Partner's Workshop: Stage Four; Lesson Three
Personal Weekly MonitoringWeekly Monitoring is the second practical tool that you will be developing to help you heal. With Weekly Monitoring, you will be tracking overall balance and stability in your life. Unlike those in recovery — who use weekly monitoring to establish a new paradigm for perceiving their life, and so, initial ongoing tracking is more of a distraction than a benefit; you may want to document your weekly monitoring over the next six months or so. Mapping out the long, potentially chaotic path that you will likely travel will allow you to better link that chaos with the times that you have lost balance and/or given up responsibility in managing your life. Those times when you have allowed your partner's addiction and/or recovery to overwhelm your need to nurture other areas of your life.
Weekly monitoring is to be conducted once each week — preferably on the same day/time, though this is not a requirement. Unlike daily monitoring, which is more of a direct question and answer reflection period, weekly monitoring should develop into an almost casual conversation that you have with yourself. Why casual? Because while you may be conducting it formally over the next few months, it will eventually become a tool that you use informally anytime that your life begins to feel out-of-balance or your emotions intensify (or dull) to the point that you no longer feel in control of your life. And when those times occur, you need to be able to feel empowered to calmly and casually recognize the situation for what it is and work your way through it.
There are four primary questions that every weekly monitoring assessment must have. I will review these, along with what you need to know about each to be successful.
"Over the past seven days, where did the majority of my meaning and fulfillment come from?"
- You are striving to recognize between 6-8 different areas of your life that you derived meaning from over the past week
- Typically, when you are unable to recognize 6-8 different areas, you are focusing too much on your partner's addiction/recovery
- Typically, when you are able to recount many more than 8 areas — say, 15 or more — this can also be detrimental as it means that you are spreading yourself so thin that you are not getting the quality of meaning from your life that you need
- As you identify these areas, think in specifics. 'My relationship with my daughter' is useless for this monitoring. On the other hand, "Last Tuesday, I really loved the time I spent with my daughter when we went shopping" is exactly what you are striving for. Six to eight such areas where you can recall direct meaning and/or fulfillment.
- You will always be focusing on the past seven days. If you usually conduct your weekly monitoring every Sunday night and forget one week until Tuesday. Just monitor the past seven days...not the past nine days. Then start again on Sunday again, monitoring just the past seven days — even if there is overlap.
"Over the past seven days, were there any major drains on my time, energy or emotion?"
- You are looking for extraordinary stressors or events, not everyday ones — UNLESS those everyday events are being perceived as major stressors. For instance, 'getting up each morning to get the kid's ready for school' would typically not be something you would mention here. Unless these mornings have become something that you dread, and that cause a major blow to your esteem, feelings of control, etc.
- Include any obsessive and/or irrational behavior on your part — like ruminating about your partner's addiction/recovery; checking behaviors; significant communication issues; major value conflicts; ongoing financial pressures; etc.
"Given the meaning that was added to my life this week (Q1) and the events that drained my life (Q2): how well did I do with managing it all?"
- You are seeking a casual calculation as to whether you ended the week stronger or weaker in your ability to manage your life.
- When evaluating this area, it is not enough to compare the number of meaningful events with the number of stressful events. There is much meaning that can be gained from your ability to manage stressful events. Likewise, there is much stress that can be generated from meaningful events (like a wedding or birth of a child). And so, your job is to achieve a general sense of 'Structurally, is my ability to manage my life stronger or weaker than it was seven days ago?'
"Is there anything that I need to anticipate and/or prepare for over the next seven days that will facilitate the effectiveness of my life management skills?"
- If you are struggling with obsessiveness, are there any goals that you want to challenge yourself to achieve that will address the need to shift your focus from this obsession?
- Are there any insights that you want to focus on that will strengthen something in your foundation that is currently weak?
- Are there any situations that you know ahead of time that will likely cause a crisis in your life? Your partner going out of town on business? An old friend visiting? An anniversary of a bad memory/event?
A. Write out the four questions listed above in your own words.
B. Add to these four questions any additional areas of your life that you are striving to develop and want to monitor. For instance, your physical health. Or your spirituality. Or your career.
C. Pick a day/time each week to monitor yourself. Take no more than fifteen minutes (maybe a little longer at first) to monitor yourself.
D. Over the next four weeks, document your monitoring in your personal healing thread. Continue to document in your healing manager over the next six months.