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Endigar 874

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 24, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 13:

I find it much easier to risk making decisions when I stop thinking about suffering the consequences and remember that I have the option to enjoy the consequences. Since coming to Al-Anon, I make my choices more conscientiously. I do whatever footwork seems appropriate and then turn the results over to God. The results are often quite favorable. Even when they aren’t, I can still celebrate the fact that I have done my part.

For a long time I avoided decisions because I was sure that there was some magical “right” choice that would get me what I wanted, yet I never seemed to know which choice that was. I waited until the last minute to decide and never felt good about my choices. Today I know that choosing not to decide is to decide.

It can be very liberating to make a decision. Once the choice is made, I can trust that the consequences will unfold as they should. With a slight change of attitude, perhaps I can await them with excitement and hope instead of fear and dread.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will have faith in my ability to act. When the time seems right, I will make the best choice I can and allow myself to enjoy the results.

“Sometimes our enthusiasm for change depends on our willingness to take a chance on tomorrow by risking what we have today.”

~ Living with Sobriety

END OF QUOTE—————————————

What is the proper way to take a risk? My impulsiveness often comes from a fear of my fear. I am afraid that I will be paralyzed by the anxiety that is always with me. I will miss out. I have felt excluded from relationships and vocational opportunities because I was stuck. To compensate, I learned to kick the door of my protective psyche open and rush out. I tend to shock those around me with this abrupt change in behavior. I face the consequences as one who has decided to buckle up and ride the roller coaster.

The main thing that keeps me trusting the process in spite of myself is an intuitive connection to an infinite entity that seems to give a damn about me as an individual. I can recognize shadow dragons in my path. The only subsistence they have is my own fear. I quit feeding them. I trust my Higher Power. I learn to walk out into the open at a pace somewhere between paralysis and panic.

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room

Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live, you learn
You love, you learn
You cry, you learn
You lose, you learn
You bleed, you learn
You scream, you learn

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live, you learn
You love, you learn
You cry, you learn
You lose, you learn
You bleed, you learn
You scream, you learn

Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you’re gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend

You live, you learn
You love, you learn
You cry, you learn
You lose, you learn
You bleed, you learn
You scream, you learn

You grieve, you learn
You choke, you learn
You laugh, you learn
You choose, you learn
You pray, you learn
You ask, you learn
You live, you learn

~ Alanis Morissette, You Learn

Housekeeping Note

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2023 by endigar

I reviewed my blogroll links and updated. I have removed the dead ends. Please let me know if you find any of them out of date or you have a suggestion for other good links out there that have to do with recovery from addiction.

Endigar 873

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 11, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 12:

What does another person’s mood, tone of voice, or state of inebriation have to do with my course of action? Nothing, unless I decide otherwise.

For example, I have learned that arguing with someone who is intoxicated is like beating my head against a brick wall. Yet, until recently, I would always dive right into the arguments, because that was what the other person seemed to want. In Al-Anon I discovered that I don’t have to react just because I have been provoked, and I don’t have to take harsh words to heart. I can remember that they are coming from someone who may be in pain, and try to show a little compassion. I certainly don’t have to allow them to provoke me into doing anything I don’t want to do.

Today’s Remeinder

Detachment with love means that I stop depending upon what others do, say, or feel to determine my own well-being or to make my decisions. When faced with other people’s destructive attitudes and behavior, I can love their best, and never fear their worst.

“. . .Detachment is not caring less, it’s caring more for my own serenity.”

~ . . . In All Our Affairs

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I love, therefore I am afraid for the one I focus on. I love, therefore I attempt to overcome the addiction for the one I focus on. I love, therefore I am sickened with worry for the one I focus on. I love, therefore I attempt clever manipulation of the one I focus on. I love, therefore I obsess over the details of the life of the one I focus on. Thus, I offer to the one I love fear, invasive control, emotional sickness, manipulation, and a distrustful obsession to go with the addiction they already possess.

I decide to love in a different way. I will focus on me. I detach. Yet, I still love.

I love, therefore I trust my Higher Power. I love, therefore I work to overcome my own short-comings. I love, therefore I honor free will in myself and others. I love, so I imagine what it is to be free and seek to live it out. I love, therefore I put boundaries around those aspects of myself that I have learned are good traits to nurture. Thus, I offer to the one I love my example of a life worth living, an environment of serenity and reciprocal respect, and usefulness available when it is truly sought.

The 12 Step program from the Al-Anon perspective has given me a new way to love. I am grateful.

