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...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today, Service Means Me First

I've heard it said that we don't say "No" to Al-Anon service work. When someone asks us to do something for the program, to give back, we should step up to the proverbial plate. It's true that we often get back more than we give in doing service, but only if we take care of ourselves first.

This is how our program differs from Alcoholics Anonymous. Their disease is a selfish one, so to recover, they need to do for others in order to help themselves. Our disease is almost always one of giving, giving, giving, so we need to take care of ourselves before we can help others.

So when someone asked me recently to do quite a large task, I only spent a few days thinking/praying on it before I said "No." One of the red flags was when they said I was the only one who could do this job. Hmmm, really?

Another red flag was telling me I could do it in my own time and at home when I know that something "important" does have a deadline and that's how I work best. I also hadn't been behind this particular project up to this point, so didn't feel personally called to do it.

But the last red flag was knowing that I have something else important to me in my life right now, and if I start getting involved in a project here and a project there, no matter how "worthy," I will not do what I want and need to do for myself.

So I said "No" and feel good about it. I'm also saying no to going to Assembly this weekend because I need time at home alone right now. It does not matter that I've gotten messages that I'm missed. What does matter that I'm taking care of myself on a deep almost cellular level.

May you find a balance between doing too much for others and doing enough for yourself. We who have suffered from someone else's drinking are sometimes parched, just like the landscape here in Colorado where the wildfires have already begun. We must hydrate ourselves.

Sometimes this means helping others by passing on the message of Al-Anon. Other times, though, this means H.A.L.T. - asking ourselves if we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Well, right now I'm tired and need to rest. And I know I'll get angry if I take on a big task just because someone asked me to do it. So saying "No" can be service, service to me first.

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