Tagged al-anon

B is for Blaming

My sister’s three children, who are grown adults now — the eldest is forty, and the younger two are in their late thirties — like to blame her for the way their lives are now, drawing on countless stories of a “horrific” childhood raised by a sometimes absent practicing alcoholic. This is always heartbreaking for Carol but she has learned to say “Goodbye, I’m hanging up now,” when it gets redundant and too difficult.  I’m sure their childhoods were indeed difficult, but at what point does one say, “What’s happening in my life now is up to me. These are my choices. No one…

A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition. I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would…

Are YOU My Sponsor?

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” ~Rabbi Hillel I am currently a sponsor-less (wingless, rudderless) member of Al-Anon. This year September will be three years that I’ve been in Al-Anon, but my former uber sponsor and I parted ways amicably over a year ago. Since that time finding a new one has reminded me of the childhood book Are You My Mother? in which a baby bird is hatched while its mother is away from the nest and it…

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.…

Steps To Save Your Sanity!

I hope it doesn’t make me heartless to not write about the tragedy in Connecticut yesterday. I’m just as shocked and broken up as any of you, but I’m just choosing not to write about it. Today, keeping in the holiday theme of the month, I thought we’d talk about how to hang on to our sanity during this time. It can be difficult with family obligations, financial crises, or other high stress situations. Just fill in this blank: “The toughest part of the holidays is most definitely _____.” Now, let’s figure out how to deal with whatever you (or…

Feelings Aren’t Facts: Make it a Mantra!

Maybe in your past you grew up in a chaotic or even abusive alcoholic family. Or maybe your family was dysfunctional in another way. No matter what, you learned to rely on your feelings as a barometer for what to do. If you felt scared, you ran and hid. If confronted by unwarranted anger, you might have also run and hid, or you might have fought back. We are all different. Some of us were little scrappers, which got us into further trouble. 😉 Some of us cried when we were sad, some simply withdrew. Some of us were shy,…

In The Moment

I think the single most difficult thing for me to learn in Al-Anon – and some days it’s something I only strive for – is to live life in the moment. It’s so much easier to fall into the pitfalls of yesterday or tomorrow. Think about it. We can get to yesterday and tomorrow with only a daydream or two. We can get to yesterday’s mistakes and tomorrow’s worries in the time it takes to drive from work to home, something we do on autopilot. Those kind of drives leave a lot of room for daydreams about yesterdays and tomorrows.…

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…

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…

Six Steps To Break The Cycle Of Codependency!

Ever feel like you are handcuffed to the person next to you, or stuck in a situation you can’t get out of? That’s codependency. Here are some steps that help me, and I hope they might help you as well: 1. Breathe.  I’m a notorious shallow breather, which doesn’t help my anxiety. Remember to breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. It makes everything a little easier.  And it can’t hurt to say the Serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”…

Accepting Change

Wednesday was a difficult day for me, and I thought I had lost all the ground I had previously gained in Al-Anon and then some. That was the day we picked up my sister from jail, and subsequently spent 11 hours in the car driving her around, back and forth from her probation officer to different places, only to have doors slammed in our faces and told to go back here or there . . . I admit, I lost my cool a time or two. I don’t do freeway driving well, and I had to listen to Stella (my…

Filling My Cup

Is this not a beautiful picture? I couldn’t resist it when I saw it. If I could get my heart started every morning on a cup full of sparkles instead of caffeine, I’d be all over it. 🙂 That is SO pretty to me. It made me think about what I need to fill myself with every day. Like, how does what I read, watch on TV, and look at on the internet affect me? How does who I talk to on the phone or in person affect my mood? How does what I write about or not write about make me…

Just Do It ‘Til You BELIEVE It

The popular saying in AA and Al-Anon is “Fake it ’til you make it,” but for the purposes of today’s post, I’ve made up my own slogan. Yeah. I did that. 🙂 Well, they all have to start somewhere, right? So one of these days I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll hear someone talking to a friend, chatting them up, saying, “No, you just do it ’til….” ooor maybe not. 😛 It’s nice to dream, though. The point is for whatever you are dealing with, whether it’s another person’s behavior or your own behavior you are trying to…

Noticed Something Really Sad About My Readers

Okay, I admit I’m not the smartest person who ever lived, but I’m not the most stupid either. I know the ways of the world, and I’m kinda hypersensitive. I’ve been checking my views over the last few days, and you know what’s weird? They skyrocketed (well, went to 40 views on my busiest day, which for me is a lot) when I talked about my sister’s arrest, and continued to be fairly steady until yesterday. Yesterday I talked about me again, and good ol’ Al-Anon, and God, and how all that’s helping me. And my views dipped all the…

A Whole Lot of Love

At Saturday’s meeting there was another double winner, like me, a friend of mine (at least, she signed my sheet, so I count her among  my friends now 😉 ) who is in both AA and Al-Anon. She mentioned when it was her time to share that she was celebrating that very day 27 YEARS of sobriety. Whoo hoo!!! All meetings have a different sort of “flavor,” and this meeting is much looser, and allows crosstalk. We allow questions and direct statements back and forth to each other because we are a very small and close-knit group. It’s just how…

De Nile: It Really Isn’t Just a River in Egypt!

It’s fairly easy to talk the talk. It’s much easier to tell people what to do, to give people advice, than to take that advice for oneself. What I’m trying to say is, I’ve been in some denial about something pretty big. I’ve said here on my blog that I’m a “double winner,” and by that I mean I am a member of two anonymous groups: Al-Anon, and Overeaters Anonymous. Well, I’m in a rather large amount of denial about OA, and I intend to change that in this blog post. I’ve still been attending the meetings. I just haven’t been…

Accepting the things we cannot change

If I want people to accept me where I’m at, in all my mistakes and imperfections, then I’ve got to be willing to do the same for them. The hardest lesson, the hardest thing I have had to accept is that we are who we are, we do what we do. People do not generally change. Past behavior is a strong predictor of future behavior. Addicts do what they do because they are hung up in their diseases, not because they are bad people. When something recently happened with my nephew, an addict, I got all surprised – like DUH…

B is for Balance

I’m a freakish researcher. Seriously. I would’ve made a great legal or research assistant, because I research things to the extreme. It takes a gentle nudge from my sponsor to let my know that maybe I’ve done enough and it’s time to stop. Two examples: When I came to Al-Anon, the qualifying alcoholic in my life was still sober. But then she relapsed. In my helplessness, and because I was not yet ready to turn that over to God, I researched everything I could. I took books out of the library. I have nearly 50 books downloaded on my Kindle…

A is for Acceptance

Wanting that feeling of being approved/accepted comes from deep within our hearts, and it starts when we are very young. I remember needing nothing more than to be accepted as a child, for who I was. It seemed my well-meaning parents were always wanting to make me into something different. A better, more-polished, more-polite, more-confident, more . . .  version of Chris. It seems like it takes so much for us to shake off those old tapes and that old wiring and reach for something better, even if that something better is so spectacular as to be a higher power,…