Turning It Over

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higher power 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 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.

Peace out.

It’s October – Tenth Step Time

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From the Big Book of AA, p. 84, the 10th step prayer: “I pray God that you remove my selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.”

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?

Peace out.

How Do We Define Character Defects?

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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 skills:¬†Something that worked when we were younger and defenseless (hiding from a stressful situation, not talking, etc.) may not work anymore. It’s up to YOU and YOU ALONE to decide what your old coping skills are and whether or not you are ready to let go of them. You may be powerless, but you ain’t helpless any longer. That’s a fact.

2. Assets gone astray: You might feel a genuine desire to help someone that can turn into a need to fix him. See how that can happen? Your genuine desire to keep things neat and tidy can turn into a need to shriek at someone for not using a drink coaster, or it could turn into obsessive-compulsive disorder (disclaimer: I am not, nor have I ever been, a shrink. I only visit one). Maybe you have a lot of knowledge about something and you genuinely desire to share it, but you do so without being asked . . . a lot. 

If we look at character defects in this way, we can pray for balance. We can talk to our Higher Powers and ask that these parts of ourselves be straightened out with His (Her? Whomever you pray to) help.

Instead of berating ourselves and taking out the wet noodle, ¬†we can recognize that we are¬†growing.¬†We see that something we used to need we no longer do, and we seek for balance in our lives. That’s pretty damn good, if you ask me.

Peace out, and have a fantastic Saturday. I know I will.

It’s August – That Must Mean Step Eight!

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Step eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

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.

Peace out.