Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Almost Home!

We're almost back home where it's warm (to us) although everyone there is complaining of the snow and cold. (Strange how it's all about one's perspective, one's attitude.) We're so close now that I took off my long johns and took out my fingerless gloves, and left the hat in the car tonight when we went out for Chinese. I'm also thinking it's time to get back on my diet when just a few days ago I was thinking I needed to put on weight to stay warm! Oh, how I wanna go home.... See you soon my dear friends in the program!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Insanity Just for Today...

Insanity for me today is continuing to try to download my email via Yahoo while on the road when I keep getting the same error messages (which I have never gotten before anywhere in the world) and I have been unable to fix the problem or ...

Solution 1: I can contact people via the telephone if I really need to communicate... just for today...

Solution 2: I can work on writing that article for the FORUM instead... just for today...

Solution 3: I can read offline or online (other people's blogs)... just for today...

Solution 4: I can take a nap like my dog is... just for today...

Solution 5: I can blog myself, which I'm doing... just for today...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Why We Keep Coming Back

We keep coming back for ourselves, of course, but after a while there is another very important reason. We keep coming back for others, especially the newcomers. What would we have done if no one had been there for us? Think about it. Remember yourself as a newcomer...

I experienced this today when I visited a meeting out of town. I didn't really feel like I needed a meeting, I just know that I do better if I go to one or two meetings a week. Turned out, though, that the only ones who showed up for this meeting the day after Thanksgiving were four members of the same family, three of whom were newcomers.

The experienced member asked me if I could lead the meeting even though I was visiting. Yes, I said, I just needed a format or a piece of literature with the steps. (I hardly ever say no to service.) The topic was easy, a newcomer's meeting. And you know what else? It was okay to have crosstalk today. It worked when it usually doesn't.

So as we travel this Broad Highway of Recovery, let us never forget to stop once in a while and visit a meeting or two or three or four. We never know when we will be carrying the message for a family member who just can't do it alone. None of us can do it alone, and I'm so grateful for the longtimers who were there for me when I was so very alone...

And I am so grateful for the opportunity over and over again to pass it on as it was passed on to me, the way it has been passed on in Al-Anon for over 55 years!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On Helping Others...

A Gift To All of You Who Commented on My Top Ten Gratitude List:

See the Photo Below :-)

And On Helping Others...

First and foremost, this is a selfish program. We help others to help ourselves. It is not a selfless program where we ignore our own needs. Many of us in Al-Anon come into the program having tried the route of giving, giving, and more giving with disastrous results. We gave too much to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

True, one of those reasons was to try and make our world more manageable, and so it was to help ourselves, but it was going about it all wrong. We were trying to fix others before fixing ourselves. And because no one has the power to change another, we never got around to changing ourselves. I go one step further, that no one has the power to change oneself, that only one’s HP can do that when asked.

So why am I writing this today? Because I was able to help a dear program friend this morning, someone who had helped me through a difficult time. We don’t try to give advice in Al-Anon, but I told her what she had told me – get yourself to a meeting or two and call your sponsor as well as other trusted program friends. Get your focus back on your HP and away from other people. Ask your HP for help, to take this obsessive behavior away.

What’s interesting is that the words I spoke were the words I needed to hear, that I needed to get my focus off of another person who had always been a negative force in my life and get it back on my HP and his/her will for my life Just for Today. I had all too quickly gone backwards to that Pity City, Population One, where I have spent way too many days and nights.

Now I need to reside along the Broad Highway of Recovery where I can share with others and they with me, and so get out of myself and isolation but give myself time alone and with my HP. I never need help another unless I am asked. I never again have to do for another what he/she can do for him/herself. And best of all, I can ask for help when I need it.

I am oh so grateful for this program of equals, our equality being based on our common struggles and imperfections, as well as our experience, strength, and hope. Amen and Amen.

Grandma and Me

She's 101 years young and was surprised to hear I am 52... it was just a few years ago, she said, I was a youngun' myself. The dog loves me unconditionally, too. I am blessed!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Top Ten Gratitude List

10. A long walk with my dog from my aunt’s house to downtown and back.
9. Time to do the exercises my personal trainer gave me for the road.
8. A serene view of perfectly painted old houses with swirling smoke from their chimneys in front of the hills during my morning meditations.
7. Time to shop at an uncrowded, friendly Safeway while eating a cranberry scone.
6. A dry, uncrowded freeway getting here – not bad for November in the Rockies.
5. Time alone driving and eating and reading and sleeping, enough time to miss my hubby so I was glad to see him when he got here last night.
4. A laptop he gave me and fixed so I can use it for work and program.
3. Time to sit at a Starbucks with my laptop and a Peppermint Mocha – tastes just like a Snowshoe without the effect. (Yes, I do drink peppermint schnapps in hot chocolate sometimes – whenever I’m getting a cold or a sore throat. But I’m not an alcoholic and I can only have one J )
2. A very short Al-Anon meeting last night because nobody else showed up. Perhaps the meeting time and place had changed but it was a good reminder to me why I show up to my meetings back home, for others as well as myself and for the newcomers. What would I have done without the longtimers who were there for me?!?
1. Time with my grandma who is 101-years-young! She still lives in her house by herself, although my aunt built a house on her extra lot so she could take care of her. That’s why I’m here, to grannysit so my aunt could go to her grandson’s wedding. It is so peaceful, serene, to be at my Grandma’s where I spent the happiest days of my childhood. She has always loved me unconditionally and is my role model for such. Her secret to longevity and health (she takes no medication!) she told me a few years ago is not to hold grudges. What a lesson! Thank you, God, for Grandma! Thank you that she has lived long enough for me to truly appreciate her and now to spend time with her, even if it is sitting in silence while we eat or she sleeps a lot while I do a few chores or watch TV. And especially for her gratitude when I make her a cup of coffee. Every time she says, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoox

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We Are Powerlesss Over...

Wind >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Restaurant Food %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Wireless Connections ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Noise in Motels @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Gas Prices $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Family <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Happy Trails To Anyone Else Out There Traveling for Turkey Day!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What A Difference A Week Makes!

I can't share too much about what has happened in my family this last week except to say that something I considered my fault turns out to be a blessing. So is it now to my credit? Actually, no, no more than it was my fault. It is what it is. I don't have as much power as I thought I did.

However, I do have the Power to love and accept others where they are at today. I have the Power to not judge, to not belittle, to not shame. I have the Power to stand beside those who are hurting and lend a hand should I be asked. And I have the Power to stand up for myself, if necessary.

My Higher Power usually only asks me to be willing. Twice this year, I was willing to do something I could have never done without my years of recovery. Both times, however, I didn't have to follow through. I realize that the lesson was to change my attitude, nothing more and nothing less.

So I look forward to the next lesson and the next and the next...

Monday, November 06, 2006

On Forgiveness

I've spent the last week both angry and depressed, my only two emotions before recovery. My anger is outward, blaming others. We all know that emotion. Sometimes it is destructive but many times it is telling and almost necessary to understanding what is unacceptable behavior. So as long as we don't act upon our anger and cause more destruction than the cause of our anger, it is okay. It is justifiable.

I can always feel the difference between this kind of anger and the kind that takes flight and starts bombing both the guilty and the innocent. I've even learned to express my justifiable anger tactfully and with kindness, really. I did this the last time my spouse drank. I told him I was leaving, that I could no longer live with his drinking and driving. That I could no longer live with the legal and financial ramifications when, not if, he got caught. I had nothing left to learn living with an active alcoholic.

But something else happened to me this last week besides justifiable anger that soon disipated as I gave it to God and forgave the offense. I became angry with myself for my actions/words years ago which I thought I had forgiven, because I believed that those actions/words were the cause of what I was angry about. I thought I was so powerful as a parent, that my child's behavior more than a decade later was my fault. And so I let myself fall into depression, blaming myself, feeling sorry for myself, because I had not been a perfect parent.

It comes down to forgiveness, not just of another's actions/words but of my own. I have not truly forgiven myself, so my actions/words continue to haunt me and cause me anguish. They control me still. But not for long, for this morning, everything I read pertained to forgiving myself. My Higher Power knows that I am finally not just aware of my need to do this but willing to take this step. To truly put the past where it goes, behind me. It doesn't mean I will forget it for it has been a great teacher. I forgive so much easier because I am forgiven...

There is so much I read this morning that I want to share with my friends in blogland, but this was the most powerful quote from a book my sponsor recommended to me more than a year ago. I have been plowing through it and almost stopped reading it, but I'm so glad this morning that I picked it up again. It's as if this is the message I was to gleam from this book. It was God's message to me today, and I only had to suffer for a few days before receiving it, before realizing that I needed to hit another bottom of sorts before being open to this great lesson:

"Forgiveness...has to do with letting go of the past--giving up the claim to control the past and refusing to be controlled by it." (The Spirituality of Imperfection, pg.223)

Amen and Amen!