Endigar 817

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 5, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 25;

I came to Al-Anon confused about what was and was not my responsibility. Today, after lots of Step work, I believe I am responsible for the following: to be loyal to my values; to please myself first; to keep an open mind; to detach with love; to rid myself of anger and resentment; to express my ideas and feelings instead of stuffing them; to attend Al-Anon meetings and keep in touch with friends in the fellowship; to be realistic in my expectations; to make healthy choices; and to be grateful for my blessings.

I also have certain responsibilities to others: to extend a welcome to newcomers; to be of service; to recognize that others have a right to live their own lives; to listen, not just with my ears, but also with my heart; and to share my joy as well as my sorrow.

I am not responsible for my alcoholic loved one’s drinking, sobriety, job, cleanliness, diet, dental hygiene, or other choices. It is my responsibility to treat this person with courtesy, gentleness, and love. In this way we both can grow.

Today’s Reminder

Today, if I am tempted to interfere with something that is none of my business, I can turn my attention instead to some way in which I can take care of myself.

“I have a primary responsibility to myself; to make myself into the best person I can possibly be. Then, and only then, will I have something worthwhile to share.” ~ Living with Sobriety

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What can I share about that primary responsibility to myself? I find that fulfilling it seems to give loved ones, alcoholic or not, permission to do the same for themselves. Helping myself improve releases others from the prison of fear for my well-being. I quit being a soul-suck to those around me. My life proclaims manageability leading to satisfaction. When I say that I am not responsible for my addictive loved one’s responsibilities, it is more of a recognition of fact than a proclamation. I do not have the power to assume such a mantle. Their self-destructive free will gets in the way. No amount of gymnastic martyrdom will outrun the addictive progression and its consequences. In fact, the greatest gift an active alcoholic or addict can receive is consequences for their actions. The raw ore of consequence can be forged into personal responsibility and self awareness. My responsibility is to forge my own raw ore and through a successful example give others the freedom to do the same.

To balance, part of my self-responsibility is to develop the self-awareness to know when I need help and to ask for it from those who I know are invested in seeing me succeed and who do not have an ongoing battle with an active addiction. I build a trusted network of support. Only madness is produced in absolute isolation.

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Endigar 816

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 26, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 24;

I had a very difficult time believing that alcoholism was a disease. I was convinced that if they really wanted to, alcoholics could stop drinking. After all, I quit smoking. Wasn’t that the same thing?

Then one day an Al-Anon member likened active alcoholism to Alzheimer’s disease. We see our loved one slip away without their being aware of what’s happening or being able to stop it. They look perfectly normal on the outside, but the sickness is progressing, and they become more and more irrational and difficult to be around. When they have lucid moments and once again seem to be themselves, we want to believe that they are well, but these moments pass, and we despair. Before long we find ourselves resenting the very people we once loved.

I’ll always be grateful to my friend because her explanation helped me to accept the reality of my situation. Once I did, it was much easier for me to separate the disease from the person.

Today’s Reminder

When I accept that alcoholism is a disease, I am forced to face the fact that I am powerless over it. Only then can I gain the freedom to focus on my own spiritual growth.

“A family member has no more right to state, ‘If you loved me you would not drink,’ than the right to say ‘If you loved me you would not have diabetes.’ Excessive drinking is a symptom of the disease. It is a condition, not an act.”

A Guide for the Family of the Alcoholic

END OF QUOTE—————————————

My mother told me of the time her Father died in Mobile. Initially she maintained that he had been crossing a road with her and her kids and he heroically pushed them out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. He was hit and hospitalized. She held him after the accident. It wasn’t until my adolescent years that an elder in the family let my Father know that what she was remembering wasn’t true. Dad took her to a solitary place to confront the delusion and faced her wrath for doing so. What a hard moment that had to have been for them both.

The reality was that she adored her Father and resented her Mother for leaving him. He was an active alcoholic who never found the solution. He went to the hospital with failing internal organs. It was the progression of the disease robbing him of any possibility of a heroic exit. He died before my Mother could get there. I believe she was around 16 or 17 years old during the Christmas season. Bing Cosby had just come out with a song, “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas,” and for a long time she was not able to listen to it with reliving this  pain of that time. She said that it was so impossible for her to believe he was gone. She suspected she was being lied to. She would see the back of a stranger’s head and would go running up to him; “Dad! Dad!” Only to have the vision crushed as the surprised man turned around. She lost it for a little while.

To grow up with her was to dance around trip wires of her often irrational fear that she was being left, abandoned, and rejected. Dad said that he never knew what he was going to find when he got home. Her children were all injured in their own ways by her untreated response to her alcoholic Father. She was sick with her Father’s disease.

What if either father or daughter had grasped the reality of the disease as a disease. My Mother asked her minister if her Father was going to Hell. He was inconclusive. What if she had been able to see that it was not a loss of love or faith that drove him to a tragic end?

The comparison of the addictive disease with Alzheimer’s is potent and pretty accurate. I wish I had known my Grandfather. I wish I had known my Mother unshackled. I am glad that I can look back through the lens of the program and separate the person I love from the disease I hate.

Rest in peace, Mom.

Endigar 815

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 19, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 23;

Alcoholism has contributed to many dashed hopes, broken dreams, and considerable pain in my life. I do not wish to dwell on these feelings, but neither do I wish to turn my back on them. Al-Anon is helping me to face even the most unpleasant aspects of my past. By taking hold of the hands of those in the fellowship, I am able to feel the pain and mourn the losses, and to move on.

These feelings are a deep part of me; when they come knocking at the door of my awareness, I wish to open it and let them in. I need to treat myself with the same care and respect that I would an Al-Anon member sharing pain, confusion, and turmoil at a meeting. Only in this way can I become whole and at peace.

Today’s Reminder

They say that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. If I learn to accept that pain is part of life, I will be better able to endure the difficult times and then move on, leaving the pain behind me.

“… when we long for life without…difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” ~ Peter Marshall

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My guilt-o-meter is broken. My early childhood and adult trainee adolescence were filled with unreal and shifting expectations. I was a family god soaked in the steady acid drip of an overprotective distrust of “outsiders.” Only my family had it right. Only my family knew how to love one another. I felt guilty when I stepped outside of this unrealistic icon forged in family dysfunction. I knew, absolutely knew, that if my family or anyone got close enough they would discover how pathetic and worthless I was. My family champion mantle protected me from discovery. I feared the exile. The protection I received made plain to me how incapable I was of handling life on my  own. In this way I was cut off from myself and others.

Over time I am attempting to reset my guilt-o-meter to a balance of liberty and responsibility and to abandon martyrdom for the weeping mad goddess of my formative years. It is not natural for me to remain balanced in this fashion. A major part of this depth of recovery is to process some very difficult emotions that have phantom sources. A séance pursuit of childhood ghosts takes time and patience. I had to overcome my distrust of non-family sources to get help from others who were invested in the recovery of my true Self. I attend the meetings and surrender to this program of restored volition. I did not create this delusion on my own. I strongly suspect that I will not undo its damning effects in solitary confinement.

 

 

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Endigar 814

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 22;

In order to survive in the contradictory and explosive world of alcoholism, many of us learned to ignore our feelings. We lost touch with ourselves without even knowing it.

For example, although I pointed an accusing finger at the alcoholics in my life for deserting me in times of need, I wasn’t a very good friend to myself. In my fear and confusion, I walked away from the little child in me who lived simply, who cried when the cat died and then let it go, who could appreciate a sunset and not want to own it, and who lived one day at a time.

Recovery does not mean that I have to become a different person. It means I need to start being myself again. The lessons I’m learning in Al-Anon are lessons I already know. I just need to remember.

Today’s Reminder

There is an innocence within me that already knows how to trust my Higher Power, to cherish life while holding it lightly, to live fully and simply in the present moment. I will allow that part of myself to come forward and nourish me as I continue on this journey.

“It takes one a long time to become young.” ~ Pablo Picasso

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Reclaiming the inner child and reparenting it can be a confusing prospect. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things…let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (scriptural splice of 1 Corinthians 13:11 and Matthew 19:14 respectively). I cannot remember ever living simply. I have no reference point. My imagination has always been active but that energy has simmered on the back burners of life’s urgencies. I think I am okay today. I am clean and sober, but that inner child feels like something off the Omen. I keep it locked away most times. I suppose this is an area I am still working through.

 

Endigar 813

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 21;

A jogger was nearing the end of a run. Sand dunes on the left blocked his view of the beach beyond. Crossing the dunes would require extra effort after a long, tiring workout. Instead, he could opt to remain on the flat road that veered off to the right. Although the scenery was less appealing, the easier route was enticing. Past experience had taught him to avoid pushing himself too hard. Yet he loved the sight of the ocean.

The jogger hesitated. An inner nudge urged him toward the dunes, and he chose to respond to it. As the beach appeared, a spectacular sunset hovered above the crashing waves. Humility overwhelmed the runner when he realized that in hi s moment of hesitation, he had listened to a Power greater than himself, one who could see around blind corners.

Today’s Reminder

Logic may dictate a certain course of action while my inner voice urges me in a different direction. I may have an easier time when I follow the dictates of logic, convenience, or past experience, but am I cheating myself out of something much better? Today I will pause at a crossroad and listen for my Higher Power’s voice.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.” ~ Albert Einstein

END OF QUOTE—————————————

What happens when the jogger realizes his routine discipline has him on a journey to encounter a Power greater than himself?

