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Saturday, November 12, 2016
I’m not particularly handy with tools. Recently a friend demonstrated to me that oiling a saw before using it makes it work more smoothly, whether it’s cutting metal or wood.

Later it occurred to me that learning to oil a saw is a little like learning to apply the Al-Anon program. Though skeptical, I considered learning a new way because I saw it demonstrated. I knew that the program worked when I saw how serenely Al-Anon members in circumstances similar to mine were coping with difficult situations. So I tried their approach – I learned to apply the Steps, Al-Anon literature, slogans, meetings and sponsorship.

Using this oil doesn’t change the raw materials of my life, nor does it provide me with new equipment. It does make what I already have more useful, and that removes many of my frustrations, giving me great satisfaction.

 Today’s Reminder
Building a useful and fulfilling life is not an easy task. Al-Anon helps me learn more effective ways of living so that I can avoid needless difficulty. With proper tools, progress is just a matter of practice.
You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. Begin as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.“ Francis de Sales

**As the educator, I like the last quote....but, I disagree partially.  You get started learning those things by doing them, but you will eventually need "proper tools" and instruction.  Or in terms of talking, a pre-wired developmental track.  I like the previous sentence a bit better, "With proper tools, progress is just a matter of practice"  MUCH MUCH BETTER!  And much better than "perfect practice makes perfect," as well. 

Serenity? What’s that? For years I was like a weather vane that spun around according to the air currents that other people generated. My husband criticized me, and I lost my serenity. My boss became upset, and I lost my serenity. Before Al Anon, I attributed these mood swings to nervousness, lack of self-assurance, and whoever else occupied the room at the time. Serenity always seemed beyond my control, I was convinced I needed quietness to feel serene, so I retreated into my room and napped frequently.

Today I don’t need to withdraw to quiet places nearly as often. I don’t need to run away from life. Sometimes I can even stand in the middle of a frenzied atmosphere and let it swirl around me, while I remain unaffected. I can tell myself to hush when my mind enters the muddy waters of “what if.” I can sit still in the present moment and feel grateful for the sound of rain falling on the room and for the purring cat curled up next to me. In my gratitude I experience serenity that I never knew before.

Where does this serenity come from? It comes from trusting that everything in my life is exactly as it should be. I feel it when I apply a slogan rather than panic about something. It comes when I choose to care for myself rather than to fix someone else. It surrounds me when I seek God’s will in prayer and meditation. It envelopes me whenever I walk into an Al-Anon meeting, see the familiar faces of those who accompany me on my journey, and know, once again, I am not alone.

Thought for the Day
I am powerless over many things, but my serenity is not one of them.
“Today I know that sanity and serenity are the gifts I have received for my efforts and my faith.” Courage to Change, p. 248

**What a fantastic passage on program tools.  "It comes from trusting that everything in my life is exactly as it should be."  This is something that I haven't been doing and I WANT to do.  I can see the power in that belief! 


  1. I like this: "Al-Anon helps me learn more effective ways of living so that I can avoid needless difficulty." Yes! I don't want anymore needless difficulty! I also loved the Thought for the day. I'm adding it to my favorites.