Month: November 2019

Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Courage To Change – November 19, 2019

CC Pexels

Mental shortcuts. Categorizing, labeling, it’s all a trick our minds use to simplify and expedite life. However, to do so to the people around us is quite frankly, demeaning. Labeling people, assigning them specifications removes their complexity in the whole being human equation. Truthfully it’s about the worst thing you could do to a person, to label them and then forget them.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links.


Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 324 in “Courage to Change

For years I lamented the absence of a label that would identify the soul sickness that brought me to the fellowship. I wanted to say, “I’m a recovering controller, enabler, caretaker, fixer.” Although they identify some of my character defects, these labels miss the mark. I’m not simply seeking recovery from one limitation or problem. The goal I’m striving for in Al-Anon is an overall sense of wellness.

My pursuit of this goal began by seeking recovery from the way a loved one’s alcoholism has affected my life. But today Al-anon offers me even more. As I grow and heal, I find that it is no longer enough to simply survive. The principles and tools that brought me this far can help me to create an increasingly rich and fulfilling life.

Today, when I say I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon, I’m not zeroing in on one particular problem but rather participating in a whole hose of solutions that can lead to emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

Today’s reminder

As I continue on the never ending path of spiritual progress, I will expand my view of recovery.

Quote

“In Al-Anon, we believe life is for growth, both mental and spiritual.“

The Twelve Steps and Traditions

Alleged Insight:

Where to start? We all like to fit people into or under a label. Taking out our big metaphorical sharpie markers and scrawling titles and labels across the foreheads of all those around us. A few of our acquaintances will get passed over, if only because we know them too well to be able to label them with one or two simple tags and have them conform to that set of definitions.

The better you know a person, the harder it is going to be to label that person with any labels, let alone any dominant ones. The problem is rather like that of trying to add tags to a blog post. When I’m writing these posts, the obvious tags are ODAT, Al-Anon, Recovery, Step-Programs, that kind of thing. And occasionally some topic or other will poke it’s head out of the morass of words I’ve written which will seem to apply; something like ‘people’ ‘parenting’ ‘stress’ ‘marriage issues’ ‘addiction relapse’ and other such titles.

Hell, going down the list of people I have or will interact with today, the labels are extensive for any one person, so how in all truth can I label them, knowing that any attempt to do so will result in inadequate and ultimately useless labels that may not apply in a few hours/ days/ weeks/ years.

So you ask where I’m going with all this, and the truthful answer is I had no idea when I started typing. But it seems clear to me that a couple things shine true in the wording.

1- Almost all humans seem to want to label and simplify their lives.

2- The more truly and completely you know and understand any complex thing (books, blog posts, people, cities, you name it) the harder it will be to label it with any small number of labels without missing something truly important.

3- We are often in Al-Anon to get to know ourselves better so that we can more fully be true to ourselves and live our life to the best benefit we can individually manage. In becoming more fully human, we shed the labels and become whole people.

Closing thoughts:

So, what that points out to me is this: If you’re looking to identify yourself with a label, like the person in the reading above, then you’d best not pursue growth and healing in Al-Anon. We are all individuals, we are all alike, but we are all, each and every one of us, our own person. Life is not for the faint of heart who take the easy way out, life is to be lived, not filed away in nice little labels.

So, please, leave the labels behind, yours and the one’s you’re hoping to apply to others, and get out there, live your life, love your life. Always remember to be Awesome!

Sincerely, Duke.


Wanna See God Laugh?

Wanna See God Laugh?

Courage To Change – November 18, 2019

Funny, six years on since I started periodically posting daily reflections on the Al-Anon material that keeps me sane[er than I am usually]. This week has been about as crazy as it could be without adding monkeys in diapers and maybe some live action garden gnomes. School schedules, extra-curricular activities, work schedules, volunteering schedules, my wife’s unpredictable on call schedules, and then to top it off we foster a 2-year old Shar Pei. She’s a precious little girl, but she’s not a large boisterous family type of dog so there’s a chance we need to find a better home for her than our place. We’ll see what can be done to better her lot in life, but that’s for tomorrow. I have a few moments here tonight and thought to do up today’s reading quick and simple. Then I read it; in depth, slowly. Man did it hit home. There is some deep truth to the Woody Allen line “Do you want to see God laugh? Tell Him your plans.”

