Linda G December 17, 2015 One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, Courage To Change, Hope For Today, Beside Blessings
One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
The husband of an alcoholic from an Al-Anon group in France writes to the World Service Office: "I recall our blackboard at school, the writing was often hard to read because of board had been wiped with a cloth that was loaded with chalk-dust. Then we would wipe it with a wet sponge and the board would be clean and black, so we could read clearly what was written on it.
"Is it not to same with the anxieties that trouble me? If I wish to erase them from my mind, I must not use a cloth full of dusty thoughts, but 'pass the sponge over it' so that no trace of what was written before can jumble up the fresh inspiration--the ideas I want to see and live with."
From every corner of the world people in Al-Anon reach out to each other with helpful thoughts. How vividly this young Parisian husband shows us the need to erase our useless anxieties from our minds and hearts!
"I pray that I may start each new day with a clean blackboard and write upon it only what is good for me."
Courage To Change
Again and again in Al-Anon meetings over the years, I heard the suggestion to pray for those I resented. My early attempts to follow the suggestion did me little good. Over time, however, it has become one of the most effective tools of my recovery.
What made the difference? I stopped praying for other people to change. It used to be, "Please God, let them stop hurting me," or "Show them that I'm right," or "Get them sober, and hurry!" Today I focus on what I can change, instead. I ask for a new way of thinking about the situation.
I keep in mind whatever is bothering me when I say the Serenity Prayer. What is it that I need to accept or change? I pray for the wisdom to know the difference, and to serenity and curried to follow through with what I learn. Finally, I pray that the person in question be given the serenity, love, and joy that I want for myself. We all deserve that.
Resentments mark the places where I see myself as a victim. I want to let them go because they cost me too much self-esteem. I will love myself enough to release myself from the closet in which resentments keep me locked.
"If we want to stop the vicious cycle of unhappiness, we must learn new ways of living, new ways of relating to each other."
How Can I Help My Children?
Hope For Today
Looking back to my childhood, I don't remember any secrets. I just remember not talking about certain subjects--such as sex, money, and religion. My family also had trouble communicating about love, fear, insecurity, and anger.
Years later my husband, three children, and I didn't share at all. We didn't even argue. We thought we were respecting each other by swallowing our thoughts and feelings about potentially hot topics. Actually, we were all emotionally frozen.
I am grateful Al-Anon has help me talk about almost any issue. Going to meetings and having time to share has been powerful for my recovery. I even told my 12-year-old daughter about a mistake I made and the amends I had planned to correct it. She looked so surprised, as if I had given her permission to be human, too.
Today my immediate family talks about all sorts of topics. We work hard at being honest with each other, and we are closer because of it.
Thought for the Day
Thanks to my healthy sharing and listening experiences and Al-Anon, I can risk being my true self with family members and allow family members to risk being themselves with me.
"I will dare to be myself."
Courage to Change, p. 24
Character threads don't "suddenly" snap. As the British expositor of yesteryear, F. B. Meyer, once put it, "No man suddenly becomes base."
Slowly, silently, subtly, things are tolerated that once were rejected. At the outset everything appears harmless, maybe even a bit exciting. But with it comes an "insignificant" wedge, a gap that grows wider has moral erosion joins hands with spiritual decay.
Be on guard!
There is a way which seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota