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.


  1. wow. so so very good. i'll be sure to catch the rest of these...

  2. Syd, I so desperately needed to read this post. I'm thinking of bookmarking it for future reference. Every point on this post was something I needed to read at this very moment.

    Thank you.

  3. Hi Syd, I am Jennifer.
    I appreciate this blog as a person who grew up with alcoholism in her parents lives. Your rejection, guilt, resentment really reached forward to me.

    Now I find that detachment has replaced rejection toward the alcoholic, but it looks like rejection coming from me to them. They'll only understand themselves if they get well. I know this, but I cannot be responsible for them. I didn't value myself before recovering from the effects that growing up with this disease placed upon me. I do value myself immensely now. I value myself enough to set up the boundary when harm is coming my way!

    Thank you for the work your doing!

  4. Syd, this post was FANTASTIC. There is so much great information in here -- information I desperately need right now -- and I'm so grateful you wrote this post. I'm really looking forward to the rest of your new series.

  5. Loads of interesting information there to process....I still struggle with the whole programme thing. Not that I belong to one..husband doesn't live with us anymore anyway. I will be back to read it again until it sinks in properly.
    Chic Mama
    And thanks for following me.

  6. Each day as a new beginning - I love that.

  7. Oh Syd so very good -- how service opened my eyes to a life beyond myself.

    And taking responsibility for one's own attitudes --

  8. There is a so much good stuff here! Keep spreading the good word...there is hope!

  9. I am so grateful that I kept coming back long enough to know that what you wrote is true. I can be happy, joyous and free if I work at it, work through it and share what I learned with others. Great stuff!


  10. I just printed Feelings out to make sure I keep on the right track.
    I am so guilty of many of these things that are in this posting and so desparaty do not want to be.
    I am working hard at finding serenity in my life and need to be on guard against bad emotions bring me down again.
    Thank you

  11. Brilliant post just what I needed to read after my post..thank you from my heart!

  12. As always, beautiful, Syd..
    Thinking about you and your wife during this difficult time.
    Also, so grateful to have gone to my favorite alanon meeting this morning:)
    we are so blessed to have that choice.
    blythe and sammy

  13. You sure know how to put out a blog that is jam packed with great stuff. You do it consistently. You are very blessed and talented. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  14. Beautifully put and well written. I want to thank you personally for this Syd. You have no idea how timely, how pertinent all of this is. I look forward to hearing more wisdom over the coming weeks. Many thanks

  15. Thank you for this.

    Blessings and aloha...

  16. There is so much to learn, and so much benefit too.

    I know AlAnon is working for me when a friend who has known me for 20 years said today "you seem so much happier these days." The change in my outlook/take on life has been subtle, but people who really know me see it.

    You carry the message so well.

  17. Hello, Syd. I am loving running the beginner's meeting up here. It's so rewarding.

    I found after reading alot out of Courage To Change that the key to overcoming self-pity was to be grateful. Self-pity is a big one for me.

    Hope all is well. Some of the people in my meetings are now reading your blog per my recommendation. ;)

  18. Powerful statements Thanks Again

  19. "I need to train myself to live each day as a new beginning and to not burden myself with yesterday's problems."
    This leapt from the screen and wrapped its little arms around my neck and hollered: "GET IT?"

    Likewise #2 on pain:
    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.
    Couldna said it better meself. Rich post. From your friend AA follower, Chris A

  20. Good morning!

    After reading all about being F.I.N.E. throughout studying and learning to live in the Al-Anon recovery program, it always amazes me when a new approach to the same topic pops up. This keeps our 'old' Al-Anon studies fresh, I think. I can remember when a dear friend who told her story in a large group was questioned afterwards about 'just where did that information come from?' I also remember the disappointment in this same person delivering the beautiful story at being challenged. Sadly, some of us who have 'time' in the fellowship occasionally put ourselves above learning new information and passing the message with a different twist to it. I have also learned, and now honor the truth in the statement, 'it's not how much time you spend in the fellowship, but what you have done with the time that matters.' That's why I work hard at keeping an open mind to different opinions: My Higher Power has helped me learn to keep my ears open and my mouth shut in order to hear refreshing new angles to a wonderfully solid program. It all works when you work it!

    I'm looking forward to the next segment!

    Anonymous #1

  21. Thanks for this Syd. I feel I can breathe a little deeper now. With Love, A friend


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