We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
For me this brings to mind that bible verses I quoted before:
- Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.
- No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.
When I try to think about “why me?” Why have I gotten it when others haven’t? I tend to think that at some point I became willing to ask for help and accept help and suggestions. This is not just in AA but in much of life. I see God working through people, and trying to improve is, to me, being open to the help of other people. There is improvement possible in all areas of my life, and there are resources to help me get there.
Drinking I was so incapable of doing anything for myself that I was about to stop even living, I’m sure of it. All the rest of what I’ve done has not been me doing it, but me with the help of God and the program.
This picture is from last Thanksgiving, but not much has changed. Thankfully, my mother and the old cat pictured are here this year. They haven’t replayed this scene yet but it is an annual event. We have new kitchen paint and a new kitchen floor since this was taken. The coat that was on the chair is back on the chair since I took it out this morning to try and walk the dog in the cold.
I had a great Thanksgiving yesterday with the “nuclear” family and everyone is well and got along together. This morning I’m having a hard time being more grateful than that, to be honest. I’m annoyed and a bit sad even as I know I “shouldn’t” be.
My mother and Carole get along fine and at times this can almost be a bad thing. They tend to gang up on me though Carole has been trying not to do it for the past several years, and she’s gotten better at avoiding it, it still happens, and it does affect my mood for a bit. The kids are doing well but both are about to make more transitions, both to graduate school. That’s a good, very excellent thing, but my mother will tend to make me worry about it more than is healthy. No worry is healthy. After all these years of practice she still can push my buttons with that kind of thing. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone but all the worrying I did in the past about events that are now actually long past helped me not one bit.
Carole has a few physical complaints going on and that certainly brings my mood down a notch or two. Again, I “should” know better and be better at detaching than I am.
I’m concerned (not worried? right) about the inspections at work that will be on Tuesday and Wednesday. My mother being here means I won’t even go into work on Monday and I’ll be late and Tuesday.
My May plane flights loom over my head all the time.
There’s a very unpleasant musty smell that is all over my house, but especially in my room. It’s pretty awful and I can’t even begin to identify the source or start to get rid of it until Tuesday. It is ghastly and hard to live with.
I thinks that’s it. Carole and my mother have gone to the mall (Black Friday) and later we’ll visit Erika and her cats. The nicer Erika is the less I want her to leave for graduate school. And I really don’t want to tend to her stuff and cats while she’s gone. I’m now moving on to the next activity to try and snap myself out of my funk.
Some people on Facebook have challenged each other to post something they are grateful for daily for a week or so. Some people have run out of ideas before the two weeks were up. Really? I am grateful (yes) to have been cultivating the “attitude of gratitude” for years. I think I will never finish or fill my gratitude list. Here’s some of it. I know these people who can’t think of anything else to be grateful for have most of what is on my list, they just haven’t realized that these are things to be grateful for. That I did as a requirement of my continued sobriety is a huge deal in my life. It has changed my life.
- AA meetings that are plentiful and diverse
- Airplanes that are safe, accessible and affordable
- Antiques and heirlooms
- Beaches to visit, and as part of my landscape growing up
- Blogs to read from the comfort of my home
- Bones for the dog
- Books on CD for the car ride
- Books to own and borrow without censorship
- Car insurance
- Cat litter (was there life before cat litter?)
- Children (adult children)
- Church that is diverse, accepting and traditional
- Cities that are safe and interesting
- Computers at home and work and many other places
- Cousins (as an only child, they’ve meant a lot to me)
- Crocheting and a crochet teacher
- Democracy and elections
- Dental implants
- Digital cameras
- Dog parks
- Employment in a safe, comfortable place – in a job that lets me serve others
- Eyesight that is good and easily corrected to perfect
- Fire fighters
- Five senses – touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing
- (anti) Flea treatments – my life before them was often infested
- Food that is affordable, plentiful, safe and interesting
- Gay – being openly, safely gay
- Glasses that correct eyesight
- Graduations – the ones I’ve achieved, and the ones my loved ones have achieved
- Grandparents, especially my mother’s parents, who helped raise me
- Gratitude and the ability to appreciate things
- Health insurance
- Heating pads
- Hillary Clinton and the historic campaign
- House that I love
- Medical attention that is some of the best in the world
- Medical insurance that is excellent
- Medications that are plentiful and affordable
- Menopause (especially that I’ve lived this long)
- Mobility and the ability to get from place to place
- Mouse traps
- My mother
- Netflix – so much info, so close at hand
- Newcomers who make us remember what we’re here for, what is was like, and what we don’t want to return to
- Non-violence, the attitude my parents raised me with
- Obama – love him, and that I got to see this and participate
- Oldtimers who don’t drink but keep coming to meetings
- Paid holidays, vacations and sick leave
- Pain relievers – Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen and aspirin
- People of my prayer list
- Pets – current, past and future
- Pet food
- Pet sitters
- Plants – to eat and grow for the yard, for the dog
- Rain (every living thing needs water)
- Rainbows (are cheerful, no matter what)
- Reading – the physical and mental ability, and the desire and love
- Recycling, often made easy (curbside pick up)
- Religion – freedom of and from
- Roads that are paved, plowed, salted and somewhat safe
- Safety – the relative safety of my environment, always
- School – good schools, for me and for my kids
- Smoking – the ability to quit
- Sonograms and sonogram technicians
- Stores – nearby, and well stocked with everything I need or want
- Sun and sunlight
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Transportation that is safe and available for going places near and far
- Two pregnancies, two children
- Water that is clean, safe and plentiful, and hot!
