Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today is the third year since my Higher Power guided me to my first Al-Anon meeting. I am grateful to be here today as a part of this wonderful program.
Many of you who read this blog know that I have spent much of my life studying the ocean. I also have a sail boat that I enjoy immensely. The ocean can be deceiving. It can be calm one minute and then turn into a raging beast that will take your life. Living with alcoholism is a lot like that. It is about uncertainty of knowing what to expect, how to steer. It is about being rudderless in a stormy sea. I'm glad today to have the “life ring” of Al-Anon. I have found that this program provides a way for me to experience happiness, peace, and love. All I have to do is reach out and grab on. This program is truly a way of living. Al-Anon is the “life ring” that keeps me afloat in the roughest water.
When I came to this program, I was pretty much an empty shell of a person. I was drowning in self-pity, fear, resentment, and a host of other character defects. I felt like I was a failure. I believe that God put the right circumstance in my life at just the right time so that I could reach out for the life ring of Al-Anon. And because I trusted what He said, I grabbed hold and starting swimming.
I knew that this was a journey that would require fortitude and stamina. But I knew that this was going to be a great journey and one that could change my life. So I did what I was told. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, came to believe that I didn't have the answers, took the time to look at my character defects, recognized the pattern to them, saw how they absolutely polluted my life, listened to those who had the serenity I longed for, watched how they dealt with their "journey" by sharing their road to recovery, and tried to emulate that willingness and honesty through service work and attendance and sharing.
Today, I see each of you in the program of recovery as courageous. Just making the leap of faith to reach out for the life ring of any recovery program is awesome. Whether you are in calm waters or whether your life is still stormy, there is someone in these rooms who has been through it all.
I’ve seen the destruction of what alcoholism can do. I’ve felt lost and adrift. And if I hadn’t been willing to ask for help, my life would still be miserable. But one of the things about this program is that no one could take me off the sinking ship. All you did to help me was to point out that the ship is going down and that I had a choice: I could either reach out for the life ring of this program that was tossed to me or I could drown in self-pity, fear and resentment. So my part was that I had to become willing, open, and honest. I had to learn to save myself based on the steps of this program.
Today, I feel truly blessed. I take better care of myself spiritually and emotionally. I do my best to not place unreal expectations on others. I do my best to just live in today or the next 15 minutes if that's all I can handle. I've learned that fear, self-pity and resentment are my biggest enemies. I've learned that there are tools that help me defend myself against those enemies. I've learned compassion for the alcoholics in my life. I used to only be judgmental and angry. Although I still can isolate at times, I am not feeling alone much anymore. I have found new friends in Al-Anon. I feel understood and as if I belong.
I am grateful for the events and problems that led me here. I realize that God has done for me what I could not do for myself. I feel liberated from all sorts of self-inflicted torments. But I still have a long way to go. I still need to reach out my hand when I am in trouble. I realize that the journey continues. But when I look back over the last three years in this program I see how far I have come. I have a sturdy foundation on which to build the rest of my life. The life ring of this program is there. It never loses it essential form or purpose. It keeps me living life on life's terms with the help of God, one day at a time.
Thanks to all of you for being here with me on this journey.