Archive for Alcoholism

Endigar 882

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 23, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 21:

When I take the Seventh Step (“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”), I calmly ask for help. I don’t beg or demand: I neither grovel nor puff myself up. I needn’t demean myself, and I have no one to impress. I am simply accepting my place in my relationship with my Higher Power, no more, no less. True humility to take my rightful place in the wonderful partnershp I am developing with the God of my understanding.

Humility is said to be perpetual quietness of heart. It means that I do my part and trust God to take care of the rest. Although I may not know how my help will come, I can remain serene. All I have to do is to ask my Higher Power for healing.

Today’s Reminder

Today, when I ask my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings, I will try to do so with a peaceful heart.

“Humility will help us see oursselves in true perspective and keep our minds open to the truth.”

~ Alcoholism, the Family Disease

END OF QUOTE—————————————

The Seventh Step is an advanced version of Step One. I admitted I had become powerless over the burden of self and my spirit had become enslaved. Recognizing that, just like with addiction, I could not break free of the burden of self on my own. I had developed a swollen, isolated ego as a coping mechanism against the pain and threat of social rejection. This ego appeared swollen in the same way my hand held in front of my face would appear to be everything I see. Comparing my view of it to the hands of others who surrounded me, my hand-covered face was blinded to potentially life empowering connections. When that hand was moved into the crowd of my fellow human beings, I could see a world around me that had been obscured. My ego connected with other egos appears smaller but is actually held at a distant from my spiritual vision in its proper place. Humility is gaining psychic distance from one’s own ego. It allows me to see the value of the other egos of my environment. The sober person of AA develops humility to increase respect for others and for the Higher Power, to live separated from the burden of an isolated self, and to explore spiritual freedom.

Endigar 881

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 20:

Like alcoholism, obsessive thinking can be too much to handle. My best hope in battling it is not to begin, bacause once started, it gains steam and becomes harder to interrupt.

Before obsessive thinking takes hold, there is usually a point at which I have to make a choice. I can opt to mentally toy with a subject that has held my mind hostage in the past and is therefore dangerous. Or I can recongnize the danger and try to drop any thought of the topic from my mind, praying for my Higher Power’s help I can reach out to an Al-Anon member for support before tackling a topic to which I am vulnerable, so that my thoughts won’t have a chance to get locked inside my head.

I will exercise the power of choice by refusing the invitation of obsessive thoughts. If I don’t pick them up, I won’t have to let them go.

Today’s Reminder

I am learning to pay attention to my thinking. If there is someting I cannot contemplate without becoming obsessed, I will respect that fact and act accordingly. I will gather the strength and suppor of my Al-Anon program, my friends, and my Higher Power before I try to reason it out. And if it is none of my business, I won’t pick it up at all.

“If you work on your mind with your mind, How can you avoid an immense confusion?”

~ Seng-ts’an

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I was joking with others in my Al-Anon meeting that there should be a Ruminators Anonymous. I can remember reading a book called The Depression Cure. The premise was that our bodies have not evolved as fast as our culture and our optimum living environment was established in the hunter-gather period of our existence. It is as if we are living on another planet that requires a special suit and supplements for survival. We are aliens of our own making. I take vitamin D to replace the sunshine I miss as a result of the great indoors. I take fish oil supplements to replace the omega oils found in the wilderness that gave birth to my species but has been lost to us because of mass farming techniques. There are other things I do not remember, but I do recall his emphasis on devoloping a discipline against excessive rumination. He suggested that we allow ourselves no more than five minutes before breaking free and getting into some form of physical activity.

I also find that rumination corrupts my meditation, and thus interfers with my connection to my Higher Power. I developed some effective meditative habits from the teachings of Christopher Penczak in his book, The Inner Temple of Witchcraft. In my early days of alcoholic recovery, I looked to the Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce. His method of intuitive connection fit in with one of my most personally powerful Psalms. My memory of Psalm 127:2 has said that it is vain for me to rise up early in fear, to take rest late overwhelmed with worry, for my Higher Power gives blessings even while we sleep. Falling into an inbetween place of waking and slumber is better for me than having my intuitive listening practice hijacked by rumination.

My AA Sponsor struggles as I do with the paralysis of rumination, the imprisonment of depression. He has suggested that I look into the People’s Chemist. It is a suggestion I intend to fully explore.

[ ]

I suppose the point of this reflection is that we can use the work of the collective mind to overpower the destructive habits of our individual minds. I cannot imagine what a mentally entangled life I would be leading in isolation. I am grateful.

Endigar 880

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 19:

In the past, whenever anyone disagreed with me, I took it as a personal failure. If only I had found the right words, clothes, opinions, school, job, home, friends, or lover, I could have belonged.

And How did others appear to me? Happy and self-confident – they seemed to have all the answers. But because of the front I put on, people thought I was easygoing and happy, too. If they could be so mistaken about the way I really felt, couldn’t I have a few wrong ideas about their feelings? After all, I couldn’t be the only one who put on a good act. Wasn’t I comparing my insides to other people’s outsides?

In Al-Anon I am learning that someone can disagreee with me without either of us being wrong. When no one has to be wrong, we can all fit in, just as we are.

Today’s Reminder

If I compare, I lose. Maybe I’ll come out feeling better than somebody this time, but next time I’m bound to feel worse. The best way to stop feeling that I’m not good enough is to stop comparing altogether.

“Little by little, we come to realize at our meetings that much of our discomfort comes from our attitudes.”

~ Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Can I create a better image of myself. Or rather, can I create a better self. I know that when I would run in my past military training, I would spot distant but visible milestones to move toward. I knew that it wasn’t the end. But that milestone got me closer to my destination.

“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48

“We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection” Alcoholics Anonymous

Is there a way to reconcil these two ideas? Is it possible to pursue progress toward perfection? Yet both of these statements seem to hold a mutually exculisive stanse against one another. It resists even a paradoxical explanation.

If I don’t look to other’s external display to compare my internal reality to, then shouldn’t I compare my internal reality in the present with my internal reality in an imagined future? No matter how I try to image myself as a perfected being, I strongly suspect that gaining a grasp on that reality is out of my reach in this limited mortal form.

Growing up in the Southeast US it was known by everyone that the only perfect person was Jesus Christ. He should be the only source of emulation. Yet would that mean that unless his followers sold their property, wandered about in heretical resistance and apocolyptic proclaimations, seeking a way of martyed existence, that they are refusing to seek the Father’s perfection as Christ did. The countering thought I have heard to such “extreme” ideas of perfection is that Christ had a different and very specific mission.

Am I stuck with the same dilema that comparing myself to anyone brings me? I am comparing my insides to Christ’s celebrity expression, his outside expression.

What if the Higher Power planted a Godshard in each and everyone of us? What if the Messiah’s perfection came from His ability to percieve His particular Godshard and live it out? What if My perfected Godshard requires Me to only compare me with me until I find Me? Maybe these are the milestones in the marathon of this earthly life. To seek perfection is to seek the Godshard. To seek progress is to look for a life that allows It to energize. Maybe progress and perfection are not mutually exclusive after all.

Endigar 879

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 18:

Life dosen’t always go smoothly or peacefully, even though I might wish it would. In the past, when something bothered me, I’d say nothing rather than face an argument. It seemed better for me to be upset than to risk upsetting someone else. The results were ususally disastorous. I would become irritable and unreasonable as I let resentment fester.

Today I suspect that adversity has value I hadn’t previously recognized. When I face adversity and deal with my problems or express my feelings, thing have a chance to improve. Even if they don’t, I release some of the pressure I feel. I’m new at this, and I don’t do it very gracefully yet: sometimes it is scary, and sometimes my words are not exactly welcomed. Nevertheless, I feel better when I realize that I have finally begun living life on life’s terms.

Looking back, I see how much I’ve grown. I wouldn’t have chosen any of the crises in my life, but since coming to Al-Anon, I’ve learned that every problem can help me to change for the better, deepen my faith, and add to my self-esteem.

Today’s Reminder

The Chinese word for crisis is written with two characters. The first stands for danger, and the second for opportunity. I will look for the good hidden within everything I encounter.

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands”

~ Richard Bach

END OF QUOTE—————————————

When I was a young teenager, a movie was released where a favorite author, Richard Bach, and beloved musician, Neil Diamond, came together; Jonathon Livingston Seagull. The spiritual promises of this story using flight as its metaphor enthralled me. How I hungered to experience it. How many different denominations of Christianity did I explore? There were so many storefront gatherings and new ideas being proffered in my youth that never lasted.

Until I was compelled to enter the Twelve Step program to save my own life. These rooms were filled with saving heresies. The chaos storm of my post-marital apocolypse opened the door to a pragmatic morality and the closest I have ever truly felt with myself and my God. That hell caused me to let go of religous preconceptions and quit being ashamed for my humanity. What is exciting to me is that progress rather than perfection renders promise of greater connection still.

