Archive for January, 2011

Full Swing

The semester and my internship are in full swing now.  And so far, so good.  It’s been a treat to be in more advanced classes that really focus on application of the knowledge.  Our projects make good use of the theory we’ve learned over the past several semesters and we’re doing mostly projects and papers, with very few tests.

I’m grateful for the switch to application.  For me, that is how real grasp of the material is guaged – by how well we can apply it in real time situations.  Although it’s a little daunting now to have the responsibility of working with clients solo at times, the learning curve is making itself known and that in and of itself tests me.

It seems to be the same with the 12 Step Programs.  With our sponsors, we work through the 12 Steps to learn the information.  But how to apply these new skills is another learning process all together.  With guidance and direction from our sponsor we learn to use the tools of the 12 Steps appropriately, wisely and we start to develop the critical thinking skills that so many of us grew up without.  The ability to think critically, to discern with an eye on everyone involved in the whole picture instead of just focusing on our own self interest is crucial to our growth.  It’s also crucial to maintain our sanity and serenity – from which spring the perfect conditions for The Promises that tell us we will be happy, joyous and free.  Thank You God.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am learning to use what I’ve learned. ”

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

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Considering Others

Our little black cat is getting older, nearly in his 16th year.  He’s changing.  He wants to be on my lap most of the time when I’m home and stationary.  Since he’s deaf now, he sometimes roams from room to room meowing to see if we’re in the room or not because he can’t hear us.  When we come in the front door, he notices the vibration of our snow stomping feet, but at times he runs to the wrong door to greet us.  It’s sad and a little cute to see him muddling his way throught this new way to be on the planet.

His world has changed.  His ears don’t move anymore.  His whiskers are turning white.  He can’t hear the birds that he used to chatter at each day during his daily window visits.  He gets a bit startled when we walk up behind him since he didn’t hear us coming.  And he’s starting to sleep a lot more.

What I miss the most is playing fetch with him in the living room.   He can’t hear the tin foil ball anymore so he doesn’t know where to run to fetch it.  And the vision in one of his eyes is impaired from the neighbors cat when it invaded our yard 2 years ago, so he can’t see motion and distance as well.  Sometimes he misses when jumping up and then looks at us like, “What happened?”  Life is changing for our little black cat, and I’m happy to lift him up every once in a while or make room for him to nap on me for comfort.  It’s the least I can do for all the pleasure and entertainment he’s added to our lives through the years.  And even better, it get’s me out of myself and focused on another being in the world so I don’t have to obsess or compulse about the unimportant things in life.  He is a blessing and a reminder of how important it is to consider others, even the four leggeds.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am thinking of others. ”

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

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“Firsts”

Last week I took on my first clients.  It’s an awesome responsibility, and was a little anxiety provoking.  And all went well.

It was another in the series of “Firsts” in my life.  When we’re younger we seem to have so many “Firsts” to our days – sometimes several an hour when we’re little people.  But as time goes by, the “Firsts” lessen and we get a little lax in our view of each day, getting used to the usual and regular happenings in our life.  It’s fun to have new “Firsts.”  I look forward to them, even when they’re a bit daunting.  They make life more interesting and exciting. 

Speaking only for me, I hope the “Firsts” never end.  If they do, it means my life is shrinking and I’m probably not experiencing much of a life at all.  That doesn’t mean I can’t have a calm, peaceful lifestyle.  It just means that even spending time with a new book, or noticing a new bird on one of my walks is a “First” for that day.  When my life is full, my heart is full and Firsts are springing up all over.  It’s fun and fulfilling to live a life full of “Firsts” mingled in with the comfortable, gentle routing of a peaceful and joyful life.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am experiencing something new today. ”

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

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Service Working

When I do more of the things in front of me to do – and think less about doing them in advance – I get more done.  And what is then completed happens faster and more easily than most of my anticipation of them would have indicated.

In other words, it’s important for me to stop writing stories about things and people, and instead, stay in the moment.  When focusing on the future, my magic magnifying mind is expending unnecessary life energy on things that aren’t real.  They haven’t happened yet.  And when it comes to that type of musing, it’s usually a waste of my time.  It would be more helpful for me to get into action for myself, or look for opportunities to be of service for others.

I’ve been recommending to sponsees lately that they focus on doing more service work to help them get out of themselves and stay more sane and serene.  I know how well it works to do service work if I want to stay sane and serene – it gets me out of myself.  It distracts me from unproductive, unhelpful meanderings through the “what ifs” that usually bear no resemblance to reality.  Before I know it, I FEEL BETTER!  And it’s probably because I’m being of use to my Higher Power in a way that’s a great blessing and overwhelming for me.  Thank God for service work.  It works every time.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am being of service today. ”

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

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Surrounding Support

An alcoholic in my life is not really recovering.  He’s white knuckling it, doing it on his own without meetings of any kind, therapy or any real support.  He’s doing the same thing, expecting different results.  I hope he stays dry because he isn’t acting sober, as in sane and serene.  Instead, he’s isolating and has become angry, arrogant and grandiose about how “well” he’s doing.  He doesn’t look so well to us.

For years those of us who love this person have expressed our concern for his well being.  He’s been through treatment three times, but probably hasn’t really hit a bottom yet.  I for one am staying out of the way so that he can either seek help, or eventually hit bottom.  Enabling is unhelpful.

We all know that this habitual loner would thrive and flourish with the regular support of meetings, a sponsor, sober fellowship and therapy to deal with the trauma from his childhood.  With a supportive group of sober friends surrounding him, to reach out to for help and guidance, this man can receive The Promises talked about in the AA Big Book.  If he will just surrender and allow the love and generousity of the sober community wash over his thinking and lifestyle to soften his hardened heart – he will be transformed.  Under all the anger he carries is the fear of the child in all of us that just wants to be loved and thrive.  There is great power in surrender.  And it’s all in God’s time, not mine.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am staying out of the way. ”

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

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One Thing At A Time

In the process of continuing the decluttering it seems space is opening up more each week, and then we hit a wall.  It’s hard to say where all of the little stuff comes from, but that’s what appears to make the most impact in our space – lots of little stuff adds up.

So the first thing for me to focus on today is gathering most of the little stuff together and tossing, recycling or putting it where it really belongs instead of the nearest empty space.  Attending to the little things daily opens up the space more so I can clearly see the big things.  As with the program, daily maintenance gives me more clarity to see the larger challenges standing in the way of my peace of mind and serenity.  Once identified, I can then take appropriate action to refine the good qualities we have and replace the qualities that limit our happiness and our ability to be of service to our Higher Power.

Although it may seem like simple common sense to conduct myself this way in life, it does require some focus and a conscious choice on my part.  And doing one thing at a time makes the entire process more manageable.  I know it’s not possible to do it all at once, but one piece at a time feels comfortable. and when once item is attended to my motivation to continue to the next item is usually increased.  I actually just took a relaxing deep breath contemplating how simple it is to do one thing at a time.  I’m ready to start.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am taking it one thing at a time. ”

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

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Good Reminder

The neighbors cat attacked me today.  I was minding my own business, doing homework when there was a knocking at our back door.  From the window I saw it was the cat from two doors down, trying to get inside.  If it hadn”t been below zero today my choice would have been to go right back to doing my homework.  However, at that temperature, and since he was holding one paw up as if it were frostbit or injured I sprang into action.

How Alanon of  me.  Over my pajamas went the long winter coat, hat, double gloves and big boots.  Once outside, he was nowhere to be seen.  So I called for him and when he appeared I coaxed him to follow me to his home where raising my gloved hand to knock on his owner’s door appeared to alarm him, and he flung himself at my left leg.  His owner answered, took him in, and we were just exchanging numbers for any future alerts when I checked my leg and commented on the drawn blood from the attack.  He apologized, and home I went to wash out the wounds and rinse the blood off the pajama leg.  Then it occurred to me…

I need to keep clear of this cat and continue minding my own business, even if he does appear to be in jeopardy.  With the owner’s number I’ll call instead.  Just like the alcoholics in my life with their verbal attacks of blaming and hurtful words, this cat may again unexpectedly launch a harmful physical attack upon me even when his best interest is my only goal.  As with the alcoholics, I need to let him whirl.  I need to let him take care of himself and steer clear of his unpredictable, apparrently fear based aggression.  The result of my well intended interference can cause me harm that I’d rather avoid.  Besides, there’s too much going on in my life to extend energy into an area where it is unappreciated, and more than likely, unnecessary.  No rescuing required.  This was a good reminder!  Staying on track and taking care of me and what’s in front of me to do suits me nicely, thank you.  And the 12 Step program encourages me to do just that for the best results – for me.  And the best results for others as well.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am taking care of me. ”

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

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