Friday, January 15, 2010


Last night, I tried to attend an Al-Anon meeting downtown, but couldn't for the life of me find the little 3-block-long street on which the building was situated. I drove around and around in the bucketing rain, for about 15 minutes, but had no luck. I'm hoping it will be easier to find tonight's meeting at this end of the city.

I'm looking for a meeting with a strong positive energy; I like those. I don't know if I'm becoming a crotchety old-timer, or what, but I'm impatient with meetings with much complaining, or moaning and groaning about how tough life is. Life is tough for all of us, what have you got to say that's helpful?

What realisation did you have about how your own attitude gets in your way?

What happened today, or this week, to trigger your gratitude?

How did you use Al-Anon principles to deal with a difficult situation?

What did you learn from another reading of program literature?

Which Step are you presently working, and how is it changing the way you view the world?

Which character defect are you asking to have removed?

How do you recognise this character defect, when it arises in your daily life?

How did sharing yourself with another member, make some area of your own recovery clearer for you?

Etc, etc, I could go on for some time in that vein. I tell my sponsees that when we share at a meeting, it's good practise to pause and consider whether what we are about to say can be of any help to anyone else at the table, or are we just venting?

Venting may feel good, but it isn't helpful to anyone else. What is helpful, is honest self-examination, and descriptions of how each person works the 12 Steps. When I hear a member speaking with painful honesty, about a realisation he had regarding the way  he justifies a certain behavior towards his adolescent child, which he'd find extremely offensive were it directed at him, and the resulting amend he felt moved to make, how embarassing and uncomfortable it was to begin with, but how his child's face lit up when he made his amend, and the closeness that resulted, that gives me hope for my own amends. It encourages me to be honest with myself; it's a good example of working the program.

He's sharing his experience, strength, and hope. I love those kinds of meetings, they are positive, uplifting, and powerful. I can feel God in the room with us.

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