Endigar 768

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 24, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 06;

By the time I reached Al-Anon I was desperate to do something about my relationship with an alcoholic. I hoped that you would tell me to “throw the bum out,” so I was dismayed when a member suggested that I make no major changes for six months after coming to Al-Anon. By the end of the six months, my thinking had changed dramatically and I was grateful to have waited.

At that point, something inside told me to continue to wait, to learn, to recover, before deciding about this relationship. But I hate to wait. I struggled, prayed for guidance, weighed the pros and cons. The answer was always the same: “Wait. Do nothing yet. The time will come.” That wasn’t the answer I was looking for. So I ignored it. I forced a “solution” and walked out.

I was immediately consumed with guilt and self-doubt. Had  I made the worst mistake of my life? I still loved this person so much, and though I was deeply troubled, I wasn’t convinced that leaving was the answer. I had to admit that I had acted prematurely. Only with more time was I eventually able to come to a decision that I knew I could live with.

Today’s Reminder

When my thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, I probably won’t get the results I seek. As the saying goes, “When in doubt, don’t.”

“Guide me in all I do to remember that waiting is the answer to some of my prayers.”    As We Understood…

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I do not like the waiting. Death does not wait. Life is too short. My immortal Higher Power does not know what it is like to battle for significance and relevance while floating on a speck in the dark, unforgiving infinity of the universe . I do not want to be cut off and alone. I want to be connected and yet, in control. I am afraid of anything less than that.

And  that is why I must wait. No matter what decision I make, I am still me. The hurting, fearful, disconnected me looking to hide and not hurt. In this program of spiritual development and recovery, waiting is not tolerating the intolerable. It is developing spiritual connection with a loving God I can trust. And then learning to exercise that trust. Any decision I make without this transformation is a panic stricken leap of faithlessness.

In the end, it is my own refusal to surrender to the process that causes me to absolutely need to slow down and go into the waiting place.

 

Endigar 767

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

From Courage to Change of February 05;

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” says the Zen Buddhists. Or, as an Al-Anon speaker put it, “We each get here right on time.” To me, this is an important reason to have a public relations policy based on attraction rather than promotion, as the Eleventh Tradition suggests.

My own arrival in Al-Anon was right on schedule. I first heard about the program when I was a teenager; I attended my first meeting twenty years later. I don’t regret that lapse of time because I don’t think I would have been ready to come to Al-Anon any sooner — I spent those twenty years resenting any implication from well-meaning family members that I had been affected by alcoholism. Only after many years of living with the effects of the disease did I really become ready to get help. No amount of nagging would have hurried me along any faster.

Today’s Reminder

There is no magic wand that can make others ready for Al-Anon. And it is presumptuous to assume that I have a better idea of their true path than they do. Let me help those who want help. When my life improves as a result of working the program myself, I do more to carry the message than I ever could be forcing it on others.

“Let me not dilute the effectiveness of the help I can give by letting it take the form of giving advice. I know I will never have enough insight into another’s life to tell that person what is best to do.” – The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

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The wind blows and we know neither where it comes from nor where it is destined to arrive. It is the same for all those who practice a life surrendering to the flow of the guiding Spirit. There is neither rushing nor hindering the timing of my Gomu by the thrashing of fearful impatience. I breathe, exhaling purposeful activity and inhaling the invisible flow of a loving God.

Living in the World of the Spirit has taken much practice. The demand of relationships has given me my greatest opportunity to live in fear or faith and in the process I gather evidence for which is most effective. My goal is to breathe, surrender, and move in tandem with the irresistible Spirit of Liberty I have been introduced to in this program.

Endigar 766

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 04;

Sometimes when I’m unhappy with my situation, I feel that God is punishing me. Once again I’ve lost my image of a loving God and need to recover it.

It helps to call my Sponsor, who reminds me that God is not a terrorist. I read Al-Anon literature and go to extra meetings. Mostly I walk beside the river and talk with God about how afraid I am. I watch the water and thank God for the good things in my life: Al-Anon recovery, the gift of the Twelve Steps, creativity and the joy I have in expressing it, my loving Al-Anon family. After I’ve talked it through, I sit and wait until I feel God’s healing touch reassuring me, drying my tears.

The funny thing is that, after I’m through those hard times, I never truly remember the pain. What I remember is the sunshine on the water, the peace of the moment, the love of my Higher Power wrapping around me as tangibly as the sunshine. The pain is gone, but the increased trust in my Higher Power remains.