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 323 in “Courage to Change

To me, when the Second Step talks about being restored to sanity, it covers more than the ability to function responsibly and realistically. A sane way of life also includes the willingness to play, to take a break, to cultivate a hobby. I suppose I think of humor as an especially appealing hobby. It takes no special equipment, doesn’t require travel, and never falls out of fashion. When I have a good laugh, I know that my Higher Power is restoring some of my sanity.

If I can see nothing but my troubles, I am seeing with limited vision. Dwelling on these troubles allows them to control me. Of course, I need to do whatever footwork is required, but I also need to learn when to let go. When I take time to play, to laugh, and to enjoy, I am taking care of myself and giving my Higher Power some room to take care of the rest.

Today’s reminder

A good chuckle or an engrossing activity can lift my spirits and cleanse my mind. I will refresh myself by adding some lightness to this day.

Quote

“Now I look for humor in every situation, and my Higher Power is a laughing God

who reminds me not to take myself too seriously.“

As We Understood…

Alleged Insight:

Hello my friends. Today Monday, and what a Monday it was. See every second Monday is payroll Monday for me. What that means in real world effect is that I have a required six hours of active work every second Monday until I pass the torch to somebody else to process these beasts. That in itself is fine. Six hours in a single day, of office work, isn’t going to kill anybody.

That’s not how it went today however. Let’s start back at five AM when the Shar Pei we’re fostering went bonkers off the mat. She just started bristling and trying to find what was upsetting her (in a house full of sleeping children). So, rough, very abrupt and unsettling start to a Monday. Then there’s the usual bit where kids get up and head to school. Except the dog won’t let the children out of the hallway (yeah, behavioral issues are the first of many problems this little one actually faces). Next hurdle, the middle boy (of five kids) wakes up with a monster head cold. The two littlest ones are heading to daycare, an hour late when I finally get them all to where they need to be. And after planning a starting work time of 8:30, I sit down at almost 9:45.

As I am sitting down to the computer to start my solid six of processing, an emergency pops up and the project takes top billing this morning. Alright, it’s now eleven am, and I’m starting the usual work. By noon, I’d made up an hour’s worth of the time I’d already lost, and was looking to be finished for four without too much trouble.

Guess what? Yup, you got it in one. Schedule change, the kids piano lessons had been moved to today from Thursday last. From two-thirty to four is the three boys lessons in piano. Alright, so now I have until two-thirty to finish what should take until four. Headphones and driving beats you will be my savior.

Speaking of Saviour, that’s what came up on the random upbeat Spotify playlist that I plugged into. Needless to say, with God’s help, and some divine assistance in focusing, I rocked the end of today and we made it home in good form.

***EDIT***
Yep, God has laughed his metaphysical ass off today at our expense. Kids are nuts after the impromptu piano lesson changes; we get home and they’re off and fighting. I also hear that the quick trip to drop my sister-in -law back to her place is going to detour into visiting an old friend from college (for my wife) while I’m home with all the littles. That was fun. The two-year old had been up all day, and was CRANKY. The four-year old is his usual charismatic (manic) self, while the rest are all on edge because of the four legged time bomb in our midst. It was a hilarious evening, if you were to watch it on a sitcom; to live it however, not so fun.

Closing thoughts:

Today’s plans? The Winner? Duke of Chaos – 0, God laughing his ass off – Priceless. Hell, if you can’t laugh at yourself, call a true friend, they’ll laugh at you.

Sincerely, Dan.

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Your Happiness, Your Responsibility

Courage To Change – November 16, 2019

Credit: Author.  Design prepared in Canva

In this messed up world of passing the buck, ducking the consequences, and instant gratification, whose responsible for anything? I get up in the morning to a chorus of wails and demands from my children. That is as it should be. I am responsible for their well-being, which starts with a warm dry safe house and breakfast in the morning. What I am not responsible for is the happiness of my neighbour who’s chronically grumpy and depressed. I can care about their problems and empathize, but at the end of the day it’s not my responsibility. Likewise, I’m not responsible for your happiness, only my own and my immediate family; my children and my wife. When it comes to who is responsible for anyone else’s happiness, surprise! It boils down to your happiness, your responsibility.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links,

Today’s Reading

For a long time I tried to “Let go and let God,” but I couldn’t seem to do it. I needed to find a concrete way to let go. I heard someone share at a meeting that she pictured her loved ones on a beautiful ocean beach, basking in the light of a Higher Power.

Al-Anon has taught me to take what I like and leave the rest I couldn’t relate to the beach scene, but I did find comfort in the general idea. Once again, the experience, strength, and hope of another Al-Anon member let me to find my own, personalized answer. I now envision wrapping my loved ones in the kind of blanket that I think they’d like – a down comforter, an army blanket, a patchwork quilt – and gently handing them to my Higher Power.

I find it important to be very specific. After all, my fears and worries are specific.

With a clear picture of my loved ones in my Higher Power’s care, I am much more able truly to “Let go and let God.”

Today’s reminder

Today’s Reminder

When I’m anxious about other people, I need my higher power’s help. Fighting with fear often strengthens its hold over me. But turning my loved one’s over to God can free us all.

Quote

“‘Let go and let God’. . .

teaches us to release problems that trouble and confuse us,

because we are not able to solve them by ourselves.“

This is Al-Anon

Alleged Insight:

Let go and Let God?!?

Let me ask you something. Can you handle everything that everyone want’s all the time? Do you need to sleep, to take care of yourself? Do you have basic requirements that must be met?

Does anybody else hunt you down ans suggest that they’re responsible for your happiness and well-being?

If you’re in anything like my situation, then the answer is probably an emphatic “NO” right?

I can only barely let go and let God myself, in some small ways. Each of us has to find their own path through this morass of chaos that has often supplanted our lives. In my case, I have to do the mental image thing, realizing that God’s love is more like stage lights, each person on stage has their own set of lights, and of course each set of lights is specific to that person. I don’t have to be the ringmaster, highlighting people to help them and support them. God’s handling the stage lights, and those people will get their support not from me but from God.

This is warped, abrupt and kinda blunt, but such is the state of my mind. May God highlight you in your moment of need so that you have the support you need when you need it.

I have to get to work so until later, be blessed.

Closing thoughts:

P.S. We need to start talking about this crap, or our kids will have to fight our demons. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t want to leave my demons for my children. Duke.

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Keep Coming Back, It Works If You Work It

Courage To Change – November 17, 2019

The thing about a program is that the end results are proven. Given a set of inputs and variables being held to be true, the outcome is never in question. Concerning recovery however, the above cannot be taken as given facts. The inputs (your effort in the endeavor), the variables (what you bring to the table and the damages your trying to overcome) and generally life as a whole, is not a set of defined variables and inputs. Frankly, life often sucks. Heck, sometimes it even feels like life is out to get you. [news flash: it’s not]. But the truth about life is that today is a new chance to find even more creative ways to spectacularly fail or fly. Which is it going to be today? Will you show up to the table and get to work or will you skip out and take the day off? The programs work, as long as you choose to come back, it works if you work it.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me. [this is not an affiliate link in any format, it’s just a link to the site where I would go and buy my books if I needed yet another set because mine are getting too worn out again.]

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash


Photo Credit: Hope House Press – Leather Diary Studio from Unsplash

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 322 in “Courage to Change

“Keep coming back” is a phrase we often hear in Al-Anon. Why is it so important? Because many of us have grown so hardened in our fights with alcoholics or flights form alcoholics that we literally found it difficult to sit still for the process of recovery. We had to have answers right away or take action right away. Yet we felt just enough relief at our first meeting to come back once more. And then again, and again. Slowly we learned to sit still, to listen, and to heal.