Endigar 872

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 11:

I spend more time with myself than with anyone else. Wouldn’t it make sense to put some energy into making that relationship as fulfilling as possible? Another person cannot prevent me from feeling lonely, but my inner emptiness can be satisfied. I can come to value my own company. I am a worthwhile companion.

One of the illusions shared by many of us who have been affected by alcoholism is that only another person, usually the alcoholic, can fill that empty place within us. If only he were more attentitive, if only she got sober, if only they were with me now, I wouldn’t be lonely. But many of us remain just as lonely even after those conditions are met.

Today, when I’m by myself, I will know that I am in good company. When I stop expecting others to meet all of my needs, I find new and exciting ways to enjoy my own friendship. And when I do get lonely, I have the comfort and support of a Higher Power who never leaves me.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will spend some time exploring the most intimate human relationship I will ever have–my relationship with myself.

“What a lovely surprise to discover how un-lonely being alone can be.”

~ Ellen Burstyn

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I have been experiencing this today. This day. Right now, I know how to be with me. We look at each other as children running around a bed, each trying to gain the advantage in observation. Like the playful ouroboros of dogs sniffing a new arrival. Both inspecting and being inspected. My body is not me, but my care for it is. My activities are not me, but they are a litmus test of the trust I am building with myself. I care for that one right there. I know you can’t see him. He has been pretty good at camouflaging himself. But I see. Just in this day, right now. Hello me. It so nice to meet you.

Endigar 871

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 4, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 10:

I am so grateful to belong to a fellowship where everyone speaks for himself or herself. Al-Anon has no spokesperson, no authority who tells what “our” experience has been. I am the only one who can tell my story.

I find it very comforting to be part of a group of people who share some of my problems and feelings. Although we have much in common, each Al-Anon member has unique wisdom to offer. Through the interchange of experience, strength, an hope, we learn specific ways in which fellow members have applied the Al-Anon program to their situations. Taking what we like and leaving the rest, each of us is free to benefit from this individual approach to our common purpose–recovery from the effects of alcoholism. So when I share in a meeting, I try to avoid phrases such as, “This is a problem for us” or “We tend to do that.” Instead, I look at sharing as an opportunity to see myself more clearly.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will speak for myself, secure in the fact that I am supported by a fellowship of men and women who “understand as perhaps few others can.”

“Our recovery is reflected in our ability to tell our own story not that of an alcoholic or another Al-Anon or Alateen member.”

~ Why Anonymity in Al-Anon?

END OF QUOTE—————————————

It seems paradoxical to me that I would need help from a group to see myself, the individual me, more clearly. I remember the Johari Window model from early days in college. It was apparently created in 1955 to show the importance and power of developing trust in a team to facilitate the development of its individual members. It was not until I entered the rooms supporting the 12 Step program did I experience the reality that there is much I do not know about myself. There is also much that I have kept hidden.

When I share in the group, what seemed liked wisdom in my cranium is either confirmed as something of value to retain or revealed to be neural clutter that should be discarded or recycled. When I hear others share I am given reaffirming connection or an unconsidered new perspective. A room full of individuals all risk fearful exposure for a common purpose which is to become a better version of ourselves free of the damning effects of alcoholism or addiction. Maybe I should only speak for myself. This is what the fellowship has been for me.

Endigar 870

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 26, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 9:

One evening, I was taken by surprise when another member complimented me. I was very uncomfortable with this gesture of kindness, feeling inside that I didn’t deserve it. When I tied to talk her out of her kind words, she refused to take them back. She insisted that I deserved her compliment, and others as well. I began to realize how far down my feelings of self-worth had sunk while living with an alcoholic. I couldn’t even consider that there might be something nice about me!

My Sponsor suggested that I make a list of the things I liked about myself. It was awkward and embarrassing, and my list was very short, but it was a start. When I shared it with my Sponsor, she agreed with every nice thing I said about myself, refusing to let me negate them when I tried instead to focus on my shortcomings. As a result, I am learning to like myself and to see that I have many qualities that are worthy of compliments.

Today’s Reminder

One way to learn to love myself is to accept the love of others. Even if I don’t feel deserving, I can be grateful for another’s kindness. And if I appreciate something about someone else, I can tell them so. A small gesture can go a long way toward healing a hurting soul.

“I’ve heard people in Al-Anon say they got back their self-worth. I never had any in my life, so it was a whole new feeling to like the person called ‘me'”

~As We Understood . . .

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I have never tried to make a list of things I like about myself. I do have a persistent desire to do more than just survive life. I like that I am able to do what I have to do. I am able to lead when it is needed. I have a flame of creative productivity. I am somewhat intelligent. I listen to others empathetically. Yet I feel most of the good within is potential rather than active. I sat on this reflection for some time now. I suppose I will have to say with Joni Mitchell that I don’t know clouds, love, or life at all. Namely, I don’t know me. Maybe a future version of me will be able to respond better.

UPDATE as of 13 Jan 2023: Yesterday, I was introduced to a fellowship. It seems most appropriate to mention it here in this writing because I think I was struggling with the reality of an inner child in desperate need of some re-parenting. It is a local ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics & Dysfunctional Families) group. Someone in my support group sent me something called “The Laundry List.” I most definitely relate. I picked up a Welcome Coin last night.

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism (seeing this situation as a literal threat)
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or expresss our feelings beause it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to expereince paniful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotioonally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Endigar 869

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 24, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 8:

“Yes, but . . .” These two words have become a signal to me that I am refusing to accept something over which I am powerless. My world is rich with wonderful gifts: beauty, a loving fellowship, and challenges that strengthen and prepare me for a better life. Is it worth it to deny these gifts by wishing things were different? Will it make them change? No! I prefer to accept them gladly, enjoy them thoroughly, and humbly accept the reality my Higher Power offers without any “yes, buts.”

The harsh tone, the unkind word, the apparent indifference of another is usually over in a few minutes. What price am I paying by holding on to those few minutes? I don’t have to like reality, only to accept it for what it is. This day is too precious to waste by resenting things I can’t change. When I accept everything as it is, I tend to be reasonably serene. When I spend my time wishing things were different, I know that serenity has lost its priority.

Today’s Remember

While I am responsible for changing what I can, I have to let go of the rest if I want peace of mind. Just for today I will love myself enough to give up a struggle over something that is out of my hands.

“By yielding you may obtain victory.”

~ Ovid

END OF QUOTE—————————————

When do I seek to foster acceptance in my life? What circumstances would be better met with neutrality? The following assertions are realities for which I am learning to surrender myself:

My efforts must not require me to cut myself off from my support network. I accept that I am more likely to make good decisions in the light of invested accountability.

My actions need to have the strength and steady growth of an Oak. Explosive impulses scorch the earth like lightening blasts. My energy must find safe conductors to be useful. This is something I accept to build a life I no longer need to escape. “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” ~ James Clear in Atomic Habits.

I need to accept gifts in my life and recognize them with gratitude. My Higher Power does not provide frivolously. All magic that finds me has a purpose to be fulfilled. I must accept that gifts from beyond strongly imply stewardship and a personal need I may not currently understand. I accept that such gifts are a quest and not a destination.

I accept that helping others is more powerful than conquering enemies. It is this potent usefulness that I protect from the bloodlust of my isolated ego. I accept that this is how honor is built.

I accept that I will fail while trying. I accept that failure is my teacher while I work. I accept that my perception will make failure a teacher or a mental illness in my life. “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets” ~ Proverbs 22:13 and “There is a lion in the road, there is a lion in the streets” ~ Proverbs 26:13 are both quotes from the lazy man. His fears quench the fire out of his motivation. He loses heart because he sees failure as a threat. Embracing a quivering fear of failure produces a lazy, withdrawal from the interactive life. This seems to me to be the ultimate failure.

There was a man who had a face that looked a lot like me
I saw him in the mirror and I fought him in the street
Then when he turned away, I shot him in the head
Then I came to realize, I had killed myself

Exploder by Audioslave

Endigar 868

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 7:

Why do I find it so hard to accept that alcoholism is a disease? Would I blame a diabetic or a cancer patient for their symptoms? Of course not. I know that willpower alone is not enough to defeat a disease. If alcoholics could simply stop drinking whenever they wanted, many would have stopped long ago. It would do me no good to plead, berate, or reason with tuberculosis; I will not waste my time pleading, berating, or reasoning with alcoholism.

I therefore resolve to stop blaming the alcoholic for what is beyond his or her control — including the compulsion to drink. Instead, I’ll direct my efforts where they can do some good: I will commit myself to my own recovery. I know that improved health in one family member can have a profound effect on the rest of the family. In this way, I can make a much stronger contribution to the well-being of those I love than I ever could by trying to combat a disease that can’t be controlled.

Today’s Reminder

When I accept that alcoholism is a disease, it becomes easier to recognize that I, too, have been affected by something beyond my control, and to begin to recover from those effects.

