Archive for Spirituality

Endigar 859

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

From Courage to Change of April 29:

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

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

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

Today’s Reminder

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

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

John C. Lilly

END OF QUOTE—————————————

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

Endigar 858

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

From Courage to Change of April 28:

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

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

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

Today’s Reminder

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

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

As We Understood . . .

END OF QUOTE—————————————

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

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

Endigar 857

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

From Courage to Change of April 27:

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

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

Today’s Reminder

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

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

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

END OF QUOTE—————————————

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

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

Endigar 856.5

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

From Courage to Change of April 26:

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

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

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

Today’s Reminder

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

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

. . . In All Our Affairs

END OF QUOTE—————————————

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

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

Endigar 856

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

From Courage to Change of April 25:

Many of us have discovered that the telephone can be a lifeline between meetings. At first we many be reluctant to call someone we barely know, but most members are grateful to receive such calls because both parties benefit. It is often as helpful for a longtime member to review the Al-Anon “basics” as it is for the newcomer to hear them. Our strength lies in the fact that we learn from each other.

A particularly useful time for Al-Anon phone calls is when we are preparing to do something new or frightening. Many of us “bookend” these actions: We make an Al-Anon call before taking the action, and we follow the action with a second call. Fr those of us who have always acted alone, this is a way to share our risks and our courage with others who will love and support us, no matter what happens. When we talk about what we are doing and how we feel before taking a difficult step, it becomes possible to act with confidence and serenity.

Today’s Reminder

I will reach out to another Al-Anon member today. If that person is busy or unavailable, I’ll make another call.

“We must learn to lean on others, and sometimes accept others’ leaning on us . . . We can’t do it alone.”

Alateen–Hope for Children of Alcoholics

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Texting is an absolute godsend for me when it comes to maintaining contact outside of meetings. Talking on the phone has always been frivolous, false, and challenging. When I tried making telephone contact, it was a tortious skit of forced civility. But texting has allowed me to think about my words and to become more genuine. They are words that stay for future refence.

Extroverts may truly gain from the fluid interchange between words spoken, but I have found writing far more useful in recovery. Talking is like throwing a flat rock to skip across the water. Writing presents an opportunity to explore depths. The connection and direction needed in recovery is better fulfilled by text then a telephone conversation for me. Either way, maintaining a network of frequent connection outside of the meeting provides needed support in critical times.

Endigar 855

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 24:

When something isn’t working the way I think it should, I can think about the slogan, “Easy Does It.” Instead of redoubling my effort, I can slow down and reassess the situation. The answer I seek may be staring me in the face, but sometimes I have to let go of what I’m doing before I can see it.

I was trying to zip a removable lining back into my coat, but it wasn’t working. I pushed as hard as I could, trying to force it to slide, but it wouldn’t budge. Finally I saw that I had been trying to fit the lining’s zipper into the coat’s zipper. No wonder I couldn’t make it work!

How many times in my life have I done the same thing: forced a solution? I’ve tried to “zip” myself to people and situations that didn’t “fit” me, becoming frustrated and disheartened in the process. But I’ve learned that easy does it. I can take the time to see if I “match” what I think I want before I jump in and start “zipping.” My life is more serene because I’m not pushing to make myself fit somewhere I don’t belong.

Today’s Reminder

If my plans hit a snag today, I will step back for a moment and take a calm look at the situation before moving ahead.

“‘Easy Does It.’. . Think about it when you’re in a hurry to do something and everything seems to go wrong . . .You’ll be surprised how much this one little idea can do for you.”

Youth and the Alcoholic Parent

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Easy does it. There has been very few activities in my life where I could embrace this mantra. I understand the idea, and I imagine it may lead to greater serenity for some people. I suppose if taking it easy does not equate to the abdication of responsibility I would find it useful. If it was about pausing between stimulus and response to find clarity of mind, that would be useful. For me, it is the difference between emotional chaos and intelligent performance. You know, maybe I use this more often than I thought. Easy does it.

Endigar 854

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 23:

When I came to Al-Anon I didn’t feel. When I lost a job, I said, “No Problem. I can take it.” When we had a child, I said, “No big deal, it’s just another day.” Nothing moved me at all. It was like being dead.

My Al-Anon friends assured me that I did have feelings, but I had lost touch with them through years of living with alcoholism and denying every hint of anger, joy, or sorrow. As I began to recover, I began to feel, and it was very confusing. For a while I thought I might be getting sicker than ever because the feelings were so uncomfortable, but my Al-Anon friends assured me that this was just part of the process. I was ready to experience feelings, and the discomfort did pass. Slowly I became more whole.

As long as I kept them trapped inside me, my feelings were painful and poisonous secrets. When I let them out, they became expressions of my vitality.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will stop from time to time to see how I feel. Perhaps the day will bring joy or perhaps sadness, but either will remind me that I am very much alive.

“I would not exchange the laughter of my heart for the fortunes of the multitudes; nor would I be content with converting my tears…into calm. It is my fervent hope that my whole life on this earth will ever be tears and laughter.”

by Kahil Gibran

END OF QUOTE—————————————

My daughter and I went to see the movie “Inside Out” which put forth the idea that emotions have differing purposes

I have discovered that emotions are my greatest servants or my most tyrannical masters, depending on how I process them. Do I react or do I respond? Lacking the skill to safely manage my feelings, I made their appearance a secret experience. I was encased in an icon built to navigate the trip wires of my family life. Eventually my emotions would explode beyond all my efforts to suppress, and I would react out of proportion to the situation I was experiencing. This only confirmed to me that emotional expression was humiliating and dangerous.

In the pragmatic morality of the 12 Steps, I learned to use my cluster of sad feelings to seek connection with my Higher Power and to productively introspect. I learned to use my angry cluster to recognize a need for change and develop a plan in the counsel of those invested in my welfare, the Al-Anon family group. I began learning how to use my happy cluster to develop valuable human connections. During emergency situations I saw that it was good to temporarily disengage my emotional intensity to resolve the danger. Yet I had come to understand that the disassociation was meant for an event and not a lifestyle. I keep coming back to the Al-Anon fellowship to practice my newfound skills.

Endigar 853

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 1, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 22:

At first, the idea of searching for defects of character, wrongs, shortcomings, and harm I have done can seem like just another excuse to be hard on myself. That’s why it’s so important to concentrate on the first three Steps long enough to develop a strong spiritual foundation.

In these early Steps, we admit the areas over which we are powerless—such as alcoholism and other people—and learn that a Power greater than ourselves has no such limitations. We decide to place our will and our life in the hands of this Higher Power. We let go of burdens that were never ours to carry. And we begin to treat ourselves more kindly and more realistically.

When we move on to later Steps, we do so for our well-being. We begin a process that is immensely rewarding, and we go forward under the guidance of a Higher Power. This enables us to be much more gentle with our recovery.

Today’s Reminder

The first three Steps are the cornerstone on which my progress is built. No matter how long I have been in this program, I won’t hesitate to touch base with the foundation of my spiritual health.

“I now have a goal I can see clearly and the program with which to work toward it. It is my guide to self-improvement, comfort, and a better way of life.” ~ The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

END OF QUOTE—————————————

Taken from KIN Fables – The Stolen Child

When I worked the first three steps, I recognized that a lack of power was a problem that I could not overcome. I recognized that trying to do so had caused me to nurture a disassociation from reality. I had godlike expectations of myself that had driven me into a desperate insanity.

I was introduced to a pragmatic morality and a non-religious construct. Was it a God with no limitations? No. There is far too much unaddressed pain and suffering to believe in such a psychopathic deity. Agnostus Theos. The Unknown God. The Mystery. I have seen patterns of rescue that refuse to violate my own free will.

Whatever I was introduced to wants an individual and interactive relationship with me. If I get guidance, I follow it. If I don’t, I return to the pragmatic morality and remain open. The trust of Step Three is built on the work I do while leaving the ultimate results to the Shrouded One.

NOTE FOR CLARIFICATION’S SAKE: I do not believe that God is a psychopath. It is the concept of taking the 3rd Step surrender because “God is not limited.” That is an unrealistic expectation that sets me up for failure in my relationship with the Higher Power. Miracles are not relevant until they happen, and the Higher Power regularly chooses not to act. I am happy to see a magical intervention, but I do not expect it. The greatest miracles I witness are usually a secret between myself and the God of my understanding.

Endigar 852

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2022 by endigar

From Courage to Change of April 21;

Something I’ve come to appreciate in Al-Anon is our unity in diversity. Tradition Four says that each group is autonomous, free to conduct meetings in a way that suits its members as long as it abides by the Traditions and doesn’t harm the overall unity of Al-Anon. Some groups stick to the suggested meeting format; others use a slightly different structure.

Why should I get my nose bent out of shape because another Al-Anon group chooses to follow a meeting format different from one familiar to me? Why should I assume that my way is the right way? When I remember to keep an open mind, I find that the principles of the Al-Anon program remain exactly the same, no matter which group or which city I visit.

Each of us plays an essential part in this remarkable fellowship, supporting one another as we recover from the effects of alcoholism. With this solid foundation of love and support, our individual differences can only make us richer as a whole.

Today’s Reminder

In the perfect order of my Higher Power’s world, all things are beautiful. I will pray to let go of my own rigidity, that I might see the beauty of unity in diversity.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

END OF QUOTE—————————————

What I have come to appreciate in Al-Anon is our unity IN SPITE of our diversity. Diversity is a social problem that will lead to the Balkanization of any culture burdened by it. There has to be a story of inspiration that passes on guiding principles and the whole group has to embrace it all, or their diversity will eat them alive. What happened in the development of the 12 Step program is nothing short of miraculous. It is worth such a unified embrace.

Slight variations within groups in the methodology of a meeting can be a litmus test for my personal problems with isolating ego, but I cannot be so lost in a kind of religious self-castigation that violations of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions goes unchecked. How often has the qualifier in my family life caused me to believe it better to accept the unacceptable, to enable self-destruction, and to build negative covenants with the demon of alcoholism/addiction in its various forms. I will be damned if I do the same thing in the life saving rooms of Al-Anon or AA.

Diversity is a social problem. It is only a strength in the genetic flexibility of biological evolution. Unity that exists in a diverse culture means that something more powerful than its individual members has kept it thus. Nature would dictate warfare. Something out there that gives a damn about us dictates otherwise.

Endigar 851

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 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

END OF QUOTE—————————————

I am back, and I am going to try this once more.

There are several reasons for me to keep quiet. When something is sacred to me, I keep it secret from the mindless masses. When something is the product of intimacy, discretion is advisable to protect the confidence of a trusting relationship. The defensive type of silence that I use to shield myself and my family from percieved catastrophe is where I run into trouble. When I am seeking to recover from the insanity that plays out in my own mind, such secrets can enslave me.

I whittle fear down to suspicion as I enter Al-Anon. I engage in meetings and with a sponsor while telling the judgmental voices in my head to shut up. I disengage from the multiplied public controversies out there and learn to detach from the false morality of family pride in here. I iconoclastically disrobe with the hope that I am in a room full of loving mirrors.

So far, such faith has been rewarded.