Resentment Hurts Us

When I feel resentment it’s uncomfortable, and I’m prone to want to stuff my feelings. But that’s never good for me. It’s an old bad habit that my years in the program have enabled me to give up.

I need to stay in tune with my resentments every day and deal with them constructively. Sometimes that means airing them; other times I need to bury them. Otherwise, they will come back and destroy me.

I’m so grateful to be able to look at negative behaviors and try to replace them with positive ones. It’s “progress, not perfection” that keeps me moving forward to calmer waters.

“Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”


“Happiness Is An Inside Job”

From Each Day A New Beginning, September 30:

“What difference does it make how I am treated by life? My real life is within.” ~Angela Wozniak

“It is said that we teach people how to treat us. How we treat others invites similar treatment. Our response to the external conditions of our lives can be greatly altered by our perceptions of those conditions. And we have control of that perception…

The program offers us the awareness that our security, happiness, and well-being reside within. The uplifting moments of our lives may enhance our security, but they can’t guarantee that they will last. Only the relationship we have with ourselves and God within can promise the gift of security.

The ripples in my life are reminders to me to go within.”

When I rely too heavily on circumstances in my life, especially those over which I have no control, I’m setting myself up. It’s great when things go smoothly in my life, but often they don’t. When all is well, it’s natural to feel happiness and a sense of well-being. But I can lose that sense of security in a heartbeat when all is not well, when I am burdened by heartbreak. That’s when I’m grateful for the spiritual life I have at my disposal. When I remember to trust in my program every day, I’m able to feel God’s grace.

My daughter Angie has been in and out of addiction for fifteen years, and for many of those years I allowed her illness to destroy my well-being. I fought like a warrior mom to save her, as though her recovery were totally up to me. She was in and out of several rehabs, and my sense of wellness ebbed and flowed along with hers. This is codependence, an illness in itself. Thank you, Melody Beattie, for shining a light on this misunderstood malady!

I felt at first that letting go was dropping the ball, evidence that I didn’t love my daughter. Heaven knows, there were many people out there who were telling me that. But unless they’ve walked a mile in my shoes, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

I often say that attitude is everything. I have this sadness in my life; most of us here do as well. But I refuse to let it define me. I refuse to obsess about it any longer. My energy is better spent on all the other loved ones in my life: other family and friends. I want to use what’s left of my life in a constructive way: by sharing my experience, strength and hope with others in my book about Angie, my blog, and a second book, a sequel to the Angie story coming out next year. I also like to sing and go canoeing, hike and cross country ski.

Life is as full as I want to make it. How I spend my time now is more important than how I spent it in the past because I can build on the lessons learned from my mistakes. Life can be better now if I apply a positive attitude to my efforts and not be too concerned with outcomes. Expectations can be killers.

I try to loosen my grip on things in my life, take deep breaths, and relax. Life is unfolding as it was meant to.

The Pain Of Isolation

From “When I Got Busy I Got Better,” p. 12

“Recently I attended a neighborhood hearing to show support for a local service. To my surprise, I found myself taking part as an active and committed member of my community. My pre-Alanon feelings of isolation and frustration had abated as I established a connection with my neighbors…In tracing the development of my new experience of common ground, I realize that my years in Al-Anon had been instrumental in dispelling my isolation…A member of our fellowship once explained how reaching out in simple ways had helped her break through her loneliness, desperation, and isolation.”

Feelings of being an isolated outsider have shadowed me all of my life, and not just because I’ve traveled a lot. Many of my friends who grew up in alcoholism share the same experience of being different from others. I’m not sure why this is, but I do know that the work I’ve done in recovery has pushed me out of my shell, “my dark cave of depression,” and encouraged me to jump into life more, do more service work, get involved. In other words: shed my fear and take risks. Recovery is all a matter of perception, I often say here, and the world has opened up to me in new and different ways. I’m grateful not to be closed off to all the possibilities ahead. Life is good!

Embracing Our Freedom

From Each Day A New Beginning, April 1:

“‘It is only when people begin to shake loose from their preconceptions, from the ideas that have dominated them, that we begin to receive a sense of opening, a sense of vision.’ ~Barbara Ward

…The past that we hang onto stands in our way. Many of us needlessly spend much of our lives fighting a poor self-image. But we can overcome that. W can choose to believe that we are capable and confident. We can be spontaneous, and our vision of all that life can offer will change—will excite us, will cultivate our confidence…We can respond to life wholly. We can trust our instincts. And we will become all that we dare to become…Each day is a new beginning. Each moment is a new opportunity to let go of all that has trapped me in the past. I am free. In the present, I am free.”

I’m not on automatic pilot anymore. My step work has helped me know myself better, be accountable for my actions, make amends when necessary, and move on. That last one is critical: moving on. When I get stuck on something, my sponsor in the program helps me shake free of it. Get unglued. Life is too short to bury myself in the past that I can’t do anything about anyway. And tomorrow? Well, I could get hit by a car!

If I make an effort to stay in today, I have an opportunity to make “cleaner” choices and live better. At my age, that matters a lot to me. The three A’s are an important tool: Awareness, Acceptance and Action. I choose to act differently now. I have the freedom to choose.

I’m not in a coma…I’m an actor in my own script—not someone else’s. I feel tremendously empowered by this, taking control of my own life. Awareness has been a key in maintaining my emotional sobriety. And that awareness is reinforced all the time by the mirrors that surround us.

As a friend says when she shares at meetings, “Thank you for my recovery.”

Memories of Greece

A Memoir of Recovery




I’m finishing up my second memoir about addiction, a sequel to A Mother’s Story, but had to visit a major crossroads in my life first. My daughter Angie was ten when a big change occurred in our lives, and I needed to revisit Greece with a fresh perspective nearly thirty years later. Sending love to all my FB friends from the top of a volcano, Santorini, where they have internet and TV, lol!

Habits Can Be Unlearned

From Each Day A New Beginning, April 20:

“‘One has to grow up with good talk in order to form the habit of it.’ ~Helen Hayes

Our habits, whatever they may be, were greatly influenced, if not wholly formed, during childhood. We learned our behavior through imitation, imitation of our parents, our siblings, our peer group. But we need not be stuck in habits that are unhealthy. The choice to create new patterns of behavior is ours to make…We can find strength from the program and one another to let go of the behavior that stands in the way of today’s happiness. And we can find in one another a better, healthier behavior to imitate…I am growing up again amidst the good habits of others, and myself.”


I often say that I grew up in the rooms as well. I’m almost seventy years old, so that’s a lot of years to look at and take inventory. But I’ve learned to “look back without staring.” Not to obsess about things that are over, that I can’t change now. To let go of what’s past and focus on what’s right in front of me.

The tools I’ve picked up in my recovery program have been essential for guiding me into new ways of behaving—“acting my way into right thinking.” And doing things differently now—whether it’s eating right, power walking, or remembering to tell people I love them every day—are changing the way I think. And this, in turn, has the effect of elevating me—moving me away from old negative patterns that kept getting in my way.

It’s never too late to learn how to be happy.