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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Favorite Passages

When I began studying the Seventh Step, which says, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings," my list of shortcomings included an extensive catalog of feelings. I humbly asked God to remove my anger, fear, and guilt. I looked forward to the day when I would never experience any of these emotions again.
Of course, that day never arrived. Instead, I have learned that feelings aren't shortcomings. The true nature of my problem was my stubborn refusal to acknowledge feelings, to accept them, and to let them go. I have very little power over what feelings arise, but what I choose to do about them is my responsibility.

Today I can accept my feelings, share about them with others, recognize that they are feelings, not facts, and then let them go. I'm no longer stuck in a state of seemingly endless rage or self-pity, for when I give myself permission to feel whatever I feel, the feelings pass. My emotions have not been removed; instead, I have been relieved of shortcomings that blocked my self-acceptance.

Today's Reminder
When I take the Seventh Step,
I pray that whatever interferes with my Higher Power's will for me may be removed. I don't have to have all the answers. I need only be willing.

"We didn't necessarily get the results we wanted, but somehow we always seemed to get what we needed." . . . In All Our Affairs

We do not come to Al-Anon -- or should not -- to look for pity. We should not expect the other members to assure us that our resentments are justified, or that we ought to take aggressive action. Indeed, we learn to resist aggression from others by maintaining our dignity and poise. In short, what the Al-Anon program does for us, through its members, is to help us change the way we look at our family problems.

If I complain about something "he" did, somebody may point out that I seem too determined. (I will not take it amiss if the word is "stubborn"!) When I reveal that I am checking up on his activities, I may be told that my interference won't help matters, but will keep me from growing.

Today's Reminder
Al-Anon meetings and friendships can be inspiring, interesting, enlightening, and even fun. But they are also dedicated to the serious business of making me into a confident, spiritually-oriented adult human being. If that is what I want, I will listen with an open mind, accept suggestions and put to good use what I learn.
"I pray to let nothing stand in the way of my being receptive to what Al-Anon has to offer."

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

I needed my husband to get sober so that we could live happily ever after, because I couldn’t face the ugly disease that overshadowed every aspect of our relationship, and I couldn’t face the emptiness I felt in my own life. It was so much nicer to think about a future of bliss, if only he’d change.

In Al-Anon I had to unlearn a lot of romantic nonsense in order to find a satisfying life in the here and now. When my husband and I separated, my fantasies crashed, but with the support of the program, I learned to look to myself for happiness and to my own real life for enrichment. Two years later, when my husband and I reunited, I had to unlearn a new illusion, this time about recovery. My idea of health was now based on living alone. I had to learn to find a balance between taking care of myself and being there for my partner; I had to learn to love again.

Today’s Reminder
Recovery can involve as much unlearning as learning. My security cannot be based on learning “the rules,” because once I truly learn them, they change. With my Higher Power’s help, I will find some security in being exactly where I am today.

“The Twelve Steps of our program have led me to a faith in God today which is based on acceptance of the world as it is. I no longer agonize over how the world should be.“ As We Understand

"Wow!" That word expresses such wonder, excitement, surprise, and humility. It's a word I use often, yet I pay little attention to its meaning or power. for example, this morning when I awoke, the sun was shining brightly, the sky was a deep and cloudless blue, and the autumn trees radiated gold, bronze, and copper Without thinking about it, my first reaction was to exclaim, "Wow!" 

I was struck by the fact that I had nothing to do with creating such a beautiful morning. That meant I probably had no effect on the rainy or snowy mornings, either. In fact, weather was one of the many things completely out of my control. This perception relieved me of responsibility for the weather, sunny or cloudy, and reminded me of the many things in life over which i have no control. I can only let go and let them be. I felt grateful for this reminder, and I began to count my other blessings as well. My job was simply to enjoy the morning and be grateful for the experience of beauty. The day was off to a great start.

Now I take more notice of the "wow" moments in my life. I acknowledge my feelings, such as the gratitude, joy, and humility that come from appreciating something I didn't affect or create. For each person or event that crosses my path today, I thank my Higher Power. I accept that I don't have to work hard for this day's delights because they are a gift from my Higher Power. All I need to do is pay attention and enjoy my honest emotions as the day progresses. 

Thought for the Day
I take time to enjoy the beauty that surrounds me.
"When I gather flowers, or marvel at nature's wonders, I do not lose face when I concede that I am not in control." Courage to Change, p. 283

I had a habit of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. After discussing this matter with a friend, I was given an exercise to practice.

When someone says something to me and I have a strong reaction - wanting to cry, wanting to rage, or thinking I am inferior - I stop and visualize two doors. One is marked "Same old, same old" or "My will". The other is marked "New and different" or "God's will." On seeing these two doors, I imagine opening and viewing what I would normally say or do in this situation. Then I close my door and open God's.

By the time I have done all of this, I've given myself several moments between initial comment and my impulsive reaction. This gives me time to practice the slogan "Think" and to choose a healthier response. I've not had a single regret-filled incident since I began to practice this self-restraint. Ironically, most times what's behind God's door is absolutely nothing. What a message! Could this possibly mean that other people's behavior belongs to them and I don't have to make it mine by reacting to it?

Thought for the Day
Practicing detachment before I react allows me to maintain self-esteem by choosing my response.
"We need to recognize our own reactions. Then we can decide whether we want to continue reacting in the same old ways, or if maybe we want to try something new". Courage to Be Me, p. 123


  1. So much great stuff! I can see why you stuck with Al-Anon.