Endigar 802

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 10;

Part of my recovery has involved reversing some old ways of thinking. It had been my habit to avoid painful feelings and situations, to play it safe and keep away from risk. But life involves one risk after another, and some pain is unavoidable. Al-Anon helps me to accept what is.

Instead of running away, I am learning to look at the source of my distress. As a result, I find that pain passes much more quickly, and what I gain is freedom from fear. Al-Anon gives me tools, such as the Fourth Step inventory, with which I can take an honest look at myself and my situation. A supportive Sponsor, my Higher Power, the Serenity Prayer, and my Al-Anon meeting help me to find the courage to deal with fear, pain, and risk.

When I was avoiding taking risks, fear was always with me, just over my shoulder. Now I go through it and come out the other side, often unscathed. I no longer have to keep a constant watch for potential dangers. Instead, I can occupy myself with living.

Today’s Reminder

Wonderful things can happen today because I welcome the thrill of participating in my own life.

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~ Helen Keller

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Artwork by Larry Fanning

My Father once told me that the only way to overcome fear is to face whatever is causing it. He encouraged me to become bold. Anxiety was something I know that he dealt with on a regular basis, but his bold actions would not reveal that struggle. The idea in recovery of taking overwhelming actions one day at a time has been quite helpful. I often lock myself into a direction through various commitments because I know that the tendency to quit and retreat into a small darkened den and hide is ever within me. I share my Father’s anxiety genetically I suppose, but the encouragement to be bold regardless of that inner pain has helped me find more moments of serenity after the inner storm has lost its source. The 12 Steps are possible only with small, continual footfalls of courage.


Endigar 801

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 9;

I often struggle to know what is my will and what is God’s. I feel serenity slipping from me while a war is waged within my mind and loud voices urge me to take one path or another.

Doubt is an unavoidable companion of spiritual seeking. I don’t have an instruction book, so I must continue to explore and challenge my perceptions. I know that when I feel a desperate urge to act, it is usually my will that is pushing, and when I feel a calm certainty, it is usually God’s. But much of the time, I don’t have such a clear indication. What then? Sometimes I wait for clarity or try to listen more closely for guidance; I may share my confusion and ask for the wisdom of others; or I may just make a choice, take an action, and see what happens.  More will be revealed when the time is right, no matter what choice I make. Since I have turned my will and my life over to God, any choice I make can be used to carry out His will.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will remember that uncertainty is not a fault but an opportunity. Everything I do and everything that crosses my path — people, situations, ideas — all have the potential to contribute to my growth and understanding. Just for today, I don’t have to know what that contribution will be.

“There lives  more faith in honest doubt, Believe me, than in half the creeds.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

END OF QUOTE—————————————

The unavoidable companion of spiritual seeking is doubt. The unavoidable companion. I like that. That resonates.

For me the purpose of the struggle in segregating my will from that of my God is the realization that the GOMU (God of my understanding) is not looking to create a robotron attitude in me. I believe that the love of my Father wants me to trust, learn, and decide for myself that my truest, deepest Self will is an echo of GOMU’s heart. The testing of this life is to rip away enough isolated self-deception to see how fulfilled I am in caring about others and how much I enjoy experiencing life. My Father does not want to see me lobotomized into blind obedience. GOMU wants me to stop and ask questions and to appreciate the mystery of the Infinite One vying for my attention. It seems to me that God’s will is more of a radiance from Source than a straight line on a map. In practical terms, this means that my Step 3 / Step 11 journey may have many possible lines on that map without any one of them deviating from God’s will for me. My Papa loves and honors my freedom. What a magnificent mystery to live out.

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  / “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” ~ Steps 3 & 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous

The struggle for me comes from the hunger for maps over mystery. But that is not a relationship. That would be mindless slavery. And that is not the heart of my Father.

Endigar 800

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 8, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 8;

One of the wonderful benefits I receive by going to Al-Anon meetings is that I find new ways to work my program. The Chairperson at one of my favorite meetings passed around a basket full of Al-Anon slogans and suggested that we each take one and try to apply it to this day. It was remarkable how many of us seemed to get the perfect slogan!

The very next day I found myself in a stressful situation. I was struggling to solve a tough problem, growing frustrated and upset but no closer to a solution. I asked my Higher Power for help and suddenly remembered that basket. In my mind, I imagined myself reaching once more  into a basket full of slogans. Again I got exactly what I needed: The slip of paper I pictured reminded me that “Easy Does It.” I stopped trying to force a solution and waited until I could approach the problem more gently. I felt much better, my thinking was clearer, and in time a solution appeared.

Today’s Reminder

It is not always easy to know which Al-Anon tool to apply, especially in the middle of a crisis. I am grateful for a Higher Power who knows my needs, and for meetings that help me to find new ways to put these tools to work in my life.

“As we learn to depend upon our Higher Power through applying the Al-Anon program to our lives, fear and uncertainty are replaced by faith and confidence.” ~ One Day at a Time om Al-Anon

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a fan of Star Trek. When I look at Captain Picard and Locutus of the Borg, I see the battle between Me as the Captain of my Soul, and Soju of Alcoholism as a major personification of the Anti-Me. This entity that lives within my psyche has a dehumanizing support network much like the Borg. And like the Borg, a weapon is only successful if it can quickly change frequencies because the soul-sucking collective adapts quickly. In the program, there is not just one way to approach the disease of my mind. Variation prevents the Anti-Me collective from weakening and overcoming the gift of neutrality that my Higher Power provides. I switch up between prayer, meetings, study of literature, counseling, friends, service, visiting new meetings, seeing where religion is right, rule 62, pulling back for reflective solitude (not isolation), and so on. I refuse to let my enemy find me predictable. To do this successfully my thinking has had to become more and more on the “plane of inspiration.” As it says on page 87 of Alcoholics Anonymous, I have come to rely upon it.

Endigar 799

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 7;

In Al-Anon I discovered that I needed to make changes in myself. After a lifetime of living with a disease of attitudes — alcoholism — I didn’t think very highly of myself, so I didn’t have much faith that anything good could come out of my efforts.

I learned better by watching my son’s silkworms. Silkworms are fat and greedy creatures, but out of their own substance, they create something beautiful. They have no choice in the matter. They were born to express this beauty.

I, too, can transform something negative into something positive; by changing my self-defeating attitudes, I become a more beautiful human being. I was born with this beauty inside me, and if I will only allow myself, I can express it freely. Al-Anon helps me learn to put love first in my life. And gratitude, a cornerstone of my Al-Anon recovery, brings hidden loveliness clearly into view.

Today’s Reminder

Today I can spin a little silk and let it grace everything I touch. I don’t have to look back to past ugliness except to learn from it, to enhance the present, and to release whatever beauty  is trapped behind old secrets and self-defeating attitudes. One day at a time I can delight in the splendid person I am becoming.

“Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness . . .  until it flowers again from within . . . ” ~ Galway Kinnell

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Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

I extracted this poem from Galway Kinnell’s website today, March 7th, 2018. [http://galwaykinnell.com/books/poetry/body-rags/poem-1/] I am moved by this thought of being retaught one’s loveliness. I love that the goal of this process will allow an entity to prosper under its own self-blessing. I remember in the early days of my own time in rehab I had to become my own best friend. In my isolated self this was not possible. Until I had a network of loving souls investing in wounded heart, my life seemed to be a tragic betrayal. I was retaught. I am grateful for those who patiently held mirrors to the inner strength and beauty of my own life long enough for me to agree. Thank-you.

Endigar 798

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 6;

Al-Anon has helped me realize that no one readily knows what is in my heart, mind, and soul. I can’t expect my needs to be met unless I first explain what those needs are. Nor can I expect any one person to meet all those needs, even if I make them clear. If the first person I ask for help is unable to provide it, I can ask someone else. This takes the pressure off all of us.

Before I began my Al-Anon recovery, I expected those closest to me to know what I was feeling without my telling them. When I was angry and wanted to argue, I silently fumed. When I was hurt and wanted comfort, I pouted. When I wanted attention, I talked non-stop. I couldn’t understand why I rarely got the responses I expected!

I no longer expect anyone to read my mind. I also accept that I can’t read the mind of a loved one. Today I treat the people in my life with more respect because I am learning to ask for what I need and to encourage others to do the same.

Today’s Reminder

Help, comfort, and support are available to me. I am willing to reach out for what I need today.

“. . . I cannot expect anyone to help me unless I am willing to share that I need help.” ~ . . . In All Our Affairs

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Needs. Air, Food, Water, and Shelter. These are the basic, common, and critical needs of all animals – the human included. Any quick appraisal of another’s living condition will reveal the deficit of one or more of these needs. It is not as simple when I explore the inner life of the individual. If my body is in need of energy, my genetic memory may send me on a search for true sugars. Yet I live in the post modern world where processed sugars abound and is interpreted by my body as a potential energy source. My genetic memory does not filter out the accumulative toxicity of this relatively new source of energy. The ancient mind is primal and simple.

