November 4, 2015

Sometimes Life Takes Sudden Turns

...without using its turn signal!  Hang on and hang in there!

Those are the words on a card I sent to a dear family member. And what I wrote inside may be cryptic, but it is the best I can do right now.

Dear M,

I realize my last card may have been a bit of a surprise.  I am surprised myself that I am taking this time in our lives to resolve that change needs to happen between us.

You must be aware, too, that I don't plan on changing you, only myself. What you do, or don't do, is entirely up to you.

I'm sad that I really cannot take private caller phone calls, and that means that we can't communicate by phone, but I think we'll grow from the reflective time we'll have. Letters are always welcome and they give us both time to think about what we really want to say.  One thing I know for sure is that I cannot be the receptacle for some else's anger, if they are unwilling to let go of that anger. It just doesn't work.  If we each find our way to happiness, how much we'll have to share.

In love, S

November 1, 2015

November 1, All Soul's Day, with a Teen

Living with an alcoholic teen, brings with it special problems that may take many forms. If it is the teen's erratic behavior, social embarrassment, and other relatively minor problems, it is but a short step, in our program, to peace of mind for the non-teen.

In some families that are raising teens, the family may be suffering from deeper problems, like police action and need for public assistance. (Yikes, heavy stuff.)

Indignant at such sufferings, some of us in the program may feel it right and helpful to advise drastic action. I need to keep in mind that the person I am most wanting to help will not be helped by decisions made in hysteria or desperation. I need to remember there is a place for God in all of this.

I need to remember program helps me, because I reach in, for inner peace and structure, first.

Today's Reminder

Even in cases that seem hopeless to me, I will refrain from making judgments and giving advice. If I can persuade myself (or anyone else) to understand and use the program in working with their alcoholic teen, even for a little while, the resulting change in attitude could help to make the right solutions possible.

Imagine this prayer, "God grant that I may never urge anyone to take action but  the constructive one, of employing ideas from the program of Al-anon."

The above is gently paraphrased from One Day at a Time in Alanon, at the advice of a program friend, who suggested I replace each reference to alcoholic, with the word, teen.   (OK,  BTess. Done.)

October 19, 2015

“Anger ... it's a paralyzing emotion ... you can't get anything done. People sort of think it's an interesting, passionate, and igniting feeling — I don't think it's any of that — it's helpless ... it's absence of control — and I need all of my skills, all of the control, all of my powers ... and anger doesn't provide any of that — I have no use for it whatsoever."

[Interview with CBS radio host Don Swaim, September 15, 1987.]”
― Toni Morrison

September 12, 2015

Program Heals, When Reconciliation is Impossible

This past many weeks, I was truly wrestling with whether and how to tell my dad that his brother had died.  I felt such a drive to do the "right" thing, but I encountered a huge anxiety when I thought of actually writing the card and sending it.  Perhaps this is a natural response to having been traumatized by my mom's responses to precious efforts to reconnect my dad to his family.  

Thankfully I have a brother to speak with, as well as program members who were able to ask key questions. In the end I was able to cry as I witnessed my body-mind make the best-fitting decision for me.

What clinched the deal were the these words  taped to my mirror:

I am my own spiritual aim.  

(I am really grateful for the program member who first shared how this is derived from Tradition Six.  *)

They emphasize that my serenity is more important than informing my dad,  that his brother Burt passed on July 24.   For over forty years my mom and dad have avoided normal interactions his siblings and their progeny. All I will do will be to hurt dad and have my mom at my back.  Why should I get in the middle and create drama?

What if I send a simple peace lily to my dad, without explanation? If he really wants to know the story behind this unusual gift, he can always call me and ask.  (I am betting he won't, cause he has always sought the serenity path in living with battle-ax mom).

*  "EA Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim."

July 2, 2015

Prayer for a Belated Father's Day

Dearest Dad,

I cannot believe how time flew right by Father’s Day this year!  It did not help me that we had plans to vacation out of state. Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee if you care to look it up. 

I kept forgetting to stop packing for the trip, and stop in for a card. I did try to call on the actual day, but it seems we don’t have the best phone numbers for you right now, as you and mom have gone to cell phones and the voice mail is not yet set up.

I am sending you lots of love, despite this glitch. 

Your daughter, V

PS:  Please realize that now that you are 88, 
 feel time is of the essence for us as a family. 
We love you very much.

I yearn to be able to
Touch base with you
Whenever I can

Also, your brother Burt got news
Of his mortality
For Father’s Day.

He is loving you
big enough to forgive
50 years of separation
If you can only pick up
The phone…

Take the chance
(time heals, I know it)

June 29, 2015

Tradition! Tradition!

The following two paragraphs come from the EA Twelve and Twelve, and are excerpted from the reading on Tradition Five.  I am a bit behind on my study elsewhere, and thought I could do double-duty in sharing it here.   

"An EA meeting is one of the most obvious places for individual members to work Step Twelve, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message and to work these steps in all of our affairs."

"This is where we find the paradox of the program: we cannot keep the recovery we find in EA, until we give it away to others. Our group exists so we can share how the Twelve Steps help us. Perhaps the most useful way we carry the message is by the positive changes others see in us, sometimes even before we see that we are changing. Our own example shows others that recovery is possible through EA. The discussion of Step Twelve is in the book, Emotions Anonymous, lists several other ways that individuals carry our message of hope."

I have found, in the past, that starting new (often more intimate) meetings online or face-to-face has been one way I have felt moved to spread the message.  I know EA could use some branches and even some runners, to cover new ground. I know this, in my heart of hearts. Yet, while we have several groups online that are so embracing and so varied, I know most people in the world don't know about EAnon. 

Have you other favorite ways you like to spread the message of what we do in EA or its Sister program, that take us beyond these gates?

June 25, 2015

Ah, the creative space of emptiness, but first the pothole

In Courage to Change on page 90, I believe I heard these words read at a meeting, last night.  "As I become more fully myself, I am better able to help others."

One member shared something that resonated with my feelings:
"When there is an emptiness or a hole inside me, I tend to want others to fill it for me.

If I go out and do for someone else, what I need, instead, I actually feel better.  What I want for myself, I create for others, by participating with God."  She shared, 
"I need to give exactly what I am asking for."   

Yikes. I admit, today I find this daunting. How do you work over this hump?