Bless Them and Heal Me

Bless them and heal me. ~ anon

I have learned to say this small but powerful prayer when I get angry or hurt at what someone else decides to do. I have to remember that G.O.D. has put them in my path, so that I can learn from them. Most of the time, I do not know what the lesson is until I get further down the road, and then boom: there it is! The light goes on, and I awaken some more. I will give you an example. On the road, I may be miffed or frightened (or both) by some jerk that cuts me off and nearly runs me off the road. I may get a mile or two down the road, and low and behold, I do the same thing to the next innocent schmoe. Whereever I go there I am. Whatever problems I have in my life, I am the common denominator.

Can you relate? How can we expect unconditional love, understanding, and peace; when we do not afford it to other beings? I have to ask myself: how important is it really? Will it be as important in one year as it is now? So much pain, hate and cruelty is born out of fear. The 12 step program offers us a way out of the fear and pain and into the unconditional love and acceptance we all seek on this earth. It starts from within each of us. One by one we can build the peaceful world we all want. In Tradition #8, we are asked to embrace our fellows as equals. Look for the similarities, not the differences. You will surely find the peace you have been seeking.

A Pathway to Peace

The long version of the Serenity Prayer has a great phrase: “accepting hardship as a pathway to peace”. After a long life of taking care of others, single parenting, and a dealing with a large family enslaved in addictions; I am ready for some peace and quiet. Often, I am perfectly happy to be alone. I have gone as long as 4 days without speaking a word to anyone; even to myself. I like to practice quiet. Have you ever been to a silent retreat? One of my old friends in program practices silent retreats in her own home for whole weekends. I am still working on being that disciplined. The closest I have come is in not speaking. Somehow, the TV or radio keeps me company. I am a work in progress.

The AA 12 Step program attempts to teach us to be serene and at peace no matter how much crisis and confusion is going on. I will let you know when I achieve that. 😊 On most days and on most occasions, I can cope well. I am like the proverbial duck on water. I look like I am swimming along peacefully, but under the water, I am peddling like all get out. Serenity s all about radical acceptance. To radically accept everything, with no exceptions as it is in G.O.D.’s time and in harmony with the universe is the objective. Serenity is an action. Not reacting and waiting are very powerful verbs. I was told to wait 24 hours before responding to anything that threatens my peace. This allows me a chance to hand things over, and it allows enough time for the solutions to come. It is worth the wait.

Analysis is Paralysis

Analysis is Paralysis ~ anon

I spent a whole lot of money and time trying to get my head shrunk and figuring out why I was so miserable. There is no harm is getting outside help, but the real truth and answers came for me by taking my rightful spot in AA meetings, listening to others, doing that which I was told to do, and by not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Most of the pain I suffered was of my own doing. And, the solutions to that pain was right in the literature and meetings that AA offered for free. Such a deal I got.

In AA we discovered that humility is simply an awareness of who we really are today and a willingness to become all that we can be. Genuine humility brings an end to the feelings of inadequacy, the self-absorption, and the status seeking. Humility places us neither above of below anyone else on an imaginary ladder of worth. We can be on equal footing with the rest of humans. And, we can be just be one of 7+ billion other schmoes who occupy this earth. Recovery for me means waking up each morning sober and looking into the mirror knowing where I was, who I was with, what I said, and what I did the night before. Isn’t that what we all want? Such a deal we got!

Just Go Garden

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go out side, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens , nature, and God.

~ Anne Frank

When I was a kid, I found my mom out in the garden just hoeing away in a great flurry. She had been out there for hours and it was time to fix dinner. When I asked her what she was doing, she said, “free therapy!”. I instinctively understood why, as I was a fellow member of a very violent household. That stuck with my all these years. She new intuitively that she was powerless in the marriage and in my dad’s disease.  She had what her parents had told her “made her bed”. But, she knew how to survive the onslaught. She knew how to thrive regardless.

One gift this program gave me (and there have been many) is that for ten years (until Alzheimers took her mind), we had become friends. She taught me all she knew of gardening and thriving regardless of circumstances. She taught me that nature provides, the universe is bigger than anything we humans can come up with, and that to be in harmony with nature and the universe, is the one way to inner peace. She has been gone 3 years now. This summer I am building a garden path of stepping stones and yellow and purple blooming ground cover with a wall of lilies, irises and hostas on either side of it in her memory. She would have appreciated the sentiment far greater than any material thing I could ever buy for her. Seek peace, pick up the tools of recovery  and dig in.

Am I Represented?

Each group is autonomous, but they cannot thrive and grow without the assistance of their intergroup, district or world service offices. It reminds me of the old phrase: no man is an island. We are social creatures who need the support and compassion of others to help us feel a part of something bigger than our own unsteady willpower. We need their guidance. We need their resources. We need their experience, strength and hope. Otherwise we are ships in the night that may run aground or bump into each other.

Today, our intergroup is meeting at 1 PM at the AA Central Office 1620 Pleasant Street

The District meets at 3 PM at the White House, 1400 Penn Avenue.

There are many service opportunities to be fulfilled. Once you become involved, your circle of spiritual support opens up and widens. There is no reason to wrestle the tiger by yourself.  Your meeting needs to have a vote on how AA functions. If it has no representative, then I encourage you to step into those empty shoes, register as a rep today, and bring home the information imparted, so that your group can grow and blossom. Be the voice of recovery that the next newcomers need to hear. Be the peace and sanity you wish in this world. It begins with you.

What Freedom Means

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.

~ Anne Frank

As we celebrate our collective freedom, it only makes sense to sit down and make note of just how free it is to be sober and completely at ease with oneself and the universe at last.  I am still pretty much a loner. I do love people, but I prize solitude more. As others clamor for more food, more fun, and more of whatever; I retreat into the quiet and peace that I craved for so many years.

What a relief to be able to wake up post holidays to know where I went, who I was with, what I said, and what I did; and not be ashamed of any of it. That to me, is true freedom. I did not have to impress, dress, or stress for anyone or anything. What a joy of freedom I feel to know that all days are of equal value. There are no special days, holidays or vacations from this disease. No amount of alcohol or anything will bring me greater joy than to be alive, to be connected to the universe, and to be truly free. I will toast my lemonade to that!

All You need is Love

Today marks the 50th anniversary of this Beatles hit. It took me back to my teens when my biggest concerns were grades, fitting in, and high school angst. I started drinking to escape my reality, oil the social wheels, and to have power in my life. Funny how we become dependent on the very thing that causes us the greatest level of pain. In the 60’s it was all about dropping out, making love not war, and rebelling against whatever the establishment demanded of us. It was great time to be young. Our generation brought about many great changes. But, not all of us made it out without scars and addictions.

People come to AA for many reasons. Mine was a spiritual awareness that happened without my permission. It was an awakening that for me was enough to pay attention to. I just knew that I did not want to die of this disease, even though I may die as a result of it. There are after all consequences for years of self harm. My living amends to myself is years of self love and self care. All I need is love: the love a HP, AA, and sponsorship/fellowship. What do you need in life?



Daily Affirmations

I for one need to remind myself that I am enough, all is good in the universe, and that I am doing the best I can with what I have. So much of life reminds of how we are either too much of something or not enough of another. We hear hourly how bad things are going in our world and country. And, there is plenty of pressure to be the best, biggest, strongest, and toughest winner in our world. How do we remain serene and sane in a culture that does it’s level best to knock us down and keep us feeling as if we are coming up short?

Two decades ago, I decided I needed to be reminded daily that I am enough, the world is a good place, and that I have assets to offer my loved ones. I began to write 5 daily affirmations starting each one with ‘I am absolutely’. Then I write 10 good/proactive things I did the day before that support my sobriety (like reading, writing, exercise, etc.). And, I also write 5 things that I am grateful for (starting out with the phrase ‘I am absolutely grateful for/that’). This daily ritual centers me, and and I find it to be most valuable in my mood and sobriety. When the storms of life toss me about, I know I have done my best to right my ship. Stay in the boat, keep rowing, and stay in harmony and balance with life.

Step #6 Word/Promise

All of our steps contain a key word and a promise. In step six, the key word is willingness. The idea that we can just switch gears midstream and become model citizens overnight is silly to say the least. It has been my experience, that the more I try to reform and do good, the more I get tripped up. That old swearing off and swearing on business never got me or anyone sober for long.

The promise of step 6 is a wonderful one: the freedom from running the show. I told you I had been in a angry snit for months until lately. It finally dawned on me, that I am not in control of the situation, the outcome, or the final judgement. My anger served no useful purpose and just mad me hard to live with. I often say, and this certainly applies to step 6: “There is a loving and merciful HP, and it isn’t me. The more I try to control and manage people, situations and things, the more I struggle with my sanity and peace. May the promise of not being in charge come to you today. Let me know how you apply step 6 to your daily life.