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.

Endigar 757

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

I want to share an interesting TED talk on addiction. I do see the real need for connection. Portugal’s response to their major drug addiction problem is a real leap of faith. Hmmm.

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connection. Hmm.

Endigar 756

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

From Courage to Change of January 27;

I knew I was in trouble: I was ready to throw someone I loved very deeply out of my life forever because he had left unwashed dishes in the sink. I was obviously overreacting, yet I couldn’t calm down. I picked up the phone and called an Al-Anon friend.

After hearing me out, she mentioned that I seemed angry about more than dirty dishes. I certainly was. To me, those dishes were evidence of a whole pattern of disrespect. She said that she too grow annoyed and played martyr when faced with the same situation again and again, but whenever she tried to mend all the problems of a relationship in a single day, she failed – it just isn’t possible to do so. Instead, she tried to deal with one situation at a time.

I still don’t like dirty dishes, but I don’t have to interpret them as having a deeper meaning. I am learning to take things at face value. Sometimes dirty dishes are just dirty dishes.

Today’s Reminder

Why do I allow myself to suffer, to blow small things out of proportion? I can break a situation down to a more manageable size by taking it one day at a time.

“The whole purpose for Al-Anon is to help us iron out the rough spots in our living, and that can be done only one day at a time.” –

One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

END OF QUOTE—————————————-

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In a world of fear, what do I know? Hidden motives are probably waiting to exploit my weaknesses. Loving turns to humiliation. The true story is not complete until a tragic ending has played out. In a world of fear, overreacting and hyper-vigilance are my way of surviving. My self-sacrifice holds this world of fear together.

In a world of trust fostered in my support network and in the intimate connection with the God of my understanding (GOMU), I can live my life one day at a time. The mastery of that small 24 hour rotation on Earth’s axis is the beginning of breathing freely. I take small actions, eat from the low hanging fruit, and trust the GOMU that cares about me to provide the best results for my life as we circle around the Sun. One day at a time.

Endigar 755

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

From Courage to Change of January 26;

I’d read the Twelfth Step many times before I saw it. But there it was: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps . . . ” What a promise! If I worked these steps, I’d have a spiritual awakening! There was hope, even for me!

Now that’s not why I first came to Al-Anon. Like many, I came to find out how to make someone stop drinking. It was much later when I realized that my life was missing a sense of direction only a Higher Power could provide.

Those wonderful Twelfth Step words gave me the encouragement I needed to begin at the beginning. Slowly, sometimes painfully, I worked my way through the Steps. In time, something amazing happened. I was filled with a sense of my God and His love for me. I felt whole. I knew I’d never be the same again.

Today’s Reminder

The Steps offer me a road map for living that leads to a spiritual awakening and beyond. I can’t skip ahead to the end of the journey – which can at times be a hard one – but I can put one foot in front of the other and follow the directions I’ve been given, knowing that others who have gone before me have received more along the way than they had ever dreamed.

The first time I ever hear the Twelve Steps read at a meeting, I became very still. I felt I was not breathing…I was just listening with my whole being…I know deep within me that I was home. ~ As We Understood

END OF QUOTE—————————————-

I have made it all the way into Step 9 several times, with a timid approach to Step 10 off and on and an old familiarity with Step 11 from previous spiritual training. Step 12 I have only touched once. I was burned in the attempt. I sponsored someone I held deep resentments for, believing that playing the martyr was the true path to that highly desired “Spiritual Awakening.” This was a familiar path in my past religious affiliation and in my co-dependent role as family diplomat. I desire this promise above all others. I need it. God never offers a superfluous gift.

I want to include something my daughter shared with me, a music video by a singer she was familiar with. I share it here because it seems applicable and because it is so very real and raw. The musician is Macklemore and the song he does is called “Drug Dealer.” The video aspect of this song amplifies the reality of this disease, so if the link I include goes dead, search for the Official rendering.

 

Endigar 754

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2016 by endigar

From Courage to Change of January 25;

Before I discovered Al-Anon I often used other people’s problems as an excuse to avoid my obligations. I loved the drama of another’s crisis and talked about it at every opportunity. My own life seemed increasingly trivial, and my problems felt silly.

It was therefore very difficult for me to focus on myself when I came to Al-Anon. I wanted to talk about the alcoholic when I came to meetings, but no one seemed interested. They all kept asking about me – how felt, what did, what wanted.

I found that I was overly interested in others because I had such a low opinion of myself. My Sponsor helped me to see that when I acted as if someone else’s life was more important than mine, I was harming myself. This had to stop if I wanted to learn to value my own experience. Focusing on myself was the beginning of building self-esteem. It took practice, but with the support I got in meetings, I grew more comfortable. I learned to talk about myself and to view my feelings, achievements, and concerns as valid and important.

Today’s Reminder

Today, if I’m tempted to gossip or to create a drama around someone else’s life, I will ask myself, “What is going on with me?”

“We talk about the part we played in our problems and how we change our attitudes and actions by applying the Al-Anon program to our lives.” ~ Al-Anon Spoken Here

END OF QUOTE—————————————-

When does compassion become self-destructive? My Higher Power and I are parents to that core being, that cosmic child hidden deep within. When I find in my moral inventory places where my parents failed me when I was a physical child, I am recognizing a responsibility on my part to re-parent my own inner psychic child. I cooperate with My Higher Power for this complete psychic change.

Compassion becomes self-destructive when it allows me to martyr my own core, and to give my inner parenting to intervene where I am not invited. I do more good demonstrating self-care than demanding it.

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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.