Shame on me…

It’s funny how sometimes it takes awhile to realize what is the cause of increased fear. The sometimes, was my gift this past weekend…

My daughter Annie, who lives in Los Angeles, was taking a wine tasting birthday trip for her best friend, Tracy, who was celebrating her second 39th birthday.

They had done it right, renting a vehicle that would hold some twenty people and was driven by a non-wine tasting person. Like I said, they had done it the right way, the safe way.

But, how would Annie get home from Tracys? I wondered to myself . . . and the impending doom grew.

Knowing it always made me feel better to talk to someone else, I refused to call my son, Jason, because he would just tell me she will be fine. . .and he would be right. . . .and I would feel better. But, I didn’t want to bother him and most likely didn’t want him to know how crazy I was.

I sure couldn’t call Annie, after all she’s a woman who is in charge of her life and doesn’t need an over protective father.

I know I am NOT in charge of my daughter, or anything else, but when the impending doom is in full swing, I suffer. I know I have unwittingly given the damn impending doom to Annie, and that hurts me. . .badly.

By Saturday night I was a mess and couldn’t stop thinking  the worst would happen if Annie dared to attempt to drive home after a wine tasting journey.  I told myself trust God, he is in charge, but I went deeper into fear. How could I trust some one or some thing I believed in, but no one alive has ever seen.

I refused to call Annie because my struggle with this negativity made her angry. . .and it sure as hell triggered her struggle with impending doom, but I hadn’t thought about that until now.

Then it happened.

I realized that when Brannon and I went wine tasting… I went wild. Drank a lot, smoked dope, drank some more.

I thought about all the times I drove drunk, and by the grace of God wasn’t stopped by police.

It was then I realized that Annie was not Jerry. That she is a smart woman. I was feeding my impending doom and fear by projecting that my daughter was acting like I did . . . and that was my gift.

Annie is not Jerry.

It was my shame driving me. Shame for the way I had acted.  Shame on my shame.

That truism took 30 years of sobriety to finally surface.

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Feelings are NOT facts

It was another warm February day in Los Angeles and I was feeling terrible, worried about my second son and ex-wife. I had gotten myself upset and frankly sick over the fact that whatever I tried to do to make them feel better failed.

I was feeling guilty of not being able to fix all the problems they were having and by 4 P.M that afternoon I was a mess.

Over and over I could not stop thinking about their problems with life. After all, they were family. . .my family, I should be able to fix them. So why was I feeling so helpless?

Why was I feeling so much guilt?

It was 7 P.M. in the east as I dialed the phone number of a good friend.

It turns out A.J. is not only a good friend but also a very smart friend and fortunately he answered.

“AJ, I’m feeling terrible and I needed to tell someone.”

“What seems to be troubling you?”

“Everything I try to do to help my ex-wife and son fails and I feel terrible and I don’t know what to do?”

“So, you’re feeling guilty?””

“Guilty?”

“Yes, guilty that you can’t fix someone else problems.  Why?”

“Because, they are family and I should be able to help them.”

What A.J. said next, immediately made sense to me especially since A.J. is not religious?

“Feelings are NOT facts.”

“What?”

“Feelings are not facts.”

What a Spiritual thing to say. . .not religious but Spiritual.

Did I think I had more power than God? Obviously, I did. What I needed to do and do immediately to feel better was realize there is a power greater than me involved and that I was trespassing thinking I could. . .should fix someone other than myself.

I was making my situation a lot worse by what I was FEELING and I was FEELING guilty.  The FACT is, and not selfishly, the only person I can fix. . . is me.

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 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Impending Doom

        Impending doom crept into my being when I was very young. The fact is, probably when I was born and as I grew bigger, it grew worse all the way into adulthood.  It has caused a terrific amount of pain and I’ve lost many hours to it. I’ve said numerous times, this has got to stop but the demon did not stop.

It came from my mother, who was born to an unwed woman in 1908 and was raised in several foster homes. Never knowing her mother or father she searched for years trying to locate them and the parental love she never got.

Her tragedy was my reward and my terrible demon.

My reward?  My Mothers lack of parents helped her become a loving mother. The demon was that my mother was a control freak.

She always feared something bad had happened if I were just minutes late.She had to control absolutely everything.

As a result, all of my life, I also feared something bad had happened to my kids if I didn’t hear from them regularly.

That fear would cause worry and my imagination would run always to the negative, to the worst happenings and then I would obsess on that fear.

Impending doom stole hours of peace and replaced that with worry. I recall one time my mother was supposed to be home at a certain time and she didn’t show up. I was probably 10 years old at the time.

When she came home, it seemed like she was an hour late when in reality it was probably twenty minutes. I freaked out and started yelling and crying. I told her all the bad things I had been thinking and imagined and she told me not to worry because she was home, safe and sound. I can’t recall if she apologized or if my first session with impending doom caused her to think about her problem with the gloom of doom or not. The impending doom didn’t end. . .it grew.

