One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
There is an old German folk tale in which the Good Fairy brings a child one gift: the ability to foresee the outcome of everything she does.
It is a gift we all could use, especially when we give way to despair and decide, at all costs, to free ourselves from a situation that seems unendurable.
If we could visualize the outcome of a move such as breaking up a marriage, for example, we might not be so ready to deprive our children of a parent; we might shrink from the heavy responsibilities we'd have to meet. Above all, we would still have to contend with our own shortcomings, the very ones that may have helped to bring us to the point of desperation.
If I want to make a major change which affects other lives as well, let me first consider the possible outcome. Have I really tried to examine and correct my own faults? Is there a way for me to improve my attitude? I will let the great decision wait until I have tried that!
"The truly wise solution may lie in improving myself."
Courage To Change
The unpleasant things other people say or do have no power to destroy my peace of mind or ruin my day unless I permit it. Do I allow myself to respond to the words of a sick person as if they were the ultimate truth? Could I possibly be getting some benefit from accepting humiliation?
Sometimes I wonder. I played the martyr role for a long time. My suffering brought me a lot of attention and pity. I grew accustomed to blaming others for my problems, and I avoided taking responsibility for my own life. In other words, I suspect I may have benefited from my pain. But those benefits are no longer worth the price.
Today I am finding out who I really am with the help of my Higher Power and the Al-Anon program. There is a beautiful person within me who has no need to build an identity around suffering. I am learning to let that person blossom instead of hiding behind a cloak of suffering. I don't want to miss any more of the wonderful opportunities available to me to live, grow, and enjoy.
There is so much to appreciate in this life. I won't waste another moment feeling sorry for myself.
". . . the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances."
Hope For Today
I like how Step Three begins. It states, "Made a decision . . .," This means I have an active choice to turn my will and my life over to a Higher Power. No one is going to force me. No one is going to make me do anything. My recovery is my choice. What I choose to do with my will and my life is my decision, and today I choose to turn it over to the God of my understanding.
What a relief it is to finally make that decision and to realize that I don't have to do or fix everything. I have begun to learn what he is and isn't my responsibility. I feel lighter knowing that my Higher Power is with me 24 hours a day to help me with my life and its challenges. From the smallest decision to the largest, I pray, "God, what would you have me say and do today?"
This process of turning my will and life over to God sounds so simple, yet it certainly didn't happen at my first meeting! Actually, it didn't happen for a long time. I had to build the foundation for my Step Three decision, first by diligently working Steps One and Two. Taking Step Three was a natural outgrowth of that groundwork.
Along the lines of "Progress, not Perfection," my relationship with my Higher Power evolves day-to-day, one day at a time. What a gift I have been given! Turning my will and my life over to a Power greater than myself provides me with a bottomless well of love, peace, and serenity, if I choose to drink from it.
Thought for the Day
Choices are important parts of Al-Anon recovery. What do I plan to do with mine today?
"The first phrase of Step Three, 'Made our decision,' shows us that we have choices."
Paths to Recovery, p. 28
Jesus mastered the art of maintaining a clear perspective while accomplishing every single one of His objectives. Though we never read of His hurrying anywhere, He managed to fulfill the complete agenda. Just before the agony of the cross, He told the Father that He had "finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4, NKJV). At only seconds before He drew His last breath, He made that epochal statement, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Nothing essential was left undone.
The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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