Do the next right thing
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
In the program, we often hear “change your behavior to fix your thinking” or “do the next right thing.” Reading this quote, really cemented the ideas behind those two slogans for me. I realize that I often beat myself up over what I have done wrong and focus primarily on what I did in the past. Being in the program helps me to learn to be aware of and accept my past and focus on taking action and making the right choices for me in the future.
Turning On The Nightlight -
Learning How To Let Go
When I first came to Al-Anon, I struggled with the concept of detachment. I was filled with fear and worry for my loved one. The thought of taking a step back from his problems seemed wrong to me. How could I let go at a time when it seemed he needed me most?
As the disease of alcoholism progressed, I had difficulty sleeping at night. I would lie awake and worry about the worsening chain of events unfolding. Our life, it seemed, was in a rapid and dizzying downward spiral. I would worry about the future. I would be vigilant, listening for every sound, waiting to respond in case my loved one fell.
The harder I tried to detach from the problems, the more difficult I found it to do. Often when I heard members talk about letting go, I thought that their definition of detachment wouldn’t work for me. I came to realize that in Al-Anon there are no set rules: we are all free to determine for ourselves what is right.
I developed a bad habit of not sleeping well whenever I faced a difficulty I did not know how to resolve. As the disease worsened, I found myself up against many situations I did not know how to handle. I was exhausted, became overly emotional, and unable to cope with my own problems. I became so physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted that I was left with little choice but to try to find a way to get the rest I needed on a regular basis.
One night before I went to bed, I got the idea to turn on a nightlight. When I pressed the switch, I told myself that it was time for me to turn myself off and get the rest I needed. I could no longer deprive myself of the basic need for sleep in order to take on the responsibility of being awake just in case he needed help during the night. But I could light a light for him to find his own way, just as I was learning to find my own way in Al-Anon.
It’s become my nightly ritual, turning on the nightlight and turning over my worries, letting go and letting God. In Al-Anon, I have learned that my loved one has a Higher Power and it isn’t me. I sometimes have rough nights when I am anxious and worried, but I know that I have a solution—detachment—to use to get myself back on track when I’m ready to do so. I also have a nightlight to remind myself that I can turn myself off at the end of the day and get the rest I need.
By Carol S., Colorado October, 2015
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
Today's Hope is a Recovery themed site with a focus on Friends and Families of Alcoholics and problem drinkers. We are not affiliated with any 12 Step program. The daily sharings contain a reading from
Al-Anon's Conference Approved publication The Forum, an inspirational quote/saying and a recovery based reading/meditation. The intent of Today's Hope is to share experience, strength and hope. Please take what you like and leave the rest.