I want to live in such a way that the Universe finds it unncessary to send chaos storms into my life to free me from my own protective mind prisons.

I want to fly. . .

Endigar 878

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 17:

No problem lasts forever. No matter how permanantly fixed in the center of our lives it may seem, whatever we experience in this ever-changing life is sure to pass. Even pain.

Difficult situations often bring out qualities in us that otherwise might not have risen to the surface, such as courage, faith, and our need for one anoher. All of our experiences can help us to grow.

But we may need patience. Some wounds cannot be healed quickly. They must be given time. In the meantime, we can apprecate the new capabilities we are developing, such as the capacity to mourn and the willingness to accept. Let us share our losses and triumphs with each other, for that is how we gathercourage.

Today’s Reminder

Remembering that this too shall pass can make it easier to get through a difficult day. I will be very gentle with myself during this time. Some extra loving care and attention to myself can make everything a little easier.

“‘. . . I am equal to what life presents,’ when I use the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the slogans, literature, sponsorship, conventions, an most importantly, meetings.”

. . . In All Our Affairs

END OF QUOTE—————————————

“Once in Persia reigned a king, Who upon his signet ring Graved a maxim true and wise, Which, if held before his eyes, Gave him counsel at a glance Fit for every change and chance. Solemn words, and these are they; ‘Even this shall pass away.’ . . .Fighting on a furious field, Once a javelin pierced his shield; Soldiers, with a loud lament, Bore him bleeding to his tent. Groaning from his tortured side, “Pain is hard to bear,” he cried; “But with patience, day by day, Even this shall pass away.”

Even This Shall Pass Away by Theordre Tilton

My Father was known for quoting poetry from memory. I often heard him quote in difficult times, . . . “But with patience, day by day, even this shall pass away.” When he passed away, I begin looking for the poetry he would quote and I found Mr. Tilton’s work.

I know this concept is supposed to strengthen, but I feel sad and deeply instrospective when I hear it. Yet I have come to accept that the cluster of emotions that fit into that bag simply labeled sadness can be useful. For me, I use sadness to open my introspection and to seek connection accross the Veil to those who dwell in the Infinite. As long as I remember that emotions make great servants and horrible masters, I can hear my Father’s words, let the sadness roll over me, and then realize the strength of standing as all that is temporary passes away.

Endigar 877

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 20, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 16:

Tradition Eight states that “Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional…” We come together as a fellowship of equals, where no one is in charge and no one is an expert. Every member can contribute to the healing power of our program simply by sharing his or her personal story of experience, strength, and hope. No special training or qualification other than membership is necessary, or even desired.

Because the help we exchange is strictly nonprofessional and has a specific goal, Al-Anon does not presume to solve every problem or cure every illness. Our program is a remarkably effective approach to recovery from the effects of someone else’s drinking. Sometimes, however, we grapple with problems that Al-Anon doesn’t address. At such times, many of us have found it useful to seek help from other sources in addition to working our Al-Anon program.

Today’s Reminder

A wonderfully nurturing atmosphere is created when people help other people by being themselves and sharing their own experiences. I will contribute to this interchange today.

“. . . we meet as equals and help one another, not because some are experts and others are learners, but because we all have needs and strengths.”

~ Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions

END OF QUOTE—————————————

That is the known apple falling from the tree. Eating worms and looking out doors through unknown proximities. The life of a torrid microbe is not less significant than the universe altering nova of a star system. The thoughts that come to mind are that I don’t reallty get this at all. This need to connect, to heal, to improve. The universe broken. How can this be?

I find that you are not helpful when you are not me. I am me, but that is not the way that I desire to be. Bromide pharmacies have no place to copulate. The logos of injestion is not the reason for consumption. My mind slides off the pan into an omelette prepared before the dawn of time.

Here I am.

Sometimes when I am stuck in my writing I just let the words take their own direction so that something comes forth. Anything.

This reflection brings me to a vision of the recovery rooms. This is a normal place for me to be now. I am among others who desire a better version of themselves. I come to the rooms in search of real connection, effective magic, and a history of significance. No one enters here from a high horse. The work to overcome the impact of obssessive thinking and chemical addiction allowed me to recognize other issues that where obscured. How can I recognize true chronic depression when I am injesting a depressive. How can I reconnize anxiety when withdrawal causes my heart to beat our of my chest. How can I improve my life when I am obsessing over someone’s mismanagement of their free will.

So, here I am. And the professionals are grateful.

