Fear & Codependency

“Fear is at the core of codependency. It can motivate us to control situations or neglect ourselves. Many of us have been afraid for so long that we don’t label our feelings fear. We’re used to feeling upset and anxious. It feels normal. Peace and serenity may be uncomfortable. At one time, fear may have been appropriate and useful. We may have relied on fear to protect ourselves, much the way soldiers in a war rely on fear to help them survive. But now, in recovery, we’re living life differently. It’s time to thank our old fears for helping us survive, then wave good-bye to them. Welcome peace, trust, acceptance, and safety. We don’t need that much fear anymore. We can listen to our healthy fears, and let go of the rest. We can create a feeling of safety for ourselves, now. We are safe, now. We’ve made a commitment to take care of ourselves. We can trust and love ourselves.

God, help me let go of my need to be afraid. Replace it with a need to be at peace. Help me listen to my healthy fears and relinquish the rest.Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 127). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

…on feeling good

Todd Lohenry, e1evation, llc, Personal Digital Coaching, 'personal news aggregation'“Make yourself feel good. It’s our job to first make ourselves feel better and then make ourselves feel good. Recovery is not only about stopping painful feelings; it is about creating a good life for ourselves. We don’t have to deny ourselves activities that help us feel good. Going to meetings, basking in the sun, exercising, taking a walk, or spending time with a friend are activities that may help us feel good. We each have our list. If we don’t, we’re now free to explore, experiment, and develop that list. When we find a behavior or activity that produces a good feeling, put it on the list. Then, do it frequently. Let’s stop denying ourselves good feelings and start doing things that make us feel good. Today, I will do one activity or behavior that I know will create a good feeling for me. If I’m uncertain about what I like, I will experiment with one behavior today.” via Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 126). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Today I’ll be working hard on making myself feel good even though my wife is far away and I miss her terribly. What ‘feel good challenge will you over come today?

…on Control

Melody Beattie has a good reminder I needed to hear this morning…

“Control is an illusion, especially the kind of control we’ve been trying to exert. In fact, controlling gives other people, events, and diseases, such as alcoholism, control over us. Whatever we try to control does have control over us and our life. I have given this control to many things and people in my life. I have never gotten the results I wanted from controlling or trying to control people. What I received for my efforts is an unmanageable life, whether that unmanageability was inside me or in external events. In recovery, we make a trade-off. We trade a life that we have tried to control, and we receive in return something better—a life that is manageable. Today, I will exchange a controlled life for one that is manageable.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 125-126). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.”

Taking Care of Ourselves

In The Language of Letting Go Melody Beattie says…

“We often refer to recovery from codependency and adult child issues as “self-care.” Self-care is not, as some may think, a spin-off of the “me generation.” It isn’t self-indulgence. It isn’t selfishness—in the negative interpretation of that word. We’re learning to take care of ourselves, instead of obsessively focusing on another person. We’re learning self-responsibility, instead of feeling excessively responsible for others. Self-care also means tending to our true responsibilities to others; we do this better when we’re not feeling overly responsible. Self-care sometimes means, “me first,” but usually, “me too.” It means we are responsible for ourselves and can choose to no longer be victims. Self-care means learning to love the person we’re responsible for taking care of—ourselves. We do not do this to hibernate in a cocoon of isolation and self-indulgence; we do it so we can better love others, and learn to let them love us. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s self-esteem. Today, God, help me love myself. Help me let go of feeling excessively responsible for those around me. Show me what what I need to do to take care of myself and be appropriately responsible to others.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 105-106). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Feel free today to take care of yourself…

On taking care of your self…

 

14/52/2012 Me To Infinity

C. M. MacNeil shares this from Melody Beattie…

Our most important focus during times of stress is taking care of ourselves. We are better able to cope with the most irregular circumstances; we are better able to be there for others if we’re caring for ourselves. We can ask ourselves regularly: What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? What might help us feel better or more comfortable?
Self-care may not come as easily during times of stress. Self-neglect may feel more comfortable. But taking care of us always works.

Today, I will remember that there is no situation that can’t be benefited by taking care of myself.

via April 14, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil.

Healthy choices

Português: Poeta latino Ovídio.

Just in case you missed this…

The cause is hidden, but the result is known. Ovid

We know it’s coming before we do it. Our boy[girl]friend dumps us and we devour the ice cream.

We don’t get the promotion so we head for the bar. We have a fight with our spouse and treat ourselves to a new leather jacket – at his or her expense. We decide that because we’re feeling bad anyway, we might as well take full advantage of it. We figure the worse we feel, the more entitled we are to the indulgence.

This type of behavior starts a cycle. The worse we feel, the more we want to self-destruct. Let’s face it – our actions are usually premeditated.

We think about the ice cream, the drink, or the leather jacket until we can get to it. During the planning stage, we can shift gears. We think it through. We know we have a choice. We decide to do something healthy instead of destructive.

Today I will make only healthy choices for myself.

Source: March 28, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil

Fake it ’til you make it?

Photo of Barbara Grizzuti Harrison ca. 1980 fr...

Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality; they are also dress rehearsals, plans. All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination. — Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

Our minds mold who we become. Our thoughts not only contribute to our achievements, they determine the posture of our lives. How very powerful they are. Fortunately, we have the power to think the thoughts we choose, which means our lives will unfold much as we expect.

The seeds we plant in our minds indicate the directions we’ll explore in our development. And we won’t explore areas we’ve never given attention to in our reflective moments. We must dare to dream extravagant, improbable dreams if we intend to find a new direction, and the steps necessary to it.

We will not achieve, we will not master that which goes unplanned in our dream world. We imagine first, and then we conceive the execution of a plan. Our minds prepare us for success. They can also prepare us for failure if we let our thoughts become negative.

I can succeed with my fondest hopes. But I must believe in my potential for success. I will ponder the positive today.

via March 24, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil.

Dykes of courage…

We must constantly build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

via March 21, 2012 – Today’s Gift from Hazelden « cmmacneil.

Empowering

Cover of "The Language of Letting Go (Haz...Here’s a lesson from Melody Beattie I found so good I had to share it right away…

You can think. You can feel. You can solve your problems. You can take care of yourself. Those words have often benefited me more than the most profound and elaborate advice. How easy it is to fall into the trap of doubting ourselves and others. When someone tells us about a problem, what is our reaction? Do we believe we need to solve it for the person? Do we believe that that person’s future rests on our ability to advise him or her? That’s standing on shaky ground—not the stuff of which recovery is made. When someone is struggling through a feeling, or a morass of feelings, what is our reaction? That the person will never survive that experience? That it’s not okay for someone to feel? That he or she will never get through this intact? When a person is faced with the task of assuming responsibility for their life and behaviors, what is our response? That the person can’t do that? I must do it myself to save him or her from dissipating into ashes? From crumbling? From failing? What is our reaction to ourselves when we encounter a problem, a feeling, or when we face the prospect of assuming responsibility for ourselves? Do we believe in ourselves and others? Do we give power to people—including ourselves—and their abilities? Or do we give the power to the problem, the feeling, or the irresponsibility? We can learn to check ourselves out. We can learn to think, and consider our response, before we respond. “I’m sorry you’re having that problem. I know you can figure out a solution. Sounds like you’ve got some feelings going on. I know you’ll work through them and come out on the other side.” Each of us is responsible for ourselves. That does not mean we don’t care. It does not mean a cold, calculated withdrawal of our support from others. It means we learn to love and support people in ways that work. It means we learn to love and support ourselves in ways that work. It means that we connect with friends who love and support us in ways that work. To believe in people, to believe in each person’s inherent ability to think, feel, solve problems, and take care of themselves is a great gift we can give and receive from others. Today, I will strive to give and receive support that is pure and empowering. I will work at believing in myself and others—and our mutual abilities to be competent at dealing with feelings, solving problems, and taking responsibility for ourselves.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 73-74). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Me? I still struggle with thinking I can change other people or that I’m entitled to ask them to change and expect that they will. When they don’t ‘comply’, frequently I give away too much of my power. I need to accept responsibility for my own condition and get off the Crazy Train

Being right

Cover of "The Language of Letting Go (Haz...
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In recovery, we are learning how to strive for love in our relationships, not superiority. Yes, we may need to make decisions about people’s behavior from time to time. If someone is hurting us, we need to stand up for ourselves. We have a responsibility to set boundaries and take care of ourselves. But we do not need to justify taking care of ourselves by condemning someone else. We can avoid the trap of focusing on others instead of ourselves. In recovery, we are learning that what we do needs to be right only for us. What others do is their business and needs to be right only for them. It’s tempting to rest in the superiority of being right and in analyzing other people’s motives and actions, but it’s more rewarding to look deeper. Today, I will remember that I don’t have to hide behind being right. I don’t have to justify what I want and need with saying something is “right” or “wrong.” I can let myself be who I am.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 47). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Owning our Power

Cover of "The Language of Letting Go (Haz...
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We need to make a distinction between powerlessness and owning our power. The first step in recovery is accepting powerlessness. There are some things we can’t do, no matter how long or hard we try. These things include changing other people, solving their problems, and controlling their behavior. Sometimes, we feel powerless over ourselves—what we feel or believe, or the effects of a particular situation or person on us. It’s important to surrender to powerlessness, but it’s equally important to own our power. We aren’t trapped. We aren’t helpless. Sometimes it may feel like we are, but we aren’t. We each have the God-given power, and the right, to take care of ourselves in any circumstance, and with any person. The middle ground of self-care lies between the two extremes of controlling others and allowing them to control us. We can walk that ground gently or assertively, but in confidence that it is our right and responsibility. Let the power come to walk that path. Today, I will remember that I can take care of myself. I have choices, and I can exercise the options I choose without guilt.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 37). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Hooks

Red Bait Hook
Image via Wikipedia

We can learn not to get hooked into unhealthy, self-defeating behaviors in relationships—behaviors such as caretaking, controlling, discounting ourselves, and believing lies. We can learn to watch for and identify hooks, and choose not to allow ourselves to be hooked. Often, people do things consciously or without thinking that pull us into a series of our self-defeating behaviors we call codependency. More often than not, these hooks can be almost deliberate, and the results predictable. Someone may stand before us and hint or sigh about a problem, knowing or hoping that hint or sigh will hook us into taking care of him or her. That is manipulation. When people stand around us and hint and sigh about something, then coyly say, “Oh, never mind, that’s not for you to worry about,” that’s a game. We need to recognize it. We’re about to get sucked in, if we allow that to happen. We can learn to insist that people ask us directly for what they want and need. What are the words, the signs, the looks, the hints, the cues that hook us into a predictable, and often self-defeating behavior? What makes you feel sympathy? Guilt? Responsible for another? Our strong point is that we care so much. Our weak point is that we often underestimate the people with whom we’re dealing. They know what they’re doing. It is time we give up our naive assumption that people don’t follow agendas of their own in their best interest, and not necessarily in ours. We also want to check ourselves out. Do we give out hooks, looks, hints, hoping to hook another? We need to insist that we behave in a direct and honest manner with others, instead of expecting them to rescue us. If someone wants something from us, insist that the person ask us directly for it. Require the same from ourselves. If someone baits the hook, we don’t have to bite it. Today, I will be aware of the hooks that snag me into the caretaking acts that leave me feeling victimized. I will ignore the hints, looks, and words that hook me, and wait for the directness and honesty I, and others, deserve.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 25-26). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Appreciating our past

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It is easy to be negative about past mistakes and unhappiness. But it is much more healing to look at ourselves and our past in the light of experience, acceptance, and growth. Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and loving. The relationships we entered, stayed in, or ended taught us necessary lessons. Some of us have emerged from the most painful circumstances with strong insights about who we are and what we want. Our mistakes? Necessary. Our frustrations, failures, and sometimes stumbling attempts at growth and progress? Necessary too. Each step of the way, we learned. We went through exactly the experiences we needed to, to become who we are today. Each step of the way, we progressed. Is our past a mistake? No. The only mistake we can make is mistaking that for the truth. Today, God, help me let go of negative thoughts I may be harboring about my past circumstances or relationships. I can accept, with gratitude, all that has brought me to today.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 21-22). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Standing up for ourselves

Books about Humour and Stand Up Comedy 03
Not being able to stand up for yourself is not funny...

It is so easy to come to the defense of others. How clear it is when others are being used, controlled, manipulated, or abused. It is so easy to fight their battles, become righteously indignant, rally to their aid, and spur them on to victory. “You have rights,” we tell them. “And those rights are being violated. Stand up for yourself, without guilt.” Why is it so hard, then, for us to rally to our own behalf? Why can’t we see when we are being used, victimized, lied to, manipulated, or otherwise violated? Why is it so difficult for us to stand up for ourselves? There are times in life when we can walk a gentle, loving path. There are times, however, when we need to stand up for ourselves—when walking the gentle, loving path puts us deeper into the hands of those who could mistreat us. Some days, the lesson we’re to be learning and practicing is one of setting boundaries. Some days, the lesson we’re learning is that of fighting for ourselves and our own rights. Sometimes, the lesson won’t stop until we do. Today, I will rally to my own cause. I will remember that it is okay to stand up for myself when that action is appropriate. Help me, God, to let go of my need to be victimized. Help me appropriately, and with confidence, stand up for myself.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 15). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Family issues

English: Lorenz family members.
Image via Wikipedia

We can draw a healthy line, a healthy boundary, between ourselves and our nuclear family. We can separate ourselves from their issues. Some of us may have family members who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs and who are not in recovery from their addiction. Some of us may have family members who have unresolved codependency issues. Family members may be addicted to misery, pain, suffering, martyrdom, and victimization. We may have family members who have unresolved abuse issues or unresolved family of origin issues. We may have family members who are addicted to work, eating, or sex. Our family may be completely enmeshed, or we may have a disconnected family in which the members have little contact. We may be like our family. We may love our family. But we are separate human beings with individual rights and issues. One of our primary rights is to begin feeling better and recovering, whether or not others in the family choose to do the same. We do not have to feel guilty about finding happiness and a life that works. And we do not have to take on our family’s issues as our own to be loyal and to show we love them. Often when we begin taking care of ourselves, family members will reverberate with overt and covert attempts to pull us back into the old system and roles. We do not have to go. Their attempts to pull us back are their issues. Taking care of ourselves and becoming healthy and happy does not mean we do not love them. It means we’re addressing our issues. We do not have to judge them because they have issues; nor do we have to allow them to do anything they would like to us just because they are family. We are free now, free to take care of ourselves with family members. Our freedom starts when we stop denying their issues, and politely, but assertively, hand their stuff back to them—where it belongs—and deal with our own issues. Today, I will separate myself from family members. I am a separate human being, even though I belong to a unit called a family. I have a right to my own issues and growth; my family members have a right to their issues and a right to choose where and when they will deal with these issues. I can learn to detach in love from my family members and their issues. I am willing to work through all necessary feelings in order to accomplish this.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 5). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Goals

Gordon Celebrates His First NHL Goal

It’s not too late to contemplate this…

Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come. Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction. What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed? What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life? Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals—we are trying to give direction to our life. What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career? What would you like to see happen inside and around you? Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down—as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go. Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals. I will do that now, for the year tocome, and regularly as needed. I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.
Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 3). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Affirming the Good

Black catFun becomes fun, love becomes love, life becomes worth living. And we become grateful. —Beyond Codependency Wait, and expect good things—for yourself and your loved ones. When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands to receive it. Claim it, and it is yours. See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment. Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become. Wait, and expect good things. Today, when I think about the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 380). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

The holidays…

isolation and chaosMore healthy thinking from Melody Beattie

Sometimes, the holidays are filled with the joy we associate with that time of year. The season flows. Magic is in the air. Sometimes, the holidays can be difficult and lonely. Here are some ideas I’ve learned through personal experience, and practice, to help us get through difficult holidays: Deal with feelings, but try not to dwell unduly on them. Put the holidays in perspective: A holiday is one day out of 365. We can get through any 24-hour period. Get through the day, but be aware that there may be a post-holiday backlash. Sometimes, if we use our survival behaviors to get through the day, the feelings will catch up to us the next day. Deal with them too. Get back on track as quickly as possible. Find and cherish the love that’s available, even if it’s not exactly what we want. Is there someone we can give love to and receive love from? Recovering friends? Is there a family who would enjoy sharing their holiday with us? Don’t be a martyr; go. There may be those who would appreciate our offer to share our day with them. We are not in the minority if we find ourselves experiencing a less-than-ideal holiday. How easy, but untrue, to tell ourselves the rest of the world is experiencing the perfect holiday, and we’re alone in conflict. We can create our own holiday agenda. Buy yourself a present. Find someone to whom you you can give. Unleash your loving, nurturing self and give in to the holiday spirit. Maybe past holidays haven’t been terrific. Maybe this year wasn’t terrific. But next year can be better, and the next a little better. Work toward a better life—one that meets your needs. Before long, you’ll have it.

