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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Factory Reset

Today I went to the annual anniversary celebration for my Al-Anon home group. What's a home group? Well... It's a meeting that you commit to attend weekly, participate in service work at and generally stick around so people get to know you. I highly suggest you get one.. It's a good idea for everyone in recovery. When people get to know you, they notice when you don't show up. They also know, simply by taking one look at you, when something is wrong.

Today was the anniversary of that meeting, as well as the AA and Alateen meetings that are held at the same time at the same location. It's a family recovery thing.
I believe this meeting has been in existence for over ten years. I should know this, but I can't remember the exact date...

At the anniversary they provide dinner. They have 3 speakers: AA, Al-Anon and Alateen and they do an auction as well as a 50/50 raffle. (The auction and 50/50 raise funds to pay for the event the following year.)
We actually won the 50/50.. Awesome!

I want to share what I heard today from the AA and Al-Anon speakers. They always invite a married couple to speak because, it's an example of active family recovery.

The Al-Anon speaker (the husband) said something that caught my attention.

He said that the other day he was in his laundry room, he has one of those nice front loader washers... Anyway, he said he noticed the wash was spinning, going a million miles an hour of course, and as a result the clothes were all pushed to the outside.

In that brief moment of watching the washer, it made him think..."This is how my life was, this is how I lived my life." Spinning a million miles an hour and pushing every feeling, every moment and every person in his life, to the outside.

Now, as an Al-Anon, I can say that I have done this, and still do it...sometimes daily! It's not intentional, I can assure of you that. It happens though.

It's as a result of my selfish and self-centered thinking. I just move forward, doing as I please. Never thinking about who I am pushing away or harming with my actions. I want what I want, when I want it! Either come along for the ride or get the hell out of the way.
Truly this is not a conscious thought, when I look at my actions though, I can see my truth.

For those Al-Anon's that believe you are NOT selfish.. Try reading the Big Book of AA. Where ever it says "Drinking" or "Alcoholic" substitute the words "Controlling" or "Al-Anon" and see if it doesn't apply to you.
I think you'll see it does.

Moving on to the AA speaker. (his wife) I have to say what she said near the end of her story was profound to me... I literally laughed out loud and grabbed for the notebook I keep in my purse. I needed to write it down.

She was talking about her own selfish, self-centered behavior. (A common theme for me lately)

She said that she has a "Factory Reset" in her mind. That she gets up in the morning, prays, goes on about her day, works with other alcoholics, completes her day, prays and sleeps. At some point throughout the night her settings reset and she goes back to her selfish and self-centered self... She wakes up that same old selfish person!

The good news is, she prays first thing again. She asks God for help to stay sober and for freedom from self... and goes on about her day.

This resonated so much with me.

A while back I had realized something similar. I am NOT a naturally happy person. Truly when I wake up each morning, I have a scowl on my face. It isn't my natural state of being to be happy. I have to work at it.
I have to ask God to help me be what he wants me to be. I have to work with my sponsee's. I have to attend meetings and talk to my sponsor regularly.

My spiritual sandpaper is ALWAYS happy. In the past I envied her because I really wanted to be that way. I mentioned this at the time, to my Great Grand-sponsor Corinne. Corinne said: "Some of us are just not built that way. For those of us that aren't, we strive for...moments of happiness."

That worked for me. I didn't have to TRY to be happy all the time. It took the pressure off, that's for sure.

I loved hearing the "factory reset" comment. It's "truth" for me. I'm selfish and self-centered as well as grumpy. Knowing my truth is a blessing, not a curse. If I know my truth, then I can do something about it.

So today, one more time... I'll pray for God's will for me and look for the happy moments. I'll also pray for continued awareness of my truth. I do not wish to do harm to others.

I do not want to be a selfish person. Only God can save me from this...and I know if I take the right actions and continue to be teachable, then I can be better.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Resentment Prayer

Do you know what the Resentment Prayer is?

Most men or women in AA, if they have read the stories in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, know what it is. Unfortunately, many Al-Anon's are not familiar with it, unless they too have read the book.

I want to tell you about this little gem. It's an amazing tool. It works...How do I know? Because I've used it MANY times over the years in my recovery.

You see, what I've been taught, what I've learned... is that Resentment is the number one offender.
If I am carrying a resentment it begins to spread through me like a slow growing disease. The longer I hold on to it, the sicker I get. Resentment can even mean death for some in recovery.

Alcoholics have lost days and even years of sobriety over a resentment. Al-Anon's will destroy all things around them over a resentment, including themselves. We tend to not hear about Al-Anon's dying from the family disease of alcoholism, but it happens everyday. Alcoholics when drinking and sometimes even when sober are running in full flight from reality and Al-Anon's are CHASING THEM... Tell me... Who's crazier? ...I rest my case. I'm an Al-Anon.. I know how crazy I am.

The Resentment prayer is located at the end of a personal story in the back of the Big Book. The story is titled "Freedom from Bondage"

I have the 3rd edition of the AA big book. In my edition this tool is located on page 552. I believe it's the same in the 4th edition as well.

The story talks about one woman's struggle with her alcoholism and then goes on to tell about her recovery. But she also discusses her resentments. She tells how she stumbled across an article written by a prominent clergyman that talked about Resentment.

I will quote here what she read in that article:
"If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love."

Now some of you may be thinking... WOW How can I do that? Well I'm telling you that you can. I've done it and every time I do it.. It works. There are also times when I don't want to do it... When I'm not willing. When this happens I pray for willingness. When that comes I begin praying the prayer as instructed above.

Right now I have MANY resentments I've been holding on to. Resentments are like taking poison and hoping the other person dies. All it does it harm me. I know this... yet I hold on to them. My sponsor recently directed me to pray the resentment prayer for a few people.
I've not done it yet.


I'm still holding on. Part of me has curled up with my resentments and I'm holding on to them like armor. Another part of me is holding out hope that something will change.
But deep inside my soul I know that it won't.

So I'm in this place where I need to pray for Willingness. I know that when I do this, the Willingness will come as it always does and I will hit my knees and pray this prayer. I will pray for those people. I will wish for them all the wonderful things I want for myself.
And when I am done... I will mean it.

Then I'll be free.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Let it begin with me....

Today was a rough day, filled with all sorts of retaliation on my part. In fact the past several weeks have been quite rough.

See...I've been in this fight or flight mode through all of it. Lot's of things have happened and my response has been mostly fight, mostly lash out.
Very little flight.

That's what I do when I'm hurt.. I get angry and come after you. I am not a suicidal Al-Anon. I'm what you would call a homicidal Al-Anon... Now this DOES NOT MEAN I ACTUALLY COMMIT HOMICIDE.. So relax please... LOL
It means I come out fists up... ready to fight.

I went to my meeting tonight as I do every Monday night. The topic was "Let it begin with me"

Now my first thought, and I did say this when it was my turn to share, was... Yeah.. Look out..It'll begin with me and it'll finish with me too!
That's NOT really the intention of this slogan.

What it means is... Let the changes begin with me. Let the healing begin with me. Let the NON-lashing out and NON-retaliation begin with me... Get the point?

The majority of people I surround myself with are NOT in 12 step recovery. That being said, I should expect them to behave differently or to not behave as I expect them to behave. Right?
Logically yes... But in my magical magnifying mind this is not the case. Ya see, the people that I associate with, that ARE in recovery, I tend to give a lot more latitude to. I have much more compassion for them when they screw up or don't do what I expect. I don't get hurt because I know already they are struggling just as I am, they are human just as I am.
I don't take their behavior personally.

But people NOT in recovery, I end up acting the exact opposite with.
It's rather ridiculous.
It's like I forget... (big surprise there) I forget that they are just as human, just as broken and probably hurting too, just like me. And they aren't in recovery. They have no solution or even a clue on how to fix their brokenness.

So "let it begin with me" is exactly what I needed to hear tonight. I needed the reminder that I should be taking right actions. I need to pray for compassion and acceptance. Above all things I must, MUST conduct myself with dignity and grace. What kind of person do I want to be today?
The behavior I have been displaying is unacceptable. I am NOT anyone's judge, jury or executioner. I have NO right to punish anyone and it is NOT my job to hold them accountable.
The other thing I needed to remember is that, no matter what has been done to me, or I perceive has been done to me, is not a justification for my own bad behavior. I have no right... absolutely no right to harm others NO MATTER WHAT!

Another lesson in the 3 A's.

I am aware of my behavior. I have been for some time now. But I must move towards accepting that I'm out of my freaking mind again. Accept that the situation is what it is and is NOT going to be different, no matter how many minutes throughout a 24 hour period, I wish it to be.
Also accept that God's plan for me and others, is far better than any plan I could come up with myself.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
And let's not forget my favorite and most hated slogan: When someone else is my problem, my problem is me.

I'm so close to finding complete acceptance. It's hard and I don't want to let go. But I will. I've been given no other choice and God has already done for me what I could not do for myself.
Now comes the action.... Let it begin with me.
It's up to me to change my behavior. Up to me to change my responses and stop jumping in the storm.

Just for today I will pray and ask God for help to be the person he wants me to be.