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Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I have a lot to say tonight, but just haven't felt like typing it out.  Now that I've started though, I'm laughing on the inside.  Instead of taking energy from me, this kind of writing brings more in.

I've got a cold again.  A result of having young kids, poor self care and a lot of stress.  It's not a bad cold.  Not even close..... barely detectable to others.  Moving on.....

I received a card in the mail today from my mom.  She sent me a check.  On the check, it is written, "Each day brings hope!" 

Now, the amount is a big sum for her.  Not enough to pull me out of the mess I'm in financially, but.......... more than she's ever given me for any birthday or anything.  It was generous.  It was thoughtful.  It filled me with warmth and gratitude and hope.  It also filled me with appreciation for my mother.  So often I focus on the negative, when analyzing our relationship.  But, there is so much good!  What she did today (or whenever she sent the check) was uncharacteristic of her.... but, it was so so kind.  And renewed my hope in miracles, just a bit. 

I don't think I had ever stopped believing in miracles, but it made them feel a bit more real.  Very grateful. And also had me wondering what positive characteristics I got from my mom.

Yesterday, I had a thought which I don't often have.  It wasn't an epiphany, per say, but most certainly a "light bulb" moment.  In all my gratitude lists that I do, I don't think I ever have written, "I'm grateful that I get to stay home with the kids most of the time."  If I have written it, I haven't written it every moment of every day.

I think I was regarding this situation as a "choice."  Or, at times, as a "consequence" of certain choices  But, I am so so so privileged.  And I am so grateful that I have gotten to be with them throughout this critical time period.  On my knees grateful.

A passage on detachment/ "letting go"

One day, my son brought a gerbil home to live with us. We put it in a cage. Some time later, the gerbil escaped. For the next six months, the animal ran frightened and wild through the house. So did we - chasing it."There it is. Get it!" we'd scream, each time someone spotted the gerbil. I, or my son, would throw down whatever we were working on, race across the house, and lunge at the animal hoping to catch it.I worried about it, even when we didn't see it. "This isn't right," I'd think. "I can't have a gerbil running loose in the house. We've got to catch it. We've got to do something."A small animal, the size of a mouse had the entire household in a tizzy.

One day, while sitting in the living room, I watched the animal scurry across the hallway. In frenzy, I started to lunge at it, as I usually did, then I stopped myself.  No, I said, I'm all done. If that animal wants to live in the nooks and crannies of this house, I'm going to let it. I'm done worrying about it. I'm done chasing it. It's an irregular circumstance, but that's just the way it's going to have to be.I let the gerbil run past without reacting. I felt slightly uncomfortable with my new reaction - not reacting - but I stuck to it anyway.  I got more comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. Before long, I became downright peaceful with the situation. I had stopped fighting the gerbil. 

One afternoon, only weeks after I started practicing my new attitude, the gerbil ran by me, as it had so many times, and I barely glanced at it. The animal stopped in its tracks, turned around, and looked at me. I started to lunge at it. It started to run away.   I relaxed."Fine," I said. "Do what you want." And I meant it.  One hour later, the gerbil came and stood by me, and waited. I gently picked it up and placed it in its cage, where it has lived happily ever since. The moral of the story? Don't lunge at the gerbil. He's already frightened, and chasing him just scares him more and makes us crazy.Detachment works. 

Today, I will be comfortable with my new reaction - not reacting. I will feel at peace.

Melody Beattie
Language of Letting Go

PASSAGE 1 - 3 PS, Perfectionism
While listening to others share at Al-Anon meetings, I became aware that I hold myself to unrealistically high standards. I expect myself to be less fallible than everyone else. I acquired this character defect as a child in my attempts to control my alcoholic father by pleasing or appeasing him. It might have served a purpose then, no matter how illusionary it was, but it doesn't work for me now. Such perfectionism perpetuates dissatisfaction and low self-esteem.

What makes me think I'm different from everyone else? It's one thing to strive to do my best, but it's quite another to punish myself if results fall short of my high expectations. I am human, after all. It is in our very nature to have faults and limitations.

In my misguided quest for excellence, I often act as if my personal slogan were "If it's worth doing, it's worth making a major project out of it." As a result I usually don't have enough time to finish many projects. Rather, they languish in various stages of flawless incompletion. I need to remind myself continually to practice "Keep it Simple," and I'm getting better at it. Recently for the first time in my life, I heard myself say, "That's good enough."

The Seventh Step says, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." To do so requires me to acknowledge my humanity, including my perfectionism. It's unrealistic to expect perfection from and imperfect being in an imperfect world. The only perfection I can hope to attain is to be perfectly imperfect.

Thought for the Day
A mistake a day keeps my perfectionism at bay. Today I will endeavor to enjoy my humanness.
"My sponsor's general reminder of 'Progress, not perfection' encourages me to give myself credit." How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 323

**At the first sentence, I knew this passage was for me.  I can relate to a lot of it.  The reason why I am the way that I am is quite disconnected, for me.  I don't remember trying to be a perfectionist to please my mom.  I don't know if that's my truth.  It would make sense...... but, if that's why I am how I am, it either was in my subconscious or I simply don't remember.  When I read these types of passages, I think, "maybe." Regardless, I like the idea of "A mistake a day keeps my perfectionism at bay."  And can definitely relate to the Perfectionism, Procrastination, Paralysis aspect.  Lots of unfinished high quality projects.

One of the ways in which we help ourselves to serenity and an orderly life is through Twelfth Step work, so-called because it is the final one of the Twelve Steps by which we live in Al-Anon.
It means to be always ready to help another person in trouble – someone new who may not yet have heard that Al-Anon can help when there is alcoholism in a family. This “carrying the message” requires constant awareness of a possible need: perhaps a neighbor or someone we meet casually who indicates that he or she is living with such a problem.

I will tactfully offer help to anyone who needs to learn how to live with all the many difficulties which alcoholism can create or aggravate. My first suggestion should be that there is always hope, and that a new way of life can be found in Al-Anon, in the company of others who share the same problem.
“I will be always ready to carry the message to others. The need is all around me if I keep myself alert enough to recognize it. In helping others, I also help myself.”

Everyone who plays a part in our lives offers something we might learn. Other people can be our mirrors, reflecting our better and worse quality. They can help us to work through conflicts from the past that were never resolved. They can act as catalysts, activating parts of ourselves that need to rise to the surface so that we can attend to them.

Others can learn from us as well. We are all connected. That is our great strengths.
So when I grow impatient with someone's sharing in a meeting, or take offense at a loved one's inattention, or feel incapable of coping with another person's choices, I will consider the possibility that my teacher or my mirror stands before me. And I will ask my Higher Power to help me perceive their gifts.

Today's Reminder
One reason I come to Al-Anon is to learn to develop healthy, loving relationships with myself and others. I recognize that I need other people. I will welcome those my Higher Power brings to me today.
"Separate reeds are weak and easily broken; but bound together they are strong and hard to tear apart." The Midrash

 **In regards to that last quote.... "who am I bound with?" This is an area that I need to strengthen.  A lot of the mama connections I made when J was born are no longer present.  Friends have moved away, gone back to school, work, etc.  And my Al Anon friends mainly stay in al anon.  And while I have internet support and it is fantastic.............. I need people close enough that I can call upon or provide real assistance to. 

Anyways......... this morning I had a humbling mom moment in a store.  A woman critiquing my parenting practices (kind of) to the person she was with, but loud enough for me to hear.  To be fair, it wasn't a true critique, just an observation.  Anyways......I was mad and embarrassed.......... but was already thinking, "What can I learn from this situation."  "What is God trying to tell me."  Progress!!!



  1. Such a blessing from your mother! I can appreciate the gerbil story. It illustrated detachment very clearly. I can work on tactfully offering help. So far it hasn't gone well. :l I really loved the first paragraph of passage 3. So relevant to my life. I wish I we lived closer to each other! I'm sorry I can't be more than online support. :(