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...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NOW I Know I Am Loved

Okay, so I couldn't come up with anything that works for NOW the way that Honest, Open, and Willing works for HOW. But that's okay. Maybe I can come with something for the PRESENT or the ZONE, or maybe I should simply hang out there "Just for Today." Even if it is snowing and cold compared to warm in the upper 60's yesterday and I'm already wishing this day away so I can sit by the fire tonight. It feels so much more cozy when it's cold and dark out than during the day when the light is dim and the clouds block the sun.

I've always had trouble with the afternoon, the in-between hours of the day. Maybe that's my problem, that I haven't learned to live and appreciate every hour of every day. That each day, I only like certain times and activities. So maybe this living in the NOW has to do with regarding each hour, minute, and second as precious as the next and as the previous. One is not better than the other. So what can I be grateful for at 1 PM in the afternoon, after lunch, when I am inspired to do nothing in particular? When I'd really like to have a coffee date with somebody later - something to look forward to besides dinner cooked by my hubby this evening and maybe a DVD to watch.

It's like time has stopped today, as if it is waiting for me to fill it with something, anything, other than my own thoughts of discontentment, impatience, and ingratitude. Think of how many people out there wish they had an afternoon with nothing they had to do? Think of all the time you spent in your life wishing you had an afternoon off to read, to watch an old movie, to write... Now be grateful for this space in your life to do whatever your heart desires, that is conceivably possible, and then do it.

Sounds easy. But it isn't for someone who was raised to fill every moment with being productive, that Sundays were the only days to be spent in repose. That the rest of the time, especially if you were female, was to be filled with taking care of someone or something other than yourself. Guilt surrounds me even as I write this, that I didn't have to fight the icy rush hour this morning and won't have to fight it home tonight to get back to my loved ones after a hard day at the office.

I should be looking at my list of household projects and following through, headstrong into the wind of "Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop" or the much more modern "Time is Money." I like what Oprah's magazine has to say in the March issue, that we are not our salary, or something to that effect. We are not our cashflow. We are not our GNP (gross national product). We are not our accomplishments or our number of friends or our children's education and jobs.

Our worth is the same thing we came into this world with - nothing more or less than we are children of creation and worthy of love and loving. Whatever your belief system, your self-esteem - how you feel about yourself - is intrinsically connected to your relationship to others and a God of your own understanding. If you were raised in a home like I was where your self-worth was based on how well you cooperated or fit in with the system set before you, then you have had to change those negative messages - those core beliefs about yourself that do not serve you well.

What does serve me well is realizing that my parents are sick and as such were not able to love me unconditionally. But through working the steps of Al-Anon, through helping others work the steps, through going to meetings and following the traditions, by doing service work and trying to follow the concepts, I have finally come to believe more than not that I have value and am loved and lovable. It still feels uncomfortable to open up to other people, to let them love me. To love them. But I'm doing it slowly, surely, like a rose slow to bloom, its petals finally freeing themselves from the safety of isolation.

I expose myself to the air, cold as it is today, knowing that I will falter and fail and sometimes fall, eventually wilting away, but not Today. Today, in this moment, in the eery afternoon light we're so unaccustomed to on the Front Range of Colorado, NOW, I know I Am Loved.


At Friday, February 15, 2008 9:18:00 AM, Anonymous Catherine said...

Good for you! Lovely post.


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