(Adapted for personal use from Courage to Change in Alanon.)
Before beginning my 12-step recovery, I found it hard to tell the difference between what was and was not my business. Often I felt excessive guilt when I did not agree to help fix situations. Or I felt that I had to take care of everyone around me until I became physically ill. When I overextended, my body tried to tell me to pay attention to my own needs, but I simply was not ready to listen.
Our fellowship ever reminds me to listen and learn--by paying attention to my body, my emotions, my soul and my Higher Power. The literature can be my initial Higher Power, and so can people's shares. To listen to my body and emotions, in a way that my Higher Power can reach me I can ask myself easy questions at first.
Am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT)?
If so, I can make a point of stopping what I am doing long enough to attend to my needs.
When I pay attention to the messages from my body and soul, I have a better chance of detaching from other people and situation beyond my "control." Once I know how I feel, I can choose actions that are truly helpful to me and to another person. For me, this is the foundation of serenity. This putting my peace ahead of anything else.
I no longer have to wait until my health, my financial situation, or my emotional state collapses before I pay attention to my needs. Today I can practice becoming more of what my inner voice is trying to teach me. I can listen and learn.
"The more you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside."