Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 24, 2010

Step Three in Application

      Right now, I am having a struggle with something I am not in control of, so I am going to use it as active practice of giving it over to my Higher Power.

The Problem:

      I have to take my son to a specialist, an appointment I made weeks ago. I needed to do this. However, before I get to see the specialist, there is a test which needs to be done.
      The problem is that I don’t feel listened to. I feel like we’re being put through a standardized procedure which is not taking into account my son’s physical limitations as a result of the cancer treatment he went through eight years ago. I feel completely out of control of it.

Other Factors:

      I did not get enough sleep last night, which has ttriggered HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). I am tired because I did not get good sleep last night and I am angry because I cannot control this.

The Reality:

      My son needs to have the procedure done; he needs to see the specialist. Seeing the specialist means we can start the process of the surgery that the previous specialist he saw said could be done when my son was around 12. Well, he’s 12. (I just saw a little hummingbird come up within arm’s reach of me just beyond the patio railing to see what I was doing for a few seconds. A totem meaning for hummingbirds can be found here.)
      I have been putting off taking him because of my frustration with the medical industry. My addict self has come up with rationalizations, including my desire to cancel the appointment. But he needs to go.

The Serenity Prayer in Action:

      Okay, I recognize I am trying to control something that is out of my control. My son has specific needs which I feel are not being addressed, despite my mentioning it to every person I have talked to about this. I have already had a badly-handled addict-mind contact with the doctor’s office (including tears), and my fear of the procedure not being covered has been an issue.
      I did learn that we can afford it, and if I need to, we can pay it–even if we need to put it on a credit card we are trying to pay down. This procedure is necessary. It is something I cannot change and need to accept.
      I feel resentment that I don’t feel my son’s special requirements are being taken into consideration. I am frustrated that they have this streamlined, and it feels like a cattle call more than a caring physician-patient encounter. They have made requests of me, which I am going to take responsibility and do instead of be neglectful. I am going to do my part in this, despite my fear that my son is not being given understanding because of his particular special physical limitations. This I can change (taking responsibility so the procedure can be done properly, as opposed to having a tantrum and making it difficult on them), and I seek the courage to do it despite the resentment and fear.
      I have also been neglectful in getting him the appointment with the specialist. Between a health insurance I do not understand (Oh, to have an HMO again!) and a physician situation which has been a struggle from the start (My son wants a male doctor, and I had to be firm about that this time, despite not being able to get a male doctor his last visit to a doctor–which is going to make me move his primary care to the pediatric and family practice next door). I may be frustrated that I don’t feel like they are respecting my son’s needs as a patient, but we do need that specialist. I may have put it off, but I cannot change that–nor can I change the fact that the doctor they referred me to wasn’t at the practice. This combination of guilt (for my part in it) and resentment (for their streamlining of the patient intake process) has caused me frustration. This is where I am fighting the most. But neither of those things I can change.
      What I can do, however, is stand up for my son’s needs when I get there. And I will. Part of this means that I have the ability to go online and find the Patient’s Bill of Rights. I can empower my son during this procedure, and I can stand up to the other adults in the room. They don’t have authority over us–they provide a service. Just like I don’t let a restaurant manager or server order for me or a haircutter do my hair, I don’t have to cower before them. That said, I do have a responsibility to meet them halfway and be prepared for the procedure. The reality is that my son may have to leave in the middle of the procedure so he won’t feel shamed because of his limitation. As a parent, I can empower my son by respecting his needs. Since I am the thin, bright line between their process and my son’s individual needs, that is where I can stand.
      I hate confrontation because I tend to do it badly.

Giving Over to My Higher Power

      I am in an emotional minefield right now over this. I feel fear that they will try to intimidate me and that I will turn toward my character defects to manage it. In the OA 12&12, on page 65, it addresses stubbornness as a character trait. If I use stubbornness to keep from working the program, it is a defect. If I use it to maintain abstinence and keep working my recovery, it is an asset. Therefore, it can be classified as a trait–something that can be misapplied or applied correctly.
      The most important thing is to keep calm, something that I need my Higher Power to help me with. Not emotionally withdrawn but calm.
      The desire to defend my son’s self-esteem comes from a place of love. I can respect that love by not becoming irrational at the doctors. He needs the procedure. That’s something I, as a loving parent, accept. He needs someone to stand up for his self-esteem and keep his boundaries firm in the face of a team of people who want to get the procedure done in a timely manner. They were informed of the physical limitation, and they will be informed again. When I deliver that message, I think that I need to take a moment to give it over to my Higher Power in prayer, praying for the willingness to stay calm and channel the limitless love my HP both provides to me and through me.
      Everyone has needs in this situation, though the needs may end up conflicting with one another. The boundary-work I am doing–self, family, friends, others–sets my son’s needs before theirs. And I trust that my Higher Power can provide me the ability to make this a positive exchange despite the awareness that everyone’s basic needs are in conflict.
      With my Higher Power’s guidance, I can speak respectfully to everyone. With my Higher Power’s ability to grant me grace, I can stand up for my son’s needs while acknowledging the providers’ needs. All I have to do is pray then let it go to my Higher Power.
      It’s possible that there won’t even be a conflict. My Higher Power might manage that once we get there. However, in the situation, I must practice the Steps in order to take action out of maternal love instead of react as a trapped person. Whatever happens, I can speak calmly with my Higher Power’s help. Heck, maybe my son’s physical limitation won’t arise in this situation. Maybe my Higher Power will be able to give us the ability to get everyone’s needs met.
      The only thing I can do at this point is accept that the procedure needs to be done yet that my son’s limitations need to be respected. After seeing it distilled to this, I now pray to have the willingness to stay calm then let it go to my Higher Power to manage. I don’t have to fight, but I don’t have to lie down so people will be happy with me.

My Prayer:

      HP, relieve me from this bondage of self, that I can do your will in this matter. If there must be conflict, grant me the grace to manage it with love and understanding for all of the participants in this matter. Please give me the strength to be my son’s mother and balance the needs of the people performing his procedure with the needs of my son to feel protected and loved as you make me feel protected and loved. Lend me the grace to handle this, and take this from me so that I may have the serenity and sanity necessary to not walk in there expecting conflict with resentment in my heart. Allow me awareness to choose a path which will not require amends. I seek your will in this matter, I surrender to your will in this matter.
      (The hardest part of trying to surrender, which I am having difficulty with, is that my self-will involves wanting to defend my son’s needs. I have to trust that my Higher Power will take care of his needs, as my own needs are taken care of.)
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict. First of all, I want to thank my Higher Power for not making me want to eat over this. That is a gift I am deeply and humbly thankful for. A year ago, the anger and resentment and fear would be brewing because I would be arming for battle with junk food and frustration.
      My Higher Power provides for me. And I think I got a message from it when that hummingbird showed up, so I am going to go research the hummingbird as totem to see if perhaps I already got my answer. Then, I need to release the fear and resentment to my Higher Power. I have hours to go before I have to get my son and take him to the doctor. And I have access to a meeting (the one with my potential sponsor, who I can talk to after meeting to set up a regular call time and some ground rules for sponsorship) in an hour.
      I’ve got to go. Everything will be okay. I have the peace that everything will be okay. It may not be perfect, but as long as I am not indulging in my character defects over this before the event itself, that is some huge progress in recovery–and I will take it humbly and with thankfulness for even having the 12 Steps to turn to.

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