Thursday, February 2, 2012

Common Denominators - Negativity, Nervousness.

How I think affects my mood, feelings, attitudes, contentment, peace of mind. When I was consistently negative in my thinking, I was nervous, uneasy, and apprehensive, waiting for the next blow to fall, the next thing to go wrong. I approached other people with my guard firmly in place, mind shut tight.

In a weird way, I could have an encounter with the other person with hardly any input from them - I'd be responding to my own expectations, and acting upon my own assumptions. I couldn't see the other person clearly, because my own character defects were like a negative filter through which I viewed the world and its inhabitants.

That negativity created my nervousness. Not the world, not the people within it, but my own negative thinking. How do I know this?

Because as my thinking has changed, and my attitude become ever more positive, so has my life become ever more positive. I've met wonderful amazing people who are a delight to know. I don't go about in a sort of half-cringe, waiting for the next inevitable bad thing. When I go to the grocery store, and standing in line, joke with the other customers and the cashier, making us all laugh, that trip to the store is fun, rather than a boring, stressful experience. When I accept the daily round of life with a cheerful demeanor and a positive frame of mind as my reference point, life is good, people are kind and interesting. When I decide to let go of negativity, and focus upon the positive in every situation, my mood is powerfully affected, and life becomes an adventure.

Each day, each hour, each moment, I have a choice. It's mine to make. I choose whether or not I will enjoy my life. That doesn't depend upon my situation, it depends upon my attitude. I can enjoy life even
though I may not be utterly delighted with the changes over which I have no control. I don't have to like it to accept it.

Letting go of my original negative attitude, and choosing instead to focus upon the positive, has changed me greatly. I've become the sort of person who would have irritated the dickens out of me 26 years ago when I was new to program. Back then, if someone was cheerful, I thought it was because they didn't face the harsh realities of life as I saw it. I didn't understand that this was only my attitude, and not reality.

Acceptance is hugely powerful - it has created in me a source of joy, and peace of mind. I don't always manage to maintain this, because I get off course time and again - I am human, with all the attendant frailties. But when I work the 12 Steps, and this marvellous program to correct my course, I reap the incredible reward of serenity.

Until you have felt peace and serenity, you may not grasp why we work towards achieving it. Once you have, you will never be the same.


  1. wow. such a great post. I have been working on affirmations as a way to improve my attitude. And writing a gratitude list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. "Each day, each hour, each moment, I have a choice." Man, did I need to read that today. It's a real struggle dealing with an active alcoholic spouse. Accepting this fact of life is incredibly hard. I'm human and continue to struggle after six months in Al Anon. In my area, there aren't very many men in the program, almost none still married to an active alcoholic. It's hard to find a sponsor and work the steps. I don't know what to do other than to pray to God for help. Any thoughts?

  3. The program helps me conceive a new freedom when I realize there are choices despite what others say or do.

  4. I realize that most of the time, I can laugh and see the humor in so much of life. Al-Anon has helped me with that. It is so true that once the feeling of peace and serenity comes, it is the greatest feeling. And I can tell when I am beginning to slip back to an old way of thinking almost immediately.

  5. Isolation, loss and many stressful family situations contribute to my thinking. My negative thinking is a vice that I struggle with daily. I have to work consistently daily to stop focusing on or seeing only negative. There are several things I must do, strategies, to reduce my negative thinking.
    • Every morning I list what I am grateful for; starts the day on a positive note.
    • I list what good thing happened the day before and three reasons why.
    • In extreme days, each evening I list what brought me joy that day –how ever small the event was- for example it might be a song, a flower, a show on TV, a cat, a friend , a picture or what a child has said or done. This helps me note what things I can do more of to put more joy in my life. For example my new hobbies, gardening and playing guitar were a direct result of my observations
    I pray to the God of my understanding to remove this defect of character. For me it is easy to note only the negative because this is the family environment I lived in and learned from. Then, there are few positives in my present environment, living each day with many negatives like poverty, family problems and few positive associates tend to color the big picture for me. I must making a conscious effort each morning to read the Al-anon literature and use the strategies listed above to redirect my negative thoughts, which affect my quality of life, how I see my life and how I will interact with others.