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...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I've Stopped Fighting

One of my character defects due to the "fight or flight" syndrome we Al-Anons often share is that I always seemed to need an enemy - at home, at work, or even in the program. But at Summer Assembly, when someone came up to me to ask if I heard the remarks someone else made and if I thought they were rebuking something we had done, I gently said, "No, I did not take it personally."

Then at the end of Assembly, I was approached by someone else who had a strong suggestion/correction about the way I was doing part of my position. I was actually able to take this constructive criticism by saying "Point taken. I hear you. I understand. I will change that and report the change next Assembly." Not only did I say the right things, I did not feel the immediate need to "fight or flight."

Suddenly, or so it seems, I've attained some of that maturity we are promised if we work this program. Thank you, God. How good it feels not to have any enemies. Instead I see loving individuals who share the same goals I do, both in the program, at home, and even at my other volunteer work. Live and let live. Amen.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

What I Learned at the International

1. I can be grateful that my father abandoned me when I was eight years old. The thought simply occurred to me when someone shared they were grateful that their fiance had left them.

2. If God wants me to make a connection with someone in particular, it will happen - over and over again without having to use cell phones or make plans.

3. If I don't respond like I want when someone recognizes me, I can ask God for a second chance to give that person a hug and my prayer will be answered.

4. It's quite alright to show some emotion when sharing at the mic - you might help someone else feel the feelings they had been stuffing also since childhood.

5. If you're not enjoying a speaker, still listen because you might hear what you need to "just for today." In the meantime, look around the arena and imagine all the recovery in the building.

6. I can forget my diet for a day and make up for the calories by walking all over Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - which is a beautiful city with stunning architecture.

7. My spouse's sobriety helps him deal with long lines and delays, even teaching some Al-Anons that getting angry is not the solution. He told one impatient lady that he can certainly stand in line to buy a bottle of water for his wife who spent many hours waiting for him when he was drinking.

8. I am able to get up early (when it's two hours earlier back home) in order to support Al-Anons from my Area who are speaking, even though I am definitely not a morning person.

9. I can actually be nice to my sober spouse 99.9% of the time, especially if I make the decision to enjoy his company for who he is now, rather than continue to live in the past when he was drinking.

10. I can make a new friend in Al-Anon while standing in line, even if English is her second language. And because I decided to go against my old nature and befriend someone else, I heard the lesson again that my Greater Power has been teaching me this year - "Imagine what it is like to be your father, to have never made amends to your daughter, to be old and estranged from her - imagine that and you will not only be compassionate, you will be able to forgive the person without forgiving the behavior."

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