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Friday, December 9, 2016
Passage 1
It is heartening to know that Al-Anon members can be a world-wide inspiration to each other; thoughts and prayers fly across space to sustain and strengthen us all. These wise words come from the AI-Anon groups of France: "We have all had the feeling of being chained to a heavy weight that we were trying to drag this way and that, while all the time it was dragging us until we completely lost our bearings.

"Now there is another chain for us; the one that unites us in AI-Anon. Each of us is a link, neither more nor less important than all the rest. It is a chain to which we can attach ourselves whenever we need it."

Today's Reminder
What a relief to be able to detach ourselves from the chain that bound us to the weight of alcoholism-to know we need not be helplessly controlled by it. We are freed by knowing we cannot exert the slightest influence on it. How light and pleasant it is to be a link in that other chain that binds us together in AI-Anon, and to discover how to correct the attitudes that kept us chained to our anxieties.
"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good." (Proverbs)

I fell into a depression while grieving my father's death. I knew it was natural to mourn. However, I had not resolved certain emotions I felt toward my father's alcoholic behavior, and this complicated my grieving. I decided to consult a professional who, after several sessions about my alcoholic upbringing, suggested it might be helpful to attend AI-Anon. I had become very comfortable with this professional, and the idea of sharing my thoughts and feelings with strangers felt scary. However, I knew I needed something beyond therapy, so I gave Al-Anon a chance.

In Al-Anon I grew to understand many things about this disease called alcoholism. I started to regard my father in a different light, and my memories of our interactions took on a different perspective. During his years of active drinking, fear clouded my perception of him. I never regarded him as other than a scary authoritative figure who was even scarier when he drank. Now I don't see him as just an alcoholic. I regard him as a whole person who had needs, feelings, desires, and faults.

Al-Anon has given me many tools, including the Steps and slogans, to work through old feelings and to make amends to my father, even though he is no longer alive. Through this program, I have been able to forgive Now I understand, just like my dad, I did the best I could under the circumstances. him as well as myself. For a long time I was hard on myself, thinking I was a coward for not facing up to him.

Thought for the Day
Al-Anon has helped me understand alcoholism's true nature as a disease, thus transforming my relationship with myself and the alcoholics in my life.
"I see now that alcoholics have a disease: They are ill, not bad." Courage to Change, p. I I 0

A friend received a rejection letter from a program she worked hard for this morning.  This was part of my response to her and thought process .....

"I've also had many rejections and they really hurt. I won 8 scholarships and a lot of money for college, but I applied to over 50. I know you already know this, but you can't succeed if you don't try. And rejection is part of the process. I hope you feel proud of yourself for putting the application out there and for already knowing you will do it again. I have a good.friend who was rejected from med school twice and he gave up. Compare that to my friend who got rejected twice, but got in year 3 and is now almost a practicing physician. The fact that you already know you are applying again is telling of your character and some thing to be proud of. Anyways, hope you get out some vino and, chocolate tonight. Spoil yourself."

Isn't it nice when you tell someone else what you really needed to hear yourself?  I failed at my business, but I gave it a chance and did some really great things.  Kudos to me!  I also started up a new business with very little effort, also commendable.  I have a fantastic idea for an online business that could help a lot of people and provide for my family, yet I am scared.  The scholarship experience is one I reminded myself of again and again as a young adult.  I was really proud of myself for doing all those scholarships.  And it was really neat to know that had I received 10 rejections or 20 rejections and stopped.  Another experience I had, also resulted in a windfall for me.  But, when it started, it resulted in pennies.  Pennies!!  If I had stopped then, I never ever would have experienced the results.  

I was wounded so deeply in my last business mistakes, that I have not thought of this much lately.  I have to remember that things start small.  You don't always see the results right away.  And I have to get in touch with those feelings and experiences that are real and happened to me.  It feels so long ago that that happened.  I remember the raw hurt of my last mistakes, but not so much those older successes.  I need to change my mindset!  

Another thing which touched me today.......  A woman at my church posted a blog entry she wrote....

I'll post a long excerpt

Have you ever been caravaning to a restaurant or something and the person driving the other car knows where you are going, but you don’t? And they are trying to explain how to get there, “You turn left out of this parking lot, go down the street until you get to the McDonald’s and then take the road past the second tree on your right and then make a u-turn…” and all I get is confused. My natural response is just to say, “How about I’ll just follow you?”

