Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cheerful Decisions - As Opposed To The Other Kind...

My home group meets in a church basement, and this time of year, it is absolutely stifling within that small room, especially if we get a good turnout.

I'm at that time in my life when I'm subject to "tropical moments" - in the space of about two seconds, I feel as though my head is going to explode from the heat, and that's in a room of reasonable temperature. In the meeting room, it's much worse, because the room is already suffocatingly hot.

I've been taking an ancient house fan to my meetings, but I purchased that thing almost 32 years ago - it still works, but not well. Last week, we bought an inexpensive tower fan for my workroom, and it is the most wonderful thing - it moves a lot of air.  At that evening's meeting, I asked if the meeting was interested in chipping in to buy one of these marvels, since everyone always thanks me for bringing the rather pitiful small fan.

Just as I'd finished asking, a newcomer spoke up about a much more serious concern, and I never did get an answer to my question. I meant to ask again at the end of the meeting, but it slipped my mind.

I decided to buy the fan anyway, and if no-one else wants to chip in, that's fine too - we'll all get the benefit of that deliciously cool air, and that's worth it to me. I'll just leave it in the trunk of my car, and take it out with my bookbag - it's nice and light.

Last night I was thinking about this sort of cheerful decision, and how before Al-Anon, I wouldn't have been able to make it.
The simple reality of what was at stake - cooling myself and my program friends - would have been lost, in the maelstrom of my expectations, and resentments - if no-one wants to help me pay for it, I just won't get it, and they can all suffer in that room, yada yada yada. Rather than ask again, or just decide to get the fan anyway, I'd have seethed and stewed over my suggestion not being received with the amount of interest I considered proper and fitting. I would have been so caught up in my own martyrdom, that I'd have lost sight of the end result - cool air. I would have "cut off my nose to spite my face."

Before Al-Anon, I made all my decisions on a cost-analysis basis: What do I get out of doing this? I was so hollowed out, as a result of all those years dealing of with active alcoholism, that I didn't have anything left for other people.

From the ODAT, page 303:

"We make a great many decsions - small day-to-day ones that are mere choices, all the way up to big resolutions that make important changes in our lives.
Little or big, they are better when we use whatever forethought the situation requires. If they are concerned with other people, it is well to include such ingredients as love, generosity, tolerance, and just plain kindness. Then we will make decisions we can live with comfortably."

I'm grateful to have become, through practise of this wonderful program, someone who can make cheerful decisions, with which I can live in perfect comfort.


  1. I love Al-Anon.

    I love the changes it allows me to make in my character. I like the way I am today a lot better than the way I used to be.


  2. Yes, I would have done the same thing before the program. I now feel much more generous and willing to give to others in an unselfish manner.