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Archive for December, 2012

Higher Powered Resolutions: promises we can keep!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Our resolutions this year will be promises we can keep!

Everyone makes New Year’s resolutions: I’ll lose weight. I’ll stop smoking. I’ll spend more time with my partner or my children.

Somewhere around the second week of January, those promises go the way of all the other promises. We start snacking, smoking, and/or spending more time at the office. If we have made resolutions as a couple, one of us is bound to fall down, leaving the other to place blame.

We often make promises that we do not keep.  The problem with resolutions is that they assume we are in control. We have learned however, that this is not true at all. Many times the promises are unrealistic, made to impress someone else. Other times, the promises are made half-heartedly, with no real intention of following through. Still others are made with the hope of doing the impossible.

We need to examine the intended change and determine if this is really something we want and are ready to commit to. Once we have established our readiness for the intended change, our next step is to ask our Higher Power for guidance to change what we can.

Any promises made without the knowledge of what our Higher Power wants for us are empty. We must remember that we have turned our lives and our will over to our Higher Power, and that only our Higher Power can make the determination of what is best for us. Only our Higher Power can decide what promises we should make, because those are the only promises we will be able to keep.

The 11th Step in the Twelve Step programs reads:

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Many of us concentrate on the first part of that step; we pray and meditate to strengthen our connection with our Higher Power. When we fail, by whatever means, to live up to …


‘Tis the Season

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Memories are a powerful thing. Feeling memories of the pain and disappointment of holidays past can overwhelm us so much so that we have come to expect nothing different. Or perhaps, our feeling memories might be so wonderful that we again have expectations of exciting holiday experiences to be had.

If we are so sure that the pain of the past will revisit us, we automatically brace ourselves for it, and we are seldom disappointed; the pain returns because that is what we were dwelling on. In the same vein, if we are so sure that each holiday will bring the same joy of the past, we are bound to be disillusioned if the reality does not favorably compare with the memory.

Memories however, are nothing more than reminders of what was. They are not our present reality. If we keep that in mind, we can approach the holiday season with an open heart and hope for a positive experience.

What is your reaction inside when the holiday season is mentioned?  Do you immediately have warm thoughts of family, holiday meals, and merriment, or does your mind conjure up dark images of depression, chaos, and family arguments?

Many of us are so entrenched in the hurtful memories of past holidays that we have come to expect the same with each passing year. We grit our teeth and prepare for what’s coming because we know that it will be the same this year.

For many of us, holidays are something to be endured rather than enjoyed. The pain of past holidays is a constant reminder of the hurt that we suffered at this time of year. It can feel particularly difficult – if not impossible – to simply free ourselves of the associations we have of personal pain in relation to the holiday.

But it doesn’t have to be. Holidays are what we make of them. We can decide to follow old traditions or make up new ones of our own. If we choose to, we can spend the time with family or can do something completely different, if it …


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Elaine Leadem, MSW, LCSW & John Leadem, MSW, LCSW are authors of many books, including One in Spirit & An Ounce of Prevention.
Check them out!


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