Saturday, September 26, 2009
I wanted to share with you some information from an Al-Anon workshop on the three F's: Feelings, Fears, and Freedom. I'm going to spread this out over three weeks, posting the information on Saturday. I found the information helpful in getting past a lot of negative feelings, especially for those who are fairly new to the program.
1. Before Al-Anon, I soothed my deeply hurt feelings in luxurious baths of self-pity; indulged in hot anger, violent reproach, neurotic frustrations; and retreated to avoid embarrassment, shame and to escape feelings of guilt.
2.Pain is a necessary part of the program. Through suffering, if I accept it for the good it is meant to be, I can grow, can achieve an understanding that success is not just in material things, in living a pleasant happy life but in overcoming defects of character, in suppressing my selfishness and in having compassion for others. Pain is the price I pay for a deeper understanding, a richer more meaningful life.
3. Self-Pity and Resentment: I fooled myself when I didn't face up to these two character defects. To soothe my bruised ego, I stayed in situations because I was concerned about the alcoholic loved one, and because I wasn't sure where to go. I have worked on changing these two feelings with courage and detachment and the help of the program by daily practice of the principles in all our affairs.
4, Rejection and fear of rejection: These feelings make me feel anger. If she didn't love me enough to quit drinking, then I would show her that it didn't matter anymore; I would simply reject her from the important parts of our life. Then I added two more feelings to these - guilt and revenge. I came to accept through this program that that drinking is not a deliberate reflection of indifference and has nothing to do with love. I could then become free of the rejection, guilt and anger that I've felt for so long. I'm still working on this one as rejection goes back a long way for me.
5. Reassurance: A suffering Al-Anon member will respond to simple acts of kindness given with love and understanding, but remember, the new member needs constant reassurance. When the road way becomes tough, encourage them to dig deeper in the program. Each of us can learn to live peacefully with troublesome problems.
6. Resentment: A feeling becomes a resentment by reliving it. It isn't what happens that counts, but what I choose to do about it. Allowing things to affect me unduly and harping on something over and over means that I am fostering a resentment. I am allowing a pinprick to become a stab in the heart.
7. How do I resolve a resentment? I need to realize what the resentment is and accept my responsibility for my share in it and then make amends. I want to build relationships. Carrying the grudge or hurt will destroy it. I need to train myself to live each day as a new beginning and to not burden myself with yesterday's problems.
8. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I need faith and hope to endure life's hazards. Giving in to constant doubt kills faith and hope.
9.Best of all possible gifts is a tranquil mind. I can sort out the things I can't change. By working the program, I seek to accept those things and not rebel against them. I learn to change what I can. Whether or not I caused my own turmoil, only I can give myself a tranquil mind and an accepting heart.
10. Meditate and count my blessings - forget the failings - dwell only on what I have that's good.
11. I can picture mountains of resentments overgrown by the green of envy; valleys of despair; roadways that are strewn with self-pity and ill-will. (Sound familiar?) But with a Higher Power, I travel a road where I learn to level those mountains of resentment with straight thinking; fill my valleys of despair with hope; say the Serenity Prayer and change rebellion to acceptance. The best way to help myself it to help others - I forget my own hurt when I am working with others.
12. Anger: I used to blast back in anger when someone offended me. I've learned to recite the Serenity Prayer often during these moments and slogans such as: Think, Easy Does it, and Live and Let Live. Thee will help to put me back on the sane road. To rid myself of resentment and self-pity, I clean house mentally and spiritually. Daily cleaning frees me from the build-up to trash, grime and dinginess that often leads to anger and resentment. For this I use the broom that never wears out - the 12 steps and our program of daily living.
13.Sharing - I can't give another person hope and serenity by mouthing slogans and principles, but by giving of myself, sharing my experiences, strength and hope; by caring about the other person enough to truly give with love. This is how I received the message myself.
14. Learn to laugh at feelings and fears, Learn patience made up of faith, hope, love and courage. Without these ingredients in my life, I can not contemplate tomorrow. Without love, man wouldn't be bothered with anything but himself. I don't need to dwell on bitter disappointments; instead, I can concentrate on who and what helped me. I prefer to remember kindnesses rather than dwell on hurts. I have learned to listen with an open mind, and am learning to live with serenity and confidence.