Wednesday, May 22

A Spiritual Practice: Exercising Grace While Communicating 5/22/13

       How was your day?

       My day was bet-ter than usual.  I returned from yester-day's escapade from routine.  It inspired my soul.  But my body is weary.

        Cycled all day, with a friend.  Today I remain inspired by the majestic handiwork absorbed the day before while peddling my bike. The day was spent at Yosemite.

        The new gift of a basket for my bike was used today.  My practical life made easier by this simple gift.  I'm not using a car. This basket will help when shopping.

        While waiting for a client running late, I worked on my bike.  I slipped the fittings to my rack.  The basket was rubbing against me.  Doing simple mechanics was a change from the abstract nature of my work.

Al-Anon Family Groups (AFG) 
        Tonight, I went to an Al-Anon Family Group (AFG) meeting.  This is not Alcoholics Anonymous.  Check the provided link for more infor-mation and greater clarity about AFG.

        AFG serves friends and family members of alcoholics.  At its gatherings, a person finds support and principles for the struggles encountered when relating with a problemed drinker. Members learn how to take care of themselves.  They discover the skill of detaching with love from drama.   It is emotional and mental life saver.

Staying In the Solution
        The organization is not a place for dumping and running----pouring out our problems on attendees. That is not working the Al-Anon program.  Take a listen to this passage from One Day at A Time:
When I started in Al-Anon, I thought of meetings only as a place where I could unburden myself of my troubles.  But I soon learned that complaining about our oppressions and indignities only makes them loom larger and more disturbing.  
This became clear to me when I heard other members monopolize the  time and the attention of the group with indignant, woeful recitals of the alcoholic's misbehavior.  I see this was not "working the Al-Anon program." [emphasis, mine] I am learning to put the shortcomings of others out of my mind and think constructively about putting [recovery] ideas to work in my life. 
I [grow in my personal recovery] to get rid of self-pity and resentment, not to increase their power to destroy me. I go to learn how others have dealt with their problems, so I can apply this wisdom to my own life.   
"I ask God to keep me from magnifying my troubles by harping on them continually." 
Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters Inc, One Day At Time In Al-Anon, Virginia Beach, 2000, 75
       This passage was written by Ann B., co-founder of Al-Anon Family Groups.  It reflects the nature of this program.  Unfortunately, harping occurred tonight, by someone new to this meeting.

Focusing On Principles, Not Other Programs

         On top of that, another person mentioned stuff that Al-Anon does not  allow.  She talked about her therapy sessions.  That's not helpful.  This is not sharing our Al-Anon story.  When attending AFG, we speak Al-Anon.
The relatives [and friends]when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation (italics mine).  The only require-ment for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.                                                 Tradition Three of Al-Anon Family Groups
This tradition helps us to guard against the confu-sion that results when we allow our program to be diluted. Al-Anon's Twelve Steps and Traditions, (New York: Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters, Inc., 1981) 99
Tradition Three explains two ways in which my Al-Anon Friends and I can "keep it simple."  One is to avoid being diverted from our program by others and two, is to welcome into Al-Anon Family Groups, anyone who is suffering from the effects of another's alcoholism.  Both are perfectly clear.  They give me an answer to those who think it would help if the group were to concentrate on problems which are not related to alcoholism, or, mistakenly feel a new-comer should be rejected when, actually, he or she does meet the condition for membership.                     Al-Anon's Twelve Steps and Traditions, 101. 
      After the meeting, I spoke with the person who talked about her therapy.  My concerns were expressed respectfully.  Gently, I share my concerns.

      I requested we adhere to Tradition Three.  "I understand," she said.  I'm thankful.  Her response allows the group to maintain integrity with basic Al-Anon principles.

      I'm grateful for the open communication and understanding we shared.  I'm glad I expressed my needs.  Her reaction was not my focus. If it had been, I would have been manipulative. I simply shared what was alive in me.  I'm grateful understood what troubled me. (Courage to Change, p. 310)

Life Is Our Spiritual Practice
      I see that attending tonight's meeting was a spiritual practice.  Even though weary---physically from my adventure in Yosemite the day be-fore, and lack of sleep, operating on four hours of sleep, for two days in a row---I had an opportunity tonight to practice patience and grace to-wards another, even when weary.

      Many times, during a conflict I could act out and be petulant.  I could rationalize it is my right when offended.  However, it would not be in my best interests.  While it might feel good for the few seconds,  the results are typically disastrous in the long term.

      I'm thankful for placing principles above my personality, and the positive results derived when I govern my feelings. 

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Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.