Let’s Celebrate! I Celebrated 29 Years of Recovery In Al-Anon Last Night!

LET'S CELEBRATE

Thanks so much for everyone helping me to celebrate my beginnings in Al-Anon. I celebrate my “New Beginnings” on this night. I have come a long way baby!

I thank God everyday that He led me to Al-Anon ( a free twelve step program) on a Friday, March 28, 1986. He knew what it would take for me to wake up and learn how to “Let go and let God” of my ex-husband who was in his active alcoholic lifestyle. He choose to continue in his disease and I chose not to continue in his disease with him. Thank God, I have a choice and I do not have to be miserable anymore. I choose recovery. 

I have no doubt whatsoever that without this program for living, I would not be married to the man that I am, be living where I am, nor be as happy as I am without it.

This program saved my sanity and taught me to have serenity even in the face of chaos and depression.  I am so grateful for all the special ladies that have helped me to stay sane and gave me hope for happiness and serenity.

I had family that had problems with alcoholism and they had found help and hope through the Twelve Step programs. So, I went to try and find a way to “fix” my husband. I did not have any idea what it was about. I believed that if I could “fix” my husband, then I could be happy. I did not think that I could be happy unless I “fixed” him.  

I found the hope and the help that I needed there. Even though things are not perfect in my life, and never will be, I have learned to be happy no matter what is going on in my life.

After three years of attending meetings and working the steps, I was finally able to accept the fact that I was trying to “play god” and I was trying to make him do as I wanted him to. So, I accepted the fact that I could not change him,  but also that I had a right to be happy too. I did not have to put up with his unacceptable behaviors unless I wanted to. I did divorce him, and I went on to work on myself.

I am happily married today, but without the program to teach me how to “live and let live”, I would not how to live “life on life’s terms” and to be happy. My happiness is not dependent on another person. 

I will never outgrow my need for the program and the fellowship, and my way of showing my gratitude for what I was freely given is to continue to give it back to the newcomers. 

“After having suffered alone with the effects of this brutal disease, the Al-Anon fellowship is an unexpectedly and nourishing source of compassion and support.” source: How Al-Anon works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics p. 11

Loving and Honoring Yourself Is NOT Selfish!

LOVE YOURSELF

As a child I was taught to not be selfish and think about all the other starving children or orphans. It was drilled into me that I should not think about myself, and to only think about others. I was so miserable, and I lived in constant chaos. I hated school! I lost my identity about the age of twelve when my addictions began.

No one told me to be good to me, or that it was ok for me to think about my needs too. I became an “enabler” and a “Co-Dependent” person. I hated me because I was never perfect, and could never live up to the expectations set on me by my parents. I grew to hate me and magnified all my flaws and did not look at the good things about me. I was terrified of being “abandoned” and not being loved, or being different from others. I allowed others to define me because I had no definition of myself, except so and so’s daughter, so and so’s wife. It was not alright for me to be me, or for me to choose who I wanted to be. I lived in Fantasy instead of Reality, because I hated myself and my life so much that I escaped the pain through my addictions. I had an “addictive personality”. 

Praise God, in my recovery, I have learned that I have a choice, and I can choose who I want to be, where I want to live, what I want to do, and that I AM Special, Loved, Wanted, and Needed, “Just as I am”. I am not Selfish, but I think of me less.

My program taught me how to have relationships with the priorities in order of number one God, then myself, and then others. I don’t have to give up me to be loved by you. I can be happy serving God, but taking care of me and my family too. We are supposed to take care of ourselves first then others. Like the example of the oxygen mask, if I don’t take care of me then I am not strong enough to help others. I cannot save the world.

C.S. Lewis

A Spiritual Renewal

There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.

You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness–righteous, holy, and true.

So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth” because we belong to each other.

And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.”

Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil.

source: Ephesians 4: 23-27 NLT

The Expert In Anything Was Once The Beginner~Someday

THE EXPERT WAS ONCE A BEGINNERSOMEDAY

Someday

I always said Someday I will be happy.

Someday I’ll be more creative.

Someday I will write my story.

Someday I will find someone to love me the way that I need to be loved.

