Saturday, September 26, 2009

But How Do I DO That?

In Syd's post today, one sentence leapt out at me in the part about sharing - "I can't give another person hope and serenity by mouthing slogans and principles..."

We cannot help others if all we do is repeat the shorthand of the program, without delving deeper into just how we have put the program into practise. I can repeat the Fourth Step to you until I'm hoarse, but if I never sit down with you and explain how to go about doing a Fourth Step, am I truly sharing with you?

I received help in my early days because members, and my sponsor, would say: "When I'm obsessing, what works for me, is to attack a physical task, while repeating the opening line of the Serenity Prayer to myself."

Or: "I practise thought-stopping: the second I realise I'm on that subject again in my head, I say NO! to myself, and force my mind onto something pleasant - my quilting, my garden, a conversation with a friend that made us both laugh."

Or: "I find that looking the subject up in the index of my daily reading books, and reading each one of the pages, will help to calm me down considerably. If that doesn't work, I call a program friend."

We all need concrete examples of how others work the program successfully, so that we may try them out, discard some, and put others into daily practise.

I always make time for a program member when they are asking me this question - I've stood in the parking lot after a meeting until we're the only two left, and then for another hour after that sitting in the car, explaining, giving examples, listening carefully to the next question, explaining some more.

If nothing I suggested worked for them, I recommend that they ask another old-timer who is quite different in personality from me, as they'll most likely have ideas I might not.

I believe this is how I give to others, what was so freely and generously given to me when I was a desperate, wounded newcomer - the gift of 12-Step. That's how I see Al-Anon - as a precious gift that I am sharing, which never runs out, because no matter how much of it I give, it replenishes itself a hundredfold.


  1. I shall take these suggestions to remain calm, serene, and "at peace". They are good and I need them.


  2. Love your examples. Bless you for taking the time with people who so desperately need answers.

  3. I get so much inspiration and hope from bloggers like you,Cheryl.Thank you..

  4. Thanks Cheryl for this post. It reinforces what I've learned about sharing my experience, strength and hope. I have to include my experience as the common denominator and share about a solution as well.

  5. Thanks Cheryl(and Syd)for going beyond the shorthand of the program with concrete examples of practicing the program in everyday life! So nice to have a blog to turn to with archives!