Today’s Reminder

When faced with difficult or painful situations, I can remember that a loving God is always there for me, always available as a source of comfort, guidance, and peace.

“No one is alone if they’ve come to believe in a Power greater than themselves.” — Sponsorship – What It’s All About

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What is God, really? So invisible and so all pervasive; seducing us to search, to grapple, to hunger for more. God is the ultimate “not enough” of my life. For one so afflicted with addiction within and without, I image that is a statement of worship. Gomu, I want more, always more. It sometimes feels like my spiritual neediness drives the Infinite One away to get some I AM time.

Where are you? An Entity cloaked in plausible deniability. Our relationship is vulnerable to the vultures of lazy skepticism in my mind. How is that possible? I want to know and be known and You are the only one who can answer that need in its most absolute terms. Is it any wonder that the greatest hope in human intimacy is to discover You hiding in glistening eyes, excited to be found out, and disappointed when we struggling mortals are only ourselves?

If I surrender, will I have You? Every moment your presence has flashed or fluttered into my speculative interaction, I value. I remember and cling. I do not really know how to love you. The closest thing I can render is hunger and manipulation. For you see, I am human. Teach me to be the something more I desire from you. Something beyond the flesh that you are able to embrace.

Make U/us real.

Endigar 765

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 03;

As a newcomer to Al-Anon, I heard that the principles of the program could lead to serenity. I’d have preferred to hear that the program would cure the alcoholic, undo the damage of the past, or at least pay the gas bill. My idea of serenity was sitting on a mountaintop with a silly grin on my face, not caring very much about anything. I was more interested in passion!

Eventually I realized that serenity didn’t have to strip me of my passion. Instead, it offered me a sense of inner security that freed me to live my life as fully and passionately as I pleased, because it tapped into an unlimited source of energy and wisdom: a Higher Power. I could make strong choices and take risks because, with this help, I was better able to deal with anything that happened.

Nothing can compare to the drama of exploring my full potential as a human being. Once I had a taste of the rich life that could be mine with the help of Al-Anon and my Higher Power, I discovered that serenity was a great treasure.

Today’s Reminder

Today I seek serenity, knowing that when I am serene, I am capable of becoming more fully, and more passionately, myself.

“Without this program I could not have appreciated how truly wonderful my life can be in spite of difficult situations.” …In All Our Affairs

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I can’t explain, you would not understand
This is not how I am
I have become comfortably numb –

Lyrics from the Pink Floyd song, “Comfortably Numb”

It seems to me that for every useful empowerment of this or any program of spiritual development, there is a shadow cast from that God-given tool that stretches across the fear-laden minefield of living with someone’s addiction related disease. The tool of serenity is necessary for open communication with my Higher Power and for learning to associate my free living with who I truly am instead of linking it to the icon of what I think I should be. That icon is something a fearful child constructed and a young adult invested in at great cost to protect. The icon is not me. It is detached from my pain and pleasure. It knows neither defeat nor victory. This all-consuming armor allows me to tolerate the unacceptable.  It allows me to live a life of pointless self-sacrifice. This numbness is the shadow of serenity.

The process of moving from the shadow of stoic detachment to the substance of serene confidence is often painfully messy. I seriously doubt that I could have made that transition without the support of those vested in my higher good. It takes my daily commitment to retain it. Possessing this serenity allows the real me to live freely and walk with confidence in the presence of my God, the GOMU (God of my understanding).

Endigar 764

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 24, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 02;

I used to live my life as if I were on a ladder. Everyone was either above me — to be feared and envied — or below me — to be pitied. God was way, way at the top, beyond my view. That was a hard, lonely way to live, because no two people can stand comfortably on the same rung for very long.

When I came to Al-Anon, I found a lot of people who had decided to climb down from their ladders in the circle of fellowship. In the circle we were all on equal terms, and God was right in the center, easily accessible. When newcomers arrived we didn’t worry about rearranging everyone’s position, we simply widened the circle.

Today I no longer look up to some people and down on others. I can look each person in the eye, squarely and honestly. Today, being humble means climbing down from the ladder of judgment of myself and others, and taking my rightful place in a worldwide circle of love and support.

Today’s Reminder

My thoughts are my teachers. Are they teaching me to love and appreciate myself and others, or are they teaching me to practice isolation? Today I will chose my teachers with greater care.

“‘Live and Let Live’ sets us free from the compulsion to criticize, judge, condemn, and retaliate . . .[which] can damage us far more than those against whom we use such weapons. Al-Anon helps us to learn tolerance rooted in love.”