No matter how many years we’ve been practicing the Al-Anon program, we can use the reminder to keep coming back. Difficult times come and go, even after a long term Al-Anon recovery. With each new challenge, many of us still need reminding that “there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness to great to be lessened.”
Today’s reminder

If I feel discouraged today, I will turn to the basics of the Al-Anon program. I”ll get to a meeting, call my sponsor, go back to the First Step. One-Day-At-A-Time, if I keep coming back, I know my situation will improve.

Quote

“If I really want to learn how to fit easily and happily into my environment

and my relations with other people, Al-Anon has something for me.“

One Day at a time

Alleged Insight:

Oh goodness, the truth of this mantra. Heck, look below at the disclaimer, it’s part of why I do this each and every day, barring slips and missing days. Life is hard for the best of people some days, and I sure as hell ain’t one of the best of people. The cracks and blotches on my soul and spirit would drive many of my compatriots to the bottom of the abyss, but such is the life I have been living.

Seriously however, healing takes time, and intention. In order to get to that point, there are some hard choices to make, and some harder truths to accept, usually one’s we’ve been hiding from for too long because they’re going to hurt. Sitting still, supported by the company of others in the same program, maybe then we can start to understand what hides behind the black spots in our souls.

The first trick however is to learn to sit your own self down and stop reacting out of a desperate need to control and fix things. I am probably the worst person I know of to just react. I try to fix things instantly; keep the peace and restore the calm. I’m not very good at it. Like, I really suck at it most times. I’m not complaining however, just trying to highlight that if you keep working towards the goal, every little step you take, and every effort no matter how small, is going to help you get to where you’re going. Good luck out there Charlie, it’s a mean world, but it’s worth it. You’re worth it. Keep on keeping on..

Closing thoughts:

No matter your situation, if you’re broken, regardless of how, there’s a group of people looking for you so they can help you, and you in turn can help them. Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics, Gamblers, you name it and there will be a support group for you. If your significant other is the one, then there’s a group for you as well. Sitting in a therapists chair, while it does have a valid place in recovery of some sorts, rarely helps in this arena. Trust me, I’ve been there. Therapists are talented people with good souls for the most part, but with this, a leader is more what’s needed than a counselor.

Take care of yourself. I’ll be here if you need to talk, just drop me a line.

Duke.

It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

It Turns Out My Ego Is A Problem

Courage To Change — November 15, 2019

Today’s reading will run counter to most self-help information in today’s world. At least, counter to most advice that’s not genuinely useful and productive. See, most of the time, the suggestion is to look after your own needs first, and then take care of others. It can be summed up as ‘look out for number 1’ physically, mentally, emotionally. To some degree this is a good approach, but I wonder if it’s being taken too far sometimes. When I was just starting out in recovery, even before I met my wife and started this circus called a family (no negativity intended, it’s just crazy around here on a regular basis), I was trying to take care of myself and my needs in this process. I learned that it was okay to put my needs before others, but I took it too far. I went all the way to the other end of the spectrum, and when I got there and did some work on me, it turned out my ego is a problem. In fact, it was so much of a problem that I had to swing full span back to the other end before even starting to understand that there was a middle ground where people could exist.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 320 in “Courage to Change

I used to feel very hurt if anyone gave me an angry look, spoke in a harsh tone, or didn’t speak at all. I’ve grown up enough in Al-Anon to realize that the look, tone, or mood of another person toward me often has nothing to do with me. It generally has more to do with what is going on inside the other person.

So why do my feelings still get hurt? It occurs to me that extreme sensitivity is a form of conceit – I think I am the focus of everyone’s actions. Am I so important that everything that goes on around me must have something to do with me? I suspect that attitude reflects my vanity instead of reality. And vanity is simply a defect of character that I am working on changing.