I have found that what I am focused on has an effect on the kind of intuitive voice I hear. Fear can speak to me as well, when I am looking for the next shoe to drop, the inevitable catastrophe, hidden and hungry. If I follow the intuitive voice while mesmerized by dread, I sabotage my life with distrust. I suppose that is why a review of my fears is an important part of my moral inventory. The intuitive voice of fear is more easily identified and ignored.

On the other hand, when my mind is focused on the Mystery of Possibility in life, the intuitive encourages the exploration. There is a scripture in Proverbs chapter 25 that says something along the lines that it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, make a mystery, and it is the glory of kings to search it out.

Notice Me, Follow the trail I leave.

There it is, and shall always be

That place built for just you and Me.

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Endigar 812

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 20;

One of the topics in our Fourth Step guide, the Blueprint for Progress, is self-worth. As I worked through this Step, taking a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself, I found that I have always judged my value on the basis of my accomplishments, or on what other people said about me. This meant I had to work all the time, or constantly make myself the center of attention. At best my sense of satisfaction was fleeting.

With Step Four, I realized that part of my self-worth, can be based on my ability to love other people. Saying a kind word, writing a considerate note, or just taking time out from my other thoughts to appreciate another human being, enriches my entire day. I have the power to feel good about myself, regardless of my achievements, whether or not other people validate my worthiness.

Today’s Reminder

Let me look for appropriate opportunities to share my love with people around me. In this way I celebrate one of my most positive traits without expecting anything in return. Paying someone a compliment that comes from the heart, or thanking them sincerely for their kindness, may be the nicest thing I can do for myself today.

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

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Meat hooks; That is what I call the practical fulfillment of some lofty spiritual notion. A statement such as “I must learn to love other people as a way of gaining self-esteem” sounds like someone on a higher path of living. Yet, without meat hooks of pragmatic expression it is a whisper under water. The 12 Step program has a very practical moral development. Do you want to live? Would you like to thrive? My thoughts need to be actions that bring transformation. “I must find a way to serve others like developing the habit of a kind word, relaying my own experience of recovery when sought, expressing gratitude” is the same statement as “I must learn to love other people,” but with meat hooks. Then those exalted ideas are brought down to earth where I can feed my self-esteem with estimable actions.

 

Endigar 811

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 24, 2019 by endigar

From Courage to Change of March 19;

I came to Al-Anon with a compulsion to focus on other people. I had a clear idea of how everyone should behave in every situation and felt very self-righteous when they didn’t follow my rules of conduct. When I realized that my own life was being neglected because all my attention was elsewhere, I had to make some major changes.

Today, I will have to be vigilant about minding my own business. I know that when my thoughts begin with “He should” or “She shouldn’t” I am probably in trouble. I don’t have the answers for other people. I don’t make the rules for appropriate behavior, good business conduct, driver courtesy, or common sense. I don’t know what is best for others because I don’t know the lessons their Higher Power is offering them, I only know that if I’m caught up in what they should or should not do, I have lost my humility. I have also ceased to pay attention to myself. Nine times out of ten, I am focusing on someone else to avoid looking at something in my own life.

Today’s Reminder

I grow in my ability to relate to others when I allow them to be exactly as they are. The greatest gift I can give to myself is my own attention.

“Clean your finger before you point at my spots.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

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Because of my co-dependent indoctrination in my family of origin, my religious experiences were perverted into an “us and them” mentality. My family was haunted by guilt-laden trip wires and justified abdication of seeking professional help when it was needed. I attempted to create a family government when I was a teenager based on the US Constitution, to get my father to sit at the head of the table and he would not, to regulate TV watching which caused my mother to strike out at my intrusion into her parenting, and so on. When I used religion to distance from my uncontrollable family issues, I found more interpersonal dynamics that needed controlling if I was going to feel safe. I labeled other humans as either a threat or an exploitable asset. I can look back and see that now. I could not have seen it then. I was too busy drowning in the currents of my unrealistic social expectations.

I suppose it took the marital rape of having my children kidnapped by a wife with untreated PTSD to find my own powerlessness. She was sick and I manipulated a semblance of health while using the devil as a scapegoat for marital issues that we should have addressed professionally. I had a creative way of abdicating responsibility to seek help. I hurt. She hurt. It went nova and the family suffered.

That is my mess. So what is the message? As they say in recovery, “focus on the message and not the mess.”

I, the individual me, needs my attention. And the Universe, this matrix built to foster free will, may send a chaos storm my way when I have thoroughly enslaved myself to internal misery. I can make that chaos storm unnecessary through fearless moral inventories, involvement with others who support the manifestation of the Self over the self, and a recognition that there is something, someone out there that cares about me and my mortal fellows. When I find moments of sanity in the rooms and recognize the need for professional help, I will not abdicate that responsibility.  I naturally give to others what I am able to give to myself. If I am not helpful to me, I can only offer manipulation to others. When I make myself a priority, I naturally value others. That is the message I needed to hear. If it is helpful to you, don’t waste too much time in fear. Make the chaos storms unnecessary.