Linda G December 22, 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 has many treasures for me if I am willing to accept them, but none can do more for me then learning really to live in the present. That means being more aware of myself and of small happy things that often dramatize themselves into importance as I observe them with enjoyment.
No matter how grim the situation may be that has troubled all my waking thoughts, there are shining nuggets of pleasantness all around me to distract my mind from its cares. But I must be on the lookout for them so they will not be lost to me!
The noted scientist Huxley said it this way: "For every man, the world is as fresh as it was the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who has the eyes to see them."
This is a constructive and rewarding way to achieve the detachment so often mentioned in Al-Anon.
"God make me receptive and aware; restore to me my capacity for wonder."
Courage To Change
We often concentrate on learning the Al-Anon principles only to a particular family situation. There are, however, many simple ways in which we can keep the Al-Anon program with us wherever we go.
Some of us carry Al-Anon literature in a lunchbox, pocket, or purse, so that we can touch base with the wisdom of the program the minute we lose perspective. Before a difficult situation escalates, we might excuse ourselves and step outside for a moment of privacy. Whether we find ourselves in a shopping center, and office, or a hospital, there will almost always be a restroom available where we can collect ourselves. The telephone numbers of several Al-Anon members and plenty of change for a payphone can be life-savers. Many of us always keep an Al-Anon meeting list handy.
And prayer is available anytime, any place. It is undetectable to outside eyes, but it bears a seed of transformation that can bring the most unmanageable situation into perspective.
It is good to know about the tools of the Al-Anon program, but it is better to put them to use. Today I will remember that the program is available to me at any time of the day or night.
". . . The quality of our lives continues to improve as we apply the Al-Anon program not only to crisis situations but to our everyday lives."
. . . In All Our Affairs
Hope For Today
I turned my back on religion many years before my first Al-Anon meeting, so when the meeting ended with a closing prayer, I wondered how I could pray without feeling false. I close my eyes and bowed my head, but I didn't say the prayer. I feared someone would tap me on the shoulder and tell me to say the prayer. The prayer ended, and no one chastised me. Instead, I was given literature and encouraged to return.
Although I didn't know it when I first walked through Al-Anon's doors, the words "must" and "should" nearly ruined my relationship with my daughter and with my spouse. I had no awareness of the role that "iron rules" played in my life. My chattering mental voice apply these rules to myself, and in turn I applied them to everyone else.
Life was not comfortable because I was constantly on guard. Al-Anon help me see that right and wrong were not the issues. The important issues were maintaining my serenity, making contact with my Higher Power, and keeping my mouth shut about other people's business.
I used to think of myself as a responsible, disciplined adult. Yet the love and support of my fellow Al-Anon members showed me that my rigidity was a wall that hid my fear. Acceptance of my self-doubts enabled me to start turning away from the "musts" and "shoulds." Now I am with myself and others. Years after my first meeting, I stand gratefully in the circle and choose to say the closing prayer.
Thought for the Day
There are no "shoulds" in Al-Anon. The program only suggests I practice the Steps, Traditions, Concepts of Service, and slogans to the best of my ability.
"In addition to offering healing for a hurt spirit, the fellowship offers empathy and choice."
As We Understood . . ., p. 29
There is Someone who fully knows what lurks in our hearts. And knowing, He never laughs mockingly and fades away. He never shrugs and walks away. He understands completely and stays near.
Who, indeed, knows? Our God, alone knows. He sympathizes with our weaknesses and forgives all our transgressions. To Him there are no secret struggles or silent cries. He hears. He sees. He stays near.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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