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Friday, September 30, 2016
Love this!

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered.
- Robert Fulgum

I have a mini migraine today, so let's just jump into passages.  Ok ok.  quickie update - great Bible Study last night.  I read the passage to the ladies about feelings and it was a huge hit.  Especially because one precious woman was honest enough to reveal her breakdown the day before and how she was ashamed of how it made her feel.  So sad that we do that to ourselves. Oh and then I hugged her and my too big pants kind of went down and I was embarrassed.  I think I'll live.  But, yes!  That happened!

Also, I'm really wanting to talk to my little brother in law.  Hubby's family sent him some angry messages after they found out he regressed and it made me feel like I should talk with him.

ANYWAYS...... passages.  I haven't read it yet, but saw behavior change in the first sentence and it made me excited.

Passage 1
Just for today I can try out new behavior. I can take the point of view that perhaps I have been given a lifetime to learn something about myself. Maybe life is a series of experiments in which some succeed and some fail -- and in which the failures, as well as the successes, point the way to fresh experiments. 

Just for today I might try slightly changing some pattern of behavior that repeatedly causes me problems, just to see what happens. For example, if I have a habit of responding with a negative attitude to a particular person or situation -- getting out of bed, working, requests for help, authority figures -- I can try a different, more positive response. I can think of it as research and learn from whatever happens. 

This day is all I have to work with. The past is over, and tomorrow is out of my reach. I will try to remember what a great gift this day can be and make full use of it.

Today's Reminder
Just for today I will look for ways to enjoy life -- stop by a garden, try a new hobby, or call a good friend. I can look for humor. I can savor love. I can explore something new. Maybe just for today, I'll try standing on my head to see if I like the view.
"Just for today I will find a little time to relax and to realize what life is and can be; time to think about God and get a better perspective on myself." Alcoholism, the Family Disease

**What a fun perspective!

Passage 2

Once there was a man whose beloved wife was transformed from the charming girl he had married, into a sodden drunkard. She suffered from a disease called alcoholism, although neither of them knew it.

 He was always angry and frustrated because he couldn't make her stop drinking. The more he tried, the worse she felt about it, and the more she drank. She was full of guilt and self-reproach because she left everything to him. He had to get the children ready for school, do the shopping, cook meals and clean house.

Then one day somebody told him about Al-Anon. Although he knew his case was hopeless, he thought he'd try it anyway. As he read, and asked questions and listened at meetings, he found he could get some perspective on his problems. When he learned his wife had a disease, compulsive drinking, he stopped blaming himself for not being able to control her. He realized the children resented him because he was often cross and unreasonable, and that they loved mama because she never scolded and they knew instinctively she was sick. He began to consider his own needs, for rest, quiet and a bit of recreation, and arranged to have a housekeeper take over the home chores. He made many changes, but especially in his attitude toward the alcoholic.
After a spell of rebellion and resistance, she saw that she would have to get help.
One day she asked him to take her to an AA meeting.

**Loving detachment.  When hubby was spiraling, I cried tears over my beloved husband who had transformed.  This is what this disease and many others do.  We are lucky that in alcoholism, the individuals can and often do make a return.  Bipolar - we have medication for, that helps the individual return.  For many other illnesses, this is not the case.

Passage 3

I was ready to confront my alcoholic father. I wanted to let him know that I remembered every detail of all the times in my childhood when he hurt me. That way he could apologize to me and I would be healed. However, he refused to talk about it. He said it was water over the dam! I was furious. How could those wrongs be righted if he didn’t admit them and tell me he was sorry? 

By applying the tools of the Al-Anon program, I slowly tried to accept the thing I could not change -- my father’s refusal to apologize -- and to change the thing I could -- my attitude toward the situation. Learning more about alcoholism as a disease taught me that my father wasn’t a bad person. He was a person with a disease that made him do bad things. Practicing "Live and Let Live” and keeping the focus on myself taught me to attend to my own behavior.. I needed to make sure I wasn’t practicing the very behaviors that had caused me so much anguish. By seeking my part in the hurt I felt, I learned that my hold on the pain of the injury, not the injury itself, was what I could do something about.

Eventually I realized I didn’t need my father’s apology in order to get better. I could move on by praying to lose my resentments and to replace them with forgiveness.

Thought for the Day
Forgiveness is something I do with my Higher Power’s help, and I do it for me. I don’t need anyone’s apology to being my healing process.
“By releasing resentment, I set myself free.” Courage to Change, p. 289
Thursday, September 29, 2016
A Tribute to Sex Addicts who were Abused as Children
72% of sex addicts were physically abused as children; 81% were sexually abused as children; and 97%, emotionally abused as children

My mommy group was talking about Stranger Danger and how to protect our little ones.  And it reminded me of my hubby's journey.  It is so sad that this happens and continues to happen.  Having so many inconsistent babysitters in our house, I feel it is a difficult thing to protect someone from.  Hubby was abused by someone from church who offered to help after his mom died.  Sad!


Someone suggested we add another slogan to those we use in Al-Anon: Listen and learn. My first reaction was: "No! Not everybody at an Al-Anon meeting says something that is helpful. What about those who advise: "Throw the bum out!" Doesn't that negate everything we're supposed to hear in Al-Anon?" But wait! What I learn from the negative comments can be useful in opening my mind to my own wrong thinking. When someone gives advice, I can say to myself: "But we're not supposed to advise in Al-Anon." If someone expresses hostility and resentment for what the alcoholic does, it can teach me to avoid those very things in myself.
Today's Reminder
Listen and learn is sound doctrine, if we use it well. We don't make significant progress in our thinking if we're only listening to ourselves talk.
"It is the disease of not listening . . . that I am troubled with." (William Shakespeare)
"I pray that I may learn from listening -- whether or not I agree with what I hear."

Some alcoholics become abusive, especially when they drink. How do we handle violence? What can we do about it?
Al-Anon doesn't give specific advice about relationships -- we don't advocate ending them or continuing to build them. Those decisions are best left to each individual to make when he or she feels ready. We do, however, emphasize our personal responsibility to take care of ourselves. If we know that physical danger is a part of our reality, we can admit it and take steps to protect ourselves, at least temporarily. We may arrange for a safe place to go at any hour if we need it. It may be wise to keep money and car keys in easy access. Perhaps we'll also seek counseling or speak with the police about our options.
No one has the right to physically abuse anyone else under any circumstances. We can inventory our own behavior to see if we are contributing to the problem by provoking someone who is drunk, and we can work to change that behavior. But we do not cause another to be violent or abusive.
Today's Reminder
I don't have the power to change another person. If I am dealing with violence, I must be the one who changes. I'll start by being honest about what is going on.
"There is hope, there is help, and I have an inalienable right to human dignity." . . . In All Our Affairs

Passage 3
Even after coming to Al-Anon for a while, I harbored some secret thoughts and feelings I thought were far too personal to share with the group. However, other members suggested that saying those difficult words out loud would help me recover. One night I shared my confusion over how to heal these parts of my life.
Soon after, my home group held a meeting on sponsorship. Several longtime members spoke about their experiences. From these individuals I learned sponsors are Al-Anon members who work with another member on a one-to-one basis to explain the program's tools and encourage their use. Sponsors respond to the needs of the sponsee in a loving and constructive manner. They listen to the situations presented by the sponsee, and if they have lived through similar experiences, they share how the Al-Anon principles helped them cope. Even if they have not gone through something similar, they can help the sponsee apply the Steps to the problem. I also heard that receiving a sponsor's support during a difficult situation can magnify whatever help the group has offered.
This meeting on sponsorship was helpful to me. I didn't feel as confused afterwards, and I even gained the courage to ask someone to be my sponsor. Now I understand more about how such a relationship works, and my sponsor has become yet another recovery tool for me. Her patient listening helps fill in the gaps when sharing at meetings is not quite sufficient for my needs. Together, meetings and sponsorship help me express myself to the fullest.
Thought for the Day
We honor ourselves when we ask an Al-Anon member to be a sponsor and to walk beside us on our path to recovery.
"Certainly, pent-up resentments need release, and sponsors can be extremely helpful in working on those areas and putting them into perspective. How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 114


Tuesday, September 27, 2016
J is sleeping in this morning and I had some sweet quality time with my little L.  Some perfectly sweet quality time with L. 

Hubby chose to drink and sleep in the garage last night and it was so odd having the house to myself.  The girls also slept better last night and I feel 1) like a part of me is missing and 2) refreshed, independent, ready to act for me. 

I get enmeshed so easily! 

Passage 1
An early Al-Anon member once said:
"I tried to manage my husband's life, although not even able to manage my own. I wanted to get inside his brain and turn the screws in what I thought was the right direction. It took me a long time to realize that this was not my job. I just wasn't equipped for it. None of us are. So I began to turn the screws in my own head in the right direction. This has taught me a little more about managing my own life." 

Today's Reminder
If my life has become unmanageable, how can I get control of it? Am I being forced into doing things I don't want to do, like losing my temper, contriving, conniving and scheming to make things work out the way I want them? Am I now the kind of person I really want to be? An honest effort to manage my own life will open many doors to me that my distorted thinking had kept closed.
"If thou canst not make thyself such a one as thou wouldst, how canst thou expect to have another according to thy liking?" Thomas A'Kempis

Passage 2
"If only I had infinite wisdom," I secretly think. "If only I could see everything before me, a clear path, the knowledge of how I must spend each moment of life!" But in meeting after meeting in Al-Anon I am reminded that I can only work with what I have today. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. What's more, I am probably better of not knowing. If I knew what was coming, Is suspect that I would spend all my time trying to run form painful experiences instead of living. I would miss out on so much great stuff.
I can trust my Higher Power to lead me through this day so that I will be prepared for the future when it arrives and able to work with whatever it brings. This leaves me time to enjoy the many gifts life has to offer, time that would otherwise be spent worrying.
Today's Reminder
An old maxim says, It'll shine when it shines." If I am willing to listen, I will receive all the information I need when the time is right. "Just for Today" I will know that I'm in good hands.
"Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once." Just for Today

**I think sometimes that Just for Today is too long.  Perhaps, just for this hour, just for these next ten minutes. Just for 10 seconds.  A common al anon phrase has something to do with "I can do anything for 12 hours."  And that can be a helpful mindset, although is, of course, not a long term solution. 

Passage 3
When I first came to Al-Anon, I thought that anger, resentment, jealousy, and fear were "bad" feelings. The program has helped me to learn that feelings are neither good nor bad -- they are simply a part of who I am.

I have come to realize that good has sometimes come as a result of those feelings. Anger has prompted some constructive changes in my life. Resentment has made me so uncomfortable that I've had to learn to combat it -- as a result, I have learned to pray for other people. Jealousy has taught me to keep my mouth shut when I know I will say only irrational, destructive things. And fear has been perhaps my greatest gift, because it forces me to make conscious contact with my Higher Power.

Now that the negative has become the positive, I am better able to accept the whole picture. There is no more need to judge or hate myself just because I experience a human feeling. 

Today's Reminder
Feelings may not be comfortable, but that doesn't make them bad. With a change of attitude, I have choices about what to do with my feelings. Anything can be used for my good if I allow it. Recognizing this opportunity may take every ounce of imagination I have, but maybe that's why God gave me imagination to begin with.
"My feelings are neither right nor wrong but are important by virtue of being mine." . . . In All Our Affairs

** This one is being added to my favorite passages!  I love this so much and would like to memorize some of these statements to repeat in times of need.

I am feeling some discomfort today.  I set some strong boundaries.  They are being followed and I'm experiencing some growing pains.  Last night, J was so upset with the new sitter that she threw up.  Hubby was home, but in the garage.  He did not come in to help without my go ahead.  He was texting me while I was at work, but I didn't see it until a little later.  By that point, he had bought some alcohol.  But, again.... he followed the new boundaries and stayed in the garage.  It was peaceful, but sad.  I feel joy filled and content, but I also feel sad.  Hubby is not popping back to health the way I had hoped, but I know he is under God's care.  I certainly am as well.  And I have more responsibility and more independence.  There is more I could write.  I'm feeling fear for him and some sadness.  But, not staying in that place, just letting them wash over me.  I love that quote, "Fear has been perhaps my greatest gift, because it forces me to make conscious contact with my higher power."
Sunday, September 25, 2016
So much to write about.  Everyone is asleep right now, except me.  I am gifted with the need for little sleep.  My body does enjoy sleep..... but without it, I am still a happy camper.  Happy, but forgetful!  And sleeping during the day is difficult.

So much to write about and I dally around with sleep, haha.  Ok...... where to start. 

First of all, I've been pondering my insecurities around parenting and why that makes socializing awkward, at times.  I've been thinking about possible lies that I tell myself around parenting and result in me wanting to display perfection.

Possible Lie #1:  People will judge you if you don't parent the same way they do (and that matters).
Possible Lie #2:  People will think less of you if you aren't the perfect parent.
Possible Lie #3:  People will know that I'm not a great parent because ____, ____ or _____.

Here are some truths to rebut the lies:
Truth #1: People will find you more relateable if you are honest in your flaws
Truth #2: People will let down their own guard, when you let down yours - resulting in more honest relationships.
Truth #3: Other peoples' opinions mean very little in the making of your parenting choices.  And that's because you research and learn and make choices that work best for you and the kids.
Truth #4:  You are NOT a perfect parent, and that's ok.
Truth #5:  If the girls have messy hair or dirty nails or mismatched clothes, it does not mean you are a bad parent.  It means they are kids and you are letting them be kids.  Something you decided that you want to do!
Truth #6:  Their behavior does not reflect on you.  ex: If J says something rude, it just means that is where SHE is in HER learning journey right now, it does not mean you haven't taught her well. 

**I think there are more, but I'll move on.

Today, I went to the Spanish service at a different local church.  I've realized for the umpteenth time that if I want the girls to speak Spanish (and I do), I need to take action.  And that I can still learn Spanish and that I WANT to learn Spanish.  It was a lot of fun.  J is responding to everyone in English still and I understand very little of what people say, but that's where we are on our journeys. 

One of the passages the other day, talked about being the star of your story and your story being dramatic and exciting.  Maybe my story is dramatic and exciting, but aren't they all?  I think I've held up Hubby being an addict and having mental health problems as a big horrible sounding thing.  But, isn't marriage just hard enough anyways.  For everyone?  At some point along the journey.  There was a woman in my Bible study who has been married to her husband for five years.  She has codependent tendencies, but he's a Christian, they both went to Bible college, no huge issues, but they are struggling to make it.  Her story is just as important and huge and dramatic as my own.  In fact, many many people struggle with bipolar and addiction, too.  But, even in the absence of that. This is just life.  Life is difficult.  We are going to broken at some point.... and we need to figure out what to do with that brokenness.  Oh and hubby's big ticket items almost make it easier for me to look like the "good one" in the relationship, which is all kinds of wrong.  There is no "good one."  We are both "good" and "bad" in our own human way.  And that's ok!

Ok, epiphany over..... On to Passages.

Passage 1
My parents are due to visit. Nothing promotes my relapse into compulsive, controlling behavior better than the anticipation of their judgment. Although these days they are kinder than when I was a child, I can still react. I began the obsessive battle to make my life, house, and yard perfect. The more i struggle, the more distant I feel from my Higher Power.

Today I humbly asked for help. "Show me the way off this merry-go-round," I prayed. "Draw me closer and show me how to trust You." Immediately I saw the image of a sailboat steered by a tiller. With the tiller under my Higher Power's hand, the boat of my will and my life glides cleanly through the waves. Without wise, steady, and consistent guidance, the tiller swings wildly, and the boat is tossed by each wave. Although I cannot do anything about the waves rolling into my life, I can hand the tiller of my life over to God and trust that I will be steered to safety.  

There is a path for me each day, just as there is a path through the water for each boat. My Higher Power can read the signs better than I. When I feel a nudge to do one task instead of another, I strive to respond willingly. Although another route may seem more appealing, I choose to trust that the course suggested by my Higher Power is the best for me.

Thought for the Day
Each time I doubt that my Higher Power knows the way, I'll remember how chaotic and complicated my life becomes when I try to take control.
"In Al-Anon I have come to know that I have a resource within me and all around me that can guide me through the most overwhelming fears and the most challenging decisions -- a Higher Power." Courage to Change, p. 327

**I highlighted a lot of this.  Loved the idea of the tiller.  Loved the last sentence especially, "I have a resource within and all around me that can guide me through the most overwhelming fear and the most challenging decisions - a Higher Power."

Even when I find myself growing in understanding of Al-Anon, and can see tangible results from my new attitudes, I might question such a statement as this:
"Al-Anon is a way to personal freedom."

Enmeshed in a difficult family situation, we doubt we can ever be free from all this woe and care. When we think how closely our live are intertwined with others, we're sure that personal freedom is impossible.

The key word is personal. We can free ourselves from many involvements that seem necessary. In Al-Anon we can learn to develop our own personalities, to reinforce our personal freedom by leaving others free to control their actions and destinies.

Today's Reminder
Personal freedom is mine for the taking. No matter how close are the ties of love and concern that bind me to my family and friends, I must always remember that I am an individual, free to be myself and live my own life in serenity and joy.

I find myself taking Step Three over and over again. Unfortunately, I often wait until a problem starts to overwhelm me before I finally give in and turn it over to my Higher Power. Nevertheless, today I am striving to place my entire will and life in my Higher Power's hands with the willingness to accept His or Her will for me, no matter what.

The awareness I have gained in Al-Anon lets me know that my way has seldom worked in the past. It's only when I let go and trust the inner voice that quietly nudges me in the direction of my Higher Power's choosing that my life becomes fulfilling.

Today's Reminder
Is there an area in my life that I treat as though it were too important to turn over to a Higher Power? Are my efforts to control that area making my life better and more manageable? Are they doing any good at all? I can hold on to my will until the situation becomes so painful that I am forced to submit, or I can put my energy where it can do me some good right now, and surrender to my Higher Power's care.
"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." Martin Luther

**Surrendering to Higher Power's care is such a beautiful thing to do, but difficult at the same time.  A lot of faith required.  
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Gratitude List
1) Hubby's amazing family!  They have made it clear that they love their brother, but support me 100% and I have to do what is right for the kids.  When he drank on Wednesday, I called his sister and she sent out a text for them all to pray for him.  They called him and texted him long messages of love, some anger and support. 
2) Our babysitter last night - oooh, I wish we could have this girl every night.  She was phenomenal!  A pleasure to have met her and have her watch our little girls.
3) Saturday - only have 1 client today and an open day
4) Fruitfulness - I went around the house with a big black bag yesterday (Berenstein Bears style) and moved a bunch of clutter to the garage.  It felt fantastic!  And my productivity surprised me.  Obvious fruits to my labor as I look around a simpler home. 
5) The internet and a wonderful high school friend going through the journey of life with me (my one blog reader - you know who you are!)

Passage 1 (from 9/20)
When I came to Al-Anon, I only could see how different I was. We shared many of the same problems, but I couldn't see that we were alike. I was confident and capable. They all seemed to be whiners or perfectionists.
Nevertheless, something attracted me to Al-Anon. I continued to attend regularly and to read literature every day, but I certainly didn't give anyone a call. How could "those" people help me? So I kept my distance. When I felt enough pain, I admitted I needed a sponsor's help to understand and work the Steps, but I had no one to ask. Who would be good enough for me? Or worse, what if they judged me as I had judged them?
I squirmed through the next few meetings and finally had to admit the truth. As confident and capable as I was, I was afraid to speak up and ask for help. At that moment I heard someone straining to speak. Her voice trembled as she admitted she desperately needed a sponsor but was afraid to ask anyone. She began to cry.
Another member passed a box of tissues, and as I took the box in my hands, I realized that the frightened voice was my own. After the meeting, several people came over to offer me hugs and assurance. The same people I had once looked down upon now appeared to me as angels. When I see all the different faces at my Al-Anon meetings, my heart soars with gratitude for the rich mosaic of recovery that now includes me.

Thought for the Day
How do I contribute to my own feeling of being different?
"Each of us is unique and each of us is valuable. But as long as I held myself apart from or above other people, I denied both myself and others the rich interchange that is possible. The Forum, April 1998, p. 30

*This speaks to me.  I need a sponsor.  I know I do.  But, my old therapist told me not to jump into a relationship right away.  She felt I was a good judge of character and by observing the people in the group, would have someone jump out to me.  I kind of thought that there was noone in my home group that would work.  Despite the fact that I felt that this group was extremely healthy, I knew about all the problems of these individuals.  And I would find a reason not to ask.  This message spoke to me, especially (I cringe as I write this), but the part about "who would be good enough for me?"  Part of this is arrogance, part of this stems from having a poor ending with my past sponsor, who I thought was absolutely fantastic.  I still feel uncertainty about the red flags...

Now, as I write this... there is someone who jumps out at me, actually.  She is quite old and her health isn't the best, but I love her shares and she reminds me of my grandma.  I often tear up when she talks because she reminds me so much of my grandma, and I am so grateful that she is in the group.  She has a strong base of gratitude and a wonderful positive outlook on life.  I think I will give her a call!  There is another woman who is a possibility, I've called her before in crisis.  I think it's time for me to try again.  And if I get overwhelmed and another sponsor says no to me, oh well!  At least I tried.

Ok.... Passage 2
An Al-Anon friend says, "I have a tendency to think of my experience with alcoholism as an epic, Technicolor movie, and extravaganza with my name in lights on the marquee, but it's not really like that. It’s really must home movies." From time to time I have shared my friend's exaggerated vision, though of course when I did, the name in lights was my own.
I came to this program with a story to tell that seemed to splash across every inch of a very wide screen. I told it and told it, until one day I noticed that I was sitting in a room with others, showing home movies.
Today I feel happy to be there as part of the show, but my role has changed. I am no longer the martyr, bravely sacrificing myself to the cold, cruel world of melodrama. Realism has taken over. My role is important, but not unique, and I don't expect to see it in lights.
Today's Reminder
Al-Anon has given me an opportunity to share my home movies with others. My situation is neither the best nor the worst. Although I am unique in some ways, I am more like others than I ever suspected. I will appreciate this sense of fellowship today.
". . . as we learn to place our problem in its true perspective, we find it loses its power to dominate our thoughts and our lives." Suggested Al-Anon/Alateen Welcome

Passage 3

Nurturing Human Growth


The single rose bush is significant in and of itself.  It gets its character from all of its parts.  The roots absorb; the trunk stores; the leaves take in and give off life sustaining elements.  The flower blooms and contains the magic for beginning the cycle again.  All the while, the sun, the earth and the water have been giving to the bush.  Some birds and insects have been taking from the bush what they need, and, in turn, will help sustain another form of life.  

Man, too, is dependent upon nature to fulfill his needs: her resources sustain his body; her gentle and awesome beauty nourish his spirit; her mysteries challenge his mind.  Man is part of the hierarchy of nature.  His responsibility is to allow the unfolding of nature through his own unfolding. 

The parts of each human being are interdependent.  All the attributes and actions are so interrelated that it is difficult to speak of them separately.  All flow into each other; and as each particle is dependent upon one another, each person is dependent upon one another.  Parents may provide children with food, love, protection; children may provide parents with love and a "reason to be." The giving and taking assumes different modes and proportions as children grow and parents grow.  An infant is totally dependent upon the parent.  As time passes, the quality and quantity of dependence shift until such time as the aged parent may become totally dependent upon the child.

Recognition of our interdependency brings significance to everyone's life.  Respect for oneself and the rights of others becomes evident.  Appreciation for each person's contribution encourages everyone to take responsibility for himself, for others, for the whole.

Each person is needed and needing - needed to give, needing to receive.  This deepens the meaning of life.  

*  Appreciating others as part of a system, valuing what our children bring to us, realizing what our giving provides to others, understanding that our taking is part of the process, as well.  Love the comparison to nature, as we, too, are part of God's creation.


Friday, September 23, 2016
I went to a Life Group last night and it was just what I needed!  Small group, all women in late 20s, one other woman who was 30.  Only one other married woman and noone had kids.  Talk about perspective!  Most of my good friends have been in relationships for a long time.  The single women who were in relationships were not in serious relationships or long term relationships.  Everyone was so so honest and open and it was just fantastic. We also did a fantastic meditation exercise on reviewing our day openly honestly and without judgement.

It re-introduced me to a part of myself that I haven't seen in awhile.  I was bubbly, vivacious and really fit into that environment.  I didn't feel self conscious, at all!  The groups topics are perfectionism and shame.  Talk about spot on.  I paid $37 in babysitting fees to go to this group and it was absolutely priceless!  I feel like I saw myself and the world through a much wider lens. 

It also made me realize that I haven't lost my social skills, I just have blocks (like perfectionistic blocks) to socializing like that in the parenting world.  

Other quick update and then I've got to jump into my passages.  I drew up boundaries, based on hubby's regression, and my comfort level with what is happening. I wrote up a formal agreement, but the gist is that he will no longer be able to watch the kids alone and he can drink as much as he likes, but if he continues with emotionally abusive behavior, then he will need to move out or we will.  Boundaries are usually crossed, so I hope that doesn't happen.  It's going to get expensive fast.  But, I know this is the right move and I know we will find a way to make it work financially!  I budgeted for $1200 in babysitting fees next month and so it's officially part of the equation.


Passage 1
One of our delusions is that we, as spouses of alcoholics, are "running the show." This form of self-deception can only increase our frustrations. It makes the home a battleground in which the alcoholic has the best chance of winning every encounter. We are often outwitted by the alcoholic's lightning changes of mood, his promises, challenges and other maneuvers. This is the best reason for detaching our minds and our emotions from the minute-by-minute conflict, and seeking a peaceful, orderly way of life within ourselves. If we stop fighting out every incident that happens, absence of an active adversary is bound to bring about wholesome changes in the home environment, and everyone in it.

Today's Reminder
I will not try to outwit or out-maneuver anyone else, but will proceed quietly to live my life so I will have less reason for self-reproach. I will withdraw my mind from what others do, and think of what I am doing. I will not react to challenging words and actions.
"When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger." (Epictetus -- Greek philosopher)

*There are so many quotes/passages I have read that remind me of Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"  That is the codependent's verse, for certain.  And mine.  
This also made me think of HALT.
Passage 2

One of my character defects is to respond in kind to behavior that is directed at me -- to react to insults with more insults, to rudeness with rudeness. I never thought to act any other way until I began traveling to work with a long-time member of Al-Anon. Each day, when my friend would stop to buy the morning paper, the person behind the counter was surly and hostile. No matter how rudely she was treated, my friend consistently behaved with courtesy. I was outraged! Doesn't Al-Anon tell us we don't have to accept unacceptable behavior? Finally I asked her about it.
She told me that, since this is the only newsstand around, she would rather detach form the behavior than do without her morning paper. She explained that she is powerless over other people's attitudes, but she doesn't have to permit them to goad here into lowering her own standards for herself. To the best of her ability, she chooses to treat everyone she meets with courtesy. Other people are free to make whatever choices they prefer.
Today's Reminder
Today I will "Let It Begin with Me." I do not have to accept unacceptable behavior; I can begin by refusing to accept it from myself. I can choose to behave courteously and with dignity.
My freedom and independence do not depend on any acts of defiance or confrontation. They depend on my own attitudes and feelings. If I am always reacting, then I am never free.

*** I really loved this example!!

Passage 3
I suffered from the compulsive need for perfection that I developed while growing up with an alcoholic mother. I found that trying to be perfect was the best defense against her anger. There was no way of knowing what would upset my mother next, and I believed perfect behavior and achievement would protect me from her dangerous responses.
A friend who often witnesses my destructive habit of criticizing myself told me of a mistake she made one morning. Instead of pouring her orange juice into a glass, she poured it into her coffee as if it were cream. She knew if I had made the same error, it would have been occasion for intense self-derision at my imperfection, and she was right. I was completely mystified by her casual dismissal of the mistake. I envied her ability to simply pour the coffee and juice mixture out of her mug and start over again. How could she laugh off the incident so easily? I had no idea how to treat myself in such a gentle, forgiving way.
A particular Al-Anon tool showed me how to apply the lessons of my friend's story to my own life. The repeated hearing and reading of the slogan "How Important Is It?" helped me to work this question into my daily experience. I finally understood that no serious damage is done when orange juice is poured into coffee. I learned to distinguish which behaviors result in consequences that need serious attention, and which ones do not. I came to understand that actions are about responsibility, not judgment. I have now learned to be as gentle with myself as I am with others.
Thought for the Day
What is my barometer for determining "How Important Is It?"
"Most of the time I find that what I might have viewed as a disaster is really insignificant." Courage to Change, p. 228

**This is a great question.  What is my barometer for determining "How Important Is It?"  I want to come back to this in more detail.....
Thursday, September 22, 2016
 Passage 1
Talking openly and honestly with my family members is difficult and at times downright painful. Saying to people I love that I'm no longer willing to be around their intense negative energy is a frightening experience. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll have to separate from my family members to maintain my quest for healthy living, especially when they deny and justify their unacceptable behavior.
I'm aware that I still want the people I love to change and mature, so I can be more comfortable. I am also aware that this may or may not happen. Today it's okay for me to want this to happen. However, I am slowly learning that trying to change someone else's behavior to suit my needs is an exercise in futility and frustration. Truly profound power and peace lie in the ability to change my behavior to suit my needs.
Thought for the Day
With the help of Al-Anon, I can accept people as they are and find serenity, even if I'm the only one who changes.
"We need to recover, and, when we do, we sometimes find that others are motivated to get better, too." Does She Drink Too much?, p. 4

**Just what I needed for today!!  Last night was unfortunately a rough night for me.  Hubby drank and I didn't know what to do.  He was beginning to harass us, so I left with the girls pretty quickly.  I left the house and drove around for hours because I didn't want to go home, didn't want to drive to my moms and didn't want to go to a hotel.  I called people and before the kids fell asleep, had fun with them.  Apparently our little downtown is alive on a Wednesday night.  Live music, people getting ice cream.  How fun!  Anyways, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  I ended up feeling comfortable enough to come back around midnight and go to sleep at home.  Hubby woke up and was acting sane and normal.  All that energy exerted on my part and he just wakes up and is back.  This first paragraph REALLY resonated with me.

"I'm no longer willing to be around your intense negative energy."  And unfortunately, right now, this applies to, "especially when they deny and justify their unacceptable behavior."  It's been about a year since I had to do this.  A little less than a year, but I seem to have to learn the same lessons all over again. 

I am a work in progress and that's ok!  I can't be hard on myself for not always being in recovery mode or really survival mode.  I wasn't prepared and that's ok.

Passage 2
When I concentrate on little things that annoy me, and they sprout resentments that grow bigger and bigger, I seem to forget how I could be "stretching" my world and broadening my perspective. That's the way to shrink troubles down to their real size.
Worrying about trifles saps my spiritual energy which I could certainly put to better use. Am I willing to waste my life in this way?
When something or somebody is giving me trouble, let me see the incident in relation to the rest of my life, especially the part that is good, and for which I should be grateful. A wider view of my circumstances will make me better able to deal with all difficulties, big and little.

Today's Reminder
I refuse to let my serenity be drowned out by happenings that are in themselves unimportant. I will not be made uneasy by what others do, whether they intend to hurt me or not. I will not clutter up my thoughts with resentment; it would not profit me but, worse, it would hurt me.
"Why do we accept things that trouble us, when we could do something about them?"

Passage 3
The Fifth Step ("Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs") is a very intimate experience in which we share our private thoughts and experiences with another person. Much has been said about the freedom this Step offers to the person who is doing the talking, but it can be extremely rewarding to the listener as well.
Most of us feel deeply honored to be entrusted to share in such a sensitive and personal experience. It’s a wonderful opportunity to practice giving unconditional love and support by simply listening. Many of us hear stories that are similar to our own; others can often identify with the feelings that are expressed. Perhaps we will be reminded of where we have been and how far we have come. We also see that, despite our outward differences, we have a great deal in common with others.
Whether we practice this Step by listening or speaking, we open ourselves as channels for our Higher Power. More often than not, we hear something that sheds light on our own situation.
Today's Reminder
When I respond to a request for help with working the Al-Anon program, I help myself as well.
"There is no better way to keep our spiritual benefits than by giving them away with love, free of expectations, and with no strings attached.
" . . . In All Our Affairs

** I belong to a group of old timers.  I'm probably the only regular under the age of 50.  Yes.... 50!!  Recently we have some new young members and it is a joy to be the face of the program.  They are so brave for entering program and this may just be the group for them!  I have gotten to practice giving of myself again and it is absolutely lovely.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Exciting day today!  I'm getting L's head measured.  Now, that may sound a little odd.  For a long time, I've been worried that her head shape was a little flat.  I have felt gigantic guilt on not getting it checked out professionally.  BECAUSE the main reason was financial.  That being said, I think there is a really really really good chance that she just has her papa's head shape, which is different than mine and J's.  I will be very grateful for information, regardless.

I'm also grateful to be blogging today.  And to be going to Al Anon.  I missed last week and it feels like it's been a long time since my last meeting.

Let's get to passages.

Passage 1
Until I understand the inner meaning of the Twelve Steps, my natural impulse is to resist admitting that they apply to me.
I don't want to believe I am powerless over alcohol, or that I have allowed my life to become unmanageable. Yet I know I must accept the First Step before I can make progress.
Although most of us do acknowledge a Power greater than ourselves, we are shocked at first by the idea that we need to be "restored to sanity," as the Second Step suggests. Yet an honest appraisal of many of my reactions shows me I have too often resorted to futile and childish tricks to achieve what I wanted. With my thoughts distorted by fear, despair and resentment, and my nerves overwrought, I could not think clearly nor make wise decisions.
Today's Reminder
Each of the Twelve Steps challenges me to be absolutely honest with myself. They will make me ready to accept the help of my Higher Power in restoring myself to the wholesome sanity of a mature, reasonable adult.
"The Twelve Steps will point a way to God and His infinite wisdom, by which I hope always to be guided."

*I appreciate the gentleness of this passage.  In one sentence, the writer admits using futile and childish tricks to achieve what she wanted.  In the next, she reminds herself that this was due to distortions by fear, despair and resentment.

Passage 2
In living with the disease of alcoholism, I became a fearful person who dreaded change. Although my life was full of chaos, it was familiar chaos, which gave me the feeling that I had some control over it. This was an illusion. I have learned in Al-Anon that I am powerless over alcoholism and many other things. I've also learned that change is inevitable.
I no longer have to assume that change is bad because I can look back at changes that have had a very positive effect on me, such as coming into Al-Anon.
I still have many fears, but the Al-Anon program has shown me that my Higher Power will help me walk through them. I believe that there is a Power greater than myself, and I choose to trust this Power to know exactly what I need and when I need it.
Today's Reminder
Today I can accept the changes occurring in my life and live more comfortably with them. I will trust in the God of my understanding, and my fears will diminish. I relax in this knowledge, knowing that I am always taken care of when I listen to my inner voice.
"We may wonder how we are going to get through all the stages and phases, the levels of growth and recovery . . . Knowing we are not alone often quiets our fears and helps us gain perspective." Living with Sobriety

* " I believe that there is a Power greater than myself, and I choose to trust this Power to know exactly what I need and when I need it."  Step 2 - So very powerful!

Passage 3
I forget that there are ups and downs to any journey, and I feel overcome with disappointment with my seemingly slow progress. Then my Higher Power reminds me of a history lesson i once learned, and I regain hope. 

An expedition of the Grand Canyon traveled along the Colorado River. Halfway through the canyon, the explorers encountered dangerous rapids. Some of the explorers were killed as the thrashing waters hurled them about. The others managed to get ashore where they gathered their wits to assess the situation. Although the river ahead looked choppy and menacing, some of the crew decided to forge ahead. They felt they had traveled too far to turn back. The others decided to return home on foot. The explorers who went ahead faced dangerous waters for a short period, but the remainder of their journey was safe, calm, and beautiful. Those who turned back actually faced greater dangers, and they did not survive. 

This story reminds me how valuable it is to persistently move forward in the program. When the road ahead looks threatening and I want to turn back to my old attitudes and behaviors, I remember that I'm not alone on my path. I have the wisdom of a Power greater than myself, the tools of the program, and the experience, strength, and hope of my fellow travelers in Al-Anon to support me. 

Thought for the Day
During bleak periods of my recovery, my Higher Power reminds me that the best way out is through.
"Today I will pause at a crossroad and listen for my Higher Power's voice." Courage to Change, p. 81

Passage 4 
A Parent's Handbook on Nurturing Human Growth

Each snowflake has its own pattern of crystals; each chambered nautilus has its own subtle design; each egg in the robin's nest has its own speckles and time for hatching; each leaf in the grove of trees has its own colors and unique time for fallingEach is unique, as each human being is unique.  

When we value uniqueness, we encourage self-respect by allowing self-expression.  The person can use his imagination, experiment and create.  He solves problems in his own way.  He may discover new ways of living because there is more than one right way.  Nature relies on many ways to scatter seeds - by birds, wind, rain.  The ability to imagine and create gives eternal hope to life.  

Self-respect brings respect for others and their rights.  It helps diminish selfishness and thus encourages constructive group activity.  Self-respect reinforces humannessAs the individual values himself, he can look to his inner resources rather than rely always on an external world.

**So, this is from the book our preschool provided to us.  I finally got my hi-lighter out last night and started giving it a deep reading.  And deep, it is.  This is no small booklet.  It is 150+ pages of sections like this one.  I felt like I was digging into recovery material.

This passage is along the lines of one of my favorite quotes, "The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

I have been looking for resources on how to raise healthy children and am ecstatic to have stumbled upon this.  A codependent person with poor boundaries may believe that they know better than someone else.  They know the "right" way of doing something.  This approach teaches to value uniqueness and look to nature to realize that there are many ways of doing something.  My husband is on his own journey and so are my kids and so am I.  Respecting that journey, letting it unfold for them and then being gentle with my own unfolding, sounds like recovery to me!

A lot of this program also speaks about an element of faith or "intuitive feeling."  Listening to ones own intuitive voice.  Very very grateful for this resource!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Oh, how I have missed my daily writings.  I've been reading my daily meditations, but even that has been inconsistent.  Putting them here, hilight ing them and writing about them has been a big difference.  I'm going to get back to it....... because I'm losing my focus.

Head hurts badly today, but so grateful for this wonderful dark morning.

My handsome hubby dropped a figurative bombshell on me, sex addiction wise, and we had some drama about that.  Actually, I was so darn good about not making things overly dramatic...... but, I think I'm still a little traumatized.  To be fair, I've had this migraine since.  I had a great day relaxing yesterday morning, taking care of myself, but work was tough and last night was excruciating. 

I was so excited about paying all our bills, but I didn't remember to make a reserve. I'm writing this.... I think I've had a check in my wallet for $150 this whole time... since Thursday.  I just checked and I do.  Well.... that's what happens when you are losing your memory.  Wow!  I've refrained from buying migraine medication and some other important medication because I thought I had no money until today.  Very interesting how things work.  Anyways........ today we both had a lot of money coming in anyways from our bank accounts anyways.  Maybe it was meant to be. 

Moving on.....  Lots of really fun things to do today and I'm excited.  Another day of J's preschool and I get to drop her off this time.  We are slowly cleaning up our backyard and have planted some Lantana flowers.  We have been finding these flowers all throughout the Summer.  J loves to pick them and now we will have a bush in our own backyard!! It's so nice having a safe place for the kids to play, now that it's cooling down. J has her easel out there and she loves to go out there to paint, while the rest of us are in the house.  I love it!  Also, I brought home some furniture from the office because we are redecorating and we changed the setup of our living room.  I LOVE it!!  It feels like a real living room now and that fills my heart with joy!  Oh,and the backup sitter I hired yesterday speaks Mandarin and is bubbly and fun and an art teacher.  And seems super responsible.  And she's early 30s and kind of a perfect fit!  And...... the girls both really liked her!

Passage 1
If irrational and irresponsible behavior on the part of the alcoholic has betrayed us into assuming an attitude of contempt for him, some serious examination of ourselves is in order.
They are not "bad boys," who must be directed, disciplined or punished by us. They are sick, confused and guilt-ridden human beings with badly battered egos.
God has given no one the right to humiliate another. In every one of His children there are qualities that should command our respect, and to withhold it is a wrong that will return to wound us.
Today's Reminder
It is vital to my serenity to separate, in my mind, the sickness of alcoholism from the person who suffers from it. I will dignify him with the respect which is everyone's due. This, in turn, will give him back the self-esteem that is an important element in wanting sobriety.
"The surest plan to make a Man Is: Think him so." (James R. Lowell)

** Before I learned about recovery, I found a book which I still like, with reservation, called, "The Surrendered Wife" by Laura Doyle.  At that point in my life, I didn't realize hubby was an addict, and it is NOT written for partners of addicts.  But, it followed the philosophy of the quote at the bottom.  "The surest plan to make a Man is: Think him so."  It's a good quote and it likely holds much truth.  The only thing I don't like about the quote is the plan part.  Unless I am that man's parent, I don't need to be focusing on making him a man.  That's his journey and between him and God.  In fact, who am I to judge his "manship?" 

Anyways, perfect passage for me today.  Recap - Hubby and I have finally started to be physically intimate again.  So, nice!  And, with that, more emotionally intimate as well.  Several days in, I found myself asking him some questions about his sex addiction.  Now, one of the first things they tell you is NOT to do this, because you end up with intermittent disclosure and lots and lots of pain and trauma.  Much better to wait and do a full disclosure.  But, you know, my triggers have been super low/nonexistent and it's been over a year and a half and I felt connected and like I could hear it.  Anyways, I found out that the first time he cheated on me was before we were married...... mind.... blown.....  I heard it initially and thought it was interesting.  I was learning about my past, re-writing my history.  I was surprised that hubby had been lying for so long and surprised that I didn't notice.  But... trauma.  Anyways, a couple hours later, I started reading a bit online about it and crying while doing so.  Hubby (apparently had been drinking - I never know these days!), but threw a fit about my crying.  He started complaining about how he wish he hadn't told me and never wanted to tell me again.  I knew he was just struggling with seeing my grief and was trying to bate me, but I didn't want to be his sounding board for this.  I told him so and went in the other room to work.  He then told me that he was going to destroy his computer.  I told him it was his choice if he wanted to do that.  I got off his computer and started reading on my phone.  And then he came in with pliers and destroyed the wire to his computer (sparks went flying).  I just sat and watched, but felt like it was very scary.  He told me I was working too much and he wanted me to sleep (fair, but controlling much?).  It's his computer, he can destroy it if he wants.  But.... it wasn't very logical.  And whenever anything is getting bizarre like that, I get concerned about safety.  He told me to go to sleep and I told him that I didn't feel safe going to sleep.  He asked if I wanted him to go to the garage and I said, "yes, please!!!"  I was so grateful for that.  I didn't know if he was going to escalate it and I'd have to call the police.  I was considering taking the kids and leaving.  So, I was so glad that he left.  And then I did go to sleep with my ABCs of gratitude.  In terms of bipolar fits go, this was pretty harmless.  He just doesn't know how to deal with emotions and guilt and throw some alcohol on that and its a horrible combination.  Anyways, that was night before last.  I woke up with a huge migraine.

Oh...... and to make it interesting.  We had a birth control failure for the first time in our marriage that night.  We were using two types of birth control, but the more reliable one failed.  The likelihood of me getting pregnant is so so tiny.  It would be one of those stories that you occasionally hear does happen, but mainly worry about when you don't want to be pregnant.  I haven't been tracking my cycles, but based on my last period, it's fertile time for me.  So, I was thinking I'd get Plan B, but they said you have 72 hours.  We have a lot of money pending in our accounts, and thought they'd go through Monday morning.  Well, I woke up with a huge migraine to find that they actually don't go through until Tuesday morning.  So, I was just going to wait until today (Tuesday), but migraines are hormonal for me.  So, this probably means I just ovulated.  I usually get migraines the day before my period or the day I ovulate.  I actually wasn't crazy about hormonal birth control because I've never used it before.  But, we both know, as much fun as a little baby would be, it is not our version of a right time. 

Ok, so long story.... I know..... But, I've been feeling a little used and abused.  Just a little.  I know hubby feels super ashamed of what happened.  This rings very true for me, " They are sick, confused and guilt-ridden human beings with badly battered egos."  And, while I was kinder to him than he was himself, and gave him huge props for going to the garage and not escalating it more, I strongly strongly strongly urged him to cut out the alcohol.  I know.... I can't control this.........Higher Power can.......... And I've got to let him.  But, I still told him that I blamed the alcohol for the escalation (and I do).  Individuals with bipolar are often directed never to drink.  Yes, but still feeling a little shell shocked and the physical pain of the migraine doesn't make it any better. Plus, trying not to think, "what kind of perverse guy did I marry?"  I'm really surprised that this started so long ago... I'll have to grieve my loss over my perceived history.  sigh.  Hubby says he is going to try to get into a therapist this week.  I am getting tired of all the lies and secrets....

Passage 2
An Al-Anon member with a particularly serious problem was told by another at a meeting: "I just wouldn't put up with it!"
The answer came: "I am not, as you say, putting up with it. I am trying to correct my own faults, keep my mouth shut when I am tempted to yell and scream at him, and keep hands off his problems. You see, I never want to forget that I have a commitment to my husband. I want to live up to that commitment which I made, willingly and solemnly, when I married him."
Today's Reminder
Any marriage made in expectation of lifelong bliss and freedom from care is bound to bring us to some shocking realizations that life just isn't like that. An adult point of view recognizes that alcoholism and its train of troubles is only one of the disasters that can happen to a marriage. We would face others with courage; why not this? The commitment to the person we married demands that we do everything we can to correct our problems. What to do we learn in Al-Anon. How we use it is up to us.
". . . in sickness and in health, for better or for worse . . . "

** Again, another passage that I only agree with, in part.  what I have heard in al anon is that we don't tell others what to do because it's not our lives.  This strongly argues for staying.  That's not what I've heard before, so maybe these are just my perceptions about the passage.  The "I just wouldn't up with it" remark is one that comes from a place of misunderstanding and judgement.1) you don't really know what you would do before it happens and 2) It's not your life to decide what you would do, so probably better to respect that person and their right to live their own life.  I started with the recommendation to wait a year and work on myself and to see what changed.  I felt my marital duties strongly.  I don't think I feel that vow so strongly anymore.  But, I do believe there are many many many struggles one can go through and each is painful, regardless of perceived severity.  We see divorces in families with addiction and we see them in families with communication issues.  Both are painful.... both are real.  I have so much work to do on me and am happy to do that inside of the relationship.  But, I also have boundaries.  I have to feel emotionally and physically safe.  There are a few specifics too.  We have seen so much change.  Although what hubby did was attempting to be scare me (I think) and is it's own form of abuse, he actually didn't yell or curse or make any threats or triangulate.  He didn't try to damage any of my property - the computer is his personal computer which he lets me use for work, since I already broke my own. I'm going on a tangent.  I obviously have a lot to work through and process.  Anyways, if he started doing this again on a regular basis, I would have to leave or ask him to.  I'm still shaken.  It stinks!!

Passage 3
Trying to follow a suggestion I heard in Al-Anon meetings, I dutifully wrote lists of things for which I was grateful. I listed such things as my health, my job, and food on my table. When I was finished, I didn't feel very grateful; my mind was still weighted down with the negative thinking that had resulted from living with alcoholism. But I had made gesture, and the seed of gratitude was planted.
I gradually learned to appreciate the small accomplishments of my daily life. Perhaps I was able to avoid a pointless argument by reciting the Serenity Prayer, or my sharing helped a newcomer, or I finished something I had been neglecting. I was beginning to change. I made a point of recognizing small changes, and my self-esteem grew. The daily application of Al-Anon principles helped me to deepen my sense of gratitude and replace those nagging, negative thoughts. Eventually I was able to go back to my original list and be truly grateful for those things I had taken for granted.
Today's Reminder
I need to nurture myself with gratitude. Today I can practice appreciating myself, my world, and my Higher Power.
"I would lie in bed at night and say the alphabet, counting all the things I had to be grateful for, starting with the letter A . . . This made a great change in my life." As We Understood . . .

**Loved this one!! And apparently the recommendation for the A-Zs of gratefulness came from here!  How wonderful!  "I need to nurture myself with gratitude."  Another quote for my favorites wall.  Love!

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Passage 1

Once upon a time there was a married couple who lived in a beautiful house, and had lots of the material things that many of us think are important to contentment. They were not contented, however. What with one little misunderstanding and another, the situation grew worse. Nobody would give way an inch in their bitter arguments, until at last their love turned to hate. Finally the wife insisted that the inside of the house be divided by a brick wall, behind which each could live in his and her own quarters. Each went his own way, and they never spoke to each other again as long as they lived. They had many wretched years in their isolation
Am I unknowingly building a wall between myself and the person I married? Is it being made of stubbornness, self-will, self-righteousness and a desire to punish? Such a wall can be as hard and unyielding as though it were made of real bricks. It would leave me no space in which to grow. As one member put it:

"God grant me the wisdom to recognize the faults I am building into a wall, such a wall as cannot be penetrated even by love.”o

**This passage surprised me in where it went.  Am I building a wall of stubbornness, self will, self righteousness and a desire to punish?

Why does a dog bark? I feel terror when I'm on the receiving end of ferocious barking.r. I suspect that a dog barks because of his own fear. If the dog really wanted to attack, he'd dispense with the barking and lunge for me.
My alcoholic father often flew into rages that he seemed to direct at me. I lived in constant fear of him, and I defended myself by attacking him first. Our behavior then escalated into an ugly fight. I carried this behavior into other relationships. When I didn't bark, I defended myself by feigning indifference, leading others to believe that I was a snob. Sure, I protected myself, but I deprived myself of any real friendships in the process.
When I finally made it to Al-Anon, opening my mind and heart was a challenge. As I sat in the Al-Anon rooms week after week, I gradually came to trust that I could speak my heart and not be scorned. I heard meeting topics about fear and anger, and I connected with the reason behind my need to attack others first. I was afraid. It didn't take me long to see that perhaps my father had barked at me because he had been afraid, too.
This realization didn't mean I could ignore my feelings about past verbal abuse. By the time I worked through my fear and anger at thmy dad, I realized he was just a person with the same emotions as I. Instead of snarling dogs, we were just two people with shortcomings. It's a great deal easier to make friends when I'm not barking at em!
Thought for the Day
Never underestimate the power of self-awareness to put past experience into a new perspective.
"Until we take the time to look at ourselves honestly, we may never be free of the bondage
in which alcoholism holds us captive." How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 26

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Passage 1
Living with alcoholism taught me that it was best not to hope for anything. The lessons were too painful -- I would get excited about something, only to have my hopes shattered. As time passed and hope diminished, I fell deeper into despair. Eventually I shut down my feelings and refused to care or to hope for anything at all.
Through Al-Anon's Twelve Steps, I am discovering a spirituality that allows me to believe that there is every reason to hope. With my Higher Power's help, regardless of my circumstances, I can feel fully alive in the moment and enjoy this feeling. The painful lessons of a lifetime are not unlearned overnight, but Al-Anon is helping me to learn that it is safe to feel, to hope, even to dream.

Today's Reminder
It is risky to care -- I may be disappointed. But in trying to protect myself from pain, I could cut myself off from the many delights that life has to offer. I will live more fully today.
"Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." Samuel Ullman

Passage 2
We hear it over and over again, in both AA and Al-Anon: this program is spiritual, not religious. Each of us must find our own way to Heaven and the Al-Anon teachings reinforce our faith in the way we choose to worship, whatever it may be. If our dedicated practice of Al-Anon helps us make a Heaven on earth, no religious faith would quarrel with this happy outcome.
Yet sometimes a member, devoted to a particular religion, may try to win others over to her faith, virtuously convinced that she is only trying to help. This can lead to confusion and many difficulties, and may indeed result in creating a rift in a marriage whose foundation is a common faith.
Today's Reminder
It is emphasized in our Traditions and in much of our literature that a) we are not affiliated with any other organization, and b) that the tenets of any faith can be applied with the Al-Anon program.
"I pray for the wisdom not to involve myself with the personal lives and beliefs of others, and to help them only by means of Al-Anon principles. 

I do believe that the most influential people are those that live their faith.  Someone trying to convince or argue you into believing, is cutting off connection.  But, I think focusing on your own journey and then sending out prayers for others that they come in their own time.... much more authentic and respectful!!

Passage 3
I was raised by two alcoholics, and I felt angry that I had to attend a support group to deal with this fact.. I had not chosen my parents or their problems. Yet I was faced with the repercussions of their drinking. I resented my parents and begrudged giving up time to attend Al-Anon. At least the spouses of alcoholics had the choice of marrying the person. I had no choice about who my parents would be.
My group allowed me to stew in my resentment. They let me rail against Al-Anon, and no one insisted I be grateful for alcoholics or for the program. They simply told me to keep coming back. I shared my discontent, complained that it wasn't my fault, and ranted and raved about my parents. Gradually I found myself actually looking forward to my meetings. I was glad I could go to a safe place where people understood and accepted me. I became a grateful, recovering member of Al-Anon.
With the group, the Al-Anon tools, and my Higher Power, I learned that although my parents may initially have been responsible for many of my problems, the solutions were up to me. I finally grew up in Al-Anon. I've grown so much it's hard to remember the old me. Although my parents have not chosen recovery, my relationship with them continues to improve considerably as I apply the Al-Anon principles to my interactions with them.
Thought for the Day
I many not have grown up the way I wanted to the first time, but I can grow up all over again in Al-Anon.
"Today I am growing by leaps and bounds. I've learned to focus on myself, not the alcoholic. Al-Anon has given me many things -- from friends to tools for living -- but most importantly, Al-Anon has given me a life of my own!"
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Yesterday was a bit of a blur.  A little sleeping, which is exactly what my body needed.  A little work.. A little farmer's market.  Hubby and I did a 2.5 hr training at J's new preschool and I was overjoyed by it.  It's just what I want.  I feel very good about having her there.

I am so grateful because Hubby cleaned up most of the house today (and it needed it).  I'm not a very good multi tasker and while I'm working on my online product, household stuff is going unchecked.  And then, of course, the lack of sleep is making me look my memory.

I didn't even realize that I missed a day of meditations.  And then I tried to remember yesterday and it was mainly a blur.  I actually just went asked hubby what we did.  Humbling!

Anyways, I have two days of meditations to do today. 

Passage 1

Here's an eye-opening, mind opening question to ask myself: What am I doing with what I've got? Instead of crying over what I don't have, and wishing my life were different, what am I doing with what I've got?
Am I so sure I'm doing everything possible to make my life a success? Am I using my capabilities well? Do I recognize and appreciate all I have to be grateful for?
Actually I am the possessor of unlimited resources. The more I do with them, the more they will grow, to overshadow and cancel out the difficult and painful aspects that now get so much of my attention.
Today's Reminder
Isn't my life full of potential good that I'm no using? Couldn't I bring it to fruition by changing my attitude? As a beginning, I will apply liberal amounts of gratitude for even my littlest advantages and pleasures. When I build on this precious foundation of present, tangible good, things will continue to change for the better.
"God make me grateful for all the good things I have been taking for granted."

**I love how gratitude acts as an antidote to so many things!

Passage 2

Al-Anon suggests I "Keep It Simple." I used to think keeping it simple meant doing whatever I needed to do to keep people from being angry with me. Not so! Keeping it simple means I don't have to do ten things at once so that everyone is happy. The slogan indicates I don't even have to think of ten things at once. Keeping it simple also implies that I can make decisions with my own best interests in mind.I don 't need to complicate my life with guesswork about others' actions or feelings. Keeping it simple helps me say great phrases like, "I need some time to think about that" and "I'll need to get back to you with my decision." "I'm not sure," or "I don't know the answer to that" are also responses that work well.
Keeping it simple denotes I don't have to respond to the face of anger. I don't have to explain my motives to an irrational person. Keeping it simple suggests I don't have to take on someone else's guilt and frustrations. It signifies that my integrity is protected and remains intact. Keeping it simple gives me time to enjoy the lovely, carefree things in life -- like breathing deeply, smiling broadly, and laughing out loud!
When I practice "Keep It Simple," my decisions and responsibilities become clear so I can deal with them quickly and get on with enjoying my life.
Thought for the Day
What happens when I practice "Keep It Simple"?
"I look at the simple things around me -- a smile, a beautiful sunrise, a warm feeling about a friend -- and try to Keep It Simple in my life today." Alateen -- a day at a time, p. 46

**I really love this passage on keeping it simple.  Brings up boundaries, loving detachment, saying "no" or "I don't know."..... so many things!

Passage 3


Sometimes I sit in a meeting and I don't know how to ask for help. I can get trapped inside my pain. Some nameless thing seems to tear at my insides. I freeze, thinking that if I don't move, it will go away. So I don't ask, I don't talk, and the pain grows.
Does my face look calm? Don't be fooled. I'm just afraid to let you see the truth. You might think I'm foolish or weak. You might reject me. So I don't talk, and the pain remains.
But I listen. And through other people, my Higher Power does for me what I can't do for myself. Someone in the meeting shares and expresses the very feelings I am afraid to describe. My world suddenly widens, and I feel a little safer. I am no longer alone.
Today's Reminder
One of the miracles I have found in Al-Anon is that help often comes when I most need it. When I can't bring myself to reach out for help, it sometimes comes to me. When I don't know what to say, I am given the words I require. And when I share what is in my heart, I may be giving a voice to someone who cannot find his own. Today I have a Higher Power who knows my needs.
"As I walk, As I walk, the universe is walking with me." --from the Navajo rain dance ceremony

**This reminded me a lot of the journey my students with Dyslexia go through.  Part of my new program is getting them connected to others.  We do NOT have to feel alone or struggle alone in this life!  Not when so many are going through similar experiences.  I always get something from my meetings.    

Well, those were yesterday's passages.  I'll come back for today's likely later tonight.  I am still so very tired.  I'd like to finish my presentation tonight, but I don't even know if that's possible.  If I continue feeling as I do now, I'll be sleeping. 

And I am sure I will be ok with it either way.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Passage 1
After coming to Al-Anon, I have finally found peace. My father's alcoholism and my mother's reactions to it caused much pain in my childhood. I passed this pain on to my own family. My marriage was clearly and deeply affected by my feelings of abandonment and distrust. I expected my husband and children to fill the deep emptiness in my soul. When that didn't work, I tried church, work, community service, and being the perfect mother, volunteer, employee, and shop owner. The list of things I tried is endless. Finally in Al-Anon I found what worked -- my faith in a Higher Power. The empty feeling is gone now.

My mother died knowing I loved her and that I was grateful for everything she did for me. Al-Anon taught me she had done the best she could with the tools she had. My father suffers from alcoholic dementia. My other family members move him from institution to institution, hoping it is just Alzheimer's. I tell myself, "Live and Let Live."

I am not on this earth to change or control others. I am here to change and grow the best I can in order to serve my Higher Power. Sometimes I slip and make another person my "higher power." Then I pray, read Al-Anon literature, attend meetings, and talk with my Al-Anon family bout letting go. It is in letting go that I know peace and freedom, the "priceless gift of serenity." I belong in Al-Anon, where I never have to feel abandoned or empty again.

Thought for the Day
If I "keep coming back," I'll get what I need to fill my empty spaces.
"We see that none of the time that passed was wasted; although we didn't know it, we were quietly absorbing the program." Courage to Change, p. 135

**So interesting.  "Sometimes I slip and make another person my higher power."  Interesting way to think about codependency.  I certainly am elevating it above it's place and perhaps above other important things.  And when I focus on my true higher power, perspective becomes available.

Passage 2
We who have chosen our life partners from the ranks of alcoholics often feel our lives are especially difficult and complicated. And they often are. We come to believe, quite mistakenly, that we're the only people in the world with real trouble! Let us recognize that the alcoholic -- insecure, lonely, and often too sensitive to life's realities -- usually has many endearing qualities to be grateful for. Indeed, many of us wouldn't want to exchange him for a less interesting, if more dependable partner.
Yet matters may have reached the point of desperation and we are completely hopeless. What to do?
Today's Reminder
In Al-Anon I discover in myself the power to throw new light on a seemingly hopeless situation. I learn I must use this power, not to change the alcoholic over whom I am powerless, but to overcome my own distorted ideas and attitudes. If I can bring sunshine into our home, it cannot fail to affect those in it.
"Help me to use the gifts You have given me. I want to use them to help others through making my own world better and brighter."

**I have learned that every person has a "why me" situation.  Life can be difficult, but it's a bit easier when we realize we are all in this together.  And despite our "why me" situation, we have much to be grateful for. 

Passage 3

Is there anything that stands in the way of my trusting in a Higher Power? What obstacles block me from turning over my will and my life to God? In my case, the answer is obvious: I want guarantees. I hold out, thinking that I’ll come up with a new solution to my problems even though I’ve tried and failed, again and again. The risk of faith seems so great. if I turn a situation over, I won’t be in control. I can’t be sure I’ll get my way.
Yet I want recovery. If I continue to do what I have always done, I will continue to get what I have always gotten. I want the benefits that this spiritual program has to offer, Therefore I must take the risk and “Let go and let God.”
Maybe faith will bring me the results I seek, maybe not. Although there are not guarantees, the benefits of building a strong relationship with a Higher power can help me grow confident, strong and capable of coping with whatever comes to pass long after this particular crisis has been resolved.
Today’s Reminder
Today I will make contribution to my spiritual development. I will try to identify the obstacles that block my faith.
“Understanding is the reward of faith. therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand” Aurelius Augustinus

**I am 100% not as close to my higher power, as I was in the past.  My first thought was that I didn't want to give up the illusion of control..... even though........I really do know that I'm not in control.  And I'm glad I'm not in control!  My next was that I don't want to get hurt again.  I feel a bit burned.  I put my faith in God entirely and I got hurt.  I think I am scared to be vulnerable and trusting again. And even when I want to be vulnerable again, it is difficult to feel his presence.  My first sponsor was an avid reader and directed me towards the private writings of Mother Teresa, assuring me that faith and feelings of closeness ebb and flow.  I so appreciate her gentleness.  She is a sponsor through S-NON, which is why I stopped learning with her.  Working two programs was just too much for me, but she taught me so much about how to be gentle with myself.   I do think just praying for these obstacles to be removed may help though.  Very grateful for this passage.

I only slept 2 hours last night and it wasn't a full 2 hours.  I will need to be extra gentle with myself.  I am almost done with my webinar, but will likely stay up till 3am again working.  While, I want to take care of my body...... I am aware that starting a business takes a lot of hours.  I am investing in myself.  I do believe that I can survive a couple more days with low sleep.  I will take a short nap during my break at work and I don't plan to do much while home today.  Just try to work when I can and play with the kids, when I can.

Slogans for today: One Day at a Time, Keep it Simple, Do the next best thing, Easy does it.

Gratitude List
*I'm still doing gratitude lists to fall asleep at night and to keep my mind off of things during the day.  Last night I was laughing at my gratitudes, some new ones popped into mind.

A - Amazon Now
B - Bread (sourdough bread, to be specific)
C - I apparently can't remember more than two now, oops.  Ok, C will be Christmas (which J is already looking forward to)
D - drugs (I have a horrible migraine.  Hoping some medication helps)
E - My go to for E is epiphanies, which I am forever grateful for. 
D -