January 4, 2011

How We Begin, and How We Continue

  • It is good to share "Vanilla" program  from time to time. I am glad my relapse is giving me a chance to re-appreciate this reading from January 4th's CTC.
I've a few twists of my own; please feel free to comment!
  • When I first found the Program it was spring of 1991.  I was desperate and I felt very alone. I'd come fresh from hospital, eager for hope. I'd experienced my first psychotic break, and professionals had told there was no guarantee of recovery.  That did not keep me from yearning for the serenity that others in my meetings so obviously possessed. I had to work hard because at the time very few people came to Emotions Anonymous talking openly about serious emotional/mental illnesses. Almost no one dwelled on their problems; this was a strong group that focused on the solutions and actively used Sponsors.  If I wanted what they had, I needed to listen close when members shared about the tools that had worked for them.  Here is what I've learned from applying what I hear in our Al-anon rooms, in EA and online:  
  • Go to meetings (or, as I later learned, create one); share when you can; work all the Steps, but not all at once—start with Step One; get a sponsor, read some literature every day; use the phone to reach out between meetings.
  • I applied these suggestions and began to see real changes in my life. I began to believe that life could amount to more than a string of painful days to be survived. Soon I had an incredible variety of resources that helped me to deal with the most difficult situations. 
  • I came to see that, with the help of my Higher Power, I could handle anything that came my way and even grow as I did so. In time, the tools and principles of the program helped me to gain the serenity I had long desired.
  • Today I am profoundly grateful to see that program has given me tools to achieve many intangible goals, including serenity, sanity and loving detachment from destructive people and habits. My fellow program members show me how to put these tools to work in my life, by sharing their experience, strength and hope.  (YES!)
  • My Thanksgiving relapse gave me  an "advanced lesson":  I can slip and still have dignity and hope.  Relative newbies won't run when I share my hurt and disappointment.  For I found several wanted to share experience, strength and hope with me when I was lacking. Their wisdom is accessible when it seems like I have lost all my  "recovery."    What's more, many of them are willing to cut me a lot more slack that I can in those early weeks of recovery.  
  • From newbies and  old timer friends, I learn to shrug off "failure" (even as I struggle to find a better word to use!).  All I need to do is be willing to look at where I slipped and NOT condemn myself for being human.  
“It takes time to transform good resolutions into good habits, but it is worth the effort.”   When lessons same to  be scattered to the winds, they will be returned to me when I need to recall something I've forgotten. My program friends will help me, if I am willing to allow their story to intertwine with mine. One program slogan says, "Be careful how you treat the newcomer--he or she may become your Sponsor."  That was true for me! Thanks Sponsor, C!


  1. Wonderful post indeed and good to share and read again!!!

  2. Good to know you've found someone/something to help you out. Stay on track; life is amazing if you live it fully.

  3. Life is amazing, if I don't let my anxiety get the best of me. I have a touch of that tonight as I anticipate getting back into a different sleep schedule. My son heads back to school tomorrow and 6:30 sounds too early for me to rise. May I surprise myself!

  4. A great encouraging post. I get so much from newcomers and long timers too.nothing wrong with basic program discussions.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~