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, January 26, 2009

Blogging from Belgium

Hello from Brussels where I am visiting an Al-Anon friend. We just returned last night from the 7th European Al-Anon Convention in Oostende on the North Sea. Yes, it was very cold outside but inside the hotel it was warm both physically and emotionally. This is truly a worldwide fellowship! So what am I learning? Patience, because I do not have my own car and have had to live a lot by the relaxed schedule of the Europeans. About the time I go home on Thursday, I will have slowed down myself and then I will be back with my spouse who means it when we set a time to go somewhere.

It's not that my friend does not mean it, it's just that the phone rings or she remembers something else she needs to do and time goes by. The Europeans are more apt to not cut phone calls short, giving each other more time to chat than the "I've got to go" attitude in America. If we aren't super busy in the USA, then we're not important seems to be our attitude. So How Important is it that we have a timeline today and stick to it? Not important at all, especially since we had one at the convention and will have one tomorrow to make her meeting and then on the day I need to catch a plane.

In the meantime, I can live in the NOW, enjoying the wood fire and quiet of the suburbs - maybe catch a little nap while I wait - or maybe not use the word "wait" - instead meditate. That sounds much more positive and serene, doesn't it! So off I go to do something not so productive or active... may you all have a few moments of peace today to remember your God and ask for guidance while practicing gratitude...

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Monday, January 12, 2009

A New Year

Happy New Year, everyone, even though we're almost half-way through January. The nice thing about having a program that we practice One Day at a Time is that we can make a fresh start every day, even in the middle of the day if we need to. So I don't make resolutions, especially if doing so would set myself up to fail. I just do a daily inventory to determine how I'm doing, what I could have done better or differently and especially what I did well. First, did I treat myself well? And then was I kind and loving towards others?

I can answer those question yes even though it has not been a very productive day. I did not get much scratched off my to-do list. Instead, I gave myself permission to get some extra rest and have some fun because today would have been my grandmother's 104th birthday had she not died in October. So I knew I'd be thinking about her and grieving a little more, although my grief is more about gratitude now, gratitude to have had her in my life for so long and that I was able to spend some time with her the last few years.

I also have gratitude for the Al-Anon program and my Al-Anon "family" - my friends, my sponsors, and my sponsees. Because of them, I have so much to live for, for example, I get to travel overseas to an Al-Anon convention next week. I'm not very excited about the weather where I'm going, but I know that my heart will be warmed by the love I'll find in every meeting, at every meal. I'll have the chance to get to know some friends better and meet some new ones.

And my Greater Power will take care of me every leg of my journey, just like she's taken care of me all these years, whether I was living with active alcoholism or sobriety. The gift of serenity is mine whenever I want it, wherever I am, whatever my circumstances. May serenity be your gift, too, in this New Year.