Dear Dr. Richards,
I am still working through the therapy series, taking longer on material now (up to 2 weeks) lately and I know I need it. I am on tape # 9. Every handout seems to be important for me because I have had SA all my life, and I know I will have to go over the whole program again to reinforce everything.
I just wanted others on the list to know that I find the material on turning the tables on the ANTs to be the most challenging. I want to let you all know that you can’t expect any results no matter where you are in the program if you stop.
I started with an SA group of 5, now its down to 3 regulars. New people call (I am told) who are interested, but they just never show up. I have been tempted to take breaks too, but its not good for me. It really does take persistence, and recovery needs to be the # 1 priority, not just something if I have time left in the day.
Being in a group helps me to continue with the material. I do know I have small results already – like when I read in front of others in slow talk mode and when I was able to stay at a dance longer than ever before and actually talked to people. I went to a meeting yesterday and felt okay and did something new - I initiated talking to a person (of course I need to work on answering personal questions which I still feel uncomfortable with and can't yet be center of attention or do eye contact very well).
I went through a period of anger for a couple weeks when I allowed myself to feel the emotions in the “Attitudes” handout and used the material on tape #7 . I recalled horrible people from my past and did the statements “If he loses his temper SO WHAT, he has a problem and he is the one that has to get over it….” In fact the anger from those memories became a problem and I was snapping at everyone for little or no reason. I guess it was because I never allowed myself the right to be angry.
Now, thanks to support via internet people and a person from my SA group I have been able to accept the anger and deal with it. Now, also I can feel sorry for horrible people that they don’t know any better, but I can accept my right to be angry at how they behaved toward me and that they had no right to do that. I used those attitude statements a lot lately. I know I am not supposed to dwell on the past, but it sort of helped me to re-enact the past with those statements as a practice for how I might handle a situation in the future and not think of myself as a poor victim that might get hurt again if I venture out.
In fact, when I do the ANTs handout, the ANTs have the faces of the mean people and if they are mean to me in the future, I will refute them, ignore them, remain calm and peaceful, get active doing something else, and they will have to shrink into the nothing that they are… I won’t let them get to me, I won’t play their game.
Everyone, if you want to come to meetings, please do, it really helps us to be in a group, you are needed even if you are just beginning your program.