December 8 - What If No One Calls?

One night a few weeks after eClubSoda first began I was the only person on the call! While I was waiting, I started typing, and this is what I wrote:

  I was thinking tonight…“What if no one calls? Will it mean that no one likes me…or that they do not find eClubSoda useful? Will it mean that I can’t make the difference in the world that is so important to me?”

I want to get more conscious of and familiar with the neuropathways in my head that would create any of those thoughts. What do I feel after any of those thoughts? Where do I feel it? I began to realize that I sense it in my chest, around my heart. It hurts. It feels very sad. Hmmm, I feel very sad.

In the past I would have tried to drink or eat that feeling away. I would have been trying everything that I could “not” to feel that thought. Today I want to explore it with curiosity. I want to discover some answers. I want to know when I felt that way before. I want to know why I would write those stories.

You might ask why I would be interested in these particular questions. My answer is simple. I know that if I find the answers to them, I will begin to have choices. In the past I have acted automatically in a way designed to have me “not feel” a certain way, but that actually causes me to feel exactly the way I have been trying not to feel! I stay trapped in the feeling rather than moving through it. But as a result of doing this exercise many times over the years, today I have so many other choices from which I can choose.

So my goal is to allow myself to feel that which I have been intent on “not feeling”…then I won’t have the need to search for it anymore in order to avoid it. If I stop searching for it, I will begin seeing instead all that is there around me rather than just that which I do not want to see.

So what is it that I have been trying not to feel that no one showing up on the call reminded me of tonight?

I remember when I was ten years old, waiting for my father to come home and take me fishing. I would sit in the driveway, so excited about the time we would have together. Sometimes he would stop and have a drink or two or three with friends, and I would sit with no one to talk to but myself. It would get dark outside…and in my heart. I can feel the tears in my eyes as I remember how often we would miss our fishing trips together.

I so wanted to tell him how sad I was when I was waiting for him and he would not show up. I dreamed he would listen to me closely and then take me into his arms and tell me how sorry he was and that he would drive straight home in the future. In fact, I also imagined him saying, “You know, Nan, I have missed far too many of our dates together. You are so important to me, and I would never want to hurt you. Because alcohol makes me act in a way I never would otherwise, I am not going to drink anymore at all.”

What I did here is a completion exercise. It actually helps us to heal from old hurts and misunderstandings. First, I had to become aware of my unconscious thoughts and feelings. Then I asked myself what those thoughts and feelings might have reminded me of during the time I was 0-13 years old. After I had journaled about what I had identified, I asked myself what I would have liked to have said during that time to the other person(s) in my memory. Then I wrote what I would have liked to have heard back in response.

What is the value of this exercise? Why would I imagine what I would have liked my father to have said? Why do I take the time to connect with that sadness that I spent so many years trying to forget? Does it really make a difference in my life? Or is this some sort of intellectual exercise that has no long-term value?

I can say for sure that doing this exercise on a regular basis has had an incredible and profound effect on my life and just as importantly the life of others. It gives me the resolve to be there for the eClubSoda call every night, so that parents can learn to be free of their addictive behaviors and, as a result, soon will be able to truly connect with their children and to provide a world of trust and safety for them. In addition, hopefully there will not be as many little girls and boys waiting for parents who do not show up like they promised.

The memory also gives me the freedom to write a new story. Instead of feeling like I don’t matter, I can picture that eClubSoda participants are with their families on this chilly night in December, laughing and warmly connected with each other, as a result of a week of very life-altering growing awareness. I can be grateful for the whisper of extra time to write what is in my heart now, so that when I hear the first “Hello” on the phone I am free to truly connect with others and myself.

Have you been aware of the origin of all of your feelings today? What memories do these feelings evoke from your childhood? Are you willing to do a completion exercise around them? What might they be reflecting about the values that you hold near and dear to your heart? How can you recognize the gift of your life…right out of your life?

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