Thursday, February 2, 2012

Waste in worry

A day full of errands and meetings has me tired this evening.  I went to the noon meeting, met my local sponsor for lunch, worked out doing interval training, got clothes to the nursing home, had a sailing club meeting tonight and am finally getting a few moments of quiet.

Tomorrow we are going on the boat for the weekend.  A good friend of mine has offered to visit the father-in-law at the nursing home and chat with him.  He still does not want to see either me or his daughter.  But it isn't right for him to be left all alone in a strange new place.  This friend likes to listen to stories about the war, and he is patient.  He thought that it would be good for him to visit the old man and keep an eye on him, take him some snacks and just chat.

I am ready for some "blank" time in which I listen to the waves hitting the hull and feel the gentle rocking of the boat, not thinking of anything really.  The past week has been a trying one.  I am looking forward to escaping for a few days.  It's amazing how easy it is to get an attitude adjustment by being on the boat.

Today's meeting topic was on worry.  God knows I have done my share of that.  The worry was more like an anxiety that truly was a symptom of just how unmanageable my life was.

I inherited the worry gene from my parents who were telling me all kinds of things to watch out for--mostly people who were going to screw me in some way.  So much negativism creates anxiety.

I can remember worrying about money, grades, relationships, parents, work projects, animals--so much time spent worrying about things that I really had no control over.  I would put together lists of things to get done and then worry that the lists weren't inclusive enough.  It was sheer insanity.

Some time before coming into Al-Anon, when I was at my worst in terms of unhappiness,  I quit caring about the lists and worrying about what might happen in the future.  I didn't know about the idea of One Day at A Time then.  But I had gotten to the point that I didn't much care what happened today or tomorrow.

Not I know that worrying doesn't help anything go smoothly or get better.  It doesn't help me get things done or have a better day.  In fact, it pretty much ruins the day.  I can't explain the change in me, other than to say that I have been able to let go of outcomes and have come to a place of accepting what happens.  And somehow that is enough to switch off the worry gene most of the time.

I'm going to keep the worry at bay for the rest of this day.  I'm too tired to be worried about anything.  Tomorrow isn't here yet.  Who knows what it will bring?  I'm not going to worry about it.

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia


  1. There is a song in the 1958 movie "Windjammer" which I love. A few of those lyrics here:

    "Don't ya hurry, worry me...
    .....Who cares what time it is
    When the climate is
    Warm as the tropical sea?
    So don't ya hurry me
    Don't ya worry me..."

    Worry robs me of focusing on whatever is happening in the real!

    Thanks for interesting post, Syd.

  2. Hi Syd....checking in after a hectic week. I was just thinking about the nice time you had with the parents over Christmas and now you and C are here, with your Father In Law and the difficult decision to have him in a nursing home.

    Thanks for this post on worrying. I tend to try to worry myself to the point of exhaustion. One day at a time is hard when you are a control freak. healing prayers to you and C.

  3. hey man enjoy that time on the boat...and i am glad you have that friend to look in on him...

  4. so sorry all this is happening with C's parents. I know my time may come soon too with my aging folks. Ran into a friend at the grocery the other day, we were roommates when I was about 22-25. He is 10 years older than me and at the time seemed a fount of older wisdom. Now he's dealing long distance with his 91 year old mothers care and finances. it was funny for us to go immediately to that type of conversation since we don't see each other often.
    I looked at him and said, "gawd, we're so old".
    but not as old as our parents. I hope things improve or just become manageable soon for you and C.

  5. Worry as you say is pointless, Syd but how seductive or familiar it is. I find myself slipping into its embrace daily however much I manage to talk myself out. I'm glad you're doing so well though.

  6. Worry, yes I realized when I quieted my mind down there was alot of worry and fear floating....
    I would and do still attach to these thoughts at times which can spin me
    down a dusty road. Being of service and living in the moment helps keep the worry level down just for today.
    Glad to hear you will be on your boat.

  7. Being on the boat sounds like its the 3rd and 11th step in action. Letting go, turning over to God and meditation in motion. What a beautiful example of self care.

    Everything will unfold as it should. He is in safe place being cared for, and on the boat, so are you and C. Isn't it cool how God works?

  8. I have spent a lot of time in worry. I am getting better at leaving it behind. Glad you will be spending time on your boat without worry.

  9. blank time just listening to waves... oh that harkens some wonderful memories in sound, sight and heart! Have a wonderful peaceful sail!!!!

  10. I used to worry. Many times in my career I have been out of work and I would worry about a paycheck, about my family and everything you can imagine around those type of issues.

    I can't really remember when that cycle ended but I think what helped was when I realized I already had everything I needed inside of me to handle anything that was thrown at me.

    Granted, my son's addition had me on the ropes a couple times but inside I found that strength I didn't know I had.

  11. That is exactly what I needed to hear this morning, Syd. Thank-you.

  12. Anxiety and worry are what I struggle with daily. I so appreciate your thoughts on this topic. As I trust my higher power more & more, the comfort that I feel within myself crowds out the worry.

  13. First, all the empathy I can muster electronically for you and C. going through such a challenging time. Second, your blog has been a real blessing this week as I have what feel like very crummy challenges going on - and I get stuck in focusing on how everyone else needs to change, and I realize that I just don't have any control over that.

    It's scary when I slip back into the feeling that I need to control everything, which ties into a deeper sense that I am responsible for everything bad that happens. This is a mindset I learned as a child in an alcoholic home and "nurtured" through two marriages, the second one doomed to fail by a husband who simply did not want to be married.

    Your blog and a few other resources from the universe have gently reminded me this week that all I can do is take care of "my side of the street." It's freeing and scary at the same time.

    I saw a really good film this week, and walked out of it with a lot of emotions about it's subject matter - 9/11, that bad things happen to everyone just "out of the blue," grief over loss, and comfort in the knowledge that we, as human beings, are truly all in this together. One epiphany for my Al-Anon walk was the idea of "what If" - I thought about how the novel, then the film, were born because the author dared to follow a "what if" idea - and wrote a great story about it.

    So, I examined my own responses to "what if," and found that I usually have such negative answers for myself. I've decided that it's worth answering the "what if?" with positive answers for a change. What if I start a vegetable garden (for the first time, it scares me!) and it goes well? What if I do some volunteer work (also scary!) and I enjoy it?

    What if at this time next week, I've followed through on my what ifs with positive responses instead of worries.

    So, as always - thank you so much for your blog. It's a wonderful, powerful thing.

  14. I was a terrible worrier, and now I'm not. That's a gift from 12-Step. Had I gained nothing else, that would have been sufficient reward for working the Steps.

  15. Really pleased you have a chance to go to the boat for a couple of days . . . Peace.

  16. Aha! Worry - a sour reminder of what I did - until I heard in my early days of Al-Anon: "When you worry, you do not pray, and when you pray, there's no room for worry." Sort of difficult to understand in those early days, but my own scrambled brain could only replace the racing 'what-if' thoughts with the Serenity Prayer at first, and it worked! After some practice, I learned that I could precede meditation with prayer that would blank out worrisome thoughts - and just listen for God's personal plan for ME (as you are doing with the waves lapping on the boat).

    Thanks for the recovery memory.

    Hugs and Love,
    Anonymous #1

  17. Your writings help me so much. Six months into Al Anon, I still struggle with the worry and not really caring what happens next. This morning, I dropped to the floor and begged God to take it all. I'm done. Thanks again!!

  18. I'm glad you have a friend willing to visit your fil in your stead. I pray his feelings will soften. Rest, restore and renew on the water, my friend. God speed.

  19. What, me worry? -- Alfred E. Newman

  20. If I'm in the situation, I will worry. That's how it is. I have to remove myself from the place or person to avoid worry. Blessings on you, Syd.

  21. I'm glad you have someplace quiet to go that can ease your mind. In my dealings with worry lately I've read that taking care of today is the best we can do to set up better tomorrows. I'm finding your thoughts on that to be a good reminder...just for today.

  22. I was a black belt at worrying. Today, I still worry, but I am learning to keep that worry at bay and have the awareness of what steps I need to take so it doesn't rob my entire day of joy.

    Enjoy the time on the boat, so glad you have that!

  23. The AA literature says that we can learn to live with unsolveable problems, with the conflicting issue of human frailty and its emotional miasma on one hand, and the sturdy, steadying knowledge that this day contains good and we are capable of being part of it.

  24. I love the Buscaglia quote...

    It is amazing, the life changing things we learn in recovery isn't it?


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