Endigar 781

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 18;

Daily practice of the Al-Anon program is helping me to become more tolerant of other people. For example, when I take my own inventory and examine my motives, I recognize the same shortcomings I once eagerly pointed out in others. It is easier to accept the limitations of others when I acknowledge my own.

I see now that my thinking has often been distorted, my behavior inconsistent. If my perceptions of myself have been so inaccurate, how reliable can my perceptions of others be? I really don’t know what anyone else should think, feel, or do. Therefore, I can no longer justify intolerance.

Regular, dedicated practice of the principles of the program keeps me feeling good about myself. This permits me to be increasingly open-minded and considerate toward everyone in my life.

Today’s Reminder

Al-Anon meetings, fellowship, Steps, Traditions, and literature all help me to improve my ability to relate to others. I will renew my commitment to recovery today.

“An earnest and concentrated study of the Al-Anon program, in depth, will help us to become more tolerant, confident, and loving, teaching us to accept the faults of others as we seek to correct shortcomings in ourselves.” ~ The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

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The important lessons in truth and mercy have made appearances in my life, but the 12 Step program revealed these two gifts as something more than just a good idea. They are life-sustaining and enriching. When I was facing the harsh realities of alcoholism they were key to regaining my life.

There is a saying in AA that is quoted oft from Shakespeare; “To Thine Own Self be True.” Going back to Hamlet the full quote is actually “This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” The fearless moral inventory of the 12 Steps allowed me to see the truth about me. Before I did this, my attempts at honesty with others were skewed by the falsities I truly believed of myself. Obtaining and maintaining truth in my life is an event of courage and a process of vigilance. This has been the case for me.

Armed with the truth about myself, I saw the need for mercy in my life. I had to have room to fall and get back up, to recover.  I obtained this by giving it to others. This does not mean that I abandon accountability and embrace enabling behavior. It means that I do not add the extra burden of harsh judgment that turns self-appraisal into morbid self-flagellation.

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Endigar 780

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 18, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 17;

My vision can be so limited. I often think that the only possible outcomes are those that I can imagine. Fortunately, my Higher Power is not restricted by such logic. In fact, some of the most wondrous events grow out of what appear to be disasters.

But faith takes practice. Fears can loom large, and I can get lost in my limited thinking. When I can’t see any way out and I doubt that even a Higher Power can help me, that’s when I most need to pray. When I do, my actions demonstrate my willingness to be helped. And time after time, the help I need is given to me.

Today I know that even when my situation looks bleak and I can’t see any way out, miracles can happen if I turn my will and my life over to God.

I have an important part to play in my relation-ship with my Higher Power–I have to be willing to receive help, and I have to ask for it. If I develop the habit of turning to my higher Power for help with small, everyday matters, I’ll know what to do when faced with more difficult challenges.

“In the hour of adversity be not without hope

For crystal rain falls from black clouds.”

~ Persian poem

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I am like most of my kind in that I desire to control my universe. Unlike others, it becomes an obsession for me that makes me vulnerable to despair when life happens beyond my ability to set it right. During the dark days when all I trusted crumbled beneath me, when betrayal replaced intimacy, when cash ransoms and casual visits replaced the respect and responsibilities of my home-building heart, and when finally the devotion of my faith became the mockery of my life and love – I wandered the Earth with no use for discussion of miracles. I had concluded that hope was a distraction and that divine intervention was only relevant when it happened. A miracle that could happen had become the ultimate tale of quantum physics, like Schrödinger’s cat.

Yet this life is not about God’s performance, but about our performance. Hope creates a nest for the prospect of a miracle and the justification for persistence in the face of failure. Fall down and get back up. Relapsed? Vomit out the poison and go after sober living again. Keep coming back. Don’t give up five minutes before the magic occurs. The intervention of my Higher Power is a crown given for my own dogged grasp of life. This life is a proving ground for me, not God. It is my union with the God of my understanding that extends my potency. It is not the existence of God but the intimacy with my GOMU that dictates the story of my life. I will not surrender to despair. Let the Watchers of the Universe ink their quills and record the story of my strength of heart. And yours too.

Endigar 779

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 5, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 16;

In a tornado, you not only have to look out for the tremendous winds, but also whatever the winds pick up and hurl in your direction. Like a tornado, alcoholism often brings along additional problems, including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, illness, debt, prison, infidelity, and even death. Some of these problems can be so embarrassing that we don’t dare to talk about them. But in Al-Anon, we learn that we are only as sick as our secrets. Until we let them out into the light, they keep us trapped.

Most of us find it best to share our secrets with someone we can trust, someone who understands the disease of alcoholism. No matter how hopeless, different, or ashamed we may feel, there are Al-Anon members who have been through similar crises and are willing to listen and help.

Today’s Reminder

The times I most want to hide out with my secrets are probably the times I most need to reach out and share them with others. When facing a difficult situation, let me remember that my Higher Power speaks through other people. I don’t have to face it alone.

“We move from being at the mercy of any problem that comes along to an inner certainty that no matter what happens in our lives, we will be able to face it, deal with it, and learn from it with the help of our higher Power.”

. . . In All Our Affairs

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For me, the idea that we are only as “sick as our secrets” does not mean that it is wrong to keep some things private. It does not mean I should share inappropriate information, that I should abandon discretion, or that I should not introspect and consider the audience that is privy to my sensitivities.

What it does mean to me is that if I have toxic shame exuding from deeply embedded secrets than these are sick secrets. Their residence within will continue to poison my life. So I must risk trusting another who has no personal connection with my death seed. I cannot hurt another to achieve my own healing. An objective but caring heart can help dislodge the debris of the chaos storms I have endured so that my own psyche can heal. This provides me the opportunity to build a network of trust to replace the seeds of my own destruction.

Endigar 778

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 15;

We talk a great deal about working the program. Actually what we do is to practice what we’re learning. It’s like studying a second language. A student reads books and attends classes, but this only gives him technical knowledge. To be able to use  the language he must be around those who speak and understand it. He practices listening and speaking while continuing to read. If he stays with it, in time it will become a lifelong skill.

So it is with many of us. We begin with little knowledge and many misconceptions. We go to meetings, learn about alcoholism, and study Al-Anon literature. But to actually be able to use this knowledge takes time, patience, and effort. We spend time around people who speak the Al-Anon language, especially those who are making a strong commitment to practicing Al-Anon’s principles in their own lives. We continue to listen, to read, to learn. In this way the Al-Anon way of life sinks in until it becomes second nature. Then, because we are constantly changing, we have opportunities to learn and practice some more.

Today’s Reminder

If I want to become skillful at applying the Al-Anon program to my life, I need to do more than go to an occasional meeting. I must make a commitment and practice, practice, practice.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

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I can understand the concept of improvement via study, repetition, emersion, and practice. The upward slope of transformation is rarely a straight line from valley to peak for me. I have had to learn to trust the process even when I cannot see that upward incline. Especially then. My progress looks more like radio waves traveling along a helix. The trajectory can be found over time. The forward movement comes when I trust the process of the program and keep it moving with my persistent involvement. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, the promised results will always materialize if we work for them.

My Higher Power maintains the straight line of the program – I orbit the God of my understanding.

 

Endigar 777

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 14;

Confusion can be a gift from God. Looking back on instances when I felt desperately in need of an immediate solution, I can see that often I wasn’t ready to act. When I became fully ready, the information I needed was there for the taking.

When I know too much about my options before the time is right to exercise those options, I tend to use the information only to drive myself crazy. That’s why today, when I am feeling confused, I try to consider it grace. It may not yet be time for me to act.

I think that dealing with confusion can be like cooking. If the bread isn’t done, I don’t take it out of the oven and insist that it’s time to eat. I let it finish baking. If a clear solution to a problem hasn’t shown itself yet, I can trust that it will appear when the time is right.

Today’s Reminder

I will thank my Higher Power for whatever I experience today, even if I feel troubled or confused. I know that every experience can offer me a gift. All I have to do is be willing to look at my situation in the light of gratitude.

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. ” ~ Helen Keller

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The wonder of darkness and silence, the gift of confusion, all meant to help me practice surrender to a Power greater than myself. The curses from my past become the blessings of my present because I am transformed through a very intentional surrender. What sent panic through me in my life experience is received in trusting serenity as guidance away from my domain of fear.

There is a point in the day where effort fades. I have taken my shovel to the mountain that stands as a humbling obstacle, and I have spent my faith in solid work. In the stillness, I calm myself committed to recovery. Darkness falls and I stumble forward, finding the pass my efforts have kept me from seeing. Confusion is a gift when it leads to a higher level of clarity; a seeing beyond the ocular orbs of my flesh.

Endigar 776

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 21, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 13;

Every snowflake is different. Every thumbprint is different. Every person in Al-Anon is different despite the common problem that brings us together.

Comparing myself to others was a defect of character that plagued me all my life and continued during my early years in Al-Anon. I focused on how others seemed to be grasping the program more quickly than I, had the “right” things to say when they shared, seemed more popular. I didn’t like myself because I wasn’t living up to what I believed to be true about others.

Today, just like the snowflake and the thumbprint, I realize that I too have special qualities. I know that my growth in Al-Anon can’t be compared with anyone else’s. I have learned that I can’t judge my insides by others people’s outsides. We’re all doing the best we can. Like every other member of the fellowship, I offer an important contribution to the Al-Anon family groups simply by participating and being myself.

Today’s Reminder 

A Sponsor or trusted Al-Anon friend can help me see that I have value just as I am.

“It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.” ~ Desiderius Erasmus

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I think it is important to separate our shortcomings from deeper issues that might need to be addressed. What if a “defect of character” turns out to be a buried, suppressed trauma response. The 12 Steps have helped unearth issues I have lived with that have reinforced a great deal of  social anxiety. It is important for me to approach all my transgressions and resentments with confession and a willingness to make amends. When short-comings irrationally persist in the sanity of the program, I must have the humility and compassion for those who love me to seek professional support. The counseling I sought would not have been as effective for me if I had not first worked the 12 Step program.

Social anxiety can take many different forms and resist the helpful intimate connections one needs to find progress toward spiritual freedom. That has been my own experience.

Endigar 775

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 12;

For me, detachment is relatively easy with casual friends, where I’m not very emotionally involved. I’ve noticed that when I am detached, I can listen to other people being critical or grumpy without being affected. But if members of my family act the same way, I often take on tier negative frame of mind. My own behavior shows me that I have a choice about my response to other people’s moods and attitudes.

What I have learned by comparing these two situations is that detachment involves paying attention to my own mood before I have a chance to take on someone else’s. Then I can simply see and hear negativity or anger, without becoming negative or angry. I don’t have to have a bad day just because someone I love is struggling. This knowledge allows me to let everyone, including myself, feel whatever they feel without interference.

Today’s Reminder

If I pause for a moment before focusing on someone else’s mood, I may find out that I have feelings of my own that deserve attention. I will look for those moments to check in with myself today.

“Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves.” ~Detachment

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I have only had to practice this detachment on a small scale. My “qualifiers” for the Al-Anon program have either passed away or they are working their own recovery program. I think what I have a problem with is the implied attachment that detachment is supposed to facilitate. I am supposed to find me and keep me from disappearing into various forms of personal neglect for the sake of others. My integrity, emotions, or aspirations should not fade away in a bid to control what cannot be controlled – someone else’s diseased thinking and actions. So even though I may not need to practice the difficult detachment from a loved one who is still in active addiction, I continue to find myself lapsing into personal neglect and withdrawal. Healthy detachment is only possible for me when I care about my own spiritual, emotional and physical well-being and I am willing to put out the effort in day to day living to demonstrate that positive self interest.