From God

Turning It Over

This morning I’m going to attend the Amazing Grace Al-Anon meeting, and, because my sponsor is away on vacation, I’m taking over her duty of handing out yearly tokens for March birthdays. 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. ūüėČ 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…

The Problem and The Answer

I’m not often speechless. It’s not usually hard for me to know what to say, but writing in this blog has been so hard for me lately, and that’s not like me. It’s like I feel like I’m supposed to have the “answers,” as if 1) there are certain answers one has to follow as a member of Al-Anon and 2) I know them. Let’s get a couple things squared away. The only “answers” I really know in Al-Anon are told to me (either through the other members, the big book of Al-Anon, my sponsor, whatever) by my higher power.…

Let Go of Expectations and Outcomes

I’m learning there’s a reason “Let go” comes before “Let God” in that particular recovery slogan. Have you ever watched a baby just before she falls asleep, if you happen to be blessed enough to hold her in your arms? The eyelids fight to stay open. They flutter closed, the tiny hands begin to relax . . . and then boom! The legs kick out again, the hands clench into little fists and the eyelids struggle sooo hard to stay open. Just¬†one more minute.¬†Not ready for sleep quite yet. Might miss something.¬†Yawn.¬† Finally, the battle ends and the eyes close…

Grateful Thoughts

“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude.” –Bruce Wilkinson Sometimes it’s difficult to be grateful. When I first joined Al-Anon, I had to search for things to be grateful over. I mean, I had to¬†search.¬†At first, it was little, tiny things like “putting my feet on the floor” in the morning as I got out of bed, being grateful that I “had feet” to put on the floor . . . I’m not sure why that was. Maybe I was so focused on¬†fixing¬†the alcoholic in my life, so angry that I was even there in the first…

What Happens When We Try To Change Too Quickly?

Good morning! It’s good to be back after such a long time away. I’ve been really busy with an extended birthday celebration, and then my Senior Choral production of The Bright Lights of Broadway. Which brings me to our topic. What happens when we try to change things in our lives too quickly? In The Bright Lights of Broadway, we have cast members who are as young as me and as old as 96. Seven of the cast members this year are from an independent living facility. They are usually in the audience, but love it so much, this year…

We Don’t Live In A Vacuum

“Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.” –Reinhold Niebuhr Today’s reading in Courage to Change absolutely blew me away. It was ostensibly about sponsorship and how important a sponsor was to this sponsee. But really it was about love. She learned about her worthiness as a person through her sponsor. I was at an Al-Anon meeting (stop me if I’ve told you this story before ūüėČ ), where there was a double winner (a person from AA who also had Al-Anon issues). She was celebrating 26 years of AA. She told us…

How Do We Define Character Defects?

What does the word “defective” evoke in you? Does it make you think of things that need to be returned, exchanged, or even destroyed? According to Dictionary.com, defective means “having a defect or flaw; faulty; imperfect;¬†a defective machine.¬† Checking further,¬†defect¬†means “a shortcoming, fault, or imperfection;¬†lack¬†or¬†want,¬†especially¬†of¬†something¬†essential¬†to¬†perfection or¬†completeness;¬†deficiency.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I even WANT to be perfect—but I guess that’s neither here nor there. We were discussing defects, and how we define them. ūüėČ Here are some definitions of character defects that may or may not work for you; I’m embarrassingly imperfect. ūüėČ 1.¬†Old coping…

God Comes First In The Serenity Prayer

“Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands—a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.” –Sidney Lovett When I pray the serenity prayer, I place a special emphasis on the first word, “God.” Now, don’t stop reading at this point. See, what I love about the Al-Anon program and the CoDA (Codependency Anonymous) program is they allow for each to come the “God of his own understanding.” I had a…

More Will Be Revealed

I’ve heard “more will be revealed” at meetings, and have read it in the Big Book, but it has never been as meaningful until right now. My need to control can show itself as a need to know exactly what’s going on, all the time. We cannot always know. Sometimes, I need to let things be and trust that clarity will come later, in looking back. Just like in this painting, I see exactly what I need to see . . . for now. It’s okay. It’s already okay. If it doesn’t make perfect sense now, it’s not supposed to.…

The Curious Paradox

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. (Carl Rogers). At this morning’s Al-Anon meeting, the topic of the table was about being¬†powerless. I knew all about the powerlessness over the alcoholic, over other people, places, and things. This I had come face-to-face with many times. But then someone at the table mentioned being powerless over her own¬†self,¬†and it felt like all the air been sucked right out of me. That’s it! That’s what I’ve been feeling over the last couple of weeks. Powerless over myself. But how can that be?…