I am sapient and have moved beyond the primal simplicity of my ancestors. My internal needs have become as critical as the basic ones, and yet far more difficult for me to clearly define. The array of options to answer all my needs overwhelms my genetic memory. The impulse of the beast is just as likely to produce road kill as it is to render victory. It thus becomes imperative to know myself, from animal to spirit, and this takes time and self-reflection. How can I present to others my needs when I have taken little or no time to know what they truly are? This is my first sapient need: To know myself. Socrates is quoted as saying “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” And in recovery we are fond of quoting from Shakespeare when we say “To Thine Own Self be True.” The rest of that quote is “…”And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst then not be false to any man.” Honesty is the fruit of knowing myself. It is the true sugar my soul needs to feed upon to empower the search to fulfill my actual needs.

Endigar 797

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 5;

When I first started working the Steps, the thought of having my character defects removed made me very nervous. I thought I would end up like a chunk of Swiss cheese, full of holes. But I wanted to get better and I was continually assured that the Steps were the key to my recovery, so I went forward in spite of my fears. I had to take the risk and act on faith before I could receive the gifts my Higher Power held out to me.

Nowhere in Steps Four through Seven do we ask God to add anything, but rather to take away the things we do not need. I found that every single defect that was removed had been hiding an asset. I didn’t lose myself at all. Instead, as I let go of the things I didn’t need, I made room for my strengths, skills, and feelings to become more fully a part of my life. I take comfort in this, because it reminds me that everything I need is already present. But I couldn’t be sure until I worked the Steps and found some relief from my shortcomings.

Today’s Reminder

God knows exactly what I need and has already given it to me. My job is to keep it simple and ask for God’s help in relieving me of the extra stuff –the shortcomings that keep me tied down.

“Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised.” ~ American Proverb

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What if an Alcoholic or an Adult Child of an Alcoholic in my life has helped indoctrinate me to believe that some aspect of normal living is offensive? What if I am taught never to trust “outsiders,” and that the family is different because we are the only ones on the planet that have any dammed sense at all. The result could be a blinding fog of guilt and betrayal in reaching out for help. On a Fourth Step inventory, I might list my lack of devotion to family as my short-coming. That is where my twisted guilt would guide me wrong. I would need an inventory that helps me understand what I need to keep (the ability to reach out) as well as what needs to be removed.

For me, I condemned myself for the weakness of letting love keep me from doing “what needs to be done.” I was proud of being able to harden my heart to attempt to control the chaos of self-will run riot in my family environment. I needed to be able to let go of this dubious skill and embrace my ability to love, even when it meant letting those close to me reap the consequences of their own agency. To love is not weakness. To violate another’s free will in the name of love is predatory enslavement. I cannot engage in this activity without myself becoming enslaved to parasitic spirits. I honor the free will of others, of my God, and of myself. The Steps have helped me pick off the parasites of my mind and heart and to get to know who I truly am; what to value and what to shun. This is never a solitary work for me. It is part of the adventure of building a relationship with my Higher Power and the network of the higher Self in recovery.

Endigar 796

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 18, 2018 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 4;

The slogan, “Think” always puzzled me. Wasn’t it my “stinking thinking” that got me into trouble? The meaning of this slogan remained a mystery until I heard a neighbor’s child reciting some safety rules he’d learned in school: Stop, Look, and Listen.

Before I get into trouble, before I open my mouth to react, or get lost in obsessive analysis of another person’s behavior, or worrying about the future, I can Stop. Then I can Look at what is going on and my role in it. Then I can Listen for spiritual guidance that will remind me of my options and  help me find healthy words and actions.

So when  something unkind is said to me, I don’t automatically have to get into a loud and vicious argument. Instead,  I can take a moment to “Think.” I can  Stop, Look, and Listen. Then I might be able to engage calmly in discussion or simply walk away. If I do choose to enter the argument, at least I am now making this decision consciously, rather than letting life decide for me.

Today’s Reminder

This day is a beautiful room that’s never been seen  before. Let me cherish the seconds, minutes, and hours I spend here. Help me to think before I speak and pray before I act.

“The program helps me gain the freedom to make wise choices that are good for me. I choose to put that freedom to work in my life today”

Alateen —  a day at a time

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My thinking moves on a spectrum between impulse and rumination. Between those two there is a pause turned to reflection, prayer, and ultimately, action. This thinking that happens in the middle is the place where my free will is cultivated. When I operate in isolated self-will I tend toward reactionary thinking and later retreat to a depressive paralysis. Self-will run riot is not the true expression of my free will. So the between thinking is where I want to be, as much as possible.