Endigar 823

From Courage to Change of March 30;

When I heard that Al-Anon was a program in which we learn to keep the focus on ourselves, I wondered what others would think of me if I acted on that principle? Surely they would think me inconsiderate, thoughtless, and uncaring. Those were my complaints about the alcoholics in my life! I didn’t want to be that way. Instead, I tried to do things for others that seemed loving and generous, even when I didn’t want to do them. I couldn’t understand why I so often grew resentful after such actions.

My efforts to be selfless by trying to please everyone but myself weren’t working. The focus was on their response rather than on what seemed right for me to do. There was nothing unconditional about this kind of giving. My Sponser helped me to see that if I paid more attention to myself and to doing what I thought was best, I would be free to give without strings attached. Then I could truly be generous.

Today’s Reminder

The Al-Anon program works when I keep the focus on myself, attend lots of Al-Anon meetings, and make recovery my top priority. As I become more fully myself, I am better able to treat others with love and respect.

“We are best able to help others when we ourselves have learned the way to achieve serenity.” ~ The Twelve Steps and Traditions


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There is a paradox of selfishness in the 12 Step programs of AA and Al-Anon. I was introduced to it by the statements “This is a selfish program, not for those who need it, but for those who want it,” followed by “selfishness – self-centeredness! This is the root of our troubles. We must be rid of this selfishness or it kills us. Active addiction is fueled by self-will run riot.” Only a paradoxical solution allows both to be true. This was the beginning of something I desperately needed in my life. If the English language was more specific, we would have two separate words to resolve this apparent contradiction of our perspective on selfishness. As far as I know, we do not.

The “bad” selfishness is isolating and resistant to accountability. It attempts to control the world around it, distrusting all that interferes with that agenda. It prevents those who suffer from getting help. It prevents those who care from being useful. It is deadly.

The “good” selfishness is the fall down seven get up eight resilience that causes an individual to overcome personal fear and leave the familiar behind for a potential solution. It is the desire to truly live even if that requires entering a room full of strangers who have what I want.

This good selfishness is more than self-care. It is a highly aggressive “hell yeah” to a fulfilling life. The fruit of this selfishness is inspiration and social utility. I become useful to others who want to live by tightly embracing the value of my own life. My example gives permission to others to do the same. My world becomes a better place when they do.


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