Endigar 753

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

From Courage to Change of January 24;

I will dare to be myself. I may be tempted to paste a smile on my face even though I am angry, in order to please another person. When turning down an invitation, I may want to make excuses so that nobody will be hurt. I may be inclined to cancel plans that I care about, without protest, because a loved one prefers to stay home and I don’t want to make waves. These may be perfectly acceptable choices, and I may opt for any or all of them. But today I will be honest with myself as I do so — I will not pretend to feel what I do not feel or to want what I do not want.

Al-Anon does not tell me how to behave. It doesn’t legislate right or wrong choices. But Al-Anon does encourage me to look searchingly and fearlessly at myself, my feelings, motives, and actions. I can only learn to love myself if I am willing to learn who I am.

Today’s Reminder

I have a right to want what I want and to feel the way I feel.  I may not choose to act on those feelings or desires, but I won’t hide them from myself. They are part of me.

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”

~ William Shakespeare

END OF QUOTE—————————————————–

Nightmare

I am a “double winner.” That is to say, I am qualified for both AA and Al-Anon. The 12 Steps in both Fellowships have provided ways for me to get to know myself, the true me. There was a me encased in diplomatic roles hiding away. There was a me that was rejected and replaced by my own alcoholic disease. The 12 Steps process helped separate the true me from the false, and coaxed the child in me from underneath the bed, hiding away from a world of uncontrollable chaos. I am not my shortcomings. I am not the enabler of self-destructive behavior in myself or others.

The words, “I will dare to be myself” are powerful only when I know who I am. An active alcoholic might say that their self-will run riot is just who they are. An active co-dependent might claim martyrdom as the truest reflection of their love. I have experienced the misery of letting this disease in myself and others define who I am. No more.

So I have been courting and encouraging my higher Self into the “Sunlight of the Spirit.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 66)  The exploration of this Self’s desires and feelings bring satisfaction, serenity, and often the ability to enjoy life. I am deeply grateful to the program and the Higher Power that loves me through this process, and introduces Me to me.

Endigar 752

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 23;

In Step Three we “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This is a big decision for those of us who have a tough time making even small decisions. Until I found Al-Anon, I tended to let others decide how I should live, where I should go, and what I should do. The paradox is that, though I took little responsibility for my own life, I saw myself as an expert on everyone else’s life and felt accountable for all that happened.

The order in which the first three Steps are written helps me to overcome these attitude problems. First, I accept my inability to control the disease of alcoholism and admit that my life is unmanageable. Next, I come to believe that a Power greater than myself can help. After taking these two Steps, it becomes possible, desirable, and even logical, to make the enormous decision to trust my life to a Higher Power’s care.

Today’s Reminder

At the start of each day I can make the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. This way I begin my day with a strong assertion that I choose to accept the reality of my life. I am moving in a healthy direction, growing ever more able to live a good life and to love those I meet along the way.

“Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.” ~ Paul Tillich

 

END OF QUOTE——————————————————————–

Mother's Painting

I love this entry for its clarity and personal resonance. I also appreciate the introduction to Paul Tillich. I will have to learn more about him. What a great quote. I think I will post it in my kitchen along with other words of wisdom that have inspired me.

Often I felt this sense of responsibility for everyone around me. I hungered to establish peace in the home. As a young teenager I wrote a family constitution complete with bills, amendments, proposals for projects, and protocol for family meetings. I would tape-record our meetings and pushed for greater regulation of my brother and improved overall household management. My mother initially went along with this social experiment but soon retaliated at what she perceived as criticism of her parenting. My father remained silent and would not take the head chair I had designated for him. Instead my little brother took the exalted position. It just fell apart and became a family gathering with no hope of change.

What I failed to achieve with political proclamations I sought to gain through emotional manipulation and indirect communication. What an aggressive diplomat I have been.

Step three has taken the personal twist of turning my will and other’s lives over to the care of GOMU (God of my understanding). I work on myself and walk out the path made obvious to me by my Higher Power. I trust my God for the results. The results are not my responsibility. The work and the walking in anticipation of GOMU’s care and guidance is my responsibility. I live a much happier life seeking progress rather than perfection.

Endigar 751

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

From Courage to Change of January 22;

I tried so hard to learn detachment. Living with active alcoholism was confusing , and the idea of detachment seemed vague. The alcoholic in my life was a restless sleeper who fell out of bed almost every night. Feeling it my duty, I would always help him back into bed. One night, after attending Al-Anon meetings for a while, I stepped over his body and got into bed, leaving him on the floor. Triumphantly, I went to my next Al-Anon meeting and told them, “I finally learned detachment!” “Well,” they said, “that’s not exactly what we meant. We meant detachment with love.

I left that meeting with a new understanding that I put into proactive the very next time my loved one fell out of bed. When I found him in the floor, I still didn’t help him into bed. But I did put a blanket over him before stepping over his body and going to bed myself. This, to me, was detachment with love.

Today’s Reminder

With my Higher Power’s help, I will keep  loving blanket of detachment with me. I will cover my loved ones with it, whether or not they struggle with a disease, keeping in mind that when I am dealing with other human beings, I am dealing with children of God.

“Detachment is not isolation, nor should it remain focused on not enabling the sick behavior of the past. Detachment is not a wall; it is a bridge across which the Al-Anon may begin a new approach to life and relationships generally.” ~ Al-Anon: Family Treatment Tool in Alcoholism

 

END OF QUOTE————————————–

sleep_by_aneteya-d5rlqzy

I suppose that if detachment becomes a passive-aggressive form of retaliation, it becomes an unhealthy way of processing resentment. Who does the practice of detachment benefit? Is it me or is it my actively addicted loved one? It benefits me, first and foremost, and if I cannot recognize the spiritual significance of my own life, then I am actively sick. I have to want to live. I have to desire life. My own life. Detachment is really attachment to me, true connection with the higher form of Self through the help of a Higher Power, a spiritual path to recovery from of a twisted and malfunctioning conscience and a maligned view of what love looks like.

Indirectly, my detachment well-lived will provide an example of valuing my own life, and if my alcoholic or addictive loved one is going to make it, they have to want to live. That is step zero for them. And for those of us who love them. It all begins with this healthy dose of positive self-care.

 

 

Art Credit: “Sleep” by aneteya on deviantart

Endigar 750

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 21;

Before Al-Anon, I could never tell the difference between what was and was not my business. I felt I had to take care of everyone around me until I couldn’t stand it any more. I usually kept this up until I became physically ill. My body tried to tell me to pay attention to my own needs, but I simply wasn’t ready to listen.

Al-Anon helps me to listen and learn from my body, my soul, and my Higher Power. How do I do it? I try t check in with myself on a regular basis. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? If so, I can make a point of stopping what I’m doing long enough to attend to my needs.

When I pay attention to the messages I’m being given, I have a better chance of detaching from other people and situations, should that be appropriate. For me, this is the foundation of serenity.

Today’s Reminder

I no longer have to wait until my health, my financial situation, or my emotional state collapses before paying attention to my needs. Today I can practice becoming more aware of what my inner voice is trying to teach me. I can listen and learn.

“Don’t listen to friends when the Friend inside you says ‘Do this!'” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

END OF QUOTE——————————————————————-

The-Tree-of-Life_Full_27543

What does self-care look like? My first thoughts are images of a protracted vacation from life, with young island women fanning me on a beach while I read and enjoy the rumbling rhythm of the ocean waves before me.

There are elements of that image that might be true self-care, such as the detachment from the stress of trying to control life and its uncooperative players. Or maybe taking time to reflect and, if the waves represent the care of a Higher Power, finding the serenity of a relationship with the Infinite One. Yet I think it is important to recognize that the sacrifice I have given for others I must be willing to do for me. It takes carved out time to grow spiritually. My sacrifice is to carve away by making plans with this goal in mind. I have been willing to drive others to meetings. Now I must insure that I do this for myself. I have utilized finances to support others, I must be willing to save some for my own future.

My willingness to take care of myself gives permission and guidance for others to do the same, if they so chose. Self-care is probably the most effective thing I can do to benefit those I love.

Endigar 749

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 20;

“Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions.” Anonymity makes it possible to leave not only our surnames, but all the labels and expectations with which we have been burdened, outside the Al-Anon rooms. Through our commitment to anonymity we can put aside what we are and begin to know who we are.

As I began to recognize how valuable this spiritual principle already was in my life, I understood why it was so important to protect the anonymity of others, including the alcoholic. If I want the benefits the program has to offer, I have an obligation to extend to others the same respect and courtesy that keep me feeling safe, free from labels, and free to be myself.

Today’s Reminder

In taking my place among the thousands of anonymous individuals who make up the Al-Anon Family Groups, I know that I never again have to be alone. I won’t jeopardize this valuable resource by violating its most fundamental spiritual principle.

“Each person should be able to leave an Al-Anon meeting secure in the knowledge that what he or she has shared will not be repeated.” ~ Why Anonymity in Al-Anon?

END OF QUOTE———————————

animal-camouflage-photography-art-wolfe-1

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” The Twelfth Tradition.

When first I entered the recovery program I saw anonymity as a protective social mechanism to empower me to risk openness. In the beginning, I desperately needed such a safe place.

