Archive for April, 2010

Another Gem Of Sponsorship

I’m so grateful for the new learning that sponsorship continues to share with me in unexpected ways.

The great wonder and delight is how beautifully God’s grace works through sponsees to teach both of us about how to live life on life’s terms.  Each time a sponsee approaches me about a situation and how to deal with it in a new, more helpful manner, I have the honor and the obligation to share what I’ve learned that works.  These are opportunities to pass on the years of tradition shared with me through all of my sponsors and other program members – great wisdom.

What’s still amazing to me is the new learning that takes place for me as I hear these words come out of my mouth.  Nearly every time, what I say is reminding me of what I also need to focus on.  Or words I’ve heard and said so many times previously, express somthing in an entirely new way so I can apply it more effectively in my own life.  These are wonders of wisdom that keep passing on the serenity and sanity of the 12 Step way of life to all of us – truly, more “Promises” of the programs.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am listening to God speak through others.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Fellowship

 

Last night my sponsor hosted a potluck for her sponsees, and our sponsees.  It’s an annual event each Spring, and has spurred some of us on to host our own potlucks.  A festive event, it  truly promotes the tradition of fellowship in the 12 Step programs.

My ability to socialize with people without ulterior motives – like people pleasing to look good – or without artificial ingredients like alcohol, was undeveloped when I arrived in 12 Step programs.  Making friends and having fun wasn’t something I’d learned how to do naturally.  It’s a skill that’s been developed by observing others in the fellowships, and then practicing in safe gatherings with other program people.  Eventually, after practicing enough I was able to carry that skill for having fun and socializing into other areas of my life – work, our neighborhood, civic groups, friends and finally with my family. 

I’m pretty good at it now.  I know how to have fun, and people have described me as a fun person.  Other members taught me to do this by hosting potlucks, Thanksgiving open houses, game nights, restaurant socializing after meetings, program picnics and conventions or dances, popcorn nights, bowling or dancing outings (when we did these in groups it felt safe for those who needed to avoid alcohol) and other activities.  There are official and unofficial program events being organized regularly in many cities throughout the year.  Thank God!  It’s at these events that we really start to get to know each other and develop our friendships.  One more way we learn that we are never alone.  What a blessing to have the fellowship of the programs.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning how to be with others.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Expressing Feelings

Recently, a family member has been letting me know what emotion they’re feeling, when they’re feeling it.  What a welcome change. 

They are dealing with some stressful situations as are so many people, due to the economic down turn.  Although at times these emotions are accompanied by some bigger expression (louder voice, hand and arm gestures, facial expressions), the communication of the feelings is so much better than the previous acting out!  They’re working on expressing in a calm way using more words and less drama.  I focus on thanking them for letting me know what’s going on with them, we talk about it if they wish, and when they get to dramatic I can ask them not to take their frustrations, etc. out on the rest of us. 

The nice thing is that once this person gives voice to their feelings, any upset seems to dissipate or at least diminish, and we move on.  They’re getting much better at sharing their feelings. The 12 Step programs, coupled with therapy for those of us who seek it out, give us all a language to use to express ourselves which most of us were never taught.  Again, my belief is that when we know better, we do better.  Expressing our feelings in a timely fashion is one way to do better.  Expressing ourselves allows us to release ourselves somewhat from the pressure that can build up when we stuff those feelings.  This new way of showing up then allows us to be in the moment, the present, so we don’t have to miss anymore of our lives.  It’s a good thing.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am sharing how I feel.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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A Happy Medium

In the past year, I watched a member of a meeting laying the ground work to introduce a change to the meeting’s format.  It was 8 months ago when I first noticed this member in process with an agenda.  They built up to it slowly, and after about 6 months they introduced the idea during a business meeting.  Although I’m aware that the member used a bit of creative embellishment regarding how many people were concerned in order to bolster their motion, the same item has come up at least three times in the past.  The patience and strategy that went into the member’s move for a format change was admirable to watch. 

While going to meetings for years has meant seeing many ideas for changes introduced in business meetings, this has probably been the most shrewdly implemented.  While it didn’t necessarily achieve exactly what was on the person’s agenda, it did add a feature to the format that will make this person more comfortable, without making other members feel uncomfortable.  In other words, the result was a happy medium.  The group, as a whole, maintained unity through the process.  And perhaps this will be the last time the item needs to be addressed.

While many members were not particularly devoted to either the current format or the proposed change, the end result is that we were able to operate through the process in our meeting in a productive cordial fashion, without people developing hard feelings and becoming reactive as we might have prior to our 12 Step education.  Other than a little impatience over having to address this item again, people were cooperative and followed the decision making process decided on by the group.  It was a good example of the group conscience at work as stated in the 12 Traditions – especially for the newcomers who were present.   And that’s what we learn in 12 Step programs, how to make progress, accept and adjust to change, get along with others and show up in life in a way that is helpful and for the good of all.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning how to get along with others.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Green

We had much needed rain this weekend – and now the city is green!  Everything looks so fresh.  The trees popped into shades of yellow to medium green as they’re all in different stages of leaf bloom. The grass is now lush kelly green.  And this happened in only two days!

We can make our progress in the program just as quickly when conditions are right.  The conditions required are:

  • Willingness – In the AA Big Book they say this is the Key.
  • Sponsorship – We need good examples, and sponsors to mentor us into a new lifestyle.
  • Working the Steps – These prepare us to make the transition into a new, successful way of showing up in life.
  • Meetings – Where we glean more from the sharing of our fellows.
  • Rigorous Honesty – It serves us and others well.

These are just some of the conditions that help us bloom into a fresh new look at life.  And we flourish as the trees and grass in Spring.  Sometimes, things get worse before they get better.  I understand that’s not too unusual.  And, things do get better, without fail, in time.  Or, overnite!   All we need to do is stay connected, do what works, and keep our eyes on ourselves.  Our Higher Power takes care of the rest.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am doing what works.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Love

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary – together. 

What a blessing, and so nice.  Some of our past anniversaries we spent away from each other.  Alcohol was in the way.  This year we were able to celebrate our loving, our mountain wedding which was probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done – we laughed because of the blizzard that caught us off guard – and we also celebrated our perseverance.  We’ve both been through some tough trials because of alcoholism.  And the 12 Step programs, other programs, therapy, and our Higher Powers keep us moving forward.  I have learned about love through it all. 

Love isn’t what I thought it would be.  Mainly it’s a lesson in letting go of expectations, being grateful for the blessings and especially the little moments in each new day, and in patiently learning not to take everything so seriously.  Sometimes I wonder if our trials have made me more numb emotionally during the tough times.  Instead, it seems my ability to detach and lighten up about everything have really just improved.  I’m so much easier to be around.  My husband is too.  We have so much to be grateful for in our time together.  And the miracle is, he is still teaching me new things about love.  Thank You God!

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to love.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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Being Openminded

The story of how Lois Wilson started Alanon will be televised on Sunday.  Many in the 12 Step programs are looking forward to learning more about her journey.

Four months after finding Alanon, I went to my first closed AA meeting – because I belonged there too.  That was 25 years and 1 month ago.  Thank God I wasn’t too closed minded to consider that perhaps it would be helpful for me to look into another 12 Step program. 

Back then, there was a lot of opinion bandied about by the members in both AA and Alanon about the “other group’s” members.  Much of the opinion was gender based.  One day after arriving early for an AA meeting, a jolly older man – an oldtimer –  looked over at me and said, “I think you’re in the wrong meeting little lady.”  I smiled and assured him I was right where I belonged.  He meant well.  It just hadn’t occurred to him that a nice looking young woman could be wanting what AA had to offer.  In the earlier days of the program it seemed that most oldtimers suffered for many more years before reaching the same conclusion that some of us younger people were just blessed enough to be realizing much sooner.  Before we had as much to lose.  And if it weren’t for those oldtimers who were there to welcome us, unexpected as some of us were, we couldn’t be passing it on to the newcomers today.  Many of us showed up so much sooner because of those oldtimers “carrying the message” in the 12th Step.  I hope all 12 Step program members have an open mind to the value in all of our journeys, no matter what “side” of the programs we seem to be on.  It seems to fit in with the principles of the program.  I’m looking forward to learning more.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am keeping an open mind.”

Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.

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