One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
Today let's think about our intentions. The word will suggest to many of us the vast gap between what we intend to do, and what we actually do. We intend to be kind and tolerant, but some uncontrollable impulse changes our attitude into something we later find ourselves regretting. We intend to accomplish so much, but unless we start out with a realistic estimate of what we are capable of doing, we fall far short of our expectations. We intend to make a good life for ourselves and our families, but we seem constantly to be deflected from it by others. Or we permit the actions of others to prevent us from fulfilling what we hope to do.
My intentions are good. When I do not fulfill them, I am disappointed; I may even be weighed down by a sense of guilt. How can I avoid this? I will try to clarify my intentions, decide what I really mean to do, say and accomplish. This will help me keep my life on a satisfactory, productive course.
"Let me first be sure what I intend and the reasons for my choice; this will guide my thoughts into constructive channels, and keep me from attempting the impractical or impossible."
Courage To Change
One effect of alcoholism is that many of us are reluctant to get close to people. We have learned that it is not safe to trust, to reveal too much, to care deeply. Yet we often wish we could experience closer, more loving relationships. Al-Anon suggests a gentle way of approaching this goal: sponsorship.
By asking someone to sponsor me, I express a willingness to experience more intimate relationships. When he or she is there for me, returning my calls, offering support, caring, I develop a basis for trust. I realize that my Sponsor also has a life and that sometimes he or she will not be available. Because our relationship shows me that people can be reliable, I am better able to reach out to others in the fellowship.
My sponsor helps me to learn to receive love, but I also learn about giving. Someone who demonstrates unconditional love and still takes care of his or her own needs and to offers support without telling me what to do can be a wonderful role model. I can best put what I learn into practice by passing it on.
Intimacy can be one of life's great gifts. I will avail myself of its benefits by reaching out to an Al-Anon friend today.
"The interchange between Sponsor and sponsored is a form of communication that will nourish both of you."
Sponsorship--What It's All About
Hope For Today
One of the most beneficial things I have learned from my Al-Anon experience is to be consistent in my thoughts, words, and actions. In my alcoholic home, I learned to mask uncomfortable situations with words and actions I thought would promote harmony. I have since learned that agreeing with others simply to keep peace causes me to be resentful. As difficult as it may be, today I won't automatically concur with the thoughts and opinions of others. If I have a different point of view, I express it, then let go of the other's reaction. I practice "Live and Let Live" and "Let Go and Let God."
To be consistent, I need to know what I believe the Al-Anon program, especially through the Steps, helps me to gain clarity for myself. Such clear understanding helps me to be consistent in what I think, say, and do and sustains my serenity. Consistency helps me to practice "Keep It Simple" and saves me from the need to second-guess myself. It helps you to identify boundaries. Consistency helps me remain true to myself.
Thought for the Day
Al-Anon offers me the skills I need to define and express my beliefs without diminishing the integrity of others.
". . . Unity really starts within me. I think of it as a feeling of 'getting things together' inside my own head."
Alateen--a day at a time, p. 217
A number of years ago, I heard a Chinese man say, after going through two terrible wars and losing every member of his family, that he had come to realize his best times with God were early in the morning. In fact, he said, "I live by the motto: No Bible, no Breakfast." I don't remember anything else he said aside from his circumstances and that statement.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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