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Friday, December 2, 2016
When we're at a meeting, the Al-Anon ideas seem so clear to us that we never doubt we can apply them to our daily living. But alas, the old thinking patterns take over and we have what corresponds in AA to a "slip" or a relapse. This is no reason to be discouraged.

If I look back on my pre-Al-Anon attitude, I can see how much I have learned, and how much of it I do remember to use in dealing with my everyday problems. Perfect mastery is too much for me to expect of myself; I will be patient.

Today's Reminder
If it isn't easy for me to "see myself as others see me" and recognize how much progress I have made, all I need to do is to observe the improvement in the others in my group. Even some that appeared to have "hopeless" problems make great strides in learning to detach from many of the harrowing episodes in the alcoholism. They recognize that their thinking and their actions were not always sane either. They use the Al-Anon program to restore themselves to a reasonable and serene frame of mind.

Al-Anon doesn't produce miracles overnight, but when we look back, we realize that a miracle is in the process taking place."

PASSAGE 2 - Let it begin with me, taking your own inventor, step 1
I can easily itemize my loved one's limitations. Hours pass while I list the ways in which he could stand to change.

 But not one thing has ever improving as a result of this mental criticism. All it does is keep my mind on someone other than me. Instead of admitting my powerlessness over another person's choices and attitudes, I flirt with what illusions of power. In the end I am a little more bitter, more hopeless, and more frustrated. And nothing about my situation, or the other person, has changed.
What would happen if I took my list of criticisms and applied it, gently, to myself? I may complain about my loved one's verbal abuse--after all, I don't speak to him that way. But at the level of thought, I am just as abusive. The same attitude exists in both of us; we just manifest it differently.

Today's Reminder
Al-Anon says, "Let It Begin with Me." When I identify something I dislike in another, I can look for similar traits within myself and begin to change them. By changing myself, I truly can change the world.

"Peace of mind depends on recognizing our own shortcomings. An honest personal inventory helps us recognize our strengths and weaknesses." This Is Al-Anon

** Oooh, I really needed to read this one right now.  I don't need to go into detail, but Hubs was trying to draw me in to an argument.  I was not engaging, but struggling with keeping my mind off of what to do with his bad behavior.  Simple..... Give it to God!!  Not my responsibility.  But, there is a lot of behavior that certainly IS my responsibility.  I even found myself wondering when his next meeting was (you know, instead of thinking about when MY next meeting is).  Le sigh.  I love how much grace and gentleness this program has.  We will have slips, but we have the power to get back on track!

PASSAGE 3 - making decisions
Making decisions has always been hard for me. I've tried many of the conventional tools, such as listing the pros and cons of different alternatives and comparing those alternatives with my goals. The customary methods didn't work for me because I was setting goals that others wanted me to achieve. Although their goals might have been right for them, they were not always right for me.

It took me a long time to see this character defect of mine, but I finally did. My decisions were based on what others wanted so I could make them love and accept me. It was a matter of control. This was true all I was growing up with alcoholism, too. In my limited, childish mind, I thought if I said and did everything my parents wished, I would finally earn their love and attention.

When I first came to Al-Anon, I didn't have any idea who I was or what I wanted. My sponsor and other members walked me gently through my Fourth Step by explaining it has a way for me to get to know myself so I could make healthy choices. They showed me how to seek God's will in the planning and execution of every decision. It was suggested that if I were having trouble making a decision, I might want to ask myself if I was really seeking to please myself, my Higher Power, or another person.

 Thought for the Day
Making decisions based on God's will for me is far more rewarding in the long run than making them based on other people.
"With the help of a Higher Power, decision-making can be one of life's great adventures." Courage to Change, p. 53