Someday I will start painting whatever I want to on my canvas called “Life”.

Someday I will be able to pay my bills.

Someday. . .

Someday I will make lots of money. 

Someday I will sing with my Dad.

Someday I won’t want to die anymore.

Someday I will figure out what I want to be when I grow up. 

Someday. . .

Someday I will think I’m special and I do have someone unique to offer the world. 

Someday I will believe that I don’t have to be perfect.

Someday I will live life to the fullest.

Accepting life as it comes, changing what I can and accepting what I can’t.

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© Copyright 2014 by Sally Frederick Tudor, dba: Sally’s Special Services.

All Rights Reserved. This site claims all rights to this material, (unless a quote or material was previously copyrighted by another) this material has been posted for readers of this site and may not be copied or re-posted to any other site without written permission of the author. 

One Day At A Time

One Day at a Time - RosesOne Day at a Time, is one of our slogans in the twelve step program that I belong to. It is one of my favorite, but it was the hardest for me to learn to live by.

I spent thirty years living in yesterday, and tomorrow, but never today. Either I was living in the past whining and complaining about what all others had done to me, therefore living in my resentments and miserable; or I was living in the future, terrified of what could or would happen. I had no faith, so I lived in fear.  I existed from crisis to crisis. 

It took years of practice in recovery to really….know the meaning of it. The Serenity Prayer helped me to know what to focus on that I could change, and what things that I could not change. 

It does not mean that we do not plan for the future or prepare for tomorrow. We just do our best to know God’s will, so that we can do God’s will. We take it a step at a time, one day at a time.  We must do the “footwork”.  We grow, one day at a time in our recovery too. We do not get well overnight.

If you want a job, then you must prepare and educate yourself, then follow through by creating a resume and applying for the jobs that you qualify for.  Pray for God to direct you to the job that He wants you to have.  

I make a list of what I need to do for the day, and I arrange them in order of priority, the most important first.  I pay what bills that I can, like our water bill, so that we have water to drink, clean, and bathe with.  I consider that a priority for me.

Everyone is different, so some may choose to spend their money on junk food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling, or crap that they do not need. But…if you are one of those people…be prepared to do without other things…and don’t expect others to pay you bills…or allow you to live rent free.

I used to manage apartments, and you would not believe how many people would spend their money on getting drunk or high, and not pay their rent or utilities. For me, that is a priority, I pay my living expenses first, then if there is any left I buy groceries or gas.

I knew a woman that did not pay her water bill for six months, while she used another woman’s water.  Then, when they decided to cut off her water, she was pissed. What? It is not someone else’s job to pay your bills!

I told her that she should be grateful that the woman was nice enough to allow her to use her water at all, and that it was not her job to pay your water bill.  She did not see anything wrong with using the other woman . I did.

Of course, she made excuses! Oh, she had to pay other bills. No, she did not have to pay other bills, if there was not enough income for the internet, cable, junk food, and cigarettes, then she should do without others do.

I offered to help her with a budget, to no avail. Ten years later, she is whining about not being able to pay her cable bill and internet. It is sad, but some people never grow up.

I thank God everyday, that I had responsible parents who paid their living expenses first, fed and clothed their six children before the non essential things. My Daddy made very little money, and Mother was a stay at home Mother. We were taught that if we could not afford it, then we did not need it, and could live without it. We ate beans and cornbread and cheap meals a lot.

My childhood has prepared me to “Live life on life’s terms” not mine. My Big Book stated the same thing. We may be broke as hell, but we will have water and a roof over our heads.  I love the quote by Saint Paul, “I have learned in whatsoever state that I am in, therewith to be content.”

 

My Husband, The Light of my Life

My husband, “the light of my life.”

He is 58 and I am 60. God really does know what He is doing. We are able to be at home together with my “forced retirement”.

At first, I felt guilty, because I had always worked since I was 12. I was brought up to believe, that if I wanted something that I had to work for it.

Now, God wants me to care for my husband, obviously because that is where I am, for now, and I love it. Not the part about him being sick but the part about having him to share my life. In my program for living, and the twelve steps, I have learned to “accept life on life’s terms”, and so I am content with whatever God has given me. 

I am so grateful for what God has given me, and for what He has taken away too–the chaos, insanity, and the loneliness. In its place God has given me serenity, peace, strength, and solace.  

I thank God everyday for my 27 years in recovery, because without it I would not be doing as well on this “acceptance” thing. I accept the fact that I am NOT God, and that my husband is in God’s hands.  I am grateful for every minute that He gives me with him until God calls him home.

The old me would be living in “self pity” and crying and whining around about how God made me wait so long for my hubby, and the fact that he is sick. I only saw the “bad” in my life.

Someone coined it, a “New Pair of Glasses”, they wrote a book about it. I have not thought about that book in a long while. I will have to get it out and look at it again.

I am looking through a new pair of glasses, and I am seeing what is “right” with my life instead of always looking for what is “wrong” in my life. It makes for a lot more peace and serenity.

Excellent book for anyone, even if you are not in Recovery. 

Take The Steps…One At A Time…One Day At A Time

TAKE THE STEPS

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

In our program (the twelve steps), if you do not take the steps and do the footwork, then you may stay sober but you will be cutting yourself short.

Why not go for it all? I did not just want to just stay sober but I wanted serenity too. I spent a lot of years living in the chaos.

When I found out the solution, and that I had a choice, I thought who in the hell would choose to stay miserable when the steps were free and could help stop the insanity and chaos?

 

One Day At A Time

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

ODAT

Step 9~Made Direct Amends To Such People Wherever Possible, Except When To Do So Would Injure Them Or Others

Step 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.

Now it is time to act on what we learned about ourselves in step 8. We need to go and apologize. You can hold on to pride and stay stuck, or let go and move on.

If apologizing were easy, it wouldn’t have to be listed as a step, would it? It’s hard either because of pride, or because we don’t want to be sincere or we want to avoid conflict or reality. All of those things got us here in the first place.

If people like you and me liked apologizing, we wouldn’t be here, would we? I used to like the idea of getting away with my mistakes, and that was self-deception.

We are here, and we need to do this for ourselves. Just for today.

One reason we don’t want to make amends, is fear of them slugging us.

Another is pride, our egos don’t really want to admit our errors and bad ways. Ignorance seems to be bliss at times like this. I’d rather forget some things I did, and hope that everyone came out okay, and I don’t want to check up on them! There’s the shame and guilt of what has been done. There’s also the development of character that says its time to take care of things.

Fear, Pride, Shame and Guilt. All four are focused on us, and all four drove us to our “drug of choice” in the first place. Anything that breaks the hold these four have on us is a good idea, so let’s get on with the apologies.

Another reason to go apologize and seek forgiveness, is that we may end up forgiving someone whom we do want to forgive! You may be so angry at someone, and in denial of it, that you don’t want to even think about forgiveness.

Ah, well. Do it anyway.

Apologize, then listen. If they are verbally abusive, remember you ‘earned’ the abuse, they have a right to be angry, and just let it pass. Don’t give in to the old way of doing business, don’t defend yourself,  you know where that leads! Besides, you may be surprised, they may be more humane than you and I deserve. Most folks will be somewhere in between. Remember that their reaction or response is not what matters here, it’s you letting go of the consequences and doing the right thing.

It’s your courage, your determination to escape your drug of choice!

There is a good reason to not put somebody on this list. If going to them would be bad FOR THEM, don’t go. We don’t want to injure people, we want to provide opportunities for healing.

An example could be the husband/wife of someone you had a one-night stand with a long time ago! It may damage their current marriage too much, so just eat crow about it and take it to your Higher Power instead. Take them all to your Higher Power, otherwise leave some alone!

You are not out to do harm, but to enable healing.

* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

The Complete Serenity Prayer!

God,
Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

Amen. 

The Ninth Step Promises

(page 83-84 from the Book, Alcoholics Anonymous)

                    

          “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

         Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”

God’s will for me is gratitude!

Grace and Gratitude

Big Book Cover

I am a grateful recovering person. Gratitude is a big part of my recovery too. I try really hard to focus on the “good” in my life, rather than the “bad”. We all have problems, we are not exempt from having problems, but focusing on what is right, and just, and good keeps me serene, hence the title of my blog.

tljax

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

I needed that today! Ever wonder what God’s will for you is? Ever stop to think that maybe it’s just for you to be grateful where you are, with what you have? I’m going to let surrender turn to gratitude and then let that give way to thanks. …At least for today.

Today
I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more day at a time.

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Your Life Is Not an Adventure But a Quest

Your Life Is Not an Adventure But a Quest.

Remember God is in charge. I try to find out what God’s will is for me, and try to do it to the best of my ability. However it turns out, that is God’s will for me.

Seven years ago, I was divorced and lost my job. I had to move out of my apartment, because I had no job to pay rent. By God’s grace, I had a loving family who took me in. I did not want to move back home at the age of 50, and I felt like a failure. But with God, my family, and my support system, I survived it. As an added bonus, from God I met the man of my dreams 3 months later, and we married. We took care of my elderly mother for 6 yrs. and he has been my saving grace. I went back to college and earned my BS degree with honors.

I was so hopeful, that when I graduated I would find a good job, and then I could help support my family.  Well, suffice to say, the economy bottomed out, and my mother passed away, and still no job! Thank God, for God’s grace, my husband has been my “rock”, and he has been there for me all along.

Conclusion: If I had not “let go and let God” have my will and my life, I could have missed the last 6 yrs. with my mother, and would never have met my husband. God is good!

My suggestion: Never, never give up! Go where God leads you.

12 Steps to a Spiritual Awakening

My Spiritual Awakening came gradually, not all of a sudden. Through God’s grace and the 12 Steps, God gave me a nudge toward sobriety and serenity. I received serenity and sobriety as a gift, not as something that I deserved but something that I have been eternally grateful for. I was so miserable, that I was willing to go to any lengths to feel better.

I had to be willing to work for it though. And it has not been easy “living life on life’s terms”.
At first I was angry at God, for giving me such an awful life, and making me unable to have a baby.
Through my work on myself and gradually learning to believe that God was not mad at me, and He did not make these bad things happen to me, but that I was suffering the consequences of my own bad decisions.
I was able to learn that I was not a bad person trying to get good, but a sick person trying to get well.

Are You Part of the Problem or a part of the Solution?


You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. You cannot be both. Just like I posted in an earlier article, you can choose to be a blessing or a burden. I choose to be a part of the solution, and to be a blessing and be happy. I love helping others. It is in my genes. My Mother told me that I was always trying to help others when I was a little girl. I was taught to share with others. If I had a piece of candy, I shared it with my best friend. I was more fortunate than her in some ways. Her father died when she was four, and her mother had to raise five children alone. They lived across the street from us in Jacinto City, TX. They were happy even though they had very little materially, they had a lot of love. Her mother spent a lot of time with us children on the block playing cards, cooking us dinner, and had very little but she gave what she had to anyone who needed it. She was a true example of helping others.

In my adulthood and recovery, I had to learn that you could “help” too much, or enable them, and that “doing for someone else what God wanted them to do for themselves is no good, and just serves to keep them dependent and they will never grow up. They are not fulfilling God’s full purpose for their life’s. God wants us to be dependent on Him not people! He wants everything good for us.

I have been told that I was not Christian, because I don’t believe in giving ALL our money to charity, and feeding the rest of the world. I believe that God wants us to “bloom where we are planted”! He wants me to help others when I can, but if I don’t take care of me first, then I will have nothing to give anyone else.

Some people hate rich people, because they are JEALOUS of them. If God did not want them to have it, then they would not have it. It takes money to help others. Yes, some rich are addicted to money and greedy, but God will deal with them in the end. Besides the fact, that being “Greedy” or “Jealous” helps no one. It keeps the person miserable. I love what St. Paul said, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am in therewith to be content.” I have been happy with much, and I have been happy with little. The more that I accept things as they are, not as I would have them, the happier and more serene I am.

