Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Acceptance

Accepting reality enables us to live in reality.
What does this mean? When life pleases us and flows in accordance with our needs and desires, we don’t think about acceptance. But when our will is frustrated or we’re hurt in some way, our displeasure causes us to react, ranging from anger to withdrawal.
We might deny or distort what’s happening to lessen our pain. We might blame others or ourselves or we try to change things to our liking and needs.
Most of us alter our reality to some degree by perceiving reality with our personal biases. We sometimes use denial unconsciously to make reality more palatable.  A few such examples are:
  • Minimizing
  • Rationalizing
  • self deception.

Why do we do this?  The reason is that it helps us cope with some uncomfortable feeling or fact. Although denial may be an easier way to cope with stress, suppression is far better. For example, a cancer patient may decide not to think about dying in order to muster up the courage to undergo difficult treatment.  This does not mean to bottle up the feelings and never talk about them, as that will have negative psychological effects in the long run, rather do not dwell on the feelings to long, and find a time and place to talk it out. That may be with a close friend, a therapist, a school counselor, etc.
Denial is a core symptom of codependency and addiction. We have a distorted relationship to reality often acting against our best interests. Addicts and codependents use denial to continue addictive behavior.
Paradoxically change can only begin with acceptance of the reality, including those that are painful. 
Many of us when we here the word acceptance, we think of submission, but acceptance can also be an expression of will, a conscious decision that some things we can not change.  New options present themselves as we shift our focus from changing the impossible to changing what we can.
I wrote that acceptance can be an act of will. It may take the form of a positive a change of attitude. Sometimes, that’s all we can do. There may be nothing on the outside that we can change, but acceptance of a situation brings peace of mind and allows us to enjoy the moment. 


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grattitude

 I was starting to write about this topic, and then had an experience that made me decide to start over.
As a volunteer roadside responder, we also occasionally receive an emergency call for a child locked in a car, a bathroom, etc. Today I was sitting at my computer writing my thoughts to share with you, and a call is dispatched for assistance changing a flat tire about 15-20 minutes away. Before I left the house, the caller called back and canceled the call. A few minutes later, the same person called once again to say that we were needed.I was en-route approximately five minutes away from the location of the flat tire, and dispatch notified me that once again the caller canceled. We all have our own lives, jobs, family, etc. and volunteer our time to assist others. A short while later, an emergency call is dispatched and while en route I hear over the radio that there was another potential emergency call approximately one minute from my location. As multiple others were responding to the first call, I went to check out the closer location and found no such emergency. Not only was there no emergency, there was no one needing assistance.

  You are probably thinking what does this have to do with gratitude?  If you appreciate what others do for you, you will treat them with respect. If the first caller, was grateful to us for giving our time, they would not have had us schlep most of the way to them, and then cancel the call one last time. In the second case, if there was a feeling of gratitude either they would not have called in a fake emergency, or would have let us know that they found a way into the car.

  Why be grateful? There are any reasons, however, I will only share a few of them with you.


  1. If you appreciate what you have you will be happier. 
  2. Gratitude makes people like us. Studies show that people who are more grateful than average had more social capital.
  3. Gratitude makes us healthier. In 2012 a study was published showing that grateful people take better care of themselves. They work out more and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors. Furthermore, gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions. 
Gratitude is no cure-all, but it is a massively underutilized tool for improving life-satisfaction and happiness.


  I was not always this grateful person, however, I managed to transform my life, and so can you.
I start each day writing down 10 things I am grateful for. They can be small things or big things. Throughout the day, I add to that list and read it over before going to bed. At first, it may be hard but over time it gets easier and easier.





 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.






 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Dealing with crisis.

It has been a few weeks since my last blog post. The reason for this is, that I had a fire at home.
Recovery does not promise a perfect life. This raises a question, How does one deal with life, on life's terms?
I would like to share some tips and ideas that help me handle difficult situations.
First and foremost do not try to ignore the situation at hand because if you do, they will get the best of you.
Now, some of the many ways that you can handle difficult situations, no matter how big, or how small:
Stop and take a deep break (think before taking action).
Take deep breaths (pay attention to your breathing. This will help you think more clearly).
Observe what is happening in the situation (pay attention to whether you are thinking positively or negatively).
Call someone else to talk in order to get feedback.
These are just some of the many ways that can help you handle whatever situation you may find yourself in. Through using tools such as these, you will find that many situations can turn out better for you.






 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Being Around Alcohol

  As you probably know by now, I am a recovering alcoholic/addict who has almost four years of complete abstinence from both alcohol and drugs.
This Sunday night through Tuesday was The special days of 19-20 Kislev. On Monday night I went to a Farbrengen*at which alcohol is served. Another attendee who knows my story asked how I can be around alcohol without needing to take a drink. I did not answer him at the time, However, I would like to answer his question on this forum. I find that a few things need to be in place for me to be able to attend a gathering at which people will be drinking.
Let's first understand better what a Farbrengen is. A Farbrengen is not just another gathering or party. It is where a time that we get together for the sake of encouraging each other in our spirituality.

  Back to the original question. How can someone in recovery attend an event with alcohol? First and foremost, make sure that there is a good reason to attend.  You do not want to be hanging around alcohol for no good reason. After making sure that your motives are clean, Speak to another sober person and mention to them that you will be attending an event with alcohol. Bounce your thoughts off of them as to why you feel it is right for you to be going. And finally, make sure you have an escape plan/idea in case you need to leave.








*A Farbrengen (/fɑːrbrɛnɡɛn/, from the Yiddish פארברענגען, meaning "joyous gathering"; German verbringen "to spend [time/solidarity/festivity together]") is a Hasidic gathering. 





 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I have times still in my life where I feel like I am worthless. I don't think that anyone can do this alone, and that's what makes us stronger. Two hardest things to say are; I Am Sorry, I Need Help. Why? Look around people don't care anymore. We have become so caught up with ourselves that we forgot about our own family. The lies and manipulation we tormented our family with just so we could not feel, and be numb to everything. What's wrong with feelings? Isn't that why we were created to have personal relationships with other people? Yet we are looking for things outside ourselves to fix a problem that deeply embedded in our brains. Than we become just shells of people when we are in an active addiction because we only care about getting that next fix. We are dead in all the ways that matter; emotionally, mentally, spiritually but just not physical death. However, that's what we are slowly doing to ourselves every time you use, because you are playing with something that wants you dead. There is help out there and you have to want it in order for it to work, and most of us are self-sabotaging so when we get a few weeks clean we feel unworthy of the good things that start to happen. So we feel the need to screw things up and it's a vicious cycle. My question is are you going to stay part of your problem? Or grow up and become part of the solution to your problems? I think addicts are people that feel everything and we are very sensitive people in all reality. I know I wear my emotions on my sleeves and go out of my way to help strangers. Why do I do this? I do it because it takes me out of myself and I have learned that it's okay to feel. I am okay today with who I am and if I would allow the wreckage from my past define me I would be defeated. So I think my message is to empty your garbage daily and stop carrying around stuff from your past. We can't take back yesterday let alone the things we did weeks ago. All we can do is the next right thing and try and help someone else out. We can become obsessed with our own thoughts and reality is we have a thought every seven seconds and we choose to turn it into an action. What will you choose?







 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Making Amends

A big part of my journey in bettering myself has been and still is making amends to those I have wronged in any way. This leads me to think about what is a sincere amends.

 We all know that forced "I'm sorry" that we tell children to say.  When we get older we realize that we need to start making real apologies. How do we make a real apology? I would like to share a few thoughts with you.

In my experience an effective way to make a sincere apology is with three simple steps.

1) Express remorseful feelings.  Don't just say "I'm sorry", express your feelings of remorse. For example, "I'm sorry that by acting disrespectful to the bank teller embarrassed you.

2) Admit fault without justifying the hurtful act, and never place blame on the other person. Placing blame on the other person is counterproductive and sounds insincere.

3) Make the situation right. Ask how you can right the situation, and be open to doing what the offended asks of you (within reason). Above all, deliver on any promises you make. When we feel guilty or embarrassed, sometimes we over-correct in our attempt to gain forgiveness. If the person is asking for something that you can’t give, say so, and say that you will give some thought to what you can give to make it up to him or her.

Keep this in mind next time you need to apologize to someone.








 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Self respect

This past week after consulting with others I had to walk away from a job.The reason is that ever since the election there has been allot of abuse. It has been getting worse day by day. My boss saw it as a form of disrespect to him, and I got to double guessing my decision.

You put a frog into a vessel filled with water and start heating the water. As the temperature of the water begins to rise, the frog adjusts its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps adjusting its body temperature with the increasing temperature of the water. Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog cannot adjust anymore. At this point the frog decides to jump out. The frog tries to jump but it is unable to do so because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature. Very soon the frog dies. What killed the frog? Think about it! I know many of us will say the boiling water. But the truth about what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when to jump out. We all need to adjust with people & situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust & when we need to move on. There are times when we need to face the situation and take appropriate actions. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or mentally they will continue to do so. Let us decide when to jump! Let's jump while we still have the strength.

I would like to share some wisdom that was shared with me.

Just because you stop talking to or associating with a toxic person doesn't necessarily mean you hate them. It means you respect yourself enough to not put up with their drama, abuse, or be used by them any longer. Don't disrespect yourself by letting others disrespect you. You're worth more than being used as a doormat.







 I am available to speak in your city, for your organization, school, or synagogue.

Please contact me at 443-415-0449 or at rabbischoenes@gmail.com for fee and scheduling information.