I am [blank]

starpendLast week’s post comment, via ByeByeBeer, spurred this post on the Pendulum. The Pendulum is a staple in my toolbox.   When I first got sober I was under the illusion that I was going to actually rid myself of my yuckier side. I did rid myself of yucky drinking me. But I was left with yucky un-drinking me.

I truly believed I had to remove the yucky parts of me if I was to be successful in sobriety. Every failed attempt at not correcting the behavior meant I was “closer to a drink.”

I have since ditched this idea. In life (sobriety) I simply do my best to manage unwanted thoughts, feelings, and responses as they arrive. With this mindset, I will inevitably, reprogram an improved auto-response.

Why the pendulum?

It allows me to stay attached to the feelings so I can experience it, while moving me in the new direction so I can heal it. (i.e. I cannot know freedom until I have experienced lack-of-freedom.) The idea that I can just eliminate a feeling, at will, is not a place to which I have evolved. Insta-elimination is what I did with wine. This is healing, not escape.

Enough chit chat, here’s an example of how I use it.

Yucky Side

Somewhere in the Middle

Yucky’s Opposite

I am [exhausted]

I am [rested]

I am [rejuvenated]

I am [alone]

I am [capable of reaching out]

I am [connected]

I am [such a loser]

I am [human]

I am [amazing]

I am [overbearing]

I am [spirited]

I am [humble]

The first goal is to get to the middle of the pendulum, not 180° away, just the middle. The relief I seek is in the middle. If I swing past it, great—bonus!

The cure for my exhaustion is to alter my schedule—today.  Once I am rested I can move toward being rejuvenated. The cure for my isolation is to move to a space where I feel safe and loved. From there I move toward being love. The cure for my harsh judgment of self is to see that I am human and forgive my error. Once I have forgiven the error I am free to move toward amazement. The cure for my bossiness is to remember my opinion is not everyone’s, despite my zeal for life, I can remain humble.

The pendulum always passes through the middle before it gets to the other side. I can’t skip the middle any more than Earth can skip winter. Universal laws don’t allow it.

Now, like any good addict I want the result fast, faster, fastest. It’s not going to happen that way, but what can happen is that I can feel a little better today. I don’t have to wait for some future date. I can find me now—today—in all these emotions.

They are the way through to the other side.

My job is to set the pendulum in motion. Am I willing?

It’s not about reaching perfection.

It’s about movement.

Can I trust the process and experience the movement?

After all, I am [       ].

22 Responses to “I am [blank]

  • After all, I am SO HAPPY I have people like you and blogs like this in my life 🙂

  • I love this idea. That’s going straight in the toolkit! Thank you x

    • Thank you. How are you doing? I guess I just need to get my butt over to your blog and find out. (Geez) Know that I think of you often. x

      • Ahh thank you!

        I’m doing really well thanks 🙂 3 weeks in and feeling no cravings in the welcoming arms of AA x

  • This is very helpful…sort of perfect for what I need on some of my bad days lately. My negative talk has lessened, but what a good idea to get to the middle and then remedy some the problem. Thanks Lisa! Great post! xx

    • This makes me so happy. (I sometimes wonder if I’m living in my own pretend world over here.) I thought for so long that I had to make it all perfect. It never occurred to me that relief was not nearly as far away as I had imagined. Thank you.

  • Where to begin with all the things I love about this post….

    Love the easy visual of a pendulum gliding back and forth. Naturally occurring, never staying in one place too long.

    Love that you point out we have to pass through the middle to get to the other side.

    Love realizing the middle is where I spend most of my time right now. I think I may prefer it over the opposite-of-yucky.

    Most of all, I love that you’ve taken a huge step away from fear, ie ‘if you keep feeling this way, you’ll drink’ and shown acceptance and hope.

    Thank you for this lovely, incredibly helpful tool.

    • I’m feeling in awe of your comment. I believe I tried for so long to find me. It seemed that no matter where I went I was falling short of my objective. You know the who am I? what am I here for? kind of stuff? I vividly remember understanding that where I was … was fine. It was so simple I almost missed it. Thank you for connecting with me on both these posts. I feel like I’ve had some good growth this week. I love when a topic lingers the whole week—I get to knead (need) it.

  • What a great tool! And what a wonderful way of reminding me that things are a process. No matter how hard I want to jump from point A to point C, I can’t get there unless I pass through B.



  • This post came just as I needed it, as my pendulum is way off to the… left I guess? In reading the chart, I will say the left is where I don’t want to be, but finding myself stuck there. So I love that you shared this tool of yours just as I was rummaging around my toolbox trying to figure out what to use to fix what’s wrong. I think I’ll try this one and see if it works…

    Thanks for lending it to me 🙂

  • Karen Kahler
    10 years ago

    Your response to one of your comments is what has hit me right where I needed to be hit today. I have almost a year and half and I am so frustrated with where I am… I looked at your website for the first time today after several, several months hoping to find some sort of peace and assurance ….and your words, ” where I was ..was fine. It was so simple I almost missed it” has been my saving grace. Where I am IS fine….I’m not drinking.

    • I love this realization you found. Very happy for you. Even as I type this I’ve had a rough day and you know what? I’m ok. Truly ok. Among many other wonderful things I am sober …. that is a gift beyond measure. All my love. (And it is so good to see your beautiful name here.) xo Lisa

  • I am smiling in a coffee shop, happy that I’ve stumbled onto your blog.

    The Pendulum. What an awesome and helpful idea. Thank you for this. I am new to this journey and this is a great way to understand my feelings and put them into perspective.

    “It’s not about reaching perfection. It’s about movement.”

    • I, too, love to stumble upon unexpected readings. Lucky me, today someone stumbled upon me. 🙂 While I am not new to sobriety, I often feel new to life. I think to myself, and often, How is it that I’ve managed to make it so far in this world with my thinking? Thanks for having the courage to comment. Hope to see you around. You all keep me sober too btw. xox Lisa

    • Thank you sooooo much.
      It is always the highest compliment to have someone reblog.
      I am blessed to write on this blog.

      • Thank YOU! For your wonderful book (which I am truly enjoying and highly recommend to others) for your wonderful blog, and for being the inspiration for me to dip my toes into the blogosphere! PS-thanks for the follow also!

        • Thank YOU back. Yes, this is a great community. Good for you for jumping in. I have several rich friendships from writing on these pages. I am sure you will too as you keep up your writing. Your kind words for my book are precious to my heart. Your support does not go unnoticed. If there is any support I can give you please ask. My love, Lisa

  • I stumbled onto this aspect of “God” as a result reaching the end of my rope in my “sober” life and of the 12 steps of A.A.as described out of The Big Book in 1990. I did the usual things that were suggested i.e. prayer and seeking a sponsor when that occurred, only to end up at a Big Book step study group that slyly took you through the steps because the ego is so sly and resistant to God. When I got a quarter of the way through the 9th step, I “confessed my former ill feelings” as said in The Big Book to a woman whom I thought was a “bitch” and she forgave me as well. I left the meeting to go outside into the patio when I started to feel a wet spot in the pit of my belly that shot down to the bottoms of my feet and back up through my entire body removing every fiber of fear leaving nothing but the purest feeling of Love I had ever known. It was dumbfounding and very shaking because I had never experienced anything like this…ever. If this was “God” it was way beyond my “understanding”. I basked in that experienced for something like 20 minutes or so, then got up to drive home with a little hesitancy because I was wary of driving safe in that space, but I made it. I ended up taking a nap wondering if this would still be going on when I got up, and sure enough, it was. I went back to the club where I was going for meetings to share what had happened and as I listened to everybody share, and it was quite packed, the things that were coming out of people’s mouths had nothing to do with the God that had found me, like “belonging to A.A. is like belonging to the mafia” with lots of anger behind the tone of people’s sharing. There were one or two that talked about their current problem and I could tell that it was rooted in issues like co-dependency or just plain powerlessness. There was one woman at the meeting that the second she opened her mouth I knew she knew what I knew and had encountered, because there was a peace and a glow about her that was unequivocally from God. Life had changed for me. Some of which I have been posting here, like time slowing down and no longer being “linear’, the Claire-audience incidences. One morning i woke up with a warm spot in my chest in the shape of an eye where my heart chakra had opened, and days of blessed silence where I would just go through the motions with no mind chatter at all, just serene bliss. After a while of being involved with A.A. I felt that there was something not quite spiritually right in there. Much like the “man behind the curtain” in The Wizard Of Oz. After that it became like living in The Truman Show with no spontaneity and just robotic responses coming from other A.A. members. Finally there was a situation that arose between the Big Book group that I was involved in and other A.A. members pushing them out where I had no choice but to move on and so did the members of my Big Book group that I considered my home group. I had been back to visit other A.A. clubs and meetings and when I got honest with them they insinuated that I was “lying” and “politely” pointed out that I should go back to my “home club” and “face the music” as it were, but it such an ensconced existence that I was treated as “unwelcome” and a “new comer” and it was also “politely suggested” that I go on medication. I finally saw no point in going back anymore and fired the “Group Of Drunks” in 2010.

    • Michael … For me the most important element of recovery is finding the sources that will work for me. If one doesn’t suit me, I move on. I can see that there is a place for everyone, but not everyone belongs in the same place. What matters is that you found your way. Thanks for commenting. My best, Lisa

  • Thanks for providing information for person like me

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.