Thank God, we are judged by our insides NOT our outsides! God knows what you think, what you do, and He will give us the power to do what we are supposed to do. But we do have a choice, we can choose to serve God or we can choose to serve man. Man will ALWAYS fail you!

Thomas Merton said, “If you yourself are at peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.” If each of us works towards peace within ourselves, we actively become part of the solution to the problems of the world.

Home > Library > Religion & Spirituality > Proverbs
What we’re saying today is that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.
[1968 E. Cleaver Speech (in R. Scheer, Eldridge Cleaver (1969) 32)]

‘If you’re not the solution,’ says Peter Madden, ‘you’re part of the problem.’ ‘It would be terribly arrogant of me to believe I was the solution to anything.’

[1975 M. Bradbury History Man v.]
Listen, don’t you realize if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

[1977 C. Mcfadden Serial xxvi.]
MTV used to broadcast environmental messages featuring the punchline ‘if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem’. Indeed.

Are You Helping or Hurting = Enabling??

This close to Mother’s Day, and working in the field that I do, I have really been remembering how I was taught to be a Caretaker. My Mother raised me to be a loving, kind, unselfish, independent, strong, and moral person. I grew up living in my dream world, where everyone loved everybody, and there were no mean, hateful, and abusive people.

I have tried to help others all my life. I married an abusive and unfaithful man, and tried to fix him. Of course, it did not work, because we cannot Control, Change, or Cure anyone. I had to learn the difference between helping or hurting. I had to learn the meaning of “Enabling“. Enabling is doing for someone else, what they could do for themselves. If we continue to “enable” someone, then it serves to make them irresponsible, and not be responsible for their own choices and actions. The Al-Anon program taught me so much. I am powerless over others, and the only person that I can help is myself.

It is NOT being selfish to take care of yourself, and your needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t help others.

A good Mother will try to help their children, and help them learn from their mistakes. We are human, and we all fail sometime. A good Mother will not hang on so tight, that she suffocates her children. I had the best Mother that there is. She taught me to be strong and to love God. I wish that everyone could have the wonderful Mother that I had for 58 years. She never gave up on us, and was always there when we needed her.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, TO ALL THE MOTHERS OUT THERE.

Self Worth

My Self Worth is NOT tied up in other people, or what they think of me. I am “God centered”, whereas I used to be “other centered”.

I had no Self Worth. I used to be “other centered”, and I lived my life to try and please everyone else. It never worked, invariably they would piss me off, or I would piss them off. People cannot be my “higher power”. People will always fail you, because they are human just like you are.

In my recovery, I had to learn to put God #1 and be “God centered”. I put God first, #2 myself, and #3 others. It may sound strange to some, but as long as I was living for everyone else-I was not happy. I had to learn to take care of me and be good to me, before I could help others.

I have been called “cold hearted” and “selfish”, when I stood up for my needs and stopped allowing others to hurt me or drag me down. I had to learn to set boundaries and not enable others. I was taught that I should not do something for someone else that they could do for themselves. Hence, not enable them to stay sick and selfish.
I have learned to steer clear of “toxic” people who are negative and angry, and would drag me down to their level.
I was told by my mentor, that I would be known by the company I keep. If I hang with angry, or hateful people, or women who were living immoral life’s, then that was who I would be judged to be. Right or wrong–it is reality.

When I put God #1 and worked on myself #2, then I had good things to teach to others. I learned to have self worth. I focus on the Solution instead of the Problem.

Day by day, my Self Worth has increased and I am healthier, the more serene and capable of helping others, I have become. It all boils down to the fact that God loves me, and therefore I am Worthy of good things.

Just For Today

“Take my will and my life, Guide me in my recovery, and Show me how to live.” source~~NA

The Just For Today Prayer
JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in N.A. who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.
JUST FOR TODAY through N.A. I will try to get a better perspective on my life.
JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear.

HANG ON FOR ONE MORE DAY! MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL!

This is one of my all time favorite songs. I have been singing it since it came out. My little boy even sang along with us. It helped lift my spirits, and helped me to “hang on for one more day”. My “New Life” began on Friday, March 28, 1986–26 years of growing up and being responsible for my own feeling, thinking, and acting. Never, never give up!