God, help me enjoy and cherish this holiday. If my situation is less than ideal, help me take what’s good and let go of the rest.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 371). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Getting through the holidays…

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

These thoughts from Melody Beattie are helpful to me…

For some, the sights, signs, and smells of the holidays bring joy and a warm feeling. But, while others are joyously diving into the season, some of us are dipping into conflict, guilt, and a sense of loss. We read articles on how to enjoy the holidays, we read about the Christmas blues, but many of us still can’t figure out how to get through the holiday season. We may not know what a joyous holiday would look and feel like. Many of us are torn between what we want to do on the holiday, and what we feel we have to do. We may feel guilty because we don’t want to be with our families. We may feel a sense of loss because we don’t have the kind of family to be with that we want. Many of us, year after year, walk into the same dining room on the same holiday, expecting this year to be different. Then we leave, year after year, feeling let down, disappointed, and confused by it all. Many of us have old, painful memories triggered by the holidays. Many of us feel a great deal of relief when the holiday is ended. One of the greatest gifts of recovery is learning that we are not alone. There are probably as many of us in conflict during the holidays as there are those who feel at peace. We’re learning, through trial and error, how to take care of ourselves a little better each holiday season. Our first recovery task during the holidays is to accept ourselves, our situation, and our feelings about our situation. We accept our guilt, anger, and sense of loss. It’s all okay. There is no right or perfect way to handle the holidays. Our strength can be found in doing the best we can, one year at a time. This holiday season, I will give myself permission to take care of myself.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 370). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

This is me — “Many of us, year after year, walk into the same dining room on the same holiday, expecting this year to be different. Then we leave, year after year, feeling let down, disappointed, and confused by it all. Many of us have old, painful memories triggered by the holidays. Many of us feel a great deal of relief when the holiday is ended.” — This year, I have healthy boundaries around the holidays and I’m not walking into that dining room and I feel relief already…

Expectations of others

Great Expectations (1999 film)

“It is our job to identify our needs, and then determine a balanced way of getting those needs met. We ultimately expect our Higher Power and the Universe—not one particular person—to be our source. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be able or willing to meet our every request. We are responsible for asking for what we want and need. It’s the other person’s responsibility to freely choose whether or not to respond to our request. If we try to coerce or force another to be there for us, that’s controlling. There’s a difference between asking and demanding. We want love that is freely given. It is unreasonable and unhealthy to expect one person to be the source for meeting all our needs. Ultimately, we will become angry and resentful, maybe even punishing, toward that person for not supporting us as we expected. It is reasonable to have certain and well-defined expectations of our spouse, children, and friends. If a person cannot or will not be there for us, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in that relationship. We may need to set a boundary, alter our expectations, or change the limits of the relationship to accommodate that person’s unavailability. We do this for ourselves. It is reasonable to sprinkle our wants and needs around and to be realistic about how much we ask or expect of any particular person. We can trust ourselves to know what’s reasonable. The issue of expectations goes back to knowing that we are responsible for identifying our needs, believing they deserve to get met, and discovering an appropriate, satisfactory way to do that in our life. Today, I will strive for reasonable expectations about getting my needs met in relationships.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 365-366). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

What is ‘healthy giving’?

Christmas gifts.

“It is giving that holds the giver and the receiver in high esteem. It is giving based on a desire to do it rather than from a sense of guilt, pity, shame, or obligation. It is giving with no strings attached. Or it is giving based on a clean, direct contract. Whether it is giving of our time, efforts, energy, comfort, nurturing, money, or ourselves, it is giving that we can afford. Giving is part of the chain of giving and receiving. We can learn to give in healthy ways; we can learn to give in love. We need to keep an eye on our giving, to make sure it has not crossed the line into caretaking. But we need to learn to give in ways that work for us and others.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 360). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

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