Archive for Alcoholism

Endigar 865

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

From Courage to Change of May 4:

Who am I? When I came to Al-Anon, I thought I knew the answer to that question, but I discovered that my answers were all out-of-date because I had long ago stopped asking myself who I was. I could tell you about the alcoholics and everyone else in my life – there likes and dislikes, opinions, feelings – but I had no such answers for myself.

Al-Anon gave me Twelve Steps with which to rediscover myself. Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and sharing it with a trusted friend (Steps Four and Five) were especially helpful. It was the first time in a long time I had paid so much attention to myself! I also learned about myself by listening in meetings – when I identified with others, I gained insight into my own thoughts and feelings.

Today I know that I am a passionate, generous, opinionated, moody, hones, tactful, stubborn person. I know how I feel and what I think on an assortment of topics, and I am aware when these thoughts and feeling change. Al-Anon has given me back the only thing that was every really mine to keep: myself.

Today’s Reminder

Recovery is a wonderful word. It means getting something back. Today I will try to remember that “that something” is me.

“If a man happens to find himself . . . he has a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity all the days of his life.” ~ James Michener

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I have spent much of my life bogged down in a navel-gazing coffin. My introspection was not productive. I battled the black void of morbid self-reflection. The maintenance of my psyche has been a burden of self-castigation with very little actualizing into the stream of life. I was driven to become what the afflicted souls in my family needed me to be. That is what I quickened. It was not me I summoned. Not me. I could not see my reflection in the mirror of the waking world.

I found the moral inventory of Steps 4 and 5, the identification of points of transformation in Steps 6 and 7, and the cleansing of my connections with other people in Steps 8 and 9, as the most productive path of self-discovery I have experienced thus far. I am beginning to hear the squeaking of my casket of co-dependence and finding a revised thirst for life. The sunlight of the Spirit is no longer a threat to my existence. Doing what is in my nature to do requires that I know who I am. It is a necessary process to recover what I buried in my family of origin.

Endigar 864

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 16, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 3:

Detachment. At first it may sound cold and rejecting, not loving at all. But I have come to believe that detachment is actually a wonderful gift: I am allowing my loved ones the privilege and opportunity of being themselves.

I do not wish to interfere with anyone’s opportunities to discover the joy and self-confidence that can accompany personal achievements. If I am constantly intervening to protect them from painful experiences, I also do them a great disservice. As Mark Twain said, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

I find it painful to watch another person suffer or head down a road I believe leads to pain. Many of my attempts to rescue others have been prompted by my desire to avoid this pain. Today I’m learning to experience my own fear, grief, and anguish. This helps me to be willing to trust the same growth process in others, because I know first-hand about the gifts it can bring.

Today’s Reminder

Sometimes it is more loving to allow someone else to experience the natural consequences of their actions, even when it is painful for us both. In the long run, both of us will benefit. Today I will put love first in my life.

“All I have to do is keep my hands off and turn my heart on.”

~. . .In All Our Affairs

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by obnoxiousnox on deviantart

The problem with detachment is that the consequences an addict/alcoholic face may cost them their lives. I am a double winner, qualifying for both the AA and Al-Anon fellowships. I know what it is like to live in the upside-down world of active addiction, where consequences are beneficial if I survive and the comfort of protection is damning. An addict/alcoholic is more likely to seek freedom from the sting of consequences of their own making. Without consequences, I cannot imagine ever wanting to stop seeking the relief that mind-altering chemicals provided.

No matter how tragic the fruits of chemical dependency become, I have to keep in mind that when I detach I am providing the best hope my loved one has to find recovery. And it is also more likely that I will build a life worth emulating. Improving my own spiritual life and honoring their free-will is the best I can do for my loved one trapped in the upside-down world of alcoholism.

Endigar 863

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 2:

Sometimes I become so busy staring at my problems that I miss the guidance I’m being given. When I become willing to let go of the need to do it by myself, I can listen to others and receive direction from my Higher Power. I become better able to move beyond my problems and start solving them.

This became clear to me when I was caught in a sudden, blinding snowstorm. Visibility was so bad that I couldn’t see the sides of the road; I couldn’t tell where my driving lane began and ended. I struggled to find my way, but finally surrendered and began to pull off the road to sit out the storm. Then I realized that I could make it home if I allowed the trees that lined the road to help me to gauge my position.

When I accept that help often comes in unexpected forms, I can release my hold on the problem and become willing to receive help.

Today’s Reminder

I must do many things for myself, but I am not wholly self-sufficient. I need the help, support, and guidance I receive from my Higher Power and my Al-Anon friends. When I catch myself struggling with a problem today. I will let go of it long enough to reach out for help.

“Once we learn to let go of the problem, the loving concern and help of the other members will provide strong support to help us understand what the Al-Anon program can do for us.”

~ This Is Al-Anon

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When I first began to seek help, I did so because my life was full of powerlessness. I wrestled with living life on life’s terms. I was confused in a cloud of fear. I resented not being able to control the results of my efforts. I gave smiling handshakes to cover my painful retreat. When I was first introduced to the 12 Steps, I feared another dance of futility with religion. Over time, I began to recognize the program as a power grid for genuine spirituality.

“Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, page 45.

One of the manifestations of this power is during moments of surrender. It may appear in the beginning that I am surrendering to hopelessness. Just giving up. But that is not the case. As I stay devoted to the process of the program, I learn that I am surrendering to trust. The quiet is my private laboratory that justifies my public faith. I am gathering evidence invisible to casual observation. Today, I listen with anticipation. Plug in and prosper.

“We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, page 164.

Endigar 862

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

From Courage to Change of May 1:

At a recent Al-Anon meeting we were asked to fill in the blank in this statement: “If only _____ would happen, I would be happy.” Many of us were tempted to answer that we would be happy if our loved ones got sober or handled sobriety differently. But other “if only’s” also kept us feeling deprived: If only my boss, family, job, government, finances, would change in the way that I want, I would be happy. It became clear that many of us have put our happiness on hold for things beyond our control.

So we applied the First Step, and admitted that we were powerless over these people, places, and things. These “if only’s” made our lives unmanageable, but a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Many of us decided to surrender our “if only’s” to a Higher Power. When we did, we stopped acting like victims, waiting for things to change. We chose to take a more active role in seeking happiness in the here and now.

Today’s Reminder

There are many areas of my life that I cannot change. What I can change is my attitude. Today I can accept my life as it is. I can be grateful and happy, here and now, with what I have.

“Life holds so much — so much to be so happy about always. Most people ask for happiness on condition. Happiness can be felt only if you don’t set conditions”

~ Artur Rubinstein

END OF QUOTE—————————————

When I hear talk about being happy with life, it is easy for me to confuse an emotional reaction with a willful intent to police my attitude. Emotions are fleeting. Emotions make horrible leaders. But, they can be powerful servants. Gratitude is the training arena for domesticating my wild emotions. I am happy in the morning, angry at lunchtime, and profoundly sad in the evening. I do not have to remain powerless over my emotional reactions. Identifying reasons for gratitude helps me develop the power to summon the most helpful emotions in a given situation. Staying connected with the Spirit of Recovery inside and outside the rooms makes this possible for me.

Endigar 861 ~ Utility of Thought

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

REF: Endigar 842

Al-Anon has helped me complete what Alcholics Anonymous started. I had identified the destructive internal mantras that I had both inherited and produced. I wrote them down in 2011. Finally, I have replaced them with a more useful way of thinking. Today, I write and publish them. I will make them a page on this site and will update them as life learning dictates. It will be a fluid document. But I want one post were I celebrate the production of some hard fought internal transformation. Here it is:

God and I are one, even though I am not God. This is the paradoxical truth that makes me free in recovery and life. Improving my communication skills between my truest Self and my Higher Power is a key element to spiritual growth and empowerment. God ignores my linguistics degree in manipulation.

God is an investor in my Intent of Will and asks that I surrender my fears, trade them in for trust in a covenant relationship between the Higher Power and myself.

God is my Life Source urging me toward expressive experience. He / She is God of everything or nothing in my life. I chose the former in a Step 3 covenant reaffirmation.

LOVE: Love is a transformative magic, a learned skill, and the primary weapon against personal fear and self-hatred. The 12 Steps provides a way for me to refine its potency in my life.

HUMILITY: My family icon of protective pride lacks the potency I need to live. The concepts that I value will be heard as I listen to the concepts that others value. There is no stronger presence then the God of my understanding in the true expression of my life. As a connected being it is impossible for me to be dismissed. The confidence that comes from humility will answer the pride that comes from fear.

COURAGE: My unaddressed, personal guilt makes me afraid that my internal monster will find external expression in others. Keeping my moral inventory updated and maintaining a quick response to any necessary ammends allows me to see the true from the false and quit chasing shadow dragrons. A clean sword will fulfill the function for which it was forged.

I am devoted to the building of family that actuates its member individuals, resulting in two statements on powerful self-expression. One of those ideas is that there is no failure except the surrender to personal entropy. An actuated life refreshes its own sources.

I am devoted to the building of family that actuates its member individuals, resulting in two statements on powerful self-expression. One of those ideas is that one can drink freely of the pools of their genetic memory if they can see clearly their own reflection in its waters.

I have identified my antisocial anxiety as a lifelong problem. As I build tools to put it into remission, I can use the balance of my internal creativity with my external productivity as a litmus for successful treatment.

To my own higher Self I will be true, and as sure as the cool embrace of night follows the pulsing activity of daylight; I will not be false to anyone. I will speak as if moving a piece in a great game of chess, and I will listen as if taking in the overall picture of the board.

Endigar 860

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

From Courage to Change of April 30:

I have no idea why the faucet in my bathroom started dripping. Handling the situation with great patience, I watched it drip. And drip and drip. Sometimes I tried adjusting the knob, but I really expected it to stop dripping by itself. Naturally it didn’t work out that way. The problem got worse and eventually did extensive damage. Finally I had to call for help.

I can’t tell you how many problems I’ve handled in this very way, with just as little success. Thanks to Al-Anon, I no longer have to wait for a situation to explode before I face it. One of the most useful tools has been sharing in meetings and with members of the fellowship. When I put my experiences into words, they seem more real and I am less likely to push them aside. As a result, I can often face problems when they are still only slight irritations and deal with them before they grow and take over. Today I am not so interested in high drama; I’d rather have a real life.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will share honestly about something that has been nagging at me. My life deserves my attention.

“One of the most helpful aspects of the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship is the opportunity we have to voice our dilemmas, confident that we won’t be condemned for speaking frankly.”

Living with Sobriety

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I don’t think about life in terms of day to day problems that must be addressed. Is that a problem in itself? I am not sure. Am I inviting an all-consuming blob where there was only a puke green splatter on a sterile surface? I find that accomplishments mean nothing to me if they serve only to seduce me into a life of vigilant servitude. I am afraid of letting the urgent eat up the important. Defining what is truly important is what the 12 Step program helps me discover. And rediscover.

Endigar 859

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 21, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 29:

I grew up with guilt and blame, amidst harsh criticism and constant fear. Even now, after years of Al-Anon recovery, when past mistakes come to mind I tend to react with guilt, exaggerating the significance of my errors and thinking very badly of myself.

In Al-Anon I’m learning to see myself more realistically. Sure, I have wrestled with alcoholism and taken a fall or two. I’ve made plenty of mistakes that had nothing to do with alcoholism. But I’m not evil. It’s time I stop treating myself as if I were.

There was a time when the only power I felt I had was the power to mess things up. Today, because I am learning to believe in myself and my ability to make a positive contribution to my own life, I am free to look at my mistakes without blowing them out of proportion. I can learn to stop repeating those errors, and I can make amends for the harm I have done.

Today’s Reminder

I will not chain myself to the past with self-defeating guilt, or by inflating the importance of my errors. Instead, I want to face my past and heal old wounds so that I may move forward into a richer, fuller, and more joyous life today.

“You don’t have to suffer continual chaos in order to grow.”

John C. Lilly

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My conscience has adapted to dancing around the pain and anger of the intimate ones in my life. I put a lot of stock in a Father God on the other side of the Veil that needed to be appeased at all times. He as an easily offended entity who might lovingly destroy me. The Higher Power of my 12 Step program seems to be invested in me living a liberated life. I am quite interested in what life will be like after my time here in the training matrix ends. Maybe my other worldly exploration begins here and now with an altered state of conscience.

Endigar 858

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 28:

Sometimes the things we consider our greatest weaknesses prove to be our greatest strengths. They provide us with opportunities for growth that we would never have had otherwise. All my life I prayed for courage, but it was through my shyness that I learned that courage was already available to me.

I was hesitant about sharing in meetings, afraid I would be ridiculed. I sat in the back and kept my secrets to myself. Still, I heard my own story so often that I began to lose my fear. Calling upon a reserve of courage I didn’t know existed, I managed to approach some members who seemed to have similar experiences. In time, I had spoken with so many people one-on-one that sharing in the group become possible, even comfortable.

If my fear had simply been removed, I might never have known that I am capable of acting on my own behalf. I didn’t need enough strength to get up in front of a roomful of strangers; I only needed enough to keep me taking tiny steps. I had exactly enough strength and courage to reach my goal.

Today’s Reminder

Anything and everything about me can be used for my good. If I feel insecure or frightened today, I will remember that my fear is a signal that there is something for me to learn.

“It may not be the answer I want, but I have to remember that it may be what I need.

As We Understood . . .

END OF QUOTE—————————————

In my younger years, I was mesmerized by something called break dancing. How awesome it would be to whirl about in such a spastic ecstasy. I was skinnier at the time and imagined that I might become a break dancing deity. When I would have that thought, life would appear to me in the form of a single day and ask me, “Do you want to be a break dancer?” I would answer yes. “Are you sure.” Again I would nod my head in the affirmative. “I don’t believe you. If you really wanted it, you would have said, Hell Yeah! and followed it with some action. Any little action to punctuate your enthusiasm. Yes will be filtered away with all things frivolous. I will return when you have something truly important and then I will hear you answer, Hell Yeah.”

Life was correct. Break dancing faded away from my mind. Instead I said Hell Yeah to military life, to fatherhood, and to recovery. And these passions have directed my daily steps toward a fulfilled life. Hell Yeah!

Endigar 857

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 27:

Self-esteem grows when I love and accept myself as I am. I block my own well-being each time I base my self-worth on what I do or what others think of me. If I could please all the people on the earth, If I could “straighten everyone out” and remedy all the difficulties they face, if I could make the world a perfect place — even then, I probably still would not feel good about myself. Indeed, I would have had to give up all of my “self” to accomplish this impossible task.

I cannot be prefect. I cannot make others perfect. Yet I am worth of love, respect, and joy. Let me remind myself each day that I am the child of a perfect Higher Power. That, in itself, commands respect — my respect — for the miraculous “self” I have been given. When I hold this at the forefront of my mind, I will not give up my “self” in the course of any endeavor.

Today’s Reminder

Today, when faced with choices, I will opt for the path that enhances my self-esteem.

“I am learning to live a full life, one in which I like and care for the person I am.”

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

END OF QUOTE—————————————

There is part of me that was embedded in my creation. I call that thing that I believe to be more than animal genetics the god-shard. What good is an infant human? It cannot work and contribute to the household or even financially justify its own existence. Its ability to produce socially valuable intelligence will take a large investment of care and attention. If it ever produces something of great value to its environment, it will be a long time coming. The survival systems we have established see human beings as necessary replacement cogs in our cultural machines. Yet, if that is the limit of our value, there is no justification for personal liberty. In fact, it is a great liability.

The Founding Fathers of the United States concluded that there was intrinsic value in the human being and that we had inalienable rights (and undeniable responsibilities). Our liberty was justified by the possibility that our personal spiritual relationships would allow us to see that thing that was implanted within. That hunger for self-expression, for social and spiritual connection, for perpetual growth serves as a validation that there is something within each of us that is our own Word of God to the world. To smother it in self-doubt is a loss for all of us collectively. I matter and so do you.

Endigar 856.5

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 26:

The most important words many of us hear when we first come to Al-Anon are, “Take what you like, and leave the rest.” Everything about our program is suggested, not required. This gives us the freedom to pick and choose. If we disagree with something, we don’t have to use it. If we are not ready to use a Step, slogan, or tool, we are free to wait.

Many of us need time to come to terms with the spiritual nature of the Al-Anon program. If we were required to believe in a Higher Power in order to participate in Al-Anon, we might never have continued to attend meetings. Eventually, many of us do come to believe in a Higher Power because we are free to come to our own understanding in our own time. That way, whatever we learn will have meaning for us.

When we take what we like and leave the rest, we give ourselves permission to challenge new ideas, to make decisions for ourselves, and even to change our minds.

Today’s Reminder

Because I am able to use whatever I find helpful and leave the rest, I can benefit from the experience, strength, and hope of others and still follow my own heart.

“With the help of this program and my Higher Power, I take charge of fashioning, shaping, choosing what kind of life I will have.”

. . . In All Our Affairs

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This is a critical aspect of the 12 Step program for me. I have lived my life dancing around tripwires to maintain a semblance of peace in the home. I have lived in fear of failing everchanging expectations. My life was a disappointment waiting to happen. It was a binding façade for the sake of emotional survival.

Al-Anon’s assurance that I could take what was useful and leave the rest was a new way of building my home. I am encouraged to embrace both personal liberty and responsibility and I relish this new air I am breathing.