With Al-Anon’s help, my sensitivity to all that happens around me has greatly lessened. I try to ask myself, “How important is it?” When I do carry the hurt, it only hurts and controls me.

Today’s reminder

Other people are important to me, and sometimes their opinions matter, but I may be taking something personally that has nothing to do with me. Having opinions of my own about myself lets me accept other people’s thoughts without being controlled by them.

Quote

“It was through going to meetings and the daily readings of Al-Anon literature that I awakened to the fact that what other people did and said reflected on them; what I did and said reflected on me.””

Living with Sobriety

Alleged Insight:

If there is one over-riding compulsion that I have to work against in my everyday life, this is it. I have so many examples to choose from, but those are not entirely my story to share, as others are involved. Suffice it to say that I have a problem in taking upon myself other’s feelings and then run with them. If they are upset and anxious, I become anxious and upset. If they’re grumpy guess who gets grumpy? It’s maddening to know this is happening, it’s challenging as hell to do anything about it. I am feeling crazy right now, and it’s a bleed-over effect from the slightly manic and anxious feelings my wife was having getting out this morning. I’ve made her feelings my own and now I’m damned near out of control.

It’s hard living this way. I often need to get away. But I haven’t been away and alone for some me time in so long that I can’t remember anything but this chaos I am living in. Unless two minutes in the bathroom counts as ME time, then I am always on deck. Working, fathering, social engagements, volunteering, never a moment of down-time. Hell, as I type this, the 2 yr old is melting down, the four-year old is screaming in the back of the house, and my school-aged kids are generally just not doing anything unless they get directly confronted about their lack of activity.

I have been up since about seven ( a late start for me ), but it’s been a constant grind all morning. On a bright note, I managed to get a shower, with only four interruptions during the five minutes I was in the shower. I suppose that’s a good thing right? Almost spoiled, a full shower with only a few interruptions.

How to change gears? Mindfulness? Gratefulness? Living with intention?? Cognitive Behavioral focus? What will work?

Let Go and Let God is the starting point here I think. Now, having rambled this much to the detriment of my family situation, it’s time to get back to work. My five minutes of recovery work (not nearly enough today) is done and it’s time to go break up the fights again.

Closing thoughts:

Recovery is not for the faint of heart. Parenting is not for the meek. Life is what you make of it, and at the moment, I am feeling like making (and then eating) all the cookies.

We will eventually be alright, but for now, it’s a matter of trying to start at the edge of the mess and see if we can’t create a beachhead against the tide of chaos and mess that has been winning since day one.

Take care out there, and I’ll pray you make it back.

Duke.

Consider Letting Go, Letting God take over

Consider Letting Go, Letting God take over

Vanderlei Longo from Pexels

Courage To Change — November 14, 2019

Quoted from Page 319 in “Courage to Change

Growth requires change. Change requires work, sacrifice or surrender. Sacrifice and surrender require humility. Sometimes we have to call in a professional to do the work for us. That’s humbling. When it’s our own self that’s needing a professional to help, then it’s time to call in the Higher Power to do the work for us. That is when it’s time to consider letting go, letting God in to remove the defects of character and self; so that we can become the best version of us at the end of the day.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

Step Six talks about becoming entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character. This readiness rarely appears to me in a sudden, blinding flash of enlightenment. Instead, as I struggle to make progress in a positive direction, I become ready a little at a time.

An important part of my sixth Step work is practicing gratitude. The more I give thanks for my life as it is, the more I can accept the healing that allows me to change and grow. By recognizing and cultivating my abilities, I am increasingly willing to let go of my defects.

This Step is a lesson in patience, but as I see my life opening up before my in new directions, I do finally become ready to have God remove all my defects of character.

Today’s reminder

“Progress, not perfection” applies to my readiness to let go of my defects, as well as to other parts of my Al-Anon program. One day at a time, I make progress in readiness.

Quote

“Step Six is my chance to cooperate with God. My goal is to make myself ready to let go of my faