Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dedicating Ourselves To Recovery.

If we only attend meetings, and read program literature, and work the steps of Al-Anon, when our home lives are in crisis and the alcoholic is in active addiction, what are the chances that we will achieve recovery?

Slim to none.

That may sound harsh, but anyone who has been in Al-Anon for many years, has seen people come and go repeatedly, who follow this pattern of behaviour, and these folks will stay stuck at a certain level.

My spouse once offended a neighbour mightily, by responding to her her oft-repeated refrain:"I wish my garden looked like yours.." by saying cheerfully to her, "It would if you put the same amount of work in that she does!"

Why do we do this? We want the same results as a person who has expended enormous effort, but we want it immediately, and with little or no work done on our part.

If we want a beautiful, lush garden, we must be willing to get filthy, dig until our arms and legs are exhausted and we can't stand up straight, get down on our knees and pull weeds.
Only we can give our plants a chance to thrive, without having to struggle for life amidst rapacious weeds which have evolved to grow in the harshest of conditions - in a garden, with extra water and nutrients, weeds appear to be on performance-enhancing drugs.

If we want a well-trained dog, we must put in the hours of teaching to accomplish the result we seek. Spending two sessions training for ten minutes, and then giving up, won't get us what we want. We need the resolve to be consistent.

If we only come to Al-Anon meetings when our life is in crisis, and then when things calm down, stop attending, and never open a piece of program literature, we won't get far.

If we never get a sponsor, and never work the Steps, we will not get what those who have done the hard work have received as a result of their exertions.

Like so much else in life, Al-Anon gives back to me in direct correlation to what I give to it. I was dedicated to my misery, before 12-Step; I spent hours involved in obsessing and manipulation and awfulising and projecting - I was steeped daily in a poisonous stew of those ways of thinking and behaving.

An Al-Anon friend used to say, "If you don't want tea so strong you cannot drink it without feeling as though it's stripping the enamel from your teeth, take the teabag out!"

That became a little joking saying we used, to remind each other not to go there with whatever it was: "Hey! Take the teabag out!"


  1. Nice blog. Just what I needed to hear. I liked the garden analogy.The story of my life.I want the nice garden but I don't want to do the work.Peace

  2. I so agree with this. I did a program a few weeks ago on carrying the message. I would add that service work keeps the program active for me. And sponsoring is one of the best ways I've found to keep what I've gotten.