Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day

I attended our local AA Round Up Convention this weekend.  The speakers are so inspiring and seem to be doing God’s work as they carry the 12 Step messages of Alanon and AA. 

What I noticed this year is that they still ask all of us to join together in a moment of silence for the Alcoholic who still suffers.  This is an important tradition.  It reminds us of how far we have come, and also of the sacred responsibility we each have to continue to carry the message to others who suffer.  There but for the Grace of God go any of us.

This is a weekend when we remember those who have gone before us – our relatives, our soldiers and those in the 12 Step programs who made our sanity and serenity possible by going to meetings every week.  Where would we be without their persistence and patience.  Carrying the message is an opportunity to be of service, give back to others what has so generously been given to us, and experience the gifts that come from being present for other people on their recovery journey.  It is both a blessing and a privilege, and reminds us of just how far we have come and how great are the Promises of the 12 Step programs as listed on p. 83 of the AA Big Book.  Thank You God, Thank You God, Thank You God.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am willing to pass it on.”

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

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Respect and Dignity

Today in class we talked about methods of teaching and creating change.

We actually learn these skills in the 12 Step programs.  Extending ourselves to people in a respectful way that allows them their dignity is a major concept to employ.  As we engage in dialogue with others, we can stay open-minded and curious enough to ” understand ” what they are saying, why they’re saying it, and what we may have in common – even if we seem to be diametrically opposed on a specific topic.  Perhaps there are more areas where we agree than we might have imagined.  The main goal is to understand more about the other person.

When we understand more, we can have more compassion, tolerance, patience, regard and admiration for as well as relationship with people and life in general.  I’m still learning about these concepts.  My classes are now enhancing the firm foundation that 12 Step Programs have nurtured in me over the years.  If I can stay out of the way, let go and be respectful, there is even more opportunity for me to learn from others.  I like that.  We can all learn from each other – if we choose to do so.  Respectfully.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am seeking to understand.”

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

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Moving Forward

 

Yesterday my husband took some action that will make a positive impact on our family.

I’ve watched him struggle over when to move forward and do what it takes to make progress in this one area.  My inclination would have been to get in there and give him gentle nudges to get things done – or worse, control!  But I didn’t.  Instead, my solutions were to talk to my sponsor, pray, and pretty much let it go – because it’s really out of my hands.  The truth is, I’m powerless over this one.

And, I do have a voice.  One of my classes compelled me to share my feelings with my husband about the situation, check on one aspect of it, and then let him decide what to do.  Yesterday, he did the next right thing to do about it.  Progress.  We’re a little closer to some healing for our family which only he can steward.  His taking action tells me that he really heard me when I shared my feelings about the situation – not my thoughts.  My feelings were mine, and there was no judgement attached to them.  For me this is huge progress from 5 years ago.  For him it’s probably a great relief (I’ll have to ask him).  Either way, I’m grateful that both of us are moving forward – together.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am letting go more easily.”

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

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Feeling Grief

A woman who’s working through the process of grief and loss, remarked that she wishes the sadness and pain were over. 

What we know about grief and loss is that, particularly when it involves events highest on the stress scale, the process takes time.  This woman is dealing with the loss of a marriage, her current home, and even more importantly – an old way of being.  She has increased her meeting attendance to at least 5 meetings a week, is seeing a therapist, and is calling her sponsor more often.  Yet, she’s still experiencing unfamiliar pain and sadness.

That’s how grief works.  When we start working the Steps and practicing the principles of the Programs we start to feel again.  And as nice as that can be regarding the pleasant feelings, it can be very uncomfortable and demoralizing when we feel the pain too.  What it’s taught me is that experiencing the sadness, pain and sorrow is what helps us truly enjoy and appreciate the happiness, excitement and peace.  And grieving is a process.  As much as we might wish it to be an event, in the case of divorce some professionals say to give it a good 2 years to work through the whole of it and start finding a new place for ourselves in life.  Sometimes, it takes longer.  It requires patience.  One thing I’m sure of, if we don’t push through it when it happens, it will re-surface down the road – most likely at inconvenient moments.  And we are not alone as we work through it.  We have the fellowship of the Programs, and our Higher Power.  We are always in good company, and “This too shall pass.”

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am working through the process.”

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

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Celebration

One of my homegroup meetings just had a 26 year Anniversary. 

We celebrate each year with a pot luck meal that starts 1/2 hour before our meeting, a speaker story, and small group topic discussions afterward.  The usual format is a Step presentation, with small group discussions so this is a nice variation on our theme.  The food is always great, and the fellowship during set up, the meeting and during cleanup is animated and involves much smiling and laughter.

What a wonderful outlet for many of us who face challenging days.  And every meeting I attend is actually a celebration of miracles in the lives of those in attendance.  Daily miracles in the sometimes weary who for an hour have a connection with those who’ve been where they are, who are recovering from the devastation of addictions and witnessing the positive transformation in their own lives and the lives of their fellow members.  Each meeting can serve as a bright light, a wayside rest in the process of recovery where we can renew, refresh and resume our recovery journeys, together.  That puts me in a space of gratitude.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to be part of the community.”

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

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Sharing

One of the things my husband and I are learning to do better is sharing – time, things, chores, money, food.  And now, even the gardening.

I’m noticing that we garden together well.  He’s learning what plants not to step on, weed out or accidentally break.  And he seems to be enjoying playing in the greenery.  It’s a different experience to have him out there with me, and it is providing a lovely perk.  We seem to be able to talk about some important, although not necessarily pleasant topics – like finances – quite well when we’re working in the garden.  Difficult subjects don’t end up being such a big deal when we have some lovely peas, radishes or asparagus to distract us a bit in between the tougher topics.

I like that easy way of being together even through the otherwise challenging times we’re facing financially, like so many others these days.  Our bank account may be weaker than usual, but the bounty of our garden and the helpful dialogue it promotes between us are booming.  We have much to be grateful for, and we’re learning to be together in knew ways.  Thank You God.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning more about how to share.”

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

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Working In A Group

Thank God I’ve learned a few things about getting along with people since arriving at 12 Step groups.  It’s coming in very handy with some of my class group projects.

One of the most important things my experience in the Programs has taught me is that I can like people, even if I don’t like some of the things they do.  Staying detached from other peoples’ ” stuff ”  gives my perspective clarity.  It’s unnecessary to get into any intolerance or upset if I don’t take their ” stuff ” personally.  It’s not about me.  It’s about something from their past that may bear a passing similarity to something in the current situation – but it’s not the same situation.  We can all be triggered so easily and unexpectedly.  Been there, done that.

My goal is to use my own challenges with this topic to stay centered, detached and maintain a compassionate and curious perspective.  If I don’t jump to any conclusions about other people and their behavior, but instead remain curious, it leaves room for more connectedness and peace.  With each new experience, my discernment improves.  And being gentle with myself is important.  I’m still learning.  Practice, practice, practice.  It works.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to be curious.”

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

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