Endigar 740

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 13;

Al-Anon gives me great spiritual freedom because it encourages me to find a personal understanding of God, and to allow others the same freedom. Until I could think of God in terms that were meaningful to me, I was not able to truly turn my life over to a Higher Power.

My concept of God evolves. It changes and grows as I continue to change and grow. How wonderful it is, for I now sense a Higher Power that is as alive as I am! Never in my life did I dream of finding such a source of serenity, courage, and wisdom.

There is a sense of unique purpose to my journey through life. I am the only one who can live it, and I need the help of the God of my understanding in order to live it fully. Grounded in faith, I can hold tight to my course and meet the future with confidence.

Today’s Reminder

Once upon a time I was afraid to live life for myself. This was because I did not know how to do it and thought that there was no one to show me. Now I have a resource deep within me to guide me along life’s many roads. I am not alone on my journey.

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”  ~ Albert Camus

 

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I do not have what I would call real spiritual freedom. I have negative spiritual freedom. Freedom from “us and them.” Freedom from perpetual social guilt. Freedom from the fearful censorship of ideas that might damn me. Freedom from that need to prove I am willing to save the world and freedom from the desperation of self-castigation necessary to catch God’s attention.

For me, real spiritual freedom is positive. It is the freedom to do something with my life. It is the freedom to find or create meaning in my daily living. It is the freedom to establish contact beyond the fleshly veil and walk between the worlds. I seek such a fantastic existence without repentance to realism. I stay open and embrace the possibility of all forms of communication beyond my understanding into the spirit realm, that which is not bound to the inevitability of death.


Sisyphus_by_von_Stuck

Sisyphus knew the punishment of the gods. His labors were senseless and his efforts were futile. So the God of his understanding was actually the boulder he was damned to push up the mountain. The punishing gods had made themselves irrelevant in their subject’s life. It was a God of guilt in the form of a boulder that defined his existence.

If you look closer his muscles have grown tight and powerfully hard. His callouses make him unflinching in the broken stone face of his labors. Finally the gods will relent and give him the gift of failing.

As I see him walk away from an obsession that ruled his life, I do not know how to finish the story. Spending your life ascending the mountaintop makes the journey in its shadow one of great uncertainty.

Living within me is a God of great relevance. This story is currently being written in the rooms of Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous. That uncertainty is the result of an active mind exploring the possibility of freedom.

My persistent energy forges a new path.

Endigar 739

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 16, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 12;

Early one morning I stopped to watch a colony of bees. A little intimidated by the frenzied motion and intense buzzing, I reminded myself that if I didn’t poke my nose into their hive, I wouldn’t get stung. If I hose to maintain a safe distance from a dangerous situation, I would be fine.

To me, that is exactly the lesson that detachment teaches. The choice is mine. When I sense that a situation is dangerous to my physical, mental, or spiritual well-being, I can put extra distance between myself and the situation. Sometime this means that I don’t get too emotionally involved in a problem; sometimes I am physically leave the room or end a conversation. And sometimes I try to put spiritual space between myself and another person’s alcoholism or behavior. This doesn’t mean I stop loving the person, only that I acknowledge the risks to my own well-being and make choices to take care of myself.

Today’s Reminder

Now I know how to end an argument by simply refusing to participate, to turn to my Higher Power for help with whatever I’m powerless to change, to say, “No,” when I mean no, and to step back from insanity rather than diving into it. Detachment is a loving gift I continue to give to myself and to others.

“If a man carries his own lantern, he need not fear darkness.” ~ Hasidic saying

 

END OF QUOTE

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Divorce. Exile. Isolation. Renunciation. Escape. Disassociation. . .

Detachment.

It is difficult to escape the damming connotations of the word detachment when the strategy of withdrawing from a volatile situation is not necessarily associated with well-being and gifts and spiritual lanterns. At times, it even seems cowardly.

Add to the mix that I am creating safe distance from someone I deeply love and the strategy becomes unbearable.

When dealing with a loved one’s choices that appear to be self-destructive and personally painful, I tend to fall into the choice of being a tyrant with intervention or fall prey to a victim’s world view. I believe detachment is an attempt to provide a third option.

