Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clinging To Misery.

I cannot change the past. All the hand-wringing, lamenting, obsessing and examination of people's motives, behavior and reasoning will not make an iota of difference.

My choice is what do I do with today, since that's the only small moment of time I have been given. Do I stay shut up inside my house of self, blinds drawn, doors locked and double-locked and dead-bolted and reinforced, with only my insane thinking for company?

Or do I step out into the sunlight, blinking furiously against the assault upon my vision, but trusting that if I just relax and allow change to occur, my eyes will adjust, and I'll be able to see without pain?

I used to wield my past miseries both as a sheild against intimacy, and a weapon of manipulation. My choices, if challenged, were held up against the backdrop of my past; until my first sponsor, no-one had ever felt able to point out that I used my past as justification for my inappropriate behavior.

At some point in recovery, I had to begin to take responsibility today for the choices I made today. That meant letting go of all that had been done to me. I couldn't even get close to the concept of forgiveness at that stage, nor could I grasp the necessity for letting go - but I did trust my sponsor, and I was willing to try what she suggested.

Which was that I make the effort to try working the Steps, rather than just give them lip service.

In Al-Anon, I've come to the realisation that as I think, I am. If I give hours of head-room to past miseries: if I stew in that poisonous brew of rage and bitterness, I will feel dispirited, wretched and afflicted.

I was not Miss Sunshine overnight - there was a prolonged period of stubborn resistance before I was willing to capitulate to program wisdom, and sometimes I think I only ever did "give in" because I was so exhausted by the fight.

So much of Al-Anon is life-wisdom, not just wisdom in dealing with an alcoholic, but a way to live all the other parts of our lives mindfully, and with joy.

That's how I see the Steps and Traditions - as a map to a better way of life. But just like any other map, if I open it, read the directions, then close it, set it aside, and blunder off back the way I came, I won't arrive anywhere different.

I can't blame the map if I refuse to follow it, now can I?


  1. You've clearly got out the map, but just as important, you're doing the work and venturing where it's taking you! Have a good one!!

  2. The program does provide a way to live life.