One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
There is an easier way to rid ourselves of painful thoughts and imagining than by following the philosopher's advice: "Empty your mind. . . ." It is to replace worry and distress with something pleasant.
When I do this, I am not running away from my troubles, but clearing my mind of confusion, so I will be better able to make decisions when the time comes to do so.
Constant dwelling on disturbing matters never solves anything; trying to follow the convolutions of a problem only makes me lose all sense of proportion about it.
I will turn to simple things: the contemplation of a tree or a cloud; writing a long-deferred letter or making something, perhaps of bird-house, a rag doll or a cake. I will deliberately lose myself in the new preoccupation so that when I come back from it, my thoughts will be freshened and ready to deal clearly with what I have to face.
"A change of scene, a new interest, a creative undertaking--these are healing medicine for the troubled."
Courage To Change
Amidst the constant turmoil and drama that surrounds most alcoholics, many family members and friends stop noticing what is going on with themselves. Something more important and life threatening always seems to intervene. And Al-Anon we learn to pay attention to our own behavior, thoughts, and feelings. We deserve this attention, and we need it.
But focusing on ourselves doesn't mean that we let other people walk all over us and pretend not to notice, or that whatever others do is acceptable. Nor does it imply that we should stop caring about our loved ones. Focusing on ourselves simply means that when we acknowledge the situation has it is, we look at our options instead of looking at the options available to other people. We consider what is within our power to change instead of expecting others to do the changing. As a result, problems have a better chance of getting solved, and we need more manageable lives.
Today, if I am troubled, I will assess the situation and consider my options. I will not wait for anyone else to change, but will focus on myself and the part I can play in making the situation a better one.
"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hope For Today
The Twelve Steps are the backbone of the Al-Anon program. I find the Second Step, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity," to be particularly meaningful. In any situation, particularly when I'm with my family, I need only turn to my Higher Power for help. For instance, while visiting my family on a holiday, I started to feel uncomfortable about the behavior and comments going on around me. I felt an overwhelming urge to "fight or take flight." Fortunately I had enough recovery to choose the latter. I went into another room, where I knew I would not be disturbed, so I could be alone for a few minutes. I prayed for serenity and guidance as well as for the ability to keep the focus on myself and a moment. I returned to the gathering refreshed and centered.
Later in the day I visited my brother. I made it a point to get to his home a little earlier than everyone else. I asked my sister-in-law, who is also in recovery, if I could use her room for a few minutes to pray and meditate. This made all the difference in the world, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the day with renewed serenity.
Thought for the Day
Being with my family for all or part of a day can be a stressful undertaking. Fortunately I don't have to be there alone. Conscious contact with my Higher Power is only a prayer away.
"I had started working the Second and Third Steps, not out of faith or belief, but because it worked for other people and maybe 'It' would work for me. And I believe 'It" did."
As We Understood. . ., pp. 239-240
When it came time for God to send His Son to earth, He did not send Him to the palace of some mighty king. He was conceived in the womb of an unwed mother--a virgin!--who lived in the lonely village of Nazareth.
In choosing those who would represent Christ and establish His church, God picked some of the most unusual individuals imaginable: unschooled fishermen, a tax collector(!), a mystic, a doubter, and a former Pharisee who had persecuted Christians. He continued to pick some very unusual persons down through the ages. In fact, He seems to delight in such surprising choices to this very day.
He has . . . exalted those who were humble.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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