Endigar 876

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 15:

When I first came to Al-Anon, I was leery about all the hugs I saw exchanged. I would scurry out the door after a meeting to avoid them. I couldn’t imagine why all those seemingly respectable people were behaving this way. There had been no such displays of affection in my childhood, and none in my adult home, either. The only kinds of touch I knew were negative.

The people in Al-Anon were patient with me even though I refused their hugs. They invited me to keep coming back. They respected my boundaries and didn’t judge or question my need for space. Individual members sat with me as I cried and rejoiced when I laughed. Complete strangers offered their experience, strength, and hope to me as if I were an intimate friend.

In this safe and nurturing atmosphere, I have come to appreciate that there are may different expressions of unconditional love. Whether or not I express affection in a physical way, I can find reassurance, comfort, and strength whenever Al-Anon members offer me their support. Today I am finding ways to express my love for others as well.

Today’s Reminder

I will not let old fears keep me away from the support that is available to me. I am worthy of love and respect.

“Love is not consolation, it is light.”

~ Simone Weil

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Note – when these reflections quote someone I do not know, I look them up. Simone Weil was quite an interesting person. I have purchased her book A Need for Roots. She was of Jewish descent and carried her parent’s agnosticism, then became moved by Christianity but retained her desire to explore and to be inspired outside the walls of the Church. She was a French pacifist who wanted to fire a machine gun in the Spanish Civil war and to participate in the French Resistance during World War II. In her youth she was a Communist who held her own in debate with Leon Trotsky about the oppressive nature of government bureaucratic elites that rivaled any capitalistic cruelties to the working class. I look forward to reading her words.

As to the words of the reflection itself…

The Twelve Step program builds a group to focus on the individual. It is the paradox of my participation in this fellowship that my isolating idiocrasies are rebirthed into characteristics of adaption. My tendency to look for threats in the crowd become the ability to see what genuine care looks like as people allow themselves to be seen. I discover that the caring face can become a soul mirror. It is amazing how little has to be given to gain so much. My need to be accepted by a dysfunctional family has been transformed into a desire to become useful to myself and others. My process of learning to connect with others gives me greater opportunities to know myself.

I must admit that the before and after aspects of the meetings are still challenging for me. Maybe I will work on that today. One day at a time my today will become a connection nova. I know it will. So I will try.

Endigar 875

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 29, 2023 by endigar

From Courage to Change of May 14:

Al-Anon recovery is a discipline that requires diligence, patience, and consistency for the best results. Regular attendance at meetings, working the Steps, and applying the Al-Anon principles to every part of the day lead to a fuller and more enjoyable life.

At times we see obvious results from our efforts, while at other times we reach plateaus and feel stuck. If we go on putting one foot in front of the other and continue to work the program, we find that all plateaus eventually come to an end. Just when we reach the end of our patience, a doorway seems to open and we suddenly take a huge leap forward. We see that none of the time that passed was wasted; although we didn’t know it, we were quietly absorbing the program. Most of us find that the results were worth the wait.

Today’s Reminder

Whether or not I see immediate benefits, today I choose to keep coming back.

“patience is the key to paradise.”

~ Turkish proverb

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Note: This reflection would have been better with “I” statements rather than “we.” I have found that Al-Anon recovery… When I attend meetings regularly…. At times I see obvious… and so on. We statements move away from sharing personal experience and become preachy. I have found myself accidently stepping up into the pulpit rather than sitting as an equal in the fellowship.

I would love to have the choice to be dilegent, patient, and consistent. How wonderful it would be to live as a machine until the difficult aspects of living are done. Spock repressing emotion in favor of pure logic. Data turning off his emotion chip when facing the Borg. Dexter unresponsive to emotion to do what needed to be done. Sort of. The soldier icon to the max in Termiantor.

Unfortunately, I am not an uncaring machine. I am full of vunerabilites. Emotions blindside my disciplines. Sometimes I connect with my Higher Power and with others in the fellowship. Sometimes, I do not. Recovery can be just as baffling as the disease itself. This is my reality.

My interpretation of the solution is that when windows of sanity open up, use the program with everything that is within me. Connect as effectively as I know how to my Higher Power and the 12 Step Fellowship of my choice. When I fall into the paralysis of rumination, I lower my expectations, my judgements, and ride it out. I try to mitigate the damage of my isolation. I just concentrate on breathing. I allow the machine in me to fail, and divert all energy to life support.

I am working on emotional dominance. I am not there yet.

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

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.