Linda G December 29, 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
"There are some things I absolutely refuse to accept," says a member at a meeting.
This is too often true of someone who suffers from inordinate pride or is unable to admit she is ever wrong.
Before I decide I cannot accept this or that, I had better examine my part in the deadlock. Were my expectations unreasonable? Did I demand too much? Am I being confronted with a natural reprisal for my rigid, uncompromising attitude?
If we have hurt someone or demanded too much of them, swift retribution may dismay or infuriate us. Shouldn't we search out the causes and do something to correct them?
I they feel ever so justified in "taking a stand" but let me consider whether it was something I did that led to the crisis. To remain unyielding may result in disaster I am still less prepared to accept!
"We are quick enough at perceiving and weighing what we suffer from others, but we mind not what others suffer from us."
Courage To Change
There are times when everything the alcoholic in my life does irritates me. Sometimes he even seems to pour the breakfast cereal wrong! Although it's important for me to learn to recognize and protect myself from unacceptable behavior, that's not always what is going on. When I catch myself watching and criticizing every little detail of his behavior, I can use this as a signal that something is going on with me that I've missed or discounted. Am I afraid of an upcoming review at my job? Did something I heard at the meeting stir up unresolved anger from my past? Am I acting this way because of an old resentment I have chosen not to discuss? Making an Al-Anon phone call can help me to sort it out.
It can be almost as hard for me to give up criticizing as it is for the alcoholic to give up drinking--sometimes it seems so necessary! But though criticism and negative thinking can serve as a steam valve for my pain, they never solve my problems, only distract me from them. In the end, I only avoid getting to know myself.
"A man can detect a speck in another's hair, but can't see the flies on his own nose."
Mendele Mocher Seforim
Hope For Today
I've always had poor balance--unsteady on lender, unhappy hiking downhill, unable to put my socks on while standing. Some time ago I watched a karate black-belt competition. Much of the fighter's attention was focused on how his foot was planted on the ground. Only partial attention went to the other, airborne foot. I decided to undertake developing some of the same partnership with gravity, to learn to center myself over my planted foot. In time I became much better at putting on my socks.
Recently while picking my way across wet rocks beside a favorite stream, I felt a strong connection with the earth, my balance was sure, my choice of foothold certain and carefree. I could turn my attention to the scampering squirrels and grazing deer. I realized that in the same way I am learning to walk within the inexorable pull of gravity, I am also learning to center myself in God's will by using the many tools of Al-Anon, I am releasing my need to control, and I am learning to find my balance despite the strong, often unexpected winds of change and desire.
Thought for the Day
Little by little, one day at a time, by accepting the things I cannot change and changing the things I can, I will become more centered in God's gift of serenity.
"Al-Anon helps me to find some balance."
Courage to Change, p. 54
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. That is true of a delicious meal, a musical presentation, a play, a clean automobile, a well-kept home, a church, our attire, a business, a lovely garden, a sermon, a teacher, a well-disciplined family.
Let's make a long-term commitment to quality control. Let's move out of the thick ranks of the mediocre and join the thin ranks of excellence.
I am ready if you are.
I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota