We need the courage to start and continue what we should do, and courage to stop what we shouldn't do. --Richard L. Evans
What is courage? Many of us think it involves surviving against all odds. Some of us believe courage is personified by an individual like Helen Keller, who coped with many physical defects to vastly change her life and the lives of those around her. Others of us believe courage is personified by people like astronaut John Glenn, who took risks trying something new knowing he could fail.
Are we courageous? Compared to those people we would probably say no. Yet we are because we have taken risks to change our lives. Being willing to change is an act of courage. Believing in change and forging ahead on the new, uncharted path is an act of courage.
We are the only ones who can change ourselves. Just as Helen Keller and John Glenn made decisions to alter their lives, so do we make decisions to risk changes. Whether we started on our new way of life years ago, days ago, or even hours ago, we are filled with courage because of the decisions we made.
I can say the Serenity Prayer and remember my courage.
I Am Powerless Over My Attitude
So much depends upon my attitude and learning to put my problems into their true perspective.
When I first came to Al-Anon, my attitude was that of a victim. I didn’t want anyone to know about my insane life, yet I wanted sympathy. I expected them to be able to give it to me without them knowing why I needed it.
I began recovery when my alcoholic went to rehab, and suddenly realized how my attitude had affected his self-esteem. I had used a blame attitude to make all accidents drink-related, whether they were or not, and tried to make him feel responsible for everything bad that happened. I ruined many days by expecting the worst, even though it didn’t happen. I was constantly waiting for the next bout of drinking and the next crisis. I was “crisis managing” before they happened.
Even as we both started working our programs, I could easily sabotage a day by laying my expectations on him, or by trying to control what he did. My attitude was that he needed my guidance to succeed in his recovery. Fortunately, I gradually let go, and let God and my alcoholic work out their own ways. My new attitude was that I needed to check on my own behavior, not his. I began to watch the words I used and check my motives for why I said and did things
Seven years down the line, things are much easier. It began on the day I turned my will over to my Higher Power and asked to be guided in thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day. Naturally, there are times when I forget this desire, but when I do, I realize it fairly soon after, and make amends for my behavior.
I learned early on that the quickest way to a harmonious relationship was to try to keep my side of the street clean. Cutting out the “shoulda, woulda, coulda,” stops me from interfering and thinking I can change other people, especially my alcoholic. Nowadays if I disagree with what he does, I can look at my part, change it if need be, or just let it go.
By Catherine, United Kingdom December, 2012
By Carol W., Arizona December, 2012
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
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