Showing posts with label Let Go and Let God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Let Go and Let God. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking action and letting go

I want to thank all of you for comments about my cousin, R.  And I am especially grateful to Mary Christine who offered her suggestion to contact a patient advocate or chaplain.  I did just that this morning.

I have been turning my cousin's situation over in my mind and given it to my HP.  But the feeling I had this morning when I read Mary Christine's comment was that I needed to make a call.  I simply felt it was what I needed to do.

So I called the hospital and talked to my cousin's case worker.  I told him what was going on, explained that he had an advance health care directive (AHCD), and waited for him to say something. He told me that he could not give me any information due to HIPPA and that I needed to talk to R's wife.  I explained that I wasn't wanting information because I had talked to R's wife many times about him. But what I wanted was to give the hospital information that he does have an AHCD.

It is now out of my hands.  I don't feel particularly settled about this.  I suppose I was wanting something more than telling me I could talk to an attorney or his wife. But I did what felt right to me.  I did what I thought I would want done if I were in a situation of wasting away with sores and tubes.  I gave information, and if it is useful so be it.

I will give his wife a call later. And I am going to suggest to her as kindly as I can that she let him go.  What she does is not something I can control.  I can't have this eating at me anymore.

I am going on the boat for a couple of days, leaving this evening.  I will check in with photos of the beautiful weather we are having. Yesterday, it was near 80 here.  And the next few days are expected to be equally as beautiful and warm.

Thanks again to you, the blogging community, for the thoughts and comments and love that you put out there. It is much appreciated.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clearing skies

We have had some terrific storms here in the last few days.  The one on Saturday evening was spectacular, with lightening arcing across the sky.  Our boat and one other were anchored for the light show.  When the rain came, we hunkered below and after a few minutes were treated to a beautiful sunset.  These are the moments of clarity for me, a chance to refresh the mind and body.    I could see a change in my wife also, as she was relaxed and cheerier after the weekend.

I didn't realize that she had stopped taking medication several months ago.  Yesterday, she had an appointment with a new doctor who prescribed meds to help her sleep and for depression.  My thoughts, which I keep to myself, are that
she would probably feel better if she went thoroughly through the steps with a new sponsor and found a spiritual solution.  Many recovering alcoholics find that Al-Anon also helps when dealing with the effects of living with an alcoholic. I know that she had a hard time with her father when growing up.  I also know that she has to find her way to work through this.

One of the hardest things is to watch someone I love struggling with a spirit breaker like depression, alcoholism, or the myriad of problems that plague humans.  Time has taught me that there is nothing I can do to relieve their suffering except love them and take care of myself.  And I pray for those who are sick and suffering to move through the darkness within to light and peace.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Black Dog

My wife is in the midst of a depression.  She has been to see a therapist and is starting with a new psychiatrist next week.  Talking with her is difficult because  she tends to hold everything within.  She works all day to stay busy and to chase the sadness away.  It's difficult for me to see her like this because every part of me wants to help her, make her feel better.  Yet, I know that isn't possible.

I realize that the black dog is within me at times too.  But at this time, I can't feel anything but acceptance and compassion. I am not depressed but filled with  hope.  Honestly,  it seems that for the better part of our marriage there has been either alcohol or some other issue that has pulled at us.  Yet, here we are: Two people who love each other but who struggle with our own demons, sometimes separately and sometimes together as a force against what tries to pull us apart.

I am continuing to do those things that I enjoy, although I am concerned about my beautiful wife.  My hope is that she will be able to shake what has caused her such anxiety, let it go, and stop blaming herself for the problems of others.  She feels sad because her mother stayed with her father for so many years, probably emotionally battered by his alcoholic behavior.  She feels anger and sadness for her father who she no longer wants to visit.  She expressed her frustration that over the past year, she has had a heart attack, had to be responsible for her parents and their financial affairs, and hasn't really had a chance to do the things that she wants to do.

I could explain that her parents are well taken care of, her health is now good, her mother is now apart from her father and made her own choices over the years, but I know that all I really need to say is, "I love you and am here."

"I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Turning point


The rain is coming down today and is supposed to last until the afternoon.  I'm enjoying being at home.  The door to the porch is open, letting in the clean smell of rain.  I slept in until 7 AM which is unusual when I'm home.  But today, I don't have anything special to do, no schedule.

Last night, the Tuesday night group had a nice celebration for one of the long time members in Al-Anon.  She celebrated 30 years and talked about the turning point for her.  It came when she was told that her alcoholic son had a Higher Power of his own, and she wasn't it.  To her, that simple statement meant that she could stop trying to force her will on her son.  She could let him go to find his way, entrusting him to a power greater than herself.  I have heard her story many times and remembered the first time she shared that she could finally not carry all the burdens of others on her shoulders.  Her words helped me to shrug off the weight that I carried for so long.

Vanity, ego and stubbornness were my enemies when dealing with others.  If only the person would do what I said, then all would be okay.  But people have their own minds, their own time table, and their own shortcomings.  It was presumptuous of me to think that I could make another person do as I wanted. The cost in energy to my being was huge.

Now when I see a person stumble,  I offer my hand, a word of encouragement, but I don't try to fix or change them.  Many times I have bitten my tongue when I see what I think are mistakes a person is making. But who am I to say whether what they do is a mistake?  Their beliefs and actions are theirs to own.  I know that our paths may diverge and that is okay.

At some point, there will be a turning point for each of us, a place where we either realize that the path we are following is folly or one that will lead us to where we were hoping to go.

In every life there is a turning point. A moment so tremendous, so sharp and clear that one feels as if one's been hit in the chest, all the breath knocked out, and one knows, absolutely knows without the merest hint of a shadow of a doubt that one's life will never be the same.— Julia Quinn

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am not that powerful

Thank you for your comforting comments about Stella.  I have cried a lot over the last couple of days.  But I have also laughed too.  All the emotions are okay. Every single one of them.

I felt that knot in my chest at various times during the past week.  It was the knot of fear.  I know that feeling well.  It happens when I realize that something is going to happen to someone or one of my animals, and I can do nothing to change the course of that.  It is the fear of the known--not the unknown but the knowing that things are out of control.

I've had that fear so many times--when my father died, when my mother died, when my wife was drinking, when she had her heart attack, when an animal was sick.  That fear of losing loved ones would sit like a huge weight on my heart.

I take comfort these days in knowing that I can take action only to a point.  I can do the medical things necessary.  I can make someone comfortable who is in pain. I can hold them and be with them when death is near.  But what happens ultimately is out of my control.  I cannot love them back to life or wellness.  And that has helped to ease the fear.  I pray for those who are sick and suffering and give them to the God of my understanding--that great cosmic energy that connects us in life and in death.

I used to wish that my love was powerful enough to make others well, live longer, be happy.  I wanted to love my wife out of her alcoholism.  It does not work that way.  And it was no coincidence that the first post I read this morning was one that Pammie wrote about how we can't love someone out of their addiction.  We truly aren't that powerful.  She says it best:

I want to somehow tell the normal people out there to lighten up on yourselves because you aren't that powerful, you can not do anything to change the damage, you can't fix the limp.  Your life is valuable to God and it is OK, I believe, to not sacrifice so much of your life for the addict because all your love is not what's missing for the addict.  If the only thing standing between drug addiction and sobriety was the addict needing love and support.......well damn, just about everyone would be clean and sober. 


Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A loose garment

After a long, very long in fact, day with 150 eighth graders yesterday, I knew that I needed a meeting last night.  My patience had worn thin, my "don't give a shit" attitude was in full force, and my near disgust with the human species was obvious.  Yes, that is exactly when I need to be in an Al-Anon meeting. 

A recap of my day would go something like this:
  • a change of plans at 10:30 to take the entire group of 150 to a nearby Fort instead of to the island via boat.  The wind was blowing too hard for a boat trip across the harbor. 
  • Take three groups of 50 eighth graders through the fort, the museum and to the nearby beach where most of the time they are running wild. 
  • Have to call down a couple of boys for trying to smash a living crab against a rock.  Kid says, "But I just want to kill it." Yes, and I am starting to have a similar feeling about the kid. 
  • Another kid tells me that he just wants to kill something.  So I tell him to run out in the street in front of a truck and he will get his wish.  Definitely, not one of my better moments. 
  • Girls are drawing hearts in the sand.  Boys are drawing huge penises and testicles in the sand with some shells spewing out the top.  I am not a psychiatrist but wonder if this is wishful thinking on both parts. 
  • A highlight is that the dolphins decided to put on a show which captivated about 30 of the kids. Some were also interested in hermit crabs and a few other critters that we talked about in the tide pool. I start to feel a bit better. 
  • I am thankful to see all the buses leaving and cheerily wave them on their way, thinking how glad I am to see them go.  And hoping that I won't see them again.  
  • Wondering what I am doing with this job and how ill suited I am to deal with these alien creatures.  I used to be one, but that is but a faint memory to me now. 
So then I head to a meeting after an hour break for a sandwich.  The meeting is packed to capacity.  And the topic is Let Go and Let God.  There are no coincidences.  I needed to be here.  As always happens,  I feel a sense of peace descend on me as I listen to the welcome, preface, and steps being read.  All the stuff from the day starts to lift from me.  It is true that the feeling is like shedding a heavy coat, only to have a loose garment underneath.

There were quite a few tears shed last night.  Some people were struggling with loved ones who were deep in their disease.  There was talk of how imperfect our ability to let go really is.  But that it is indeed necessary if we are to feel any freedom in our own lives from alcoholism.  I have been where they are--feeling helpless, lost, and not seeing how there will be any good outcome.  And yet, I knew that I needed to come back, just as they are doing.  And in my coming back, I began to feel better.  That's the beauty of this program. 

A few people shared about their deep faith and how that has sustained them in turning things over to the God of their understanding.  I had none when I came in.  I felt that the only Higher Power was me.  And I was doing a really poor job of it.  I know that letting go is difficult.  But I gradually began to loosen my grip on others.  And in doing so,  I began to trust that they could find their own way without my directing them. 

When I left that meeting, regardless of whether I heard solutions or just problems of life with alcoholism,  I felt better.  I was tired but felt at peace.  Wearing life like a loose garment is something that this program gives me.  And that's why I keep coming back.

 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What does letting go mean?

To LET GO does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.
To LET GO
is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another.
To LET GO
is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To LET GO
is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To LET GO
is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself.
To LET GO
is not to care for, but to care about.
To LET GO
is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To LET GO
is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To LET GO
is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality.
To LET GO
is not to deny, but to accept.
To LET GO
is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.|
To LET GO
is to fear less, and love more.

Letting go is hard to understand when it comes to people that we love.  At first, it seemed almost impossible to free my mind of the obsessions over what the alcoholic was doing, whether she was drinking, how she was doing in recovery.  I wanted so badly for her to get sober and be recovered.  I wanted so badly that I forgot to look at what I was doing and how insane my behavior was.

Remember the old tug of war game? Well, I was pulling as hard as I could on the rope, trying to drag her to recovery through manipulative control tactics. In the tug of war game, if I pull hard on the rope, the other person will pull hard also, trying to offset my balance or pull me over the line. This analogy isn't unlike what happens when dealing with an alcoholic. I tug hard and pull with all my might but I meet with strong resistance. The harder I pull, the more resistance I'm likely to meet until one of us goes over the line or falls down.  What I've learned is that I can't win a tug of war with the alcoholic.

So I had to do something else. And that was to let go of the rope.  The 3 A's of Al-Anon have helped me with the concept of letting go. These are Awareness, Acceptance, and Action.

I was well aware that something wasn't good in my relationship with the alcoholic. I knew that I wanted to do everything in my power to make her stop drinking. But what I was doing wasn't helping.  I eventually became aware that maybe I was the problem,  and that I was not happy with myself.  As my awareness heightened, so did my discomfort with the life I was living.

And with my heightened awareness, I was ready to accept that I had a problem. I also began to accept that my wife had a disease which I was powerless over.  I accepted that my attempts to control her alcoholism did nothing but make the problem worse.  So I came to realize that she had a right to her own recovery, the right to walk her own path, and the right to make her own choices. I learned that it was my ego that wanted to take charge and tell another to live the way I expected them to. 

Once I was able to accept that I could not fix or change another,  I was able to take action through the steps of Al-Anon.  Once I accepted that alcoholism is a disease, I no longer tried to control or cure it. Instead I began to use prayer, meditation, detachment, boundaries and self-inventory to change my own behavior.

It took me many years before I was fully aware that something was terribly wrong in the relationship, and it took me even longer to accept that the problem was alcoholism and to then get to the point where I could take action to change how I reacted to the alcoholic.  I let go by understanding that I can't fix anyone else, God can, so I'll let Him.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting busy

Today has been a better day than yesterday.  Last night, a friend and I sat and talked about K. and reminisced about her.  It helped for us to just talk.  And we wondered whether she knew how many people were missing her.  It all seems senseless and is,  but I have had to let it go and realize that this has to be turned over to God.  I am sure that He has her in His embrace. And amazingly enough I slept well last night.  

The little dog Hazel is being taken care of by another friend.  K. asked that Hazel be cared for in her suicide note.  Hazel was the puppy that K. got after her "heart" dog passed away.  Hazel has some separation anxiety and doesn't like to be left alone or she chews up pillows.  So she is crated at night.  I couldn't help but wonder if Hazel was there when K. was dying.  Maybe that was some comfort for K., but that is another thought that I need not dwell on.

I have two sponsee meetings today which help me to realize the power of this program.  There may be a lot going on around me, but focusing on helping others gets me to a good place.  I am grateful that God has provided another day in which I can see what a great thing living is.  As I've written before,  I want to stay around for the final act and not leave during intermission. 

Many thanks for your comments and thoughts.  We are there for each other.  I like the honesty with which we can express true feelings.  There are days when each of us struggles with something.  It may be a minor aggravation or a truly huge thing in our lives.  But I realize that with my Higher Power and friends in recovery, I can keep moving forward on the journey.  That is such a comforting thought. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When was the last time you danced?

"....to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow." Bob Dylan

I didn't dance this weekend, although there were a few moments that I felt like it.  The weather was wonderfully refreshing. The sky had a number of diamonds sprayed across it. The beach fire was warm and the sand felt soft on my bare feet.  It was a night for dancing.

I'm not dancing today because I don't feel like it.  I am thinking about a lot of things that are weighing me down, making me feel heavy instead of light. Some of these are dredged up stuff from the past, some are anxieties about today, and some are simply about life's reality and complexity. 

The stuff from the past is mostly about my mother.  There are days when I wish that she were still here. She loved me unconditionally. I don't think that there is a stronger love than a mother for a child.  I know that I wasn't the most patient with her at times, especially when she was depressed or when she began to have signs of mild dementia.  I wanted her to still be the strong vital woman that she was. I eventually came to terms that she was small and old and was leaning on me more and more.  I became the parent to a certain extent.  It is tough to see the winnowing away of those who have been our rocks.

If I could I would ask her to dance right now, a slow waltz.  I am sure that she was dancing those last few days before she died because she told me that my long dead father had come to take her dancing.  I am sure that she was happy with those thoughts.

The anxiety about today stems from my spirit feeling bound and tight.  I am anxious now to move on, to put the work behind me, to stop emptying out my file cabinets and computer.  I feel as if I am attending a badly put together funeral.  And I want it to be over.  The dance music is like a funeral dirge now where it used to be rock and roll.

And life's reality and complexity....well, I am reminded over and over that I have no power to change anyone but myself.  I may not like what others do or say but there is nothing that I can do about that.  The bad choices of others in my life aren't my business.  But if that is so, then where does the anxiety come from when I see the mistakes being made by others?  I remind myself that I can't be the salvation for another.  They have their own Higher Power and I'm not it.  This is a dance that I know only too well.  It's one that has trapped me in the past.  I was caught in its clutches of alcoholism and went round and round with my partner.  I stop and remember that I can choose to sit this one out.   

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday on the boat

It is a beautiful day here. Blue sky, sunshine sparkling on the water. I took today off from work to be out on the boat. Tomorrow may bring rain but today I'm going to enjoy the beach and the sun,

We had a good breakfast of sausage with gravy and biscuits. I never eat like this at home. Then we walked for over a mile to gather firewood for a campfire tonight.

Today finds me glad to be able to not hang on to self pity. I have begun to feel stronger and willing to let God take care of something that bugged me for a few days. My sponsor has told me that I need to take care of my head, heart, and soul. I think those things are best renewed out here.

I will get to evertone's blog as soon as I'm back home. Until then, have a good Friday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guilt

"Perhaps the most severe damage to those who have shared some part of life with an alcoholic comes in the form of the nagging belief that they are somehow at fault; they were not up to it all, not attractive enough, not clever enough to have solved this problem for the one they love. They think it was something they did or did not do. These are their feelings of guilt." from Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism

The meeting topic last night was on guilt. I'm feeling spectacularly guilt free these days. But I haven't always felt that way and every now and then there will be that nagging little feeling of guilt that starts to creep into my head.

I can remember a friend in graduate school who apologized for everything. He said "I'm sorry" about 100 times a day. He said it so much that it became meaningless.

I don't have a desire to hoard up guilt. But like my friend in graduate school, I still have a tendency to take the guilt from someone else to make sure that they don't have any. And sometimes I don't realize what I'm doing. It seems like an automatic response when someone hurts my feelings. I seem to revert back to that little boy who wants to make sure the other person feels okay, so I take their guilt.

But I'm learning in the program to pay attention and notice when I start to pick up something that isn't mine, like guilt. I've heard to "screw guilt". Another good one that I read is "guilt is like herpes: its the gift that keeps on giving."

I don't want guilt to cloud my vision of the facts. I don't want to become enmeshed with my own emotions to the point that I lose the true motive of guilt which is to remind me of wrong and right and the humanity of each of us. I know that in spite of my character defects, I'm one of God's creatures.

In this program, I've learned that I can acknowledge my wrongs (Step Four) and set the wrong right by making an amends (Step Nine). I also know that through the second and third steps that I can surrender to my Higher Power all of my guilt, earned and unearned.

Here are some questions that I can ask myself if I feel the need to have a guilty moment:

Is this guilt I am feeling about a direct action of mine?
Did I do something out of spite, revenge, meanness or cruel intent?
Did I not do something because I simply forgot or was otherwise occupied?

If I answer NO to these questions, then I am probably taking on guilt that I don't own. I might need to look at my sense of over responsibility and seek guidance from my HP for healing and letting that go.

If I answered YES to these questions, then I can seek my HP's guidance in what amends need to be made. Holding onto guilt isn't going to solve anything. Ultimately, I need to remember to "Learn the Lesson, Let go of the guilt".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

To let go

To LET GO does not mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.
To LET GO
is not to cut myself off, it's the realization I can't control another.
To LET GO
is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To LET GO
is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To LET GO
is not to try to change or blame another, it's to make the most of myself.
To LET GO
is not to care for, but to care about.
To LET GO
is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To LET GO
is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To LET GO
is not to be protective, it's to permit another to face reality.
To LET GO
is not to deny, but to accept.
To LET GO
is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.|
To LET GO
is to fear less, and love more.

Letting go is hard to understand when it comes to people that we love. But I have had to learn to accept the rights of others. It is my ego who wants to take charge and convince me that I can fix another.

Remember the old tug of war game? If I pull hard on the rope, the other person will pull hard also, trying to offset my balance or pull me over the line. This analogy isn't unlike what happens when dealing with an alcoholic. I tug hard and pull with all my might but I meet with strong resistance. The harder I pull, the more resistance I'm likely to meet until one of us goes over the line or falls down. What I've learned is that I can't win a tug of war with the alcoholic. I can't fix anyone else, God can, so I'll let him.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Give it up

There are just some days that I want to start over. Today was one of those. I won't go into specifics but suffice to say that someone I care about has been more than a little irritable lately. I had a moment today that I wanted to say, "Okay, I give up. You can do whatever you like. But just leave me alone."

It's my fear and resentment rising up again. There are times when I feel wronged and can't deal with it. I want to wallow in self-pity and think about what a jerk the other person is. It's so tempting to go down that road of getting even or blaming or casting off the person who has hurt me.

But a better way exists. I know that and after moments of self-doubt and anxiety in which I feel paralyzed, I can actually take stock of the situation. Acknowledging that I've been wronged is okay to do. But blaming the person who has hurt me only builds resentment. Instead I think that getting even isn't feasible but accepting that they are flawed just as I am, will get me through the rut that I'm in.

In my head, I may say,
"I don't understand"
"I'll never understand"
"It isn't okay, it never will be okay, but I forgive ."

This last part is tricky for me. Because if I dwell too much on the "never will be okay" statement, I have the capability to stay angry. A flare up of anger isn't going to hurt me unless I continue to feel angry. And by doing so, give power to the person with whom I'm angry. But if I can accept that the person with whom I'm angry is as flawed as I am and if I can work through my anger in a way that it doesn't eat me alive, then I think that my anger will be sated. I can then move past the angry feelings, quit the self pity and self loathing and get to where I can see that we are just human.

These moments when things seem out of control or I feel out of control are opportunities for me to grow. They are also times when I can turn to my HP and admit that I need help.

And some days I'm better at this than others. If I'm tired, I'm not good at this, or if I'm too emotionally uptight, I first will need to get my head clear and take some time to absorb and work through the hurt. It's such a relief to finally give up the self-pity and move towards clear thinking again. It eventually comes if I take enough time to get over myself and just ask for help.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Controlling

I've been reading a book that highlights a lot of the issues that I have in relationships. The book is called Compelled to Control by Keith Miller. He describes that the major cause of relationship failure is the need to control. I can see from what he describes in a chapter called The Child's Journey--How We Develop the Urge to "Get Control" that I fit the description of someone who battles with the fear of not being enough. What's good about the book is that he describes use of the Twelve Steps in order to be healed and transformed.

This book came in handy last night when I fought the demons in my own head about not being enough. I seem to go down this slippery slope and beat up on myself every now and then. It generally happens when I feel lonely and tired (part of the H.A.L.T. scenario). Last night after a full day of meetings, I felt tired and also very much alone. I didn't want to go drink in the bar and I didn't want to talk shop so I went back to my room and got my head in a bad place. It was as if an overwhelming sadness came over me. I felt miserable about my marriage and some of the amends that I still need to make. I beat myself up over my character defects. And I blamed others for not "being there" when I needed them.

Anyway, this stuff in my head was making me pretty crazy until I started reading this book. I got half way through it and realized that the only way to quiet my mind was to trust in my HP and do some praying. For a person who has never been religious, it is amazing how praying the Third Step Prayer, the Seventh Step Prayer, and the Serenity Prayer got me through the dark place in my head. I finally got to sleep around 1 AM and awoke this morning feeling tired but quiet in my head.

I don't know why I forgot about my HP when I started to go down but the program has taught me that when things get really rough and I'm making up things that aren't real, I need to let go and let God. I am grateful that I asked for my HP to help me last night and He listened.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

People like Jimmy

I just read on another blog about the suicide of a local fellow who had a sad existence. I know that there are a lot of Jimmy's out there. You and I probably know a person who is on the fringe of everything. Not someone that you can really reach. Maybe the person has a drug or drinking problem. Maybe the person is really hurting.

I know that I vacillate between wanting to reach out to someone who clearly is a mess and just leaving that mess alone. I've learned from the Al-Anon program to realize that I'm powerless over others. And that I didn't cause the problems of others, can't control them, and can't cure them. Yet, what about having basic human concerns?

For example, there's a fellow at work who smells of booze every day. He's been in and out of rehab a bunch of times. I don't know whether he goes to AA or not. I have worked in the same building with him for many years, know his ex-wife, know of his drinking problems but know nothing about what he thinks, what he likes to do or anything else that would give a glimpse at the real person. I would like to sit down with this guy and ask what's going on, yet I hold back. There are lots of reasons that come to mind about holding back: will I be rejected? Is this any of my business? Don't I just detach?

So how do we reach out a hand to someone like Jimmy? All of us are God's creatures no matter how miserable we look or how sick we are. Maybe the only thing that I can do is just pray for anyone who is troubled and just give them up to God.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Spiritual cast net


It's shrimping season in the area and there are lots of people out in boats casting nets over bait for shrimp. What this means is that you can count on a lot more boats on the water and a lot more activity at night which is when the cast netting is done. It's hard to find a quiet spot for a mooring due to all the activity.

I liked what was said at the meeting tonight. One of my friends mentioned that when there are problems in life that come along that appear unmanageable, he throws out a spiritual cast net that surrounds the problem and let's God then pull in the net. It's a great vision and especially appropriate considering the activity on the waterways. I like to think that problems that I can't solve are the ones that I just let go of and give them to my Higher Power. It's my way of not trying to fix something that I can't and not trying to continue with the insanity of doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

It was a really good weekend and nothing seemed unmanageable. I'm grateful for this program that helps me get better each day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Throwing dishes

At last night's meeting, the topic was about how to let go of anger when there is a confrontation. One of the men shared that he doesn't accept having plates thrown at him anymore but generally is able to not buy into other verbal assaults from his wife who is an alcoholic.

I've experienced the plate throwing myself but at the time. I tried to calm things down only to find out that probably wasn't the best thing to do. When faced with unacceptable behavior, I have a choice to either "leave the field" of fight, try to reason, or get into the fray and try to out yell the other person. I've never been good at confrontations so I've generally tried to reason with the alcoholic which is a waste of energy and gets me no where. Now since being in Al-Anon I know that I don't have to be around such unacceptable behavior and can choose to leave. Even if I walk away for just a few minutes, it can help diffuse any anger that I'm feeling.

Treating others with compassion who are angry is something that requires use of the steps. As has been pointed out so many times, the steps are a way to live life and relying on help from our HP is a great help when times are difficult.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Joie de vivre


I had to include a photo of the dolphin show that went on offshore. Just like the dolphin, I am so happy to be home and getting back on track. I met with my sponsor to finish up a lot of my Step Four work (Al-Anon's Blueprint for Progress and the AA step four worksheets) and have dinner. Then we went to my favorite meeting where there were about 30 people. It's generally a large group but tonight there were lots of regulars and quite a few newcomers.

There was a college student there with her dad. She asked him to come to the meeting because she could tell that something was amiss with him. He was irritable and just not happy. The college student shared that she was troubled to see the pain that her parents were going through and that she didn't know how things were going to turn out in their 30 year marriage. She was trying to do her work at school but was having a hard time dealing with the "death" of the family situation as she has known it. A lot of people offered her support after the meeting which was good.

I've been where she is, dying on the inside with a heart breaking because of the death of a relationship that once was great. Thankfully, I ended up in Al-Anon. I feel much more hope about my life and know that regardless of how things turn out, my HP will be there every step of the way.

Even though I can't know what tomorrow will bring, today I'm still alive, my life is full, and I feel happy to just be.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Entirely ready

Last night's discussion was on Step Six. It was interesting to hear various view points on this important step. This is the step that Bill W. said would "separate the men from the boys". When I first read about step six, I thought that it seemed so simple. I've done my inventory in Step Four where I've brought out a lot of strengths and shortcomings that I have.

In Step Five, I'm first admitting to God that I have defects of character and what those are. I then admit these to myself and take responsibility for what my inventory revealed. Then I talk to my sponsor or another trusted person in the program about the exact nature of my wrongs as well as the good things about myself. So I couldn't understand the big deal about Step Six.

Last night though, I learned that this really is the step where you "Let Go and Let God". It's a step in which I'm willing to let go of all the things that are holding me back. I'm never going to be perfect but I can make progress towards giving up those things that have blocked me for years. I can't remove these things on my own because that isn't going to work for very long. I've tried to control so many things and been unsuccessful. I know that without the help of my HP I'll not be able to remove the fear, lust, envy, judging and controlling that I do. I need to be willing to let my HP take over and work within me to be the best that I can be.

I think that the key to this step is letting God. I'm glad that we discussed this step last night because it isn't as simple as I had thought. It really means that I need to revisit Step Three and my relationship with my HP. And it makes me realize that as I complete Step Four and move into Step Five, I'll be needing to consider that my defects of character are actually not altogether bad but can help me become more spiritual and be an opportunity for greater recovery.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Step Back and One Step Forward

After having a much needed meeting last night, I went to the nearby restaurant with some Al-Anons and a couple of AA fellows. We sat and talked about the roundup and other things related to the program. I had called home on the way to the meeting and after the meeting. Things seemed to be okay.

When I got home though the proverbial shit hit the fan. My SO started by saying that I had no interest other than with the program and that because we had such different interests, it seemed best for her to take a bedroom upstairs and for me to either move out or stay in the downstairs wing of the house. Needless to say, I was taken aback.

I would like to tell you that I detached with love and let go and let God. I would like to tell you that I just accepted that she was tired after a business meeting out of town and that all would be okay. But I reverted to my old behavior and tried to discuss the matter. Rather than just say, I'll talk to you tomorrow and let her sleep upstairs, I asked what was going on to bring this tirade about. So I got a lot of resentment lobbed my way, and I accepted it. As I was embracing all her resentments though, I realized that I didn't feel anger at her or any resentment myself. She said that she wanted things to be the way that they were. And I told her gently that wasn't possible because neither of us are the same people we once were. I told her that I was finally making some good friends in the fellowship and that it was good to get together after the meeting. I said that I was doing what I needed to do for me. Then, she lapsed into self-pity, claiming that it was all her fault with the drinking and that had driven me away. At this point, I just listened. I wanted to say, "No, it wasn't just the drinking that drove me away it was the depression, the self-pity, the martyrdom, and the lack of any interest in me until I started having outside interests myself." But no I didn't say anything. I just walked over and took her hand and said "let's go downstairs and get some sleep".

I got about 3 hours of sleep last night but thankfully today is a different day. She still is wallowing in self-pity to a degree but has gotten better as the day has worn on. I put some speaker tapes on and we listened to those. I took the day off today to be home and be around and try to get some rest. I wouldn't have been much good at work anyway.

What happened to me last night made me realize that it is so easy for me to get back into those behaviors that made me crazy and empty. Today, I'm thinking about Steps One through Three and going over them in my mind. After doing that this morning, I have found that today is a different day. One day at a time is all I can do.

"Today I have a chance to make a contribution to my sense of well-being. I can take some small action that will strengthen a relationship, pursue a goal, or help me to feel better about myself. I don't expect to dramatically alter my life. My goal is simply to move in a positive direction, knowing that major strides often begin with very small steps. " from Courage to Change