Patience is a particular requirement. Without it, you can destroy in an hour what it might take you weeks to repair.
–Charlie W. Shedd
I enjoy this quote, and found it to be poetic. I love words and the pictures they can paint in my mind. Patience is something that I aspire to, it’s not always something I possess.
I have trouble practicing patience with people. Sometimes I work to focus my attention on the here and now, which helps me with my emotions towards those who are slower than me – or at least it seems that way. Instead of complaining about another’s behavior, perhaps I can assist them in some way – or – I can work to remember that love and tolerance is our code. Patience comes into play when I am driving and I focus on my own driving and just give others the space they may be jockeying for. I have to do my part – I cannot direct the actions of others on the road, but I can work to give myself plenty of time, so that I don’t become impatient. Unfortunately, road rage is a reality in today’s world.
We each have our own “pace.” Some are slower than others, and others are much faster. Listen to the Lord’s Prayer, at the end of a meeting. Some people say it fast, while others are slower, usually we all “get it together” part way into it. We find the pace and we adjust our pace to fit the pace of others. This, also, is a form of patience. The same applies with eating – some just “woof” their food down while others take their sweet time and chew every bite at least twenty-two times (sorry, I’m being facetious). I find, that for me, I have to be mindful of my impatience with others. I have to slow down – breathe – focus on the here and now and not be rushing to the next “thing” before I even finish what’s in front of me to do. One thing at a time, one day at a time, and one task at a time . . . it works, when I work it.
For so many years I believed myself to be “bad,” that I was defective in some fashion that I did not understand, but “bad” I was. Today, I know that to be untrue. Before recovery I would look at others and try to fathom how they got to where they were, and how they managed to be “good” day after day, when I could not. It seemed like I was always on the dark side of life. I did not know how to be kind, smart, wise, courteous, or any of the other things that, to me, defined “good.”
I am learning to love myself. I came to the tables with a sagging self-image of a chronic loser, someone who always fell short of the aspirations of others, and myself. But inch by inch, and day by day, that has changed, just as I have changed. I no longer accept the opinion of others as defining of me – everyone has an opinion, which they are entitled to, but that does not make it so, it is simply their opinion. How I feel about myself is important. Feeling good about myself affords me the opportunity to change – because I know I am capable of growth and change – just like others in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. The better I treat others, AND myself, the better I become. To be more loving, more caring, more “valuable” means loving myself as I love others. The more I love me and you – the more love I receive from others. I am learning every day – I have great examples in the rooms of A.A., they teach me the “HOW” of recovery all the time: Honesty, Openness, Willingness.
Each Day a New Beginning
. . . suffering . . . no matter how multiplied . . . is always individual.
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Knowing that others have survived experiences equally devastating gives us hope, but it doesn’t diminish our own personal suffering. Nor should it; out of suffering comes new understanding. Suffering also encourages our appreciation of the lighter, easier times. Pain experienced fully enhances the times of pleasure. Our sufferings are singular, individual, and lonely. But our experiences with it can be shared, thereby lessening the power they have over us. Sharing our pain with another woman also helps her remember that her pain, too, is survivable. Suffering softens us, helps us to feel more compassion and love toward another. Our sense of belonging to the human race, our recognition of the interdependence and kinship of us all, are the most cherished results of the gift of pain.
From the Big Book: We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the person who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
-Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 164
I know that I will not live long enough to learn everything I want/need to know. Life is a continual learning process. What I gain and pass on in knowledge of the disease of alcoholism, and how to live with addictive behaviors – will live beyond my life. It will live in the hearts and minds of others whom I have shared this journey with. It’s like dropping a pebble in a pool, the effect spreads out from where the pebble entered the water. What I pass on to others through group discussions, through one-on-one conversations, and through the heart-felt similarities we find in others, will continue as it is passed down from one to the other. Those of us in the Program share the “language of the heart” and from there we relate our experiences before and after recovery. I truly find it amazing that even after all the years of my sobriety, that there is much I do not know, and it is my fervent hope to continue to learn as time passes.
Normal, everyday joys are ours for the taking. Many of us find joy every day, in the simple things – like the flowers in bloom right now. All of us share this “Road to a Happy Destiny,” because of the love of a Higher Power and the Grace to carry on.
Sorry about the way you had to post today. Its been fixed. WordPress doesnt understand anonymity. Its all good now….
Sooooooooo…..I don’t have to participate in negative discussions, particularly those that belittle or work to shame another member of the Program. We are all in a stage of learning – every day, in every way. No one among us is perfect, but I believe I can improve and I work to that end, daily. I can just come right out and state the obvious, that the conversation has a negative tone to it. I can choose to leave and find others with a more positive discourse to relate to. Negativity pulls me down, and I am no longer comfortable with character assignations. But the minute I think I’m all that and a bag of chips, I find my mouth running someone down – be it a physical thing, a program thing or an economic thing. When I become aware of this negative trait, I can back-pedal and apologize for my comments. Reminding myself that I serve as an example to others – each of us represents the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous – and I want to present a positive experience for who ever is in earshot of my comments. The old ways are still there, just beneath my surface, and will show up every now and then. I just need to be mindful of that fact, and when they do show up, I can put into practice what I have learned: Live and Let Live, I am no longer a victim, berating others only belittles me, positive response begets positive action, and Be Part of the Solution, not the Problem. Going from negative to positive – it’s a process, just like many things in the Program, it begins with me, and from me to others around me.
In the Big Book, the chapter entitled “There is a Solution” I find “We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.” That’s on page 25 and well worth reading and re-reading. My life has been totally changed from the way it was. I find my behavior has changed, my view of life has changed, and my attitude has done a U-turn. I no longer hold others responsible for my happiness, my well-being, I am responsible for me – bottom line. This “new dimension” finds my life transformed from one of anger, resentment, dishonesty, pride, jealousy, and full of self-pity. I am no longer just another victim of a cruel world. I am responsible for me, for my recovery, and for my serenity and growth. My life is not governed by my alcoholism, now it is governed by a loving God of my understanding. I have a “spiritual tool kit” that helps me to change not only my behavior, but my attitude, as well. I came to the tables a victim and today I know that to be untrue – I am responsible for me.
I have continued to grow and change, to evolve into the person I see in the mirror today – a grown, responsible woman who cares deeply for others and one who believes strongly in the love of and power of God. Whatever others call this “miracle,” for me, it is nothing short of a miraculous change than has no earthly explanation. My transformation is based in the spiritual, I have absolutely no doubt of that. Gratitude to AA is only the beginning of my thankfulness, it is extended to everyone who has touched my life in recovery, and to all those that continue to serve as examples of what true sobriety and recovery can look like. I am blessed beyond measure.
Trusting in a “power” greater than myself is what enabled me to begin the process of change we call recovery. I had finally reached a point of acceptance that I could not get sober on my own. I came to the rooms of A.A. and found a whole room full of people who were in varying stages of recovery; some of them for many years, and some, like me, with just a few days. I was skeptical, at first, about this “God thing,” but in time came to the knowledge that there was a path to sobriety with the help of a power greater than myself. There seemed to be a wide variety of names given to this power – I chose to call my Higher Power, God. In the Program we are each encouraged to “create” and name our own “power.” What I call my Higher Power is not as important as believing in this power. The “proof” of a power greater than the disease of alcoholism is in the reality of those present at the tables. . . many of whom have been sober for years. It took acceptance, willingness and openness for me to reach a place of believing in a Higher Power, but I am so grateful that I have reached that place.
Instead of the “battle” I was expecting, what I found was peace and serenity through working the Steps of the Program. The key to opening the doors to sobriety is willingness. I just had to keep claiming my seat at the tables, work to keep an open mind, and try for acceptance. I could see the Program at work in the lives of those present at the tables, and I wanted whatever it was they had. It’s been a process – a process of change that has occurred in my life. Today I go where I am led and follow my heart. I hear the term “the grace of God” and have come to understand what that means – for me, it means that the God of my understanding, is always there for me and that he graces me with a life unearned – and yet I am becoming worthy of this life. Being of service to others is one way for me to “return the favor,” for my recovery is truly a blessing, and one that I shall be eternally grateful. ♥