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, August 12, 2008


Does anyone like the group conscience? I know I don't, even when I have put something on the agenda. I don't like conflict. I don't like people disagreeing with me. I don't like how I feel when I want to defend myself but need to keep my mouth shut because I've already shared enough. So I'd really rather just change things on my own or with the help of a few friends.

But that's not how Al-Anon works. I need to bring my item before the other members of my group for discussion and sometimes further discussion before a vote, if it even comes to a vote. This keeps Al-Anon a true democracy, where we have no dominant leaders, just trusted servants who take their turns at service positions.

Anyone in the group can call for a group conscience, even a newcomer. In fact, all members are encouraged to participate because "Participation is the key to harmony." (Concept 4) And as in our meetings, we are able to share without the fear of being ridiculed or silenced. In that way, Al-Anon is a safe place to express my opinions. But I still don't like it, especially when I don't get my way.

Yet I've learned to ask, because that is part of taking care of myself. Just the other day, I asked for something outside of Al-Anon at a place I volunteer. I have no idea if I'll get it, but I certainly wouldn't get it if I hadn't asked. Plus it took courage to ask - courage I learned in Al-Anon meetings and group consciences. It is just one more way I am practicing these principles in all my affairs.

*The Group Conscience is a business meeting where the members make decisions about everything from format to where the money goes.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

God's Will Should Be Simple

If God loves us, why would He/She make it difficult for us to discover our personal road to serenity? Why do we think that finding God's will for our lives is strenuous and sometimes impossible? I've been struggling with the question "What is God's will for my life?" for years. But guess what, I have been living God's will much of that time simply because I was seeking it. Through working my program and living my life, even in my "failures" I was doing God's will.

My problem is that I measure whether I am doing God's will or not by how good I feel about myself. And feeling good about myself means that I have achieved something worthy of other people's praises. Whereas I used to find contentment in cleaning my house because it gave me joy, now just cooking a meal has no meaning for me unless others take notice. Why do I need this approval of others?

My sponsor tells me that only God and I need to approve of me. But I don't think God is shaking His/Her head every day that I fail to write the great American novel. I think it is my ego that goes to bed every night thinking I've wasted yet another day, not doing God's will. In reality, I am moaning and groaning over not doing my own will which is to achieve some form of greatness.

I don't really get that "My Higher Power wants what's best for me. However, I need to want it, too." (Hope for Today, page 137) Instead, I think that what's best for me is to fulfill my desires. I've got it backwards. What's best for me is wanting what God wants. And what does God really want or ask of me? This is simple, I'm learning. "When I learn to love myself as my Higher Power loves me, I believe I am doing God's will." (Courage to Change, page 206)

So God's will for me first and foremost is that I love myself. To do that, I have to believe that God loves me, even when my parents didn't love me. I have to do the footwork of the Steps in order to achieve forgiveness of them and others and especially of myself. When I truly love myself in this way, I will have balance in my life and be better able to serve others - not just do things to please others.

I'm not quite there yet, but because I am seeking rather than giving up, I am doing God's will, whatever I am doing with my day. I no longer need to beat myself up about not achieving greatness in my own eyes. I need to pat myself on the back for getting on with my life, for getting up every morning and showing up for life. Just blogging today is a sign that I am on the right path. I will leave the results in God's hands, one day at a time.

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