Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Come Dance With Me.

Sorry for the break in blogging; for some reason, the business has been insanely busy, and so have I, with sponsees and various other obligations. I've been getting up, running like a chicken doing the headless dance, and then falling into bed at night, thinking, "Oh, I forgot to do that again, today!"

This time of year can be difficult for families and friends of alcoholics. (I do so like to state the obvious.) In my early years in Al-Anon, I swung wildly between a manic determination to "enjoy Christmas," and a debilitating despair. Some of the holidays that were most dreadful to live through, have become the funniest to recount.

At the coffeeshop after a recent meeting, we were telling "horrors of Christmas past" stories, and howling with laughter. Before Al-Anon, the humour would have escaped us, because we'd have been mired in the pain.

Holidays with an alcoholic in the family, (or a family of alcoholics,) can have us feeling like a Thompson's gazelle surrounded by hungry lionesses, all staring us down - licking their lips and switching their tails.

What recourse do we have? Use your program. Believe our fellow members, and your sponsor when they say "Call me if you need to talk."

Remember this slogan:  How Important Is It?

My first sponsor offered me a helpful way to evaluate the importance of an event: will I remember this in a week? a month? a year from now? If I won't, how much energy am I willing to expend on it?

I can compromise, if I'm not allowing anyone to trespass my boundaries in the process. I can step back, detach, take a deep breath, and let go. I can ask my Higher Power to help me. I can lower my expectations, and allow my life to flow gently through the holidays, instead of first attempting to direct the traffic, and then becoming infuriated by my lack of control over other people. That's how I dealt with the holidays before Al-Anon. Now, I can let it happen around me, and maintain my serenity.

When we both forget our anniversary, I can find it amusing, rather than distressing.

When we get parcels from my spouse's family with precisely the sort of thing they know we have no use for, and don't want, (I know this because they've asked why don't we have _____, and we've said, "Oh, we don't really like those," or "I can't stand dusting all those little china ornaments" and promptly received little china ornaments as gifts for the succeeding 15 years) accompanied by notes which could be found on Passive Aggressive Notes - I can shrug and be grateful they live on the other end of the country, and we don't have to get caught up in the unhealthy sibling competition, active drinking, and unmanageability, rampant in that family.

When I let go, I don't get upset by changes in plan. I don't take changes personally; I don't allow other people's stress to trigger mine.

I know that this time of year is frustrating and painful for many people, so I do what I can. I attend more meetings, so that when members are having a hard time of it with family, and escape to a meeting for a sanity check, there is a meeting to escape to, and they won't find a locked door and no lights.

 I believe strongly in giving back to this wonderful loving program which has been my lifesaver for so many years.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you back. I believe in giving back as well. This is a good time of year to give a little more to others that are struggling. Thanks for being here.