One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
The subject of the meeting was our Al-Anon slogan Let Go and Let God. Three minutes were allotted to each member for comment. Here's what one member said:
"I don't want to shock anybody, but it seems to me some of us take this slogan far too literally. It doesn't mean to just drop all our problems and let God take care of everything. It's up to us to use the intelligence He gave us.
"An odd little thing happened this morning that illustrates the point. I was trying to thread a needle, one of those with a small round eye. I struggled with it, but the point of the thread always slipped by. Automatically I said to myself: 'Relax--let go and let God. But it still didn't work. Suddenly I got the message: I wasn't using the good sense He gave me. I took one of those long-eye embroidery needles from my pincushion, and quick as a wink it was threaded. A silly little incident, but it can apply to bigger things, too."
I won't always look to God to help me when I'm too lazy to do my share of thinking.
"God helps those who help themselves."
Courage To Change
Here's one of the most useful lessons I've learned in Al-Anon: If I don't want to be a doormat, I have to get up off the floor. In other words, although I can't control what other people say, do, or think, I am responsible for my choices.
Looking back, I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behavior was directed at me, but I was the one who sat and took it and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways I was a volunteer.
Today, as a result of my recovery in Al-Anon, I know that I am not helpless. I have choices. When I get that old feeling that tells me I am a victim, I can regard it has a red flag, a warning that I may be participating (with my thoughts or my action) in something that is not in my best interest. I can resist the temptation to blame others and look to my own involvement instead. That's where I can make changes.
It can be very empowering to take responsibility for my own choices. I will act in my own best interest today.
"I would do well to accept the challenge to look to my own recovery before I spend any more of my precious life wishing the alcoholic would change . . ."
Living with Sobriety
Hope For Today
As a child I grew up waiting for my alcoholic parents to show me the love I needed. When I left home, I transferred this expectation to my alcoholic boyfriend. I lived for his love and waited for him to change his behavior, which I felt was hurting me. As long as I clung to my hope that he would love me the way I wanted to be loved, I remained a prisoner of alcoholism.
After coming to Al-Anon for a while, it dawned on me how much of my life had been spent waiting for others to change so I could be happy. I had wasted so much time trying to change the things I couldn't control. When I finally accepted I couldn't regulate my boyfriend's drinking, I was set free. I also realized my powerlessness over family members.
I felt some regret along with the spiritual awakenings, but Al-Anon kept me busy learning about alcoholism as a disease and moving forward with the Steps. I wondered why I should try to fight alcoholism, so I decided to admit that alcoholism is more powerful than I. Now I am free to discover the person inside me who is spirited, fun, loving, and lovable. Today I am learning to give myself the unconditional love and acceptance I always wanted from people who didn't have it to give.
Thought for the Day
What can I change so I can be happy? Is this realistic?
"The only person who can love me the way I want to be loved is me."
Courage to Change, p. 107
Pearls are the products of irritation. This irritation occurs when the shell of the oyster is invaded by an alien substance like a grain of sand. When that happens, all the resources within the tiny, sensitive oyster rush to the irritated spot and began to release healing fluids. . . . By and by the irritant is covered--by a pearl. Had there been no irritating interruption, there could have been no pearl.
No wonder our heavenly home has pearly gates to welcome the wounded and bruised.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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