Linda G December 20, 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
Al-Anon gives me a priceless opportunity to do something for others. But let me not overlook the fact that helping someone else gives me more than I give. I have the satisfaction of lightening another's burdens. I can clear up misconceptions about the program that will help my friend make greater strides in setting her life in order. This in itself would be ample reward for me. But I also have the self-helping experience of clarifying my thoughts and seeing my own problems in a new light.
No one in our fellowship is under obligation to anyone else. Let me not adorn myself with a halo for a good deed, for in doing it I have done more for myself than for the person I tried to help. The more light we generate for others, the better we can see ourselves.
Even a word spoken or written in a far-off land may reach me and throw new light on a perplexity of my own.
"How far that little candle throws his beams. So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
(Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice)
Courage To Change
"Each Al-Anon Family Group as but one purpose could help families of alcoholics." This is part of our Fifth Tradition, but how do we go about doing it? "By practicing the Twelve Steps." We must learn to love ourselves before we can truly love others. When we tend to our own spiritual needs, we make it possible for others to see that special something in us that they may want for themselves. The best sermon is a good example.
The next part of this Tradition talks of "encouraging and understanding are alcoholic relatives." We can all be more loving. Knowing that alcoholism is a disease can help us to respond with compassion rather than hostility.
Finally, "by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics," we acknowledge that love centered only on ourselves and our small family circle leaves us isolated. We are rich in opportunities to love because we are part of the Al-Anon family.
Today I will practice compassion. First I will be kind and loving to myself, but I will not stop there. I will extend this compassion to others. I am one among my fellows. When I offer unconditional love, it eventually comes back to me multiplied.
"Love is patient and kind, Love is not jealous or boastful, it is not arrogant or rude, Love does not insist on its own way.
Hope For Today
Detaching with love was of behavior I assumed would never be part of my recovery, even though I knew my resentment over having an alcoholic parent was destroying me. In spite of the negative effects of my bitterness, I couldn't imagine living without it. Without resentment, who would I be?
When I finally became tired of hurting, Al-Anon offered me tools to incorporate into my life. Listening to others share in meetings, reading Al-Anon literature, becoming involved in service, and attending Al-Anon workshops and conventions lent me a new perspective. This outlook gave me the opportunity to become a different and better person, one who enjoyed the serenity of acceptance. Simply put, I slowly came to the realization that my alcoholic parent had been incapable of meeting my particular expectations. In his own way and to the extent of his abilities, he had provided me with love, life's necessities, and support in all my endeavors. Finally, instead of seeing a completely empty glass, I saw that my glass was partially full. I realized that my growing up years could have been so much worse than they were.
My father's recent death showed me that, at some point, I began loving him with detachment. A sense of release washed over me as I realized I had to let go of the bitterness and resentment I once thought was permanent. In their place I have a new-found sense of freedom from resentments and hope for the future.
Thought for the Day
What role do my expectations as a child play in my difficulties as an adult?
"Relationships distorted by alcoholism and its effect on the drinker and on us are not healed overnight. It is not wise to expect too much too quickly."
This is Al-Anon, p. 9
Being cordial literally starts from the heart, as I see it. It begins with the deep-seated belief that the other person is important, genuinely significant, deserving of my undivided attention, my unrivaled interest, if only for a few seconds. Encouraged by such a belief, I am prompted to be sensitive to that person's feelings. If he is uneasy and self-conscious, cordiality alerts me to put him at ease. If he is shy, cordiality provides a really. If he is bored, cordiality stimulates and invigorates him. If she is sad, cordiality brings cheer.
What a needed and necessary virtue it is!
Put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Colossians 3: 14
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
Re: Linda G December 20, 2015 One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, Courage To Change, Hope For Today, Beside Blessings
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