I hope you don’t take offense at my sense of humor with the image I’ve posted here. I don’t have a cat, but my dog would gladly take the job. She thinks she’s the boss of me. It’s all tongue-in-cheek of course. I DO have a higher power, and it’s not me, or my dog. It’s God. I’m thrilled to hand out tokens this morning, because I know the courage it takes to live life one day at a time. I know the effort it took to get to this place of an anniversary.
But I know what the answer will invariably be when someone (perhaps me) shouts out “How’d you do it?” That person will mention the Al-Anon program itself, their sponsor, other friends, and – last but not least (or maybe even first) – a higher power.
Turning our lives over to a higher power does not mean we laze around cluelessly and never lift a finger in our lives. It means we do the footwork and leave the outcome up to our higher powers. It means we let that higher power have the steering wheel, but we still have the power to put on the brakes, to slow things down if things are going too quickly.
God has blessed my life in countless ways since I’ve been a member of Al-Anon.
I love the simplicity of the AA and Al-Anon programs. Since AA works so well, Al-Anon has adapted much of what it uses almost word for word for its own purposes, like this prayer. I take that at face value, meaning that those are the four things I need to truly concern myself with when I come before God each night with my daily inventory.
Where have I been selfish, dishonest, resentful and fearful today? Who do I need to talk to/make amends with? An apology alone is not “making amends.” To make amends means to provide just compensation for a loss, injury, or insult. It’s an action. If I apologize and rake someone’s leaves because, say, I caused an injury that made him unable to rake his own leaves … that’s making amends.
The tenth step is freeing for me because it keeps my inventory list low. Instead of full tank, I want an empty one, when it comes to the tenth step, you know? If I go to bed every night, and I hit my pillow … I want to drift off to sleep as easily as possible.
To that end, sometimes I have tenth step friends I call on for help. Just yesterday I called a friend in Al-Anon because I was on my way to a NaNoWriMo kickoff party and I got scared and panicky.
How does this step look for you?
Just a couple things about this step. Some people, in their zeal to “come clean,” list every single person they think they have every harmed, including their children if their feelings got hurt when they were grounded, and things like that.
I am not responsible for other peoples’ unfulfilled desires. Simple as that. Other peoples’ expectations are not my responsibility unless I have helped to create them.
Also, willingness is key here. Some people find it helpful to divide their list into three parts: the people they are willing to make amends with, the people they might be willing to make amends with, and the people whey never will be willing to make amends with. As they work through the list, they find that some of the “mights” become “willings” and some of the “neverwills” become “maybes.”
Just something to chew on. It doesn’t have to be done perfectly. It just has to get done.