This third option of detachment is not something easily navigated and should not be undertaken in isolation. I have to stay connected with a network of people who are invested in my higher self. In fact, I believe detachment in one relationship area should be balanced with attachment to others.

It is a work in progress for me not to stir the beehive nor grow apathetic to the taste of honey.

 

Artwork: Angry Blue

Endigar 738

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by endigar

10/4 is the day I count as my first sober day after my last alcoholic binge, my last dance with the devil.

paralysis of analysis

Sometimes, I just need the mantras of sanity bouncing around in my head.

Endigar 737

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 11;

I feel like the luckiest person in the world because I’ve found a second family, and I am a very real part of it. In my new family, I am accepted just as I am. I never have to pretend, or wear a mask over my feelings. I can speak freely and know that my words won’t leave the room.

In my new family, people empathize when I share my troubles. But instead of trying to solve my problems for me, they allow me the dignity to do so on my own. They do offer their experience, strength, and hope, and in this sharing  often hear just what I need to help me with a troublesome situation.

In my new family, love is not a point system. I don’t have to earn love from others – it’s given freely as a gift. I don’t have to earn my place in the sun, I can just relax and be myself.

Today’s Reminder

When a loved one’s alcoholism brought me to Al-Anon, I found a new, second family, a family that helped me discover the me that had been hidden for so long, a family that will always be there for me. Today I will enjoy having a place where I really belong.

“For me, alcoholism has proven to be a bittersweet legacy – bitter, because of the pain I suffered, and sweet, because if t weren’t for that pain, I wouldn’t have searched for and found a better way of living.” ~ Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism

 

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Michigan-Tree

“See, your hard won wisdom is going to be invaluable to me.” The voice that spoke these words to me has walked closely with me in the “hard-won” part of the journey. She is dealing with someone she suspects is caught in the web of addiction. I am glad that she is here to share in the “wisdom.”

I am not sure that I have gained a second family as much as I have a second shot at family. And since I have had to work on myself in order to overcome both addiction in myself and others, I can move further with genuine intimacy. The purpose of the group helps me to become a better version of me, and thus that is reflected with the way I relate to others. As I become more truthful with myself, I can become so with others. And when I no longer see that truthfulness as a threat, I can accept it from others. I can care about others without losing myself in the process. And they can care about me without being taken hostage. It is an ongoing process to cultivate this bittersweet legacy of overcoming alcoholism and co-dependency.

Endigar 736

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 10;

I suspect that if I reclaimed all the minutes, hours, and days I’ve sacrificed to worry and fear, I’d add years to my life. When I succumb to worry, I open a Pandora’s box of terrifying pictures, paranoid voices, and relentless self-criticism. The more attention I pay to this mental static, the more I lose my foothold in reality. Then nothing useful can be accomplished.

To break the cycle of worry and fear, I’m learning to focus all my attention on this very moment. I can turn away from destructive thoughts and concentrate instead on the sights and sounds around me: light and shadows, the earth beneath my feet, the pulse of everyday living – all pieces of the here-and-now. These bits of reality help rescue me from “what ifs” and “should haves” by anchoring me in the present. Prayer and meditation, the slogans, and phone calls to Al-Anon friends are other sources of serenity that bring me back to this moment. As I shut out the noise, I am more receptive to my Higher Power’s will, and therefore much more able to work my way through difficult times.

Today’s Reminder

This day is all I have to work with, and it is all I need. If I am tempted to worry about tomorrow’s concerns, I will gently bring my mind back to today.

“The past has flown away. The coming month and year do not exist. Ours only is the present’s tiny point.” ~ Mahmud Shabistari

 

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It resonates with me, this realization that I have spent so much time in negative rumination.  I have felt the painful flames of shadow dragons. These visions of darkness and abandonment become real as I entertain their possibility. I know that my hope is to protect myself, to surround and fend off the . . . fill in the blank.

I have been listening to the audio set for Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” It is spiritually soothing for me to know about her writing practice that combines lessons learned in Zen meditation. Many of her suggestions to help writers to go ahead and write can be applied to the self going ahead and living in this moment.

I am learning to trust the way that is laid before me, to take responsibility for the tasks and let my Higher Power convert that raw material to fulfillment.  I will gently bring my mind back to today. Yes, I believe I will.

Endigar 735

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 09;

How often I look outside myself for approval! The project at work is successful, but my good feelings depend on having that success acknowledged. The meal I fix at home is not as tasty when no one compliments the cook. I resent the favors I do for my children when they neglect to thank me.

We all need an occasional pat on the back. But when the applause of others becomes the reason for my behavior and necessary for me to feel satisfied, then I have given them power over me. People may forget to notice the terrific things that I’ve done or may not be comfortable praising me. I don’t have to take ti personally. Self-pity and resentment are not my only options. If I can learn to evaluate my own actions and behavior and to value my own judgement, then the approval of others will be enjoyable, but no longer essential to my serenity.

Today’s Reminder

Just for today, I will appreciate myself. I will not look to others for approval; I will provide it for myself. I’ll allow myself to recognize that I am doing the best I can. Today my best is good enough.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” ~ Carl Jung

 

 

END OF QUOTE

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thinking of me

A great deal of my anxiety comes from trying to manage the perspectives others have of me. At the height of my co-dependent anguish, I withdraw into whatever protective image I can muster to become what I believe will make others emotionally domesticated in my presence. I have heard the phrase, “what others think of me is none of my business.” I have never been able to get in line with such dismissal of a potential threat. This childhood indoctrination caused me to lose any real concept of my own identity. I struggle to find an “acceptable self-expression.” I was terribly sensitive to any criticism. I would meet any sign of uncontrollable emotion with wrath or withdrawal. There was no middle ground.

Separating my true core from this icon of impossible diplomacy has taken a surgeon greater than myself. The Steps have been, in a sense, a dating session with me. I have to find safe places to lure myself into the open so that I and Me can know each other. Sometimes the desire for self-sabotage swells within. Yet I resist.  This is a very difficult process. I am hoping to establish centers of trust in Al-Anon, stronger than those I have sought but never gained in the recovery rooms. Right now, I am just working on stopping myself from running away. Just for today, I will work on a consistent presence among my fellow survivors.

Endigar 734

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 20, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 08;

I once emphatically told my family that their bickering was making our newly-sober loved one nervous and this might cause her to start drinking again. I was shocked when I was told, just as emphatically, “Well, let her!” I realized that I was still trying to make everything smooth and easy for the alcoholic, because I hadn’t accepted that I was just as powerless over alcoholism in sobriety as I had been during the active years.

It was then that I truly discovered ho beautifully letting go and letting God can work. When I flly understood how powerless I was over the situation, I was able to trust that the alcoholic has her own Higher Power and that, together, they can work out her future. I felt like a new person because I was free of the constant need to watch over her, free to live my own life.

I care about the alcoholic in my life more than I can say. I wish her health, happiness, and sobriety, but I cannot hand these things to her. She and her Higher Power are in charge of that. I can only love her, and when I stop to think about it, that is enough.

Today’s Reminder

Today I choose to place my trust in that Higher Power, knowing that all is well.

“If we supply the willingness, God supplies the power.” ~ The Al-Anon Family Groups–Classic Edition

 

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volcano_eruption_lightning-wallpaper-960x600

The first four decades of my life were spent trying to control people in my intimate sphere so that I could have a feeling of control over my own life. I thought my powers of manipulation had made me a master diplomat. I was never happy with this role. I never really achieved a feeling of freedom or control over my own life. My dubious skills have robbed me of being able to take anyone’s words at face value. I carry a pit of anxiety trying to read faces and forestall the release of rabid emotional interactions. This is the civil war ever raging in my psyche. I awake and renegotiate a cease fire, with some mornings being easier than others.

This is my next level of this ongoing process of recovery. I must expel the vision of seeing relationships around me as potential volcanoes that I must plug. I will need to take turn the power of Step work on my codependency with the same determination I have for my alcoholism. I need to know what my heart truly desires, not just the reactive impulses of escapism. I need to apply my trust in a Higher Power for beyond the remission of my addictive disease. I need to be able to separate legitimate guilt from deeply indoctrinated shame.  It is a process made possible in the recovery from my alcoholism.

 

 

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