~ This is Al-Anon

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"When I was a child, I had a fever . . ." ~ Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb

“When I was a child, I had a fever . . .” ~ Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb

I had  a dream when I was a child of elementary school age. The dream was vivid and stayed with me after I awoke. I flew and when I was awake, I knew there was a certain feeling or inner awareness that would allow me to do it again. My nephew and playmate came over that day, and I took him and our younger siblings outside to the backyard swing set. I was excited about the prospect of duplicating the flight of inner awareness and the followed. I climbed up the on it and searched my memory for that dream feeling, and then leaped into the air. I hit the ground. Soon all of us were climbing and jumping and rolling about on the ground. That was not what I had wanted to achieve, but everyone was laughing and happy. I was able to let go and move on with the adventures of being a child with blood friends.

I never forgot that time and always cherished the flying dreams that came back over the years. I found that my desire to climb ladders was only to find the best place to jump off. Maybe this time…

And that is my childhood fever. It comes back occasionally.

Often I would stay on the ladder to appear to be normal, stable, and a rock for those I love. The 12 Step ladder has given me a safe place to practice jumping in expectation of spirit flight again. And a new group of blood friends on the ground.

Maybe this time . . .

Endigar 763

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 6, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of February 01;

I thought that if I stopped enabling the alcoholic in my life, the drinking would stop. When the drinking seemed to get worse instead of better, once again I thought I had done something wrong. I was still trying to control alcoholism and its symptoms. Al-Anon helped me to learn that I am powerless. I cannot stop an alcoholic from drinking. If I choose to stop contributing to the problem, I do so because it seems to be the right thing to do, something that will help me to feel better about myself.

When I change my behavior, the behavior of those around me may also change, but there is no guarantee that it will change to my liking. Today I am learning to make choices because they are good for me, not because of the effect they might have on others.

Today’s Reminder

It is hard to stop acting as I have in the past. But with Al-Anon’s support, I can be the one to break the pattern. I can choose to do what I think is right — for me.

“You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life. . .” ~ Jane Seymour

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guilt

What does it mean to do something to help me “feel better” about myself? How do I know that the something I chose to do to feel better about me is the right thing to do? I have stopped myself from intervening in situations that I was powerless over and yet have not felt good inside. Guilt bubbles would belch upwards as I sat locked in concern for my loved one. I believe that Al-Anon teaches me to consider how much of my moral conscience has been replaced with survival indoctrination. It is going to take time to tell what is right for me to do as I work the Steps to understand who I truly am and what it actually means to do the right thing. Telling myself I have the freedom to do what is right for me is both an event and a process. What I have experienced is that when I abandon martyrdom and embrace personal fulfillment, I empower through example those close to me to do the same. This permission via example is one of the best gifts I can pass on to those I love who struggle.

Endigar 762

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

From Courage to Change of January 31;

After working Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps zealously for over a year, I was despondent over my continuing lapses into self-pity and resentment over the alcoholic’s inability to give me the emotional support I wanted. One evening during a meditation on the Sixth and Seventh Steps, three words seemed to flash in my mind: We were entirely read to have God remove all these defects of character, and we humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

I suddenly realized that much of my zealous working of the program had been the exercise of my own limited power. With a new and sincere humility, I asked God to remove my shortcomings. When I saw the alcoholic the next morning, it was as if a veil had been lifted from eyes. I saw her suffering, struggling to stay sober, and I had compassion for my own struggle as well. My self-pity and resentment were gone.

Today’s Reminder

I want to be ready for shortcomings to be removed, and I will do what I can to prepare. I can develop a non-judgmental awareness of myself, accept what I discover, and be fully willing to change. But I lack the power to heal myself. Only my Higher Power can do that.

“I accept the fact that I need help in being restored to sanity, and that I cannot achieve this without help.” ~ The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

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crucible

Relationships test spiritual fortitude. The more intimate the relationship, the greater the test. Spiritual testing reveals nothing to an all-knowing God. Spiritual testing is not about pass or fail. It is a crucible to expose the hidden parts of my own being and to force the locked chambers of my heart open.

The first intimate relationships I worked on were with myself and with my GOMU (God of my understanding). By the time I develop my union with God from Steps 2 and 3 (restored sanity and surrendered care) to Steps 6 and 7 (willingness to change and humility to ask for that transformation), I begin to see the power of this program do more than stop the madness. It begins to develop a quiet and connective strength in my intimate life and relationships.

I welcome the tests, because I have experienced the growth. May you also be prospered in your path.