Archive for Courage to Change

Endigar 850

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 20;

In Al-Anon I’m learning that it is safe to be myself. Today I share with Al-Anon friends embarrassing secrets I once would have buried from sight. Sometimes I have to fight the old urge to keep quiet at all costs, but I have found that sharing is the key to healing.

For example, I was embarrassed about my physical appearance, especially my smile. Years of humiliating criticisms from alcoholic relatives had left me feeling very insecure. It seemed best to reveal as little about myself as possible, and I avoided smiling altogether. Unfortunately, I continued to believe the criticisms, so I thought very badly of myself.

By sharing honestly with people I can trust, I challenge the old, negative ideas. My Al-Anon friends assure me that the criticisms were exaggerated. Nobody seems to find me unworthy because of my smile. In Al-Anon I can come out of hiding. I’m even free to break into a grin.

Today’s Reminder

Even when I feel ashamed, someone in the fellowship can help me see my situation in a different light. With their help, if I’m willing to permit it, the truth will set me free.

“You get to the point where your demons, which are terrifying, get smaller and smaller and you get bigger and bigger.” ~ August Wilson

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What happens when freedom is lost for safety’s sake? What happens when those who offer love require the therapy of martydom? What happens when the intimacy of family devotion is the playground for childhood trauma? Reading between the lines, interpreting facial twitches, and practicing the hopeful clairvoyance of sick minds become the twisted life skills of the resulting adult. All criticism carries the weight of divine judgement. Appease, withdraw, or lash out.

I cannot do this. I am going to chose to withdraw from this blog for a bit. I need to work on this pain. It is overflowing in a time when my country doesn’t need me to live in the vulnerability of this honest program. At least, not in this public expression. I cannot transmit something I do not have. Forgive me, dear reader. My country has become too much like my family of origin. As I leave, I quote my sponsor who posted this a few days ago. It is so very true:

“It’s easy to believe that people in our government are incompetent but, when I see the level of stupidity on one issue after another, month after month, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t doing these things on purpose. I’m fighting depression everyday because I fear the state of our country that my Son will have to live in. I’m a veteran but, I never experienced anything like the brave soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. My heart breaks for the people who are feeling betrayed right now. When I was a young man, I was taught to be grateful that I lived in the greatest country in the world. I learned that the reason for it’s greatness was the principles in our founding documents. I was taught about the foundation of our legal system, the Ten Commandments. My grandfather was a Bham police officer and my father was a firefighter. Many family members served in the various branches of the military. One uncle retired as a master sergeant after having fought in Korea. My father was in the pacific while serving in the US Navy. It seems that everything I was taught has been turned upside down. I watch people look straight in the camera on national television and lie their ass off. I watch people get caught breaking the law and suffer no consequences. I see our legal system being used to persecute patriots and Christians. I watch an 81 year old woman in Congress work night and day for more power while trying to take away more and more of our freedom. You would think she would want to retire and spend this time with her kids and grandkids. I watch a senile old man propted up and used as a figurehead that we call president. I have many friends who vote for a Democrat party that doesn’t even exist anymore. They don’t understand that it morphed into the Socialist party. Many times, I’ve voted for the people on the right because I thought they were “the lesser of two evils.” Now, I see that both sides are corrupt and need to be replaced but, would a younger group be any better? They have been taught that America is racist and evil. Some people tell me not to worry because God has a plan. I pray this is true because I can’t see a positive outcome without a drastic change of direction. I pray that God will Bless America.” ~ Charles N.

Endigar 849

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 16, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 19;

Learning about alcoholism has helped me to find serenity after years of struggling. I see now that alcoholics have a disease: They are ill, not bad. By attending Al-Anon meetings on a regular basis, reading Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature (CAL), and sitting in on open AA meetings, I have gained some insight into what is and is not reasonable to expect when dealing with an alcoholic.

I ‘ve learned that I have the ability to adjust my expectations so that I no longer set myself up for constant disappointment. For instance, I have stopped expecting a drinking alcoholic to keep every promise. This makes my life more manageable.

The knowledge I gain in Al-Anon has dispersed many of my fears and made room for a newfound compassion. I see that I am not the only one with good ideas, valid criticisms, and noble motives.

Today’s Reminder

Learning about the disease of alcoholism can help me become more realistic about a loved one’s illness –and then to make better choices for myself.

“I have learned techniques for dealing with the alcoholic, so that I can develop a relationship with the person behind the disease.” ~ Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

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It is easier to receive the mercy of the disease concept of Alcoholics Anonymous than it is to give it. It is easier to judge harshly, until I realize the world I build with my judgements requires I become a subject within its borders.

If I judge the alcoholic or the adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA) then I must judge myself, that is, condemn myself, for being overwhelmed by depression or anxiety. The disease concept allows me to embrace objective accountability with productive patience for myself and others who hold an important place in my life. I don’t want my environment to be built by reactive animal instincts of fearful isolation. Let me and those around me live freely to experience times of greater self-healing in the rooms of connective health.

Endigar 844

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 4, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 18;

I had spent a lot of time yearning for things I wasn’t gettting from the alcoholic in my life. As a part of my Al-Anon recovery, I was encouraged to put those needs on paper. Courtesty, respect, attention, affection, communication –my list of the areas in which I felt my loved one had let me down went on and on.

My Sponsor applauded my honesty and then suggested that I could bring all the things on my list into my life. The catch: I had to give what I wanted to receive and become what I wanted to attract. Did I present a shining example of courtesy and all the rest? If not, I had a wonderful list of goals already on paper.

I have often heard that we get back what we give, and now I know that it’s true. As I grew kinder and more loving, other people responded to the change. I also felt much better about myself. Today I can honestly say that all the qualites on my list exist in my life at least some of the time. I hadn’t expected these results–or any others, for that matter. I was too busy focusing on myself. I think that’s why it worked.

Today’s Reminder

Today I can take an active role in fulfilling my needs. I can choose to become someone I would want to have in my life.

“Many of us find that as we practice treating others fairly, with love and respect, we ourselves become magnets for love and respect.” ~ . . . In All Our Affairs

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My self-awareness is critical for this law of attraction to be effectively rewarding. I have to call time out on life and my survival impulses long enough to get to know who I am and what I truly need. Self-delusion is an embedded survival skill for my co-dependent mind that I must resist.

If I immediately attempt to change my behavior to kindness in order to have kind people around me, I will establish a façade of compassion with no real relationships. It would be my fearful instinct to protect the real me from being revealed in order to avoid rejection.

This painfully challenging process to know the truth about myself/Self must be tackled first. Then I change my behavior to answer my needs. My improved, genuine expression will then give permission to others to do the same.

Endigar 841

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 17;

Many of us have had anxious moments at work and around our families when it came to making decisions affecting others as a group. We’d worry, “Will everyone be happy with the decision?” Surely there was one perfect way to do things, and it was our responsibility to find it.

Al-Anon has helped me to develop a simple policy about group decisions, as suggested by Al-Anon’s First Tradition: “Our common welfare should come first.” This Tradition applies to the conduct of our Al-Anon groups, but I find it useful in other siturations, too. If the group’s plans seem designed to benefit the greatest number of people, I can usually support them. I don’t mean that I ignore my own needs and feelings –I express them. But others have needs too, and I must respect them. Such choices may not bring immediate happiness to me or to others, but ultimately we will all benefit. As the First Tradition says, “Personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.”

Today’s Reminder

Do I try to force my will on others in group situations, or am I learning to respect their rights as well as my own? I can feel secure in my opinions if I keep the group’s best interest at heart.

“Unity presents not only the necessary climate for the growth of Al-Anon as a whole but also the atmosphere in which each member within the group may acquire peace of mind.”

~ Twelve Steps and Traditions

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The best group decision I have made is to avoid my tendency to withdraw. The best personal decision I have made for my own welfare while in the group is not to embrace martydom. I am not well versed in achievng that balance of expresive participation and active listening. It takes practice and the development of some intimate trust. But I have gained life-giving support and I desire to reciprocate. I need to be useful within and without to secure the realiity of my own recovery.

Endigar 840

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 16;

I came to Al-Anon in so much pain that I quickly opened my arms and my heart to whatever the program and its memebers were willing to show me. What I discovered is that what I go through in life is not as important as how I interpret the experience. In other words, I have a choice about my attitude.

For instance, I always expected my happiness to come through others, especially my alcoholic parents. I spent most of my life waiting for them to show their love and approval in a way I could understand. They didn’t, and I felt deprived and unlovable as a result.

Al-Anon has helped me to interpret my situation differently. Through working the Steps, I have learned that I am lovable, regardless of what a parent or anyone else thinks. I can either feel sorry for what I have missed or I can appreciate the chance to learn to love and appreciate myself. I do some of both, but today I know I have a choice.

Today’s Reminder

It’s time to stop waiting for others to take care of me. The only person who can love me the way I want to be loved is me.

Gradually I accepted the fact that my ‘if only’ wishes were not about to come true. But I also learned that I could be happy even if they didn’t.

~ Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

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Personal pain seemed like such an important possession. It seemed that it provided the most trustworthy intimacy. It felt more geniune, more revelatory. Smiles were carved into social masks for the frivalous relationships of capitalistic gain. Such is the perspective I carried into this 12 Step program. Such is the bloody bag of secrets I lived with. This isn’t truth, it’s just what I had leanred to trust in a family held together by irrational guilt.

I have a choice to carve tears into my intimacy or find the geniune laughter of a hopeful and helpful community of friends. The insanity I live with is that I have to think about which path to take; campfire comradery or graveside gatherings. One day at time. Come with me, and let the dead bury the dead.

Endigar 839

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 18, 2021 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 15;

Many of us come to Al-Anon hoping to find answers to the questions that plague us. Should I leave the alcoholic? What about the financial, sexual, medical, legal, and emotional problems? How can I stop abusive behavior? There are as many legitimate options as there are members, and Al-Anon’s position is that we must each find answers that are right for us.

The one exception is a life-threatening or violent situation. In this case, Al-Anon suggests putting first things first; ensuring the safety of ourselves and our children. Perhaps this means leaving money and keys in a safe place so that we can get out in an emergency, or calling the police, or arranging to stay with a friend, if only for today. We learn that we deserve to be safe.

Today’s Reminder

In Al-Anon we don’t make anyone’s choices for them, but we do offer advice of a different kind. We suggest attending Al-Anon meetings, finding a Sponsor, and reaching out by phone. We advise our members to practice the Steps, slogans, and Traditions, and to incorporate these principles into every aspect of our lives. This kind of advice helps us to find answers that we can live with.

“When I concentrate on my personal progress, the difficulties over which I have no control will iron themselves out.” ~ The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

 

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The nightmare of addiction is corrosively opportinistic, moving from the spider in the brain through the web of associations exploited to feed the ever-wating predator.

The horror of hurting the ones you love is compounded by those so willingly ensnared. The effectiveness of this damning trap is in its invisibility. Al-Anon’s response is to expose the web, and help to snip away those arrangements that benefit neither the alcoholic/addict nor the ones that love them. Starving the spider is the greatest gift you can give yourself and the diseased mind of those dying of chemical dependance.  Live free in love.

Endigar 838

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 21, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 14;

Many of us develop a heightened awareness of our thoughts as we recover in Al-Anon. After a while we are able to notice the change when our thinking becomes distorted. But if we wish to put a stop to negative thoughts, awareness is just the beginning.

When “stinking thinking” takes hold of me, I must do more than just dismiss the negative thoughts. I must replace them with something positive or I am likely to slide right back into my negative thinking.

Our group ordered a collection of Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature (CAL.) on audiocassettes when they were available. I have gotten into the habit of listening to them in my car when I’m driving around town. Even though I had read these CAL pamphlets many times before, hearing them spoken out loud is a different and very powerful experience. If my attitude is not good, adjusting it by listening to Al-Anon wisdom on a tape, at a meeting, or one-to-one can get me back on track.

Today’s Reminder

Today I’m going to pay close attention to what I tell myself. If necessary, I’ll stop in mid-thought, start over, and replace negative illusions with positive truths.

“What we teach ourselves with out thoughts and attitudes is up to us.” ~ . . . In All Our Affairs

 

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A slip in the 12 Step program is an event of deviation from the protection of recovery teachings. A slip in chemical dependency is the insanity of the first drink or hit of one’s drug of choice. A slip in co-dependency is the acting on the belief that I can control another person’s life.

Yet a slip of this sort is never an accident. Thoughts build upon thoughts breaking down sound judgement until the action appears in public as some ludicrous answer to a shadow dragon. Awareness of these thoughts and patterns provides me an early warning system. The sinister aspect of the disease is its ability to explore and use my own thoughts against me. I am in competition with my anti-self to know who and what I am on a daily basis. My success is demonstrated when the building of my thoughts makes me useful in the lives of my fellow human beings.

Endigar 837

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 13;

If I don’t know how to respond to a situation today, why not try responding with kindness? Whether I accept or turn down a request, agree or disagree with someone’s point of view, I can still treat the other person with respect and courtesy. I can say, “No,” as gently and lovingly as I can say, “Yes.”

Today I can honor my decisions without being defensive because I respect my right to make the best decisions I can. Even when others are not happy with those decisions. I can behave in a way that feels good for me. Others have a right to disagree, to feel differently, to be disappointed. I can respect that right and still stick to my principles.

Relationships are complicated because people are complicated. We each have our own ideas, values, and hopes, and they can’t always coincide with the desires of those we love. Disagreements can be healthy and enlightening if we view them as a way to develop and deepen our relationships. Kindness and respect for everyone concerned will go a long way toward making this possible.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will try to view every conflict as an opportunity to heal. I will honor myself by responding with courtesy.

“The highest form of wisdom is kindness” ~ The Talmud

 

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Kindness says yes and no with equal energy. Kindness endures disapproval of personal decisions without the need to appease. Kindness given inward can be offered outward. Kindness navigates freely in the complexities of relationships without thrashing about. I asked for wisdom. I’m asked to try kindness. I will.

Endigar 836

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 13, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 12;

It’s only natural to want a quick fix or an immediate solution to a difficult situation. As one member jokingly pus it: “Gran me patience, Lord — and hurry!” My sentiments exactly! Do I have some discomfort or a problem in my life? Let me fix it, or be rid of it now. Is it a situation I’ve lived with for twenty years? Fine, I’ll give it fifteen minutes. Perhaps I’ve lived with it all m life — well then, an hour, maybe even two. Is it connected with alcoholism? Do its roots run really deep in the ground of my being? In that case, I’ll make a few program calls and share at a meeting.

Is it still hanging on? Very well, I’ll launch a major campaign of self-criticism. What’s wrong with me? Why do I have all these feeling about something that isn’t important? I’m sure I caused all this myself; somehow I’m to blame.

Heaven forbid I should surrender, accept my discomfort, and pray for guidance.

Today’s Reminder

Willpower cannot eliminate in a day troubles that have taken root and flourished in my life for decades. Things take time.

“You cannot create a statue by smashing the marble with a hammer, and you cannot by force of arms release the spirit or the soul of man” ~ Confucius

 

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I don’t feel very wise or inspired today. I said something hurtful on social media and it hit hard on two people I love dearly. The self loathing is increased by the fact that I have done this before, or at least something similar. No apology or amends can retract my blind launch of words.

It is sunshining outside. The day is beautiful in spite of my actions. Somehow, even my clumsy connections are part of this natural flow. I breath deep and trust my Higher Power to convert knowledge into wisdom rather than rage.

Endigar 835

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 11;

Why continue to come to Al-
Anon? Because without spiritual help, living or having lived with an alcoholic is too much for me. I often need help to maintain a rational perspective. I long for a closer relationship with my Higher Power. The people in my meetings are so warm and loving that I would feel deprived if they were not a regular part of my life. The Steps, Traditions, and Concepts all serve to put structure and goals in my life. Al-Anon is the light that helps me find my way in the dark.

As a longtime member, I am very familiar with Al-Anon, but I am no more of an authority than any other member. I try not to present myself as a paragon of Al-Anon wisdom, and I discourage newcomers from putting me on a pedestal from which II am bound to fall.

I retain the right to have problems, to cry, to make mistakes, to not know all the answers. I still have and use a Sponsor. I continue to give service to Al-Anon, but I don’t have to be in charge.

Today’s Reminder

The amount of time I’ve spent in Al-Anon is less important that what I am doing with that time today.

“I don’t resort to Al-Anon only to learn to live with the active drinking problems. It is my way of life, an increasingly rich and rewarding life, as I learn to use the program in depth.” ~ One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

 

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I have dealt with social anxiety all my life in one way or another. Staying part of a group has not been my forte. I learned to distrust “outsiders” from my family of origin. I feared too much self-revelation and how that could be turned against me.  Over time I found power in the group to resist the twisted indoctrination of my childhood. My group participation is a work in progress but one well worth the investment.