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Independence Day

From Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, p. 169: “I’m still grieving, but the despair is gone.” “I am learning that though I grieve incredibly for the loss of my ———- (fill in the blank), I don’t have to drown in that pain.”   Before getting into recovery, I wasn’t aware of the tools available to all of us to cope with the inevitable disappointments in life. No one had explained to me the concept of letting go of people and situations that I had no control over. This is huge because the continual battle of my will to change the unchangeable was exhausting and taking a toll on me more than the person I was hoping to change.   The regular practice of gratitude has gifted me with a perspective on my own life, simply focusing on my blessings and keeping them in the forefront of my mind. Surrendering to a greater being than I am for guidance and faith is so basic. And I  believe absolutely that no matter what happens in my life, all will be well. These are but three of the tools the program has given me. And when I pick them up and use them, no matter what sadness I must deal with, the despair is lifted and I have hope. Happy (early) Fourth of July, everyone! This year I’m celebrating sixteen years of freedom and independence from the disease that affects so many of us. God Bless!                ...

Turning It Over

              From Courage To Change, January 23: “Today’s reminder: At the start of each day I can make the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. This way I begin my day with a strong assertion that I choose to accept the reality of my life. I am growing in a healthy direction, growing ever more able to live a good life and to love those I meet along the way. ‘Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.’”   My will(fullness) has gotten me into trouble often. I’ve exercised bad judgment and made questionable decisions, especially around my daughter Angie. I wanted to help her beat her addiction—as if I had any power over that. When I was finally, after much trial and error, able to accept my powerlessness, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Nothing changed in our situation except the way I began reacting (or not) to it. Taking my attention away from Angie and the struggle that is hers alone, what was I going to do with all my energy? Focus on myself and all the blessings God has given me. When I turn my burdens over to Him, I am free....

Beach Combing

I have a huge collection of shells that I’ve amassed over fifty years. But I’ve pretty much stopped collecting because I have no more room to put them! It’s time to enjoy what I have. And to wonder what they’ve represented to me all these years. Ego. Such a fundamental part of the human condition, and yet the very thing that makes us human and separates us from God. It’s ego that keeps us struggling in our relationships, ego that keeps us from accepting things as they are and feeling content with what we have. Ego and our willfulness beneath it that traps us in our restless search to outdo ourselves and others. And it’s ego that makes us want to leave an imprint in the sand. All human beings wrestle with ego, but addicts have found a solution that elevates them from their soul sickness: losing themselves in substances and behaviors that provide oblivion for a time.  “We want what we want when we want it.” That tired old phrase smacking of egocentricity and childishness. Addicts in their disease are all about themselves. In Alcoholics Anonymous, one definition of an alcoholic is an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.. To be “relieved of the bondage of self,” as the Third Step Prayer states in the Big Book, I’m learning how to nurture a relationship with God and remember my place in relation to Him. My importance is next to nothing in the scheme of things. This keeps me right-sized and humble. I’m just another grain of sand on the beach. Learning to live beyond ego has been one of...

Staying Humble

“Know-It-Alls,” Beware: We Don’t! 🙂 Or, more gently put by Roman philosopher, Seneca: “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” As long as I stay right-sized and humble, my relationships will flow more smoothly. Aware of my place next to God’s in the scheme of things, I will remain teachable. And I will keep...

I’m Glad I Stayed

From “The Forum,” March 2017: “’I came for a quick fix and found a way of life.’ ~Bertie P., Florida As I look back, when I walked through the doors of Al-Anon, I had planned to stay long enough to find out how to get the miracle of sobriety in my home. I’m still there! I was broken spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I had given up on everything and everyone. A friend dragged me to Al-Anon, but I was sure it was hopeless. After my first meeting, I was still very angry. How could all those people be happy and smiling? Their homes could not be as bad as mine. Fortunately, I wanted to laugh and smile too. A member, who later became my sponsor, took an interest in me as a newcomer, and I kept coming back. The slogans and all the tools annoyed me, and I didn’t share…Did I ever have a closed mind! But…I kept going… I started taking care of myself and gave the alcoholic a choice to get help or go his own way. Five years later, the real miracle was finding me…I learned how to change my life and really live.”   Wishing/hoping/praying that my daughter Angie will tire of her life and seek recovery is holding myself hostage to something I have no control over. And I don’t want to be a hostage. I want to be free. My recovery program has given me the tools to live my life unencumbered by other people’s choices. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the...

Edging God Out

Ego is the great separator from God. True humility is the ability to see myself in relation to God, and this keeps me where I need to be with the people in my life. It has nothing to do with humiliation; it’s maintaining a realistic and balanced perspective on myself. I’ve heard it said that addiction is a disease of relationships, and it certainly has the power to destroy them. When I try to let go of many of my defects and practice humility, my relationships work better. This, I believe, is God working through me....