Archive for Personal

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.

Endigar 834

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 6, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 10;

Having lived with alcoholism, many of us have come to think of ourselves as innocent victims of other people’s abuse. It can be shocking to discover that we too have harmed others. Listing those we have harmed (Step Eight) becomes a discovery process in which a more realistic sense of responsibility can begin to develop.

In my case, however, the problem was not in recognizing the harm I’d done, but in letting go of my exaggerated sense of responsibility. I thought that everyone I ever knew belonged on my list, especially those who were disappointed in me. For example, my parents are unhappy with the partner I have chosen. My sister wants me to pay off her debts. My kids wish I’d let them stay out all night without calling. As I thought about this Step, I realized that I am not responsible for their unfulfilled desires. So when I revised my Eight Step list, I needed to take names off.

Today’s Reminder

Certainly I make choices that harm others and call for making amends. But sometimes a choice that is right for me may be uncomfortable or even unacceptable to others. Other people’s expectations are not my responsibility unless I have helped to create them. I can remind myself that conflict is part of life.

“With this Step we sort out our part, taking responsibility for our actions but also releasing ourselves . . . from the burden of falsely-held responsibilities.” ~ In All Our Affairs

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Guilt is supposed to be a useful emotion in helping me identify when I have harmed myself or others. Raised around someone who carried the trauma of a loved one destroyed by alcoholism, guilt gets redefined. Guilt lets me know when I need to become someone else’s painkiller. My effectiveness as someone else’s drug of choice becomes the guiding morality of my life. If my co-dependency is left untreated, I become powerless to resolve the festering guilt of impossible expectations. Shame will eat me from the inside out.

I want to live. This requires that I assume responsibility only for that which I am truly guilty. I identify warped, shame-enhancing morality so that I can extract it from my daily living. I want to know and be known for who I am and no longer recoil from that process of self-revelation. The 12 Step program has me moving in the direction of genuine relationships and life fulfillment. I am grateful.

Endigar 833

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 5, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 09;

After years of denying my feelings in order to protect myself, detachment (emotionally separating myself from the disease of alcoholism) was fairly easy for me. But it was with indifference. Detachment with love was out of the question!

A major change of attitude began when my Sponsor repeated a line from a play that had helped me understand the need to detach with love: “The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.” I realized that by detaching with indifference, I might be taking the easy way out.

In Al-Anon I’ve come to feel safe enough to feel my feelings. I no longer need to shut out the love I feel for myself or for the alcoholic in my life. I can see myself as more than my feelings, and I can see the alcoholic as more than his or her disease.

Today’s Reminder

The unconditional love I receive in Al-Anon helps me to rediscover what love is. As I learn that I am consistently lovable regardless of my strengths or limitations, I begin to see something consistently loveable in others, eve those who suffer from an unlovable disease.

“With a change of attitude … past actions can be put into proper perspective; love and respect can become a part of family life.” ~ Youth and the Alcoholic Parent

 

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To know love in the rooms, I must actually be in the rooms as continuously as I can schedule. This is part of the magic of attending 90 meetings in the first 90 days of sobriety or group connection. Being there is the only way to nurture the possibility of experiencing the love of those who most definitely have in common some of my tragic realities.

When I first came into the rooms it was important for me to listen, but I could not let that be an excuse to go mute. I can quickly share a status update and then say that I need to listen. The point of such an exercise is not to allow myself to become invisible, to surrender to my tendency to distance myself.

I require love from others to learn to love myself. Love requires connection. Therefore I find it necessary to risk connection to give and receive the love that heals us all.

Endigar 832

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 25, 2020 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 08;

There can be great value in examining the past. It can offer information about the present, as well as clues that might help us make changes for a better future. For those of us who denied, distorted, or lost touch with painful memories, facing the reality of our past can be a critical part of our Al-Anon recovery. Fond memories must also be recognized if we hope to look back in a realistic way.

Still, it is important to remember that the past is over. We are powerless over what has gone before. Although we can take steps to make amends, we cannot change the fact that we have harmed others. And we cannot change the fact that others have harmed us. We have only the power to change this present day.

The best use we can make of the past is to face it and then move on. We can certainly learn from all that we have experienced, but we mustn’t let it hold us back from living here and now.

Today’s Reminder

I will not get so bogged down in dealing with old wounds that I forget about new growth.

“The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” ~ H.G. Wells

 

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It is actually difficult for me to recall my past. It is blurry or lost in neurological oblivion. Writing down the bits and pieces I have helps give me an anchor in the swirl. Talking to others who have been in my life helps me re-acquire some of those memories. Exploring the past takes work for me. Yet I have used that broken swirling mess of a past to keep the courtroom of my vicious resentments staffed and ready to avenge. This courtroom exacts a heavy taxation on my psyche. It prevents me from building trust until all cases on the docket of the anguished child have been cleared.

The 12 Step program stood for my defense when I did not know it was myself I was judging. I began to find memories that affirmed my life rather than to serve as crime scene photos. I learned the utility of detached observation and gained some personal growth. It is a work in progress. It is a work that proclaims the significance of my life right here in the present. This court drama is adjourned. And I am grateful.