Posts tagged Fellowship

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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Courage Pays

It takes great courage to face our darker side, the wreckage of our past.  When we honestly review the hurtful things we’ve done to others, and to ourselves it can be very painful.  We experience the actual feeling of emotions that we’ve avoided for years, or in some cases decades.

And we are not alone in this.  Most everything that I’ve heard when listening to someone’s 5th Step I’ve heard someone else talk about before.  These verbal revelations do not make me think any less of the people who share them.  On the contrary, I think more of them for having the courage to be so rigorously honest and allow themselves to be vulnerable with these disclosures.  It is a great honor to be entrusted with this information as a confidential partner in their recovery journey.  The fear involved can be paralyzing, even causing some people to stop breathing until I gently remind them to take some deep breaths.

And, they are not alone.  The stories they’ve carried around with them all these years that have caused shame and guilt and self-loathing are finally released and so are they from the darkness and isolation each story imposed.  The pain maintained by these secrets has less to feast on as people continue working through the Steps.  From Step 4 through Step 9 and 10, we are purging the obstacles to a happy, joyous and free life.  Free of restrictions from experiencing a new paradigm of how life can be for us.  We begin to see what is working, we can live in fellowship with others and things do get better.  The people in 12 Step programs will be there for us as we approach, and take the leap of faith over each hurdle on the journey.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am walking through the fear.”

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

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Fellowship

water-lilies-blooming

One of the greatest gifts of the 12 Step Programs is fellowship.  Whether we’re in AA, Alanon, both or another program many of us have barely lived our own lives – either focusing only on taking care of others in the case of most Alanons, or almost exclusively focused on ourselves as many AAs find themselves or a conflicting combination of both in very unhelpful ways. 

If we weren’t isolating as so many alcoholics do, we were feeling alone in our martyrdom as codependent family members.  When we come to the 12 Step programs we find that we are not alone.  No longer are we exclusive in our uniqueness.  As we attend meetings and listen to others share their experience strength and hope we start to hear bits and pieces of our own stories.  The feelings shared about resonate with our own and we gain encouragement and hope for a better way of life.  We learn to reach out for help and we learn to be there for our fellows when they reach out.

The best examples of fellowship come after the meetings, just staying after and talking with others or going out for a meal or activity afterward is where we start getting to know each other.  Thanks to potlucks, program dances, round ups and other conventions, picnics and barbecues at homes and even service work we become friends as well as comrads in this new lifestyle and we find even more to be grateful for in the programs.

     – If you find this helpful, pass it on to others.

Affirmation for the Day – ” I am completely lovable.”

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

Course In Miracles Lesson – Beyond this world there is a world I want.

Practice – Beyond this world there is a world I want.  I choose to see that world instead of this for here is nothing that I really want.

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