One Day at a Time in Al-Anon
Why do I waste my precious time and energy trying to figure out what makes an alcoholic drink--why he doesn't consider his family, his obligations, his reputation? All I need to know is that he suffers from a disease--alcoholism, the compulsion to drink. Why shouldn't I have compassion for him and his illness when I am so ready to feel sorry for people who have other diseases? Do I blame them? Why do I blame him? Can I look into his heart and realized the true nature of his sufferings?
The fact that I am the spouse, child, parent, or friend of an alcoholic does not give me the right to try to control him. I can only make the situation worse by treating him like an irresponsible naughty child.
"On this day I promise God and myself that I will let go of the problem which is destroying my piece of mine. I pray for detachment from the situation, but not from the suffering drinker who may be helped to find the way to sobriety through the change in my attitude and the love and compassion I am able to express."
Courage To Change
I am writing my life story with every single today. Am I moving in a positive direction? If not, perhaps I need to make some changes. I can do nothing to change the past except stop repeating it in the present. Going to Al-Anon meetings and practicing the principles of the program are some of the ways in which I am already breaking out of unhealthy and unsatisfying patterns of the past.
I believe that my life is built upon layers of little everyday accomplishments. When I think this way, setting goals and taking small risks becomes nothing more than a daily striving to make my life better. Taking some tiny action each day can be much more effective than weeks and months of inactivity followed by a frenzied attempt to make radical changes overnight. It certainly leaves me more serene. When I face a new challenge, I try to take by beginning wherever it may be and start from there.
No one can make me change. No one can stop me from changing. No one really knows how I must change, not even I. Not until I start. I will remember that it only takes a slight shift in direction to begin to change my life.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Hope For Today
It's not my fault my parents and loved ones are alcoholics. It's not their fault, either. Alcoholism is a no-fault; it's a disease. I can recover from the effects of this family disease in Al-Anon.
I may never completely eliminate the effects of alcoholism on my life, but I can stop allowing them to affect me. Al-Anon offers me the tools and guidance I needed as a child but never got because my parents were suffering from a devastating illness. The Steps, Traditions, slogans, sponsorship, and service offer me a new road map to guide me into myself and the nature of my relationship with my Higher Power. Each minute, each hour, each day, I smile a little more, let go of yesterday at a little more, and live in today a little more. Each moment becomes the one I have always been waiting for. Each day becomes a precious collection of the many instances when I see myself as I truly am, a child of a loving Higher Power.
I can become the person I always dreamed of being with the hope and help found in Al-Anon. I have the freedom to start all over today. I do this with baby steps, "One Day at a Time." I can "Let It Begin with Me" and "Keep It Simple." All I need to do is begin somewhere by applying a slogan, reading Conference Approved Literature on a Step, where praying and meditating my way to a deeper relationship with my Higher Power.
Thought for the Day
Al-Anon is helping me to navigate life with ease, dignity, and hope. Today I will share my hope with others.
"Working a program for me means taking one of the tools--a slogan, a Step, the Serenity Prayer, the phone list, my sponsor--and using it in my life."
From Survival to Recovery, p. 107
Our part. Trust God whole-heartedly, in every corner of life, recognizing that He is the One in charge.
His part. "He will make your paths straight." The word means "smooth," "straight," or "even." In other words, He will smooth out your path. He'll take care of each of those obstacles on the trail ahead of you.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . . . He will make your paths straight.
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota
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