In this blog you'll find mostly my thoughts and experiences as well as poems in regards to my Al-anon 12-step recovery.
I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave me comments.


If someone's drinking, drugging or sobriety is bothering you or if you grew up with drinking or drugs in your home, please find an Al-anon meeting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Blessing

This is a story, that the late Pat C. who had over 40 yrs in Al-Anon, used to tell. There are also books you can read about this very same thing.

It's called "The Blessing."

At birth every child should receive this blessing.

To be:
To be Loved

Sometimes this doesn't happen. Not because the parents wouldn't, although that certainly can be the case, but because they couldn't. You see, they had not received it themselves. You cannot transmit what you don't have.

This is often the case with families affected by the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction. The parents are unable to give the blessing because, as I mentioned above, they either weren't given it themselves or they couldn't give it because the disease was alive and well in their homes. This is not to say that everyone who is born into the disease never gets the blessing. Some do.. Some still get this gift from one or both of their parents. I have a best friend from high school who grew up in the disease. Her father was a severe alcoholic, but she did get the blessing from her mother. I have to tell you, there were many days when I was a teenager that I wished her mother was mine.

I know that my parents tried to give me the blessing. However, there was insanity in the house I grew up in. Lot's of fighting. Lot's of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
So the blessing that my mother and father tried to give me didn't have a chance at surviving. They did the best they could. My mother got the blessing. My father, however, never got the blessing from his parents. He lost his father at age 1 and his mother didn't want him. By the time he was 3, she had left him and his sister in an orphanage in Florida.

In recovery, we learn that God sends us people to stand in the gap. There are so many women who have given me the blessing. They have loved me unconditionally and because of that, I have learned how to give love unconditionally. I have learned what that feels like and what it looks like.

I stand in the gap for other women in my life as well. There is one particular young woman that God has put in my life currently, that needs a mother. Needs to be loved and cared for. I can be that for her.
When I give of myself in that way, I get paid back ten fold. My heart is filled and I am healed further.

The journey of Recovery is a long one. I trip, stumble and fall a lot, but I know that God's holding me. I will never be perfect. I don't try to be.
If and when I fully recover from my alanonisms, it will be time for God to take me home to him.

Until then, I'll keep practicing.
I'll keep learning lessons.
I'll get back on the beam I fell off of almost a year ago and work on my disease.

I know God's will for me will never take me where God's grace will not protect me.

I've been self-will run riot this last year. That's not a secret.
For today, I've made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him.
It's a process and I get a daily reprieve, contingent upon my spiritual maintenance. I have to make the decision each day. I have to do the footwork and be the vehicle in which God can drive change.

I know Al-Anon and AA works. I have seen it with my own eyes and I have had it work in my own life.
We're not bad people... We're sick people trying to get well.

That's enough for me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bridging the Gap Recovery Retreat Weekend 2010

Bridging the Gap..... This is a weekend retreat for Alcoholic and Al-Anon women in recovery.

This year marked the 16th, held in the mountains of Prescott Arizona. This same type of retreat, although called different names, is held all over this country as well as Europe. It was started by a small group of Al-Anon women in the first groups of Al-Anon in Texas over 30 yrs ago.
Things like this were not done then. The Wives (and yes at that time they were mostly wives) of recovering alcoholics didn't associate with the women of Alcoholics Anonymous. Marci W of Texas decided, after talking to an alcoholic woman in recovery, it would be a great idea to start a retreat weekend for Al-Anon. While she was at it she decided to invite the recovering alcoholic women to attend as well. That legacy has been passed down and around this country for, as I said, over 30 years.

My sponsorship line descends from that great woman. I can trace my Al-Anon family tree straight back to Marci. She was a member of Al-Anon before there even was anything known as Al-Anon in Texas.

This retreat is a safe place. It allows Al-Anon and AA women to come together and grow in their recovery.

Every time I attend a retreat I learn something new. Some great.. although most times, painful truth about myself is revealed. This weekend was no different.

I haven't wanted to go to most of the retreats I have attended this year. As I have shared with you in past posts, it's been a hard year for me and I have struggled in my recovery.

I packed my bags on Friday and began that long drive up the mountain with my favorite Al-Anon sisters. Lot's of hemming and hawing.. and let's not forget eye rolling.
But I go.. I go because that is what I've been taught to do. I go because I know... I KNOW with every fiber of my being that I NEED to be there.

Let me first start by saying that when I attended this retreat the first time 4 yrs ago... It changed my recovery, because of that it changed my life.

The theme of this years retreat was:
"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a power greater than ourselves" AA big book pg. 45

So what did I learn at this specific retreat?

LOT'S of things... Needless to say, it was a VERY emotional weekend for me. All my thoughts have not yet jelled but I will do my best to capture what is in my mind for you.

At every retreat they tell you in the beginning to listen for your word or phrase of the weekend. Something that you just keep hearing over and over again.

By Friday night I knew what my word was... It was actually two words

Love and God

This retreat is a series of workshops. 3 are done. But you have choices... they run 2 workshops in parallel and you have to choose which ones you want to attend.

The third was the most profound for me.
"Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain"

Good grief... My life has certainly been a storm from the summer of 2009 until now. The thing is, the storms come and go... and when they are gone... I become the storm.

Meaning, I am the maker of my own misery... my own insanity.
This, as you can imagine, should be simple to fix right? Ha! Well no, it's really not.

The AA speaker, while telling her story shared with us some crucial things she became aware of over the years of recovery from her alcoholism. She said of course that she had been a willing participant, which is true for all of us in this disease...However she went on to say: "With FULL participation, she took the actions she did... BUT... it was without her permission."

Hmm... With full participation...BUT without her permission.
This made sense to me.. You see, we do things...the choices we sometimes make are things we would NEVER permit to happen normally. Yet, there we are, fully participating in our insanity... I would never normally permit the damn storm and here I am participating in the storm.

This leads me to my two words.. Love and God.

Love is present in my life.
All around me... some misplaced and some not. Some returned and some not. Through all of this, where is God? Where is my willingness? I had shut God out.
I've recently invited him back in and I still feel lost. I still feel tormented in my mind. I want things to be different than they are.
I want what I want..... and I want it now!

I have started praying again. The other night I truly surrendered, one more time, to a power greater than myself who I choose to call God.

There is always a 'but' with me...Like everything in life I have to practice or it won't stay. So I turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him and then.. within a minute, an hour or a day later, I take it back... Ah yes.. More insanity... The roller coaster of recovery.

What I heard this weekend was that God comes down and he meets me right where I am, no matter where that is. No matter how far down the hole I have fallen.
For me this is powerful, because there are days where I am in the depths of hell... or at least, I feel like I am.
But God is there. You see, He never, ever turns his back on me.
It's me that turns my back on him.

The late Pat C. said... "God is a gentleman. He waits" He waits for me to invite him in. When I do, he is there, ALWAYS... God shows up.

Although I'm in a better place than I was yesterday... Today, I am nowhere near where I need to be. It seems, sometimes, that I take one step forward and then two steps back.

I have more to write, more to tell you and maybe I'll do that tomorrow.
That's plenty for now...

Love to you all!
Wookies Girl