

"My good mother used to help me..."

"But I lost her when I was a little older than you are, and for years had to struggle on alone, for I was too proud to confess my weakness to anyone else.  I had a hard time, Jo, and shed a good many bitter tears over my failures, for in spite of my efforts I never seemed to get on.  Then your father came, and I was so happy that I found it easy to be good.  But by and by, when I had four little daughters round me and we were poor, then old trouble began again, for I am not patient by nature, and it tried me very much to see my children wanting anything."

"Poor Mother!  What helped you then?"

"Your father, Jo.  He never loses patience, never doubts or complains, but always hopes, and works and waits so cheerfully that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him.  He helped and comforted me, and showed me that I must try to practice all the virtues I would have my girls possess, for I was their example.  It was easier to try for your sakes than for my own. .."

"... you must keep watch over your 'bosom enemy', as father calls it, or it may sadden, if not spoil your life.  You have had a warning.  Remember it, and try with heart and soul to master this quick temper, before it brings you greater sorrow and regret than you have known today."

"I will try, Mother, I truly will.  But you must help me, remind me, and keep me from flying out.  I used to see Father sometimes put his finger on his lips, and look at you with a very kind but sober face, and you always folded your lips tight and went away.  Was he reminding you then?"  asked Jo softly.

"Yes, I asked him to help me so, and he never forgot it, but saved me from many a sharp word by that little gesture and kind look."

"... My child... if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one.  The  more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom.  His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength.  Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

... in that sad yet happy hour, she had learned not only the bitterness of remorse and despair, but the sweetness of self-denial and self-control, and led by her mother's hand, she had drawn nearer to the Friend who always welcomes every child with a love stronger than that of any father, tenderer than that of any mother."

I have never been so touched as I read a novel.  It spoke straight to my heart.  For one, Jo describes her anger in the same way I would describe mine.  Then her mother, who is described as sunshine to her daughters throughout the beginning of the book, admits to the same weakness. 

In Jo's mother's description of her struggle to master herself it wasn't one prayer, one struggle and then she was done.  It was a lifetime, forty years of struggle.  Every day.  This just feels so realistic to me!

And it makes me feel grateful.  I can struggle, too.

So in an effort to involve my Heavenly Father in the process, I am going through the Addiction Recovery Program again.

In the meantime, I have been trying to "fold my lips".  I actually succeeded one time yesterday and I can't tell you how sweet that felt that evening as I relived it.  If I can just remember that sweet feeling, maybe I can remember to fold lips again today.   

If only I were perfect right away!  How wonderful it would feel to go to bed with no regrets every day!