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...

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Trap of Obsessive Thinking

Obsessive thinking is like quick sand. Once you fall into it, it's hard to get out. In fact, if you try to fight it, you make things worse. I fell into this trap yesterday and ended up feeling all the bad feelings and remorse I've ever felt, all in the same day! Needless to say it was a miserable day spent fighting with myself in my head. I kept telling myself to be grateful, then to look at the beauty around me, then to remember all the good in my life... all to no avail. I had already gotten myself in too deep. How true the quote on page 141 of Courage to Change:

"If you work on your mind with your mind, How can you avoid an immense confusion?"
Seng Ts'san

So how did I get out of the quicksand? I remembered one of the first tools I got from the Al-Anon program: the Serenity Prayer. Since nothing else had worked, I decided to try it. I said it over and over and before I knew it, all the bad thoughts and feelings were gone, just like the rain clouds I'd been under for almost a week. The sun broke through at the same time I forgot what I had been so upset about. And I ended a miserable day happy and content, enjoying a beautiful pink cloud sunset instead.

Now if I can just remember the next time not to go there, at least not alone: "If there is something I cannot contemplate without becoming obsessed, I will respect that fact and act accordingly. I will gather the strength and support of my Al-Anon program, my friends, and my Higher Power before I try to reason it out." (page 141, Courage to Change)

Lesson learned, again...

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lighten Up! Let It Begin With Me.

So my goal lately, after a long time of being serious, is to lighten up. I decided this after watching the audience's response to a popular circuit speaker. They were laughing. They needed to laugh. Too often we Al-Anon's forget about humor. AA's Big Book recognizes that alcoholics are not a glum lot. And neither are we. In fact, newcomers are often surprised when we laugh in meetings about alcoholism. How can this be funny? they think. And I often think the same thing, not just about alcoholism but every thing else. Oh, woe is me. Life is so hard. The world is such a scary place. But I'm trying something different, to look at the bright side of things, even the funny side. So "let it begin with me" is a good slogan to use, since I know I can laugh at myself without hurting anyone's feelings. And when I speak, I can tell my funny stories about how crazy I was and still am sometimes. However, that doesn't mean we don't talk about the serious business of recovery. It's just that people tend to perk up and maybe listen a little better if they've had a giggle or belly laugh and thus are relaxed. So I'm still learning, thank God!

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