Endigar 806

From Courage to Change of March 14;

One beautiful day, a man sat down under a tree, not noticing it was full of pigeons. Shortly, the pigeons did what pigeons do best. The man shouted at the pigeons as he stormed away, resenting the pigeons as well as the offending material. But then he realized that the pigeons were merely doing what pigeons do, just because they’re pigeons and not because he was there. The man learned to check the trees for pigeons before sitting down.

Active alcoholics are people who drink. They don’t drink because of you or me, but because they are alcoholics. No matter what I do, I will not change this fact, not with guilt, shouting, begging, distracting, hiding money or bottles or keys, lying, threatening, or reasoning. I didn’t cause alcoholism. I can’t control it. And I can’t cure it. I can continue to struggle and lose. Or I can accept that I am powerless over alcohol and alcoholism, and let Al-Anon help me to redirect the energy I’ve spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects.

Today’s Reminder

It’s not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink, but I can do nothing to stop them. If I see how unmanageable my life has become, I can admit that I am powerless over this disease. Then I can really begin to make my life better.

“It stands to reason that a change in us will be a force for good that will help the entire family.” ~ How Can I Help My Children?

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I have seen the effects in my family near and extended of alcoholism, and addiction in general. Some of us overcame or at least learned to cope with it. Others wrote in blood a tragic story. It hurts deeply to watch the struggle knowing I have no real power to help until it is sought. I have learned that those of us caught in active addiction need a few gifts in our lives; consequences, demonstrated living, and an intimate, caring spiritual connection.

Consequences act as a braking mechanism that allows the addict moments of sanity and personal reflection. The internal braking mechanisms that healthy people have has been corrupted and overridden by the addiction. External forces are often needed to buy the addict/alcoholic time. It feels like love to save them from their consequences, but in the world of addiction life is turned upside down and inside out. My protection from consequences will aid the disease in consuming its host. I will enable the tragedy against my own will and that is my part of this disease. It is a way in which I become powerless.

Demonstrated living is when I show that I love my own life by taking action to protect, strengthen, and improve the way I interact with the world around me. I remove the addict from the center of my life and find that raw and fearless courage to live. This is good for me and for those who share my intimate world. It gives others “permission” to love their own lives. If the alcoholic/addict is going to overcome their unfolding tragedy, they have to have Step Zero, the self-concerned desire to live. It cannot be gentle self-care. It must be a ferocious appetite to live. This is the one thing that I have seen that separates those who make it, and those who don’t. I had an alcoholic ask me one time, “why do you want to live?” I knew that I could not convey that adequately in speech. That had to be a product of her own discovery. And at the time, I was not living it well myself. Months later, she was dead. And I was glad that she and I had parted ways because I truly did want to live. I do not want to share that fait nor see it inflected on my loved ones. Then I could demonstrate why the recovery program is a “selfish” program. It is not the damning isolated selfishness that kills us, but the fierce self perseveration that gets us into the rooms and gives us the desperation to do the work of recovery.

What gets confusing in recovering is a product of the limitations of language and how that makes seeking a spiritual connection so complex. It is important for me to understand that there is helpful selfishness and there is destructive selfishness. Isolating selfishness that makes me anti-social and creates a need of continuously activated primal pleasure centers is destructive. Chemical dependency becomes the best answer for such a situation. When I develop the skill of silencing this type of selfishness described in the text surrounding page 62 of Alcoholics Anonymous, I can find a solution that works to improve my living of life on life’s terms. The best avenue for me to develop this skill is finding ways to help others who are attempting to help themselves. Thus, I get to keep what I learn to give away.

All three of these gifts are the best that I can offer to those held hostage in their addiction. It is not callous. It is courageous and necessary.

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