Archive for Journal

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 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.

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.