I joined the army in an effort to get away from the doom. I didn’t get away from it. I married and was father to three children. The doom grew stronger and seemed to affect my daughter most of all, probably because I raised her from the time she was six years-old.

I struggle with the feeling, the belief, that life is always going to end in doom until I realize that only I can change that.

I, with the help of God.

 * * *

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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The Secret: Enjoy the journey and have faith

            “I feel sorry for people who can’t cry,” Verdie  McGee said over the phone from 800 miles away. “I really think crying makes you live longer.”

            Verdie is living proof.  She’s one of the best criers I know, and I’ve known her 35 years.

            Verdie Dempsey McGee, my former mother-in-law, is  telling me how she is struggling with the demons of (feeling) down.

            “ I thought I was over with those feelings, but every time I think of mother and daddy, I get sad. I woke up this morning and said I wasn’t  gonna’ cry. . .but I did. I laid there and had a big cry.”

            Verdie sounded like she might cry right then.

            “I’ll bet your felt better after,” I said.

            “I did.”

            The conversation switched to talk of what wonderful experiences Verdie’s life has brought. She talked of childhood in the mountains of North Georgia, when the Buttermilk Road was just a dirt passage that wagons and horses rumbled over. She told me of the time she first saw her first automobile— probably from one of “them” big cities nearby like, Cedartown or Rome, Georgia. And the time, on a bright sunny day, she stood there with her brothers and sisters as an “aeroplane” landed right there in front of them in the cotton fields. The pilot offering $2 rides to anyone brave and adventurous to go.

            Verdie talked of her teen years and Saturday night dances in Cave Spring, Ga., still a tiny town today. We talked of the days before radio and television and the marvel of those inventions that brought glorious sound and sight.

             She reminisced with stories of honeysuckle vines and springtime, of whippoorwills calling at night and thoughts of the great country singer Hank William’s being, “so lonesome he could cry.”

            She’s weathered tornadoes and the creek arisin’ and watched men fight world wars and men walk on the moon. In her lifetime, she’s seen more U.S.  President then she have fingers.

            It’s been rich, exciting life for this woman who still lives on the Buttermilk Road in the shadow of bald mountain and Pea Ridge.

            Amazingly, most of  Verdie’s  brothers and sisters are still alive, still livin’ within a stones throw—which is pretty close, ‘cause Verdie ain’t pitchin so hard anymore.

            One of the bad times in Verdie’s life was when doctors told her she had six months  “at best” to live. Lets see—that was about three years ago.  We talked about that prediction recently. “The doctor who told you that is probably dead, ” I said, and Verdie laughed hard.

            “I’ll be there for your 90th birthday and we’ll dance,” I told her.

             But, plans change, and I couldn’t make it to the Buttermilk Road.  I felt poorly about not making the celebration.  A big party was planned.

            When I called to say I’d be down in a few weeks Verdie was sleeping. Carolyn, my former wife, said she’d told her mom I couldn’t make it.

            “Mother says anytime you want to come is fine with her— if she is living.”

            That sounds like Verdie.

            Actually, it wouldn’t have done any good if I could have gone to Georgia because Verdie’s not there. She and Carolyn jumped in the car and drove 700 miles to Fort Lauderdale to visit my daughter Annie, sit by the sea and celebrate Verdie’s 90th birthday.

            Happy Birthday Verdie.*

*Editors note: This is a column Jerry wrote in 1999. Verdie McGee passed at age 91.

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Acceptance is…

Written by Jerry Stanecki

When I feel depressed and start feeling sorry for myself, fortunately, I remember to use what I’ve learned from my program.

Acceptance is the key to my serenity.

Accept, easy to say but hard to do.

It takes willingness and practice to accept what is and to truly believe there is a power greater then yourself in this world or out of this world.

Once I get past that diversion and really believe, I can and will accept what is happening at that moment.

So, I, willing and humbly accept what is in my life at that moment.

I genuinely feel grateful for what I have in life. A great family, a daughter who cries at the airport when she hugs her father, two great sons, a nice home I created. I have clean sheets, a kitten named Daisy Mae that loves me, (even though I am armed with a squirt gun used to keep her off the furniture) and everything else that comes to me.

Good times are easy to accept. It’s most important to accept what is when bad times in life occur.

When I surrender and get grateful I feel better.

So, I can enjoy the journey by surrendering to the old useless feelings that aren’t serving me any longer. Feelings learned by repeatedly watching and learning from my parents and replace the negative with positive thoughts and, if you have to, force gratitude for the seemingly good and seemingly bad to allow myself to feel better.

Acceptance is the key to my serenity.  How I feel is a choice, my choice.


Copyright © 2017

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