Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I keep coming back

On of the fundamental principles of Al-Anon is "In order to keep it, you have to give it away."  There are many times that I have late night meetings, have a difficult time with sponsees, get emergency calls at all hours, and give up a lot of free time.  I sometimes want to take the easier, softer way and miss meetings.  Yet, I keep coming back.

I have found that this is a program for living. I know that the more years I attend, the better I will be at living life on life's terms.  I have seen great changes in others and can feel the changes within myself.  I can go to a meeting and will hear exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I learn the value of mistakes when I really start to listen to other people. When I sit at a meeting and share with others, I find myself admiring those people who can admit when they have problems and are seeking a solution.  I see the courage that it takes to work this program.  I find humility in myself and others. It isn't weakness or glumness, but simply our humanness.

This program of recovery has given so much to me.  My sponsor has been there since the beginning. Now, I can give back what has been so freely given to me.   And by being apart of this program, I give of myself, yet get back something far more valuable in return.

The consequence of coming, keeping and open mind, applying the steps, traditions, concepts, slogans, philosophy, literature and suggestions from my sponsor is that my life is much less reactive and more appropriately responsive to events that go on about and around me, in the rooms or not. If the truth is that those who have come from the disease and suffered the most have done so because of inappropriate and unacceptable choices and behaviors, then I don't need to have unreal expectations that they are going to immediately be okay because they are at a meeting.

Here are some things that I have decided to do in order to get what I need from meetings:
  • Be the change I would like to see in the meeting.
  • Keep the focus on myself
  • Share my Experience, Strength and Hope and keep an open mind.
  • Let go of expectations and Let God.
  • Adhere to the Traditions myself
  • Be of maximum service
 I am learning through my sponsees to carry the message and work the steps over and over.  In order to be of maximum service,  I had to understand the message that I carry: "I too was sad, lost and in need of help. I have had a spiritual awakening and found a new way of life. You also can find a new path to happiness."  

My wish for those who are new is that this program can be what you make it.  Like most things in life, I get out of something what I put into it.  I have found that what I put into Al-Anon recovery,  I gain ten fold in return.  My hope for those who find their way to a meeting is that they take away what they like and leave the rest, honor themselves on this journey, and be fully present on the path to recovery. Some may find another path to spiritual growth.  No one says that any one method is the answer.  But so far for me, I have found that the lessons I have learned in Al-Anon are enormously useful.


  1. i love being of service, it gives me maximum joy. today the new Hispanic group is doing a ton of public information service which is very new to me as is speaking and reading Spanish. however i am picking it up really well and it has been just a wonderful experience. i am glad you keep coming back

  2. I loved your post today. Yes, when you work the steps, focus on giving it to God and make choices based on wisdom rather than reaction life is so much less chaotic and more enjoyable. Your blog post is encouraging, and I begin the fourth step this week. I need all the encouragment I can get!

  3. Recovery has to be the individual working on their own recovery, and I like it that your post is your version and your sharing of your recovery using the tools available to all of us.

  4. Dear Syd,

    The post you made today must be the most descriptive and powerful thumb-nail sketch/message of Al-Anon recovery that I have ever seen. Thank you for continuing to 'keep coming back' - - - there are many who await a strong message of recovery.
    Anonymous #1

  5. Sounds like as good a plan as any for today.

    Blessings and aloha...

  6. Great post and game plan for living the program. It's always amazing to me when I do the right things from a program perspective and see things work out the way they're supposed to. Unfortunately, it still works the other way some time, too, but I'm so grateful for being able to self diagnose and make corrections along the way. I owe so much to what I've learned in these rooms! Thanks for the reminder and have a great day!!

  7. Thanks for this excellent prescription for recovery, Syd.

  8. Interesting post, Syd. Have a great week!

  9. Met a lady today in Starbucks who said, "I don't know why I still keep going to meetings (after 20 years--grin!)...and I got to tell her, we MUST give it away, or it will stagnate like water which pools somewhere, and cannot find a way to move on.

    Thanks for good reminders.

  10. Great post, this is exactly how it works...thank you for the reminder and sharing.


  11. Now I'm feeling even more sheepish about my post today. :)

  12. Syd,
    Commitment is key to our recovery,healing,growing.
    And it can help others
    like when you commit to
    blogging often-sharing.
    I read my daily reading
    every morning because it
    works for me-and I am
    worth the commitment !
    Tab xo
    ps.I will try to get out
    to blog more often.sorry.

  13. You are a power of example.

  14. I have now been to four meetings and I am now a believer. Thanks for continuing to post about how the program has helped you in your life Syd, I hope one day to be able to do the same.

  15. Thank you for everything you write. I am aware that I need to give it away more.

  16. Great post! Along the lines of "take what you like and leave the rest," at meetings, I learn what to do from those who focus on the solution and what NOT to do from those who have many years of sobriety but little to no serenity. Thanks again.

  17. Its just so right that you have to WANT it to get it.Then newcomers serve such a vital service to me. They are a mile marker in showing me where I dont want to be again, and to appreciate where I am today,

  18. 'much less reactive and more appropriately responsive'

    very ! nice turn of phrase. Havent heard it put like that before :)
    evidence of your academic training in this post, :) as it is an impressive summary of what you have found important.

    re the benefits of service. Not everyone has a natural disposition toward generosity of spirit or kindness. If I see what looks like that quality in a very new person, I feel very confident of their chances of success, as I have seen it work its magic in others many times when channelled into service.
    I have always been very inspired by the lives granted to people who choose to give of themselves in a heartfelt way. I cannot think of a person who did that who did not end up with a wonderful recovery. So I am glad you have been able to see it work in your own life. It is the most powerful transformational tool I have found so far.

  19. thank you for the reminder Syd, I needed to read this.

  20. Service work and 6 meetings a week saved my sanity and serenity when my son was hitting a bottom. I, too, get far more than I give. Alanon is my home.



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