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.

Endigar 761

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 30;

Living with alcoholism, I learned that plans could change at any moment and that rules varied accordingly. I developed a deep mistrust of everyone and everything because I could count on nothing.

As a result, I have often found myself jumping at any opportunity without thinking it through. Behind my action was a sense of desperation: “I’d better grab this now — this may be my only chance.” Al-Anon shows me a different approach: I can live one day at a time. I can base my choices on what I feel is right for me today, rather than on what  fear I might lose sometime in the future. I can think before I react t my fears, and remember that easy does it.

If I feel unable to do something today, I trust that there will be another opportunity if it is something I am meant to do. It doesn’t have to be now or never, all or nothing.

Today’s Reminder

Today I don’t have to b e limited by my old fears. Instead, I can do what seems right. I do not have to follow every suggestion or take every offer I receive. I can consider my options and pray for the guidance to choose what is best for me.

“There is a guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word. . . .  Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into your life. Then, without effort, you are impelled to trust and to perfect contentment” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Where does my impulsiveness come from? I know there is a desire to escape. I remember using a window in my bedroom as a way to escape my home as a young teen. When I wanted to get away, I would lock my door and climb out, and flee into the surrounding woods. That locked door allowed me a time to strip naked and run wild through the Talladega National Forest, so to speak. It was short bouts of freedom. I always returned home, but how I loved owning a door to my own world.

From these early days onward I have found there is a pattern of retreat and lunge in my life. I would prefer clarity of direction and a calm, unfaltering power to carry it out. At one time in my life I was in Amway. I remember that part of our training was to understand that most people are more motivated by fear of what they will lose than by an opportunity for gain. So I am not alone in this desperate rush.

Al-Anon has given me some self-reflective questions to ask that might help me live freely one day at a time:

  1. Have I made spiritual connection today for guidance? For power to live?
  2. Since fear mimics the voice of my God, have I made human connections that help me filter that fear and think things through?
  3. Have I accepted both the right and responsibility to do what is right for me; Have I relinquished the need to escape in order to fulfill what is right for me?
  4.  Am I calm enough to write out a plan as a result of these considerations? Am I taking a shovel to the mountain I want to move? Do I trust my God for the results if I put in the effort?
  5. I will fail while trying until I succeed. My plans will be challenged and I will have to adjust. I will only be applauded by most people after I have succeeded. Am I able to live life on life’s terms?

Maybe they will be helpful for you, as well.

 

Endigar 760 ~ Thoughts on Gomu and the Ability to Live Powerfully.

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

GOMU = God of my understanding. My personal God. My intimate understanding and relationship with something out there that cares about me.

Gomu’s will is the production of powerful results through my life and that is Gomu’s responsibility; my will is responsible for the effort.

If I want a mountain moved, I must bring the shovel. As I dig Gomu imbues the effort with power. Gomu amplifies my efforts. I glorify Gomu in the success to point to the power of the union, not to diminish the place I have in the process.

I have got to give Gomu something to work with; I have to want to live. This is step zero in all the step programs of spiritual advancement.

The will of Gomu supersedes my own in effect, but it does not obliterate it from existence. “His will, not mine” is a statement of trust growing into faith (a supernatural knowing). It is not an abdication from living. Faith (supernatural knowing and trusting) without works is useless.

I found a document that has been helpful to me and I want to share it here with you. It is not my work or at least I have no memory of the work. That would not be unusual in my early recovery. I would cite the author who labored to collect these if I knew who it was. Nevertheless, I thrust it into the collective consciousness we call the Internet. I hope it is helpful to you. Just click on the hyperlink below.

Big Book Notes on Power

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Endigar 759

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 15, 2017 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 29;

Many of us learn the value of self-expression in Al-Anon. We discover how we feel and benefit from giving voice to those feeling when it seems appropriate. But there’s a difference between expressing ourselves and using words to control others.

Sometimes the only way I can determine whether I’m trying to control someone else or whether I’m simply expressing my feelings is by noticing how many times I say the same thing. If I mention something that is on my mind and then let it go no matter what response I get, I am speaking sincerely. If I repeatedly make similar suggestions or ask prodding questions again and again, I am probably trying to control. If I am satisfied only when the other person responds in a way I consider desirable – agrees with what I’ve said or takes my advice – then I know I’ve lost my focus.

Today’s Reminder

I am learning to be honest with myself. I will not use my recovery as an excuse to justify my efforts to change other people’s thinking. Trying to control other people only gets me in trouble. Instead, I will promptly admit such mistakes and put my energy back where it belongs by focusing on myself.

“We should have much peace if we would not busy ourselves with the sayings and doings of others.”  ~ Thomas à Kempis

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silverchess

It is indeed a precious thing to be able to speak genuinely, to know that you have not betrayed the truth of your own thoughts or deepest passions for the sake of maintaining “peace at any price.” Being co-dependent has burned appeasement into my brain. This desperate peace is the product of fear and a surrender to futility.  That is not spiritual serenity.

When well indoctrinated by the intense impact of alcoholism or addiction in others, speaking truth requires a commitment to know myself and to develop that skill of speaking genuinely to recover. The negative contracts I have made with an Adult Child of an Alcoholic or an Addict/Alcoholic is a promise from myself to “protect them” at all costs from the consequences of their actions. Most of us caught in such co-dependent covenants feel that our martyrdom for the cause creates an understood right to attempt control of the Disease in others by controlling the Alcoholic/Addict directly. This is the benefit and responsibility of the negative agreement that I would fight for as an active co-dependent. I felt proud of the crap I was able to endure. I felt sure of my authority and place as a diplomat. Controlling was what I got out of the disease-warped relationship. Giving that up feels . . .wrong.

Yet for me to gain the ability to know myself and speak genuinely I cannot claim the dubious right and responsibility of controlling others. That belongs to their God. And ultimately, I am able to inspire and have greater impact by demonstrating personal courage and freedom. This is one way I nurture my spiritual serenity.

 

Endigar 758

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

From Courage to Change of January 28;

Newcomers are often surprised at the number of years longtime members have been attending Al-Anon meetings. They may be even more surprised that some of us have sobriety in our homes, or no longer have any alcoholics in our lives. Why do we keep coming back? For many of us the answer is “serenity.”

Sometimes I get impatient, or rebellious, or bored. I go through periods where I see little change in myself, and I begin to doubt. But even after many years of Al-Anon recovery, if I miss too many meetings, things seem to became unmanageable all over again. I have been affected by someone else’s drinking. I don’t want to underestimate the lasting impact that Alcoholism has had on me. So I keep coming back.

I came to Al-Anon for a quick fix for my pain, but I stay because of the consistency, security, and friendship I find each day. Because of my commitment to my own growth, I am able to handle very difficult situations with a great deal of peace, and the delight in my life continues to exceed my wildest dreams.

Today’s Reminder

I see my recovery as a healthy way of life that I can gladly share with others. Today I am actively pursuing a better life because I am working on myself.

“Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.”  ~ Just for Today

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It seems that the primary damage of alcoholism is isolation. In the mind of those under the impact of alcoholism, directly and indirectly, true connection and intimacy become threats and the most immediate solution is to close off these areas of vulnerability. The primary feeding source of the alcoholic disease to the primary victim and the surrounding network of those he or she is connected with is fear and anxiety. So it seems to me. This isolation and fear reinforce one another. The intimacy built on this swirling nightmare is a series of ever shifting negative contracts.

To counter this isolation, I need relationships that have the mutual goal of seeing the highest version of myself manifest. To counter the fear, I need the development of trust, of faith, that something out there gives a damn about me. About us. It is life and death for me and those who love me.

In saying this, I have found that there is a profound difference between the lazy skepticism found in the reclusive alcoholic/addict and the scientific testing that requires professional skepticism. Science works a program called the scientific method and merges its skepticism with action. The skepticism of the alcoholic/addict and those who love them is not the product of research, but of “professional criticism” of the surrounding world.

A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
    a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
As a door turns on its hinges,
    so a sluggard turns on his bed.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who answer discreetly.

Proverbs 26: 13-16

The sluggard of Proverbs is the professional critic in us all. It causes us to justify isolation and inactivity by embracing fear, a lion in the street. That self-proclaimed wisdom rejects the connections we need, the seven other people who answer discreetly. This is something I fight, this plaguing feeling that there is a lion in the streets, and it is better for me to stay in bed. Until it becomes my deathbed.

No, I want to live. I need to connect. I need to trust the God of my understanding. My Gomu.