As time passed I was no longer in need of such sheltering. It became apart of my spiritual development in that it protected Me from me. It protected my connected and empowered spirit from my isolating and self-destructive ego. When I was in a military rehab facility, we expressed the importance of this anonymity by removing our shirts that contained rank, surname, and unit of service. All that was left was the assembled individuals and their stories coming together to heal. No expression of one individual was greater than the other. Anonymity morphs from protective privacy to a love for principles above our own personalities. Anonymity neutralizes the lethal, severed ego of the alcoholic and addictive community.

Endigar 748

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 19;

Today I seek to become a little more accepting of myself, a little more comfortable in my own skin. Although it is important to recognize and admit my limitations and flaws, only my Higher Power can remove them.

Condemning my imperfections has never enhanced my appreciation of life or helped me to love myself more. Perhaps I can let go of all condemnation for this one day. I will recognize that I am on a spiritual path of self-improvement. Every tiny step I take on that path moves me closer to wholeness, health, and serenity.

If I become impatient with myself, I can examine my expectations. Perhaps I expect recovery to happen over-night. I will take time today to acknowledge my efforts and to trust the process of the Al-Anon program.

Today’s Reminder

Al-Anon is a gentle, healing program. I will remember to be gentle with myself today, trusting that the healing will come.

“Today I can accept myself for what I am because I know that whatever happens, I have a Higher Power and a group of people who will love me anyway. ”   . . . In All Our Affairs

 

END OF QUOTE———————————-

tmp18

Through the recovery program, I am dating myself. I am getting to know me better. “To thine own self be true.” I also gain access to classified documents kept secret by my internal agency of self-destruction. These “documents” provide a full awareness and understanding of my flaws. They are kept hidden and if discovered, presented as strengths and unique personality quirks that make me interesting.

Recovery cuts through that crap and then further reveals that I am powerless to overcome my short-comings as an isolated individual.

These identified failings are not license for perfectionism. “Progress rather than perfection.” Perfection is another way to remain isolated.

No, I believe I am in need of short-comings that overpower me when I am cut-off to warn me to connect. Humility is a path toward relationship and when I humbly ask my Higher Power to remove my short-comings, I am actually seeking the intimate involvement of GOMU (God of my understanding) in my life.  A short-coming is removed. I am driven deeper only to discover a previously hidden flaw. I let it become an opportunity to embrace my God. I look around and see others walking, pushing, forging on the highway of destiny seeking union with the Infinite One. We are no longer isolated.

Endigar 747

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

From Courage to Change of January 18;

When I first heard that the best way to help an alcoholic was to focus on myself, I thought Al-Anon was a heartless place where I would be forced to stop caring about my loved ones. I had decided never to return, but someone shared a thought that changed my mind. He said that although the desire to help another person can be well-motivated and compassionate, our old ways of “helping” don’t necessarily help. Al-Anon offers a new way to help.

I examined my version of helping the alcoholic. I saw that when I covered her bad checks or made excuses for her, I kept her from facing the consequences of her actions. I actually was depriving her of opportunities to want to change.

I also had to consider why I felt so desperate unless I was helping. When I took a look at my motives, I found that it was my anxiety I didn’t want to face.

Today’s Reminder

Is the help I offer truly loving or do I have other motives? Am I trying to change another person or get them to do what I want? Talking it over with my Sponsor can offer perspective. My best hope for helping those I love really does begin when I focus on myself.

“In Al-Anon we learn:

-Not to create a crisis;

-Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.”

Detachment

 

END OF QUOTE———————————————-

16587562._SY540_

I do not understand my own motives at times. I am often blind to what pushes and paralyzes me. It has been natural to live a life exhaling panic and inhaling apathy.

I know that I can take this concept of detachment and use it to withdraw into a puddle of morbid self-reflection. I know that I can take it as license to protect myself from pain only to find myself fearing all intimacy. Detachment cannot become isolation.

So what am I detaching from?

The active alcoholic/addict is a true personification of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Ingest the chemical and Mr. Hyde is on center stage and the Doctor is a paralyzed captive.

I will not support the living death of an active, breathing Mr. Hyde, in myself or others. That is what detachment is to me. I do not want to inadvertently perpetuate the doctor’s captivity by paying Mr. Hyde’s ransom.

Detachment also requires attachment to an aggressive, positive selfishness on my part. I am not speaking of the isolating, suicidal selfishness. I have to want to live and prove it in my own acts of self-care. This takes time and practice and self-evaluation. I have to chose to carve out this time to grow or surrender to the waste of time involved in crisis management.

 

Art Credit: Manuel Bejarano of Spain

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers