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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Once upon a time, there was an Enormous Thumb belonging to a woman with an Alcoholic Husband and Three Teenaged Children.

The four of them lived under her thumb, so of course they couldn’t do much growing up. Often their spirits writhed under the weight; every time they tried to get out from under, they’d do something wrong and the thumb would clamp down on them again.

Father managed by keeping himself flattened out drunk most of the time; he was so cute about escaping to a bottle that, no matter how much mama watched, she couldn’t catch him at it until he’d drunk himself into unconsciousness. Everyone thought she was a Very Nice Lady, and they were sorry she was having such a hard time with her family.

There was really no reason for her to come to Al-Anon to solve her problems because she always knew just what to do about everything. But she did want to make her husband stop drinking, so she thought she’d try it. She was quite unhappy at first because some of the members were not inclined to Pull Any Punches. She was quite indignant when they tried to show her what she was doing to her family, but to everyone’s amazement, the Thumb began to shrink and lose weight, and things looked brighter.

More and more she realized what she was doing and, being a Determined Character, she applied the program every day and her other problems took care of themselves very nicely.

I would love to get 50 people and see what "applying the program every day" looks like to them.  I relate to the line above about everyone thinking she was so nice.  I think there is some intonations here that she caused the drinking (just hints)..... but of course the three C's "Didn't Cause it.  Can't Cure it. Can't control it."

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!  Well, this is the one I needed for today.  I added it to my favorites.  So much of this is speaking to my feelings today.  I also love how they separated for two years and got back together.  I think sometimes someone can be a loyal and loving spouse and still separate.  And sometimes you stay separate and choose different life paths and sometimes you can rejoin together, as long as you are both healthy.  And isn't healthy what we want?

When I think of boundaries, it helps if I think of a castle in a lake. Boundaries are the drawbridge connecting the castle with the world. Usually the drawbridge is down, and people can walk freely back and forth. However, when danger is sensed, the drawbridge rises to protect the castle.
To protect myself from the dangers of my alcoholic family, I shut down and kept my drawbridge closed to guard my feelings and thoughts. Eventually my castle grew musty and foul inside. When I reached Al-Anon, I couldn't distinguish between real and imagined threats. By listening to members share, I learned to recognize danger signals in the behavior of others and how to respond appropriately.

On occasion the danger signals are not clear. Sometimes what I perceive as a threat is something I've conjured up in my own mind. If I immediately shut down my feelings in reaction, I usually end up hurting myself or someone else. In the end I might lose an opportunity to grow or a chance to love and be loved.

With the help of my Higher Power and the Serenity Prayer, I've learned to distinguish between real and imagined threats. I learned to recognize and respect others' boundaries. I'm also able to discern when it's wiser for me to remain open to someone I love and trust even when I want to close up out of fear. I remind myself that I can't experience love, joy, and trust, and completely abandon myself to my Higher Power if I can't risk feeling the other extremes of sadness, hurt, and fear. 

Thought for the Day
Knowing when to open and when to close my boundaries is a learning experience.
"Boundaries are flexible, changeable, removable, so it's up to me how open or closed I'll be at any given time." *Courage to Change*, p 20

**This was also a fantastic one for me to read today.  I do have difficulty differentiating between real and imagined fears, especially when in terms of the kids.  I think that would be a fantastic prayer to include on a regular basis.  I'm considering announcing that I would like a temporary sponsor at my current al anon meeting.  I think part of my fear in getting a sponsor is that I will choose incorrectly.  Maybe, I should take the "choosing" out of it and just let someone choose me.  Kind of put it in higher power's hands a little bit.  Then make it temporary, so I can shift as needed.  It is a very scary thing for me to do, actually.  That is Step 3 right there.  "I can't.  You can.  I think I'll let you."  But, I want to be working the program with some accountability and support. 

Ok.  So, I did it!  I posted a full post again!

Grateful for:
1) my magical mountain view
2) De-cluttering my house.  Somehow, something I've been wanting to do for the last year has happened in the last month (including complete organization of medicine, arts and crafts, etc.)  VERY grateful!!!
3) safe people to talk with.  Overwhelmed with gratitude for those people in my life.
4) family - my sister, my mom, Oscar's family.  So, stinking precious.  And, of course, my very own.
5)  Epiphanies.  This is very often my letter E in the ABC's of Gratitude.

I'm also grateful for my chaos.  It leads so often to these epiphanies.

Joy: I haven't done this section in awhile.  Reflecting on photographs brings me joy.  I love leafing through physical family photographs, analyzing different expressions, the lighting, the scenario.  It lights my imagination on fire and helps me relive previous and often precious times.  When organizing, I came across many photos of hubby and me, but I haven't framed too many photos of the kids.  My plan for today is to decorate some more frames (yes- my house is child friendly in the extreme!) and put up some Autumn photos.  


  1. Yay! I missed your posts. Passage 2 totally applies to me. It's so confusing sorting it all out. I can also relate to the last highlight of the last passage. I don't like taking risks, but then I lose out on positive possibilities. I hope and pray God prompts the right person to be your sponsor!