Yesterday, before returning a phone call to someone in need, I asked for help from my Higher Power, closing my eyes for a moment, and saying quietly, "Please make me worthy of this person's trust." And then, in one of those wierd little detached-from-self moments, heard what I was saying, and was for a moment, astounded at the ways this program has changed me.
And then, as is the way of these things, this topic came up in the coffee meeting-after-the-meeting last night - the ways those of us in Al-Anon for many years have changed so dramatically from the person we were when we walked through the door of our first Al-Anon meeting.
Al-Anon may be presented to us at the start as a way to become healthy whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not, but it will also, if we truly take it up and work it, bring about massive changes in our personalities. I was a woman distant from others, carefully locked away in my shame and my secrets. trusting no-one and nothing, with no hope for the future. I was unremittingly negative in my worldview - resentful, frustrated, anxious.
I still get those times, but the difference is that they are periods in my life, now, not my life. I may be feeling like that for an hour or two, or even a day or two when I do some backsliding and don't work my program or forget the wisdom I've been offered, but that is not the essence of me anymore.
Peace has become more important to me than getting my own way in all things. I might be talking to someone, and hear one part of my mind insisting upon being right - perhaps I feel that little rush of irritation I've learned to recognise as a road sign to my character defects. A sign that reads, "Don't go this way, or you'll regret it!"
When I get those messages from myself, I can do the mental equivalent of pushing the complaining insisting part of myself into another room, and gently closing the door, so that my better self can respond with love, respect, and encouragement.
Al-Anon brings out the best in us. Together, we are a powerful force for personal change. Last night, as we stood to say the Serenity Prayer at the close of the meeting, I got a shivery rush up my spine with the combined power of all our voices asking for acceptance, courage, and wisdom.