Following is supposed to be easy because I don’t have to figure anything out besides keeping my eyes on the person leading the way.

What about when it comes to following Jesus? We know we are supposed to follow Him, but sometimes we think following Him means trying to run after him, looking for footprints in the sand or trying to guess the “right” way - that’s not it at all!

In fact, the most basic truth of Jesus’ “Follow me” message is that JESUS GOES FIRST! We are simply told to follow him, and that means taking a step when HE takes one.

We don’t have a God who created everything and then left us to fend for ourselves. No, He says the Holy spirit resides within us and will lead and guide us how to follow Him.

We see this over and over again in Scripture. Jesus calls Peter and Andrew away from what they are doing as fishermen and only shows them one step of the journey at a time. God calls Abraham and Sarah away from their home and doesn’t tell them anything else about where they are going except that they have to leave.

And yet, I still find myself so afraid of following Him, of being obedient, because I am so concerned with my own efforts and “finding the right way” that I lose sight of the person I’m supposed to be following.

**This, of course, reminded me of the poem I always quote by Shel Silverstein.

There is a voice inside of you \
that whispers all day long.
I know that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.  

 No teacher, preacher, parent friend
or wise man can decide,
what's right for you, just listen to -
the voice that speaks inside.

I memorized this and sometimes replace the last line with "the voice down deep inside" on accident.  

I believe this voice is the Holy Spirit.  What I loved about my friend's entry is 1) the aspect of following without knowing all the steps or the end destination.  2) the idea that this is the easier thing to do 3) you know the steps by listening to your inner voice.

So, I have a client who has been wanting to come back to me.  She left me a voicemail a few days ago and I haven't returned the call because I have been unsure what to say.  I need the money, but don't feel it is the right thing.  I don't know why I don't feel it's right.  I have a few ideas, but overall it just doesn't feel right.  I have been second guessing myself because how could I say, "no" to more money right now.  It doesn't seem rational.  But, after reading her post, I realized that this is the "voice" inside of me telling me that and I need to respect it.  It's scary!!!  I apparently want to know all the steps.  But saying no feels accurate.  

Another thing that's interesting today.....

I posted a question on the social media group for my city about safe places to work out in the morning.  I ended up getting a lot of people who were interested in walking or running with me.  How exciting and unexpected.  

Now, if I could only muster up the excitement I need to get my business started.  One step at a time.  

A wonderful day, overall.  

And trying not to interact with the Hubby right now because he didn't go to a meeting AGAIN (3rd day he told me he was going and didn't) and is acting all happy.  I'm being polite and cordial, but just working on me.  This reminds me of when he was drinking and every single day he would tell me he was going to stop drinking.  Anyways... focus on me.  

Tomorrow should be a wonderful day!


  1. "I started to regard my father in a different light, and my memories of our interactions took on a different perspective." I remember this happening for the first time my sophomore year in college. I wrote him an email apologizing for being so disrespectful. It hasn't been perfect since then, but I try to remind myself of this whenever I'm with my family so I treat him more kindly. This last visit was really hard though.

    I liked the excerpt from your friend's blog post too. Very insightful.

    I've always seen you as having the Midas touch. It's hard for me to imagine your business having failed! You've been so successful at everything I've seen you do. And therein lies the problem. I don't see everything you do. I've since learned you're human too ;)

    One other thing. Due to my past experiences and current knowledge I've gained about recovery and health, I have a different idea of what it means to spoil myself (not that I always follow it, of course). Wine, chocolate, shopping, of whatever else, can be unwise rewards that reaffirm unhealthy ideas about self-care or encourage justification of bad habits. Why don't meditation, exercise, and reading a good book come to mind first when we want to spoil ourselves? Why are they commonly seen as punishments or necessary evils? In the long run, a good moment of self-compassion and mindfulness has far better and lasting effects than eating chocolate (again, not saying I make the wiser choice. Totally guilty!) It just bugs me as I read on Instagram the ways women describe their self-care for the day. Not that those things can't ever be appropriate self-care. Any type of shopping without the kids is rewarding to me! Lol. But you get my point. Vent over.