Calm In The Middle Of The Storm

“Serenity isn’t freedom from the storms of ¬†life. It’s the calm in the middle of the storm that gets me through. It’s up to me to try to keep this calm, even when the storm gets worse.” -Alateen–a day at a time, p. 30 This picture, and this quote, are so perfect for the topic of the day, which is of course, serenity. Serenity manifests itself in several ways for me. When I need that calm in the middle of the storm, these are the places I go/things I do/people I seek: 1. Pray.¬†I often¬†think¬†it’s not always the first thing…

Book Review: Though The Bud Be Bruised

What would you do if you found a note written by your daughter saying she had been sexually molested by a member of your church, a friend of the family? This is the terrible truth and problem that Issy and her parents, Zara and Sam Heymer must face as Christians. Though The Bud Be Bruised, by Jo Wanmer:¬†2012, Even Before Publishing, a Division of Wombat Books. ISBN: 978-1-922074-07-2. Amazon link:¬†Though The Bud Be Bruised. This book is based on a true story, and it is not an easy read. What I mean to say is, it is about a young…

Making Change

Making change is hard. It takes determination, focus, and trust in a Higher Power. This morning, as I was sitting outside talking to my Super Sponsor on the phone, we made a date for tomorrow to have lunch, I hung and started to dial my sister to tell her about it. It took me almost a full minute to remember she’s in jail and I can’t call her. MAKING CHANGE IS HARD. IT TAKES DETERMINATION, FOCUS, AND TRUST IN A HIGHER POWER.¬† As I was sitting there, waiting for my heart to stop aching, an illustration came to me about…

Freedom Is Accepting Yourself Right Where You’re At

A few posts ago I declared myself a fraud and think I also said something about being worthless, perhaps. I would like takesies-backsies on both of those. Since then, I have spoken with both my Al-Anon super sponsor, and my therapist, Heather, and they have helped me learn something valuable. I thought I was a fraud because the nearly year-long time I had spent going to Al-Anon had only gone into my head-sense, but had not traveled the 12 or so inches to my heart. Both my super sponsor and my T. heartily disagreed, and I have to say I…

It’s July Already? Step Seven Time!

The 7th step says: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” This is an image of the 3rd Step Prayer Book Marker available at¬†hazelden.org, in their bookstore. On the other side is the 7th step prayer, which reads as follows: My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen. That prayer is taken from…

What I Learned About “Listen And Learn”

Let’s be real. There’s so much information we are confronted with on a daily basis, it’s a wonder we can absorb even the ¬†infinitesimal amounts we do, without losing our minds. It’s even worse if you are a student. But think about it. From the time that we wake up, we are bombarded with thoughts, facts, questions, demands, statements, exclamations, commercials, hypotheses, fantasies . . . and all of that gets sorted through the amazing filter of our brains. Al-Alon’s slogan, “Listen and Learn,” reminds us that if we have the self-discipline to be quiet and pay attention to others’…

The Morning After A Good Sleep

I SO LOVE this picture. In case you can’t read it, it says: “So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” Had THE BEST sleep last night. I mean, if I could call The Guinness Book of Records and report it, I would, but I’m not sure how they rate the scale. In terms of number of hours slept, it wasn’t amazing: eight. Lucy woke me once and I took her round back, eyes at half mast, to do…

Easy Always Does It Better

So. Stuff happens. Into each life a little stress will come, some more than others. I just got off the phone with an old friend of mine, who has bipolar like I do, and she has been hospitalized twice since April because of¬†rapid cycling. New meds aren’t really helping, so she’s dealing as best she can. Stuff happens. It’s what we do with the stuff that either helps us or hurts us¬†more.¬† One of my (for I have a few) favorite slogans in the program is¬†Easy Does It.¬†When something stressful happens in my life, when something goes way wrong, I…

Who is Your Higher Power?

Often, when people get to the 2nd step,¬†Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, they are not quite sure what to do. Many (including yours truly) have come from a place where they felt so beaten down they didn’t believe anything or anyone could fix it. I was told “Keep coming back.” So I did. I¬†came.¬†That’s all I could do for a while. I came and got my butt in the chair and I listened. I¬†came¬†and then I came to¬†and then I came to believe.¬† It’s a process, and it looks different for…

Conscious Contact and the Novi Senior Choral

The 11th step from Al-Anon states:¬†Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. According to Dictionary.com, the word ‘conscious‘ means: 1.¬†aware¬†of¬†one’s¬†own¬†existence,¬†sensations,¬†thoughts,surroundings,¬†etc., and 2.¬†fully¬†aware¬†of¬†or¬†sensitive¬†to¬†something (among others that you may peruse if you wish ūüôā ). Some synonyms of conscious are understanding, sure, vigilant, watchful. Contact can be seen a few different ways: touch, actual touch; meeting between two people; a nifty friend or acquaintance who can garner you influence. I’ve been trying to improve my¬†conscious contact with…