Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Loving Patience

One morning I received an email from my middle sister, and having read it, wanted to reply with annoyance, "Doesn't anything positive ever happen in your life, that you could tell me about?" I closed out my email program, and went out to my rooftop patio garden to do my first daily wander about, and found one of my daylilies had put up a scape. Looking at the tag for the name, I read -  "Faithful & True."  Sigh.

I was feeling unfaithful in my love for my sister at that moment, unfaithful in the respect that I didn't want to have to deal with her negative attitude, and I wanted to get an email from her that I could enjoy, instead of one which would require me to sit and think about how best to reply, so as not to cause her any further unhappiness.

I'm reminded of the phrase commonly attributed to a doctor's Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm."

Isn't that an excellent slogan for all of us in Al-Anon? I wonder, how much harm have I been responsible for in my life, just through impatience? I have worked with sponsees who were determined to convince me that courtesy simply required too much time - time they didn't have in their busy lives.  I've been guilty of that same attitude for many years when new to program - others should adjust to me.

What has become truth for me now, is that I need to be able to feel comfort in the way I respond to the world around me, whether to those close to me, or to strangers. My serenity requires that I'm able to believe that I've done my best, in the daily round of encounters. This means that if I get an irritation rising in my chest, from someone else's words or actions, I take a step back and detach. I give myself enough time to stop and think, to question how well this almost-response of mine will sit with me a few hours from now?

I want to be what I've heard described as "a soft place to fall" for those who depend upon me for comfort and support, and I enjoy being a positive force for good feelings, in my movements in this world. I do it for myself, other people happen to benefit as a side effect.


  1. Thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear this today.

  2. Isn’t it so inconvenient when someone else is having a hard time? How dare they ruin our happiness with their stuff ha ha (I say that in jest). I had a similar thing with my co-workers this week. I had a great weekend and when I came into work all I heard were negative stories about things that happened over the week. I didn’t want to “counsel” everyone in the room. Then I thought “do I have to do so”? Does their bad weekend have to ruin mine? So I don’t get an office full of joy and laughter like I was hoping I can still be happy and comforting.

    OH by the way I am totally jealous about your rooftop patio. I dream about having a condo with one of those lol.

  3. Please don't stop writing. I discovered this blog yesterday and I am completely enthralled. This is the first time I've felt any semblance of peace or serenity in a long time. Your perspective has given me a little hope that maybe I too can once again find the calm in the storm.

    My husband is an alcoholic, actually we're not legally married, but we live as a married couple. I love him with all my heart, and when he's not drinking he's my best friend. When he is drinking he becomes an adversary, and a source of anxiety and heart break. I've grown weary of the emotional ups and downs, shouldering the burden of being the one who holds it all together for both of us, and complete despair. I'm weary of the ridiculous rationalizations, the lies, and the irresponsibility that all come with being an active alcoholic.

    I've been reading a lot about Al-Anon, and recently bought Hope for Today, and Courage to Change. I'm not sure if the program is for me as I have a hard time with the higher power stuff, it's just never really clicked for me. I am however finding a lot of information and ideas that I'm trying to put to use and reclaim my sanity and peace of mind.

    Yesterday he told me that today is the first day of no more, whatever it takes. He's tried several times to give up drinking and always found a reason to go back to it. It breaks my heart every time. I all I can do is look after me as best I can and continue to be hopeful...

  4. I don't want to get sucked into the drama of others and their issues. Lately, it has been difficult not to get sucked in and affected by the negativism of circumstances that are totally beyond my control. I don't need to give advice to others who are struggling enough without my judgment. Thanks for getting me thinking about "Do no harm". It's a good thought for me right now.