“Whether or not the alcoholic achieves sobriety, the time for the family members to begin working on their own recovery is now.”

~ A Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic

END OF QUOTE—————————————

What would my young adulthood have been like if I had found Al-Anon before I activated my alcoholism? My mother’s father died of alcoholism when she was seventeen. She idolized him and was devastated by his tragic end. And through her untreated response to his alcoholism the disease continued to take its toll on our family long after its primary host was buried. My siblings who suffered from addiction or mental distress were enabled to live on in their suffering. We were isolated by family pride. Those family members who succeeded to develop something for themselves were expected to attempt rescue of those who were in need of professional help. The rescue was to be a prevention of consequences and not an exposure to accountability. The disease had turned our family into an embrace that smothers.

The wasted life, the pain, the unfairness of this dark network makes it easy to blame the carriers of the disease. I lose the objectivity of treatment when my resentments fester. There is no emotional connection to a parasite. I take Steps to remove it from my life and let my own health act as a beacon of hope for those I love. I can safely draw close to the people I love while staying detached from that insidious blood-sucker, alcoholism.

Endigar 867

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 6:

I was intimidated by Step Five, because it meant revealing my darkest secrets to another person. Afraid that I would be rejected for being less than prefect, I put so much energy into hiding the truth that, although no once rejected me, I was as isolated and lonely as if they had.

When I realized how painful it was to continue living that way, I found a Sponsor and asked for help. We worked the Fifth Step, and I shared some of m characteristics and attitudes that I found particularly shameful. My Sponsor began to laugh. “You see,” he quickly explained, “I’m laughing because five years ago I sad the same things to my Sponsor, almost word for word!”

I would never have imagined the universality of my experiences. I would never have guessed that, in sharing what I felt made me different from other people, I would discover how alike we all really are.

Today’s Reminder

Many have known shame and fear and many have known joy. Sharing mine with others today will make my ride through life a smoother one.

“Deep down I had the nagging knowledge that there would be no real relief from myself until I could bring my problem out in the open and talk to somebody else about it . . .” ~ As We Understood . . .

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I have done Step 5 three times in my struggle to find the truth of Me and to be free of the burden of self isolation. I thought my issues were never going to be as significant in degree as others’ experiences. Not true. I thought my confessions would expose my personally repulsive weaknesses. Again, not true. I feared that I would confirm that I was an imposter, completely useless to myself and others. The exposing flames of my own burning bush did not consume me. It revealed Me to myself.

This burning truth of my reality is that I can find a useful uniqueness when I am no longer defined by the flaws of my humanity which are not the flaws of my own existence. I was shown a process to confront the burden of my self-loathing. There are so many things in my past that I used to carry with me. They are gone from my daily thinking. I bear witness that the program works when the moral inventory remains a fearless endeavor.

Endigar 866

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 5:

Humility was a tough concept for me to comprehend. Taught from childhood to place the wants and needs of others always above my own, I equated humility with taking care of others and ignoring my own feelings and needs. In Al-Anon I have learned that true humility is not degrading; it doesn’t require that I neglect my own needs. In fact, humility is not measured by how much I do for other people, but by my willingness to do my part in my relationship with the God of my understanding.

I begin to learn humility when I take the First Step. By admitting I am powerless, I make room for the possibility that a Power greater than myself can do all those things that are beyond my reach. In other words, I begin to learn about what is, and is not, my responsibility. As this becomes clear, I am better able to do my part, for myself and for others, and better able to ask God to do the rest.

Today’s Reminder

Part of learning humility is learning to contribute to my own well-being. Today I will do something loving for myself that I’d normally do for someone else.

“We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we can take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end.”

~ Joseph Fort Newton

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Humility is a protective virtue. It fends off my tendency to self-delusion. It guides me along a path toward honest self-appraisal. In a home that has been corrupted by the need to endure the addictive behavior of one or more of its members, delusion is a learned skill for survival’s sake. I learned to embody an iconic role to aid my family’s hospital mission for the wounded. We never realized that a family becoming a mental health asylum locked us all in a prison fearful of recovery. Recovery of our true selves. Our purpose was linked to the perpetuation of the disease. Who are we in a healthy world? Humility tells me I am not that protective icon of my childhood. That was what I had to become. Humility allows me to come out into the open and connect with my Higher Power. Humility allows me the courage to find human connection with those who do not need me to be anything other than myself. Humility is a protective virtue.