- Weather that is safe and varied and not too extreme
- Wireless internet
- Work partner Irene who covers for me when I need her to
- Yarn that is affordable, plentiful and interesting
As we have seen, self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. It is a step in the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible to us to receive God’s help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further.
It’s interesting to me to think about what life would be like without the influence of AA. In every situation for as long as I can remember, I have always had to contemplate what is wrong with me that this situation is troubling me. At the very least I know that my trouble is not accepting what has come my way, although nothing unique comes my way. The things that happen to me happen to everyone.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
intuition – –noun
||direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension.
||a fact, truth, etc., perceived in this way.
||a keen and quick insight.
||the quality or ability of having such direct perception or quick insight.
For me there can be no question that the fog of alcohol made understanding anything pretty impossible.
I love the paradoxes of AA and alcoholism. “The trap door had become a trap.” I thought I understood things better under the influence. I thought it made me calmer and turned down some of the noise in my head so I could just go along with things better. I can see now that it clouded each and every thing in my life and put my understanding further back each time.
More recently, I know that as I live longer and experience more I grow in understanding and appreciation. For me, getting older in time and older in the program work together, I think, to reveal more to me about the way the world works and how I can work within it.
As an example, I often find that first thing in the morning at work is difficult for me because of tricky staff scheduling. Because I see it as difficult, I’ve tried to apply what I can from the program to that situation and hopefully I get better at it and less distressed. The situation won’t change but me thoughts about it can and will.
As I try to become a better dog walker, I work on my internal thoughts and the way I handle the dog. As I read books and watch shows about dogs I increase my understanding of them and I improve my ability to “handle situations.”
There is the passage of time, and essentially the passage of time that is sober and clear. There’s also the philosophy of the program that makes me want to improve all situations, and gives me a framework to use and help with using it.
I do not believe in special providences. I believe that the universe is governed by strict and immutable laws. If one man’s family is swept away by a pestilence and another man’s spared it is only the law working: God is not interfering in that small matter, either against the one man or in favor of the other. — Mark Twain
This concept does not, to me, mean therefore there is no God. What is means to me is that I have been very very lucky, and I don’t know when my luck will change. It means to me that I am the same as everyone else. I haven’t been spared for a reason. It’s completely up to me if I use my good luck to benefit others.
It’s not tit for tat in the universe of karma, but AA gives me special reasons to help others. It tells me that I can’t continue to do well unless I help others. I take it seriously and I would help, I hope, even if I didn’t actually need to. But I won’t find that out in this lifetime.
These next few weeks will be hectic. My mother is visiting for Thanksgiving, coming from Monday until the next Tuesday. I’ve taken time off from work around that, but we have inspections on that Tuesday and Wednesday. At work, we also have a Thanksgiving feast, an open house where we sells crafty things, and a Christmas party. Kind of makes me look forward to the after Christmas lull.
I have a resentment that stings like a bitch! Someone treated me badly (the admonishment I wrote of earlier) and I don’t know how to deal with it. Forgiveness is not a problem. This person is forgiven. Now what? Act like nothing happened? I feel like I’ve been struck. Demand an apology? That seems like forcing someone to adhere to a religion, completely missing the point. I just don’t know what to do. Or refrain from doing.
But an upside already is that I appreciate so much more the way my parents, really my mother raised me, in a nonviolent way. Yelling at people, swearing, showing anger and trying to overpower someone is not acceptable to me. It’s not going to get my cooperation (maybe because I am obstinate it will do the opposite and set me in opposition). I’m so very glad my I don’t approach life this way and when I do display these things, I recognize this is a complete breakdown of civility for me. I’m also grateful that this really doesn’t come up for me. The last time I can think of is when the irate father of a little boy yelled at me for accusing the boy of hitting my daughter when they were five years old and waiting for the bus. The father then spied on the kids and came back and apologized when he saw the situation for himself. That was a sincere apology but, in my book, he had acted wrongly to begin with even if he believed his child to be innocent.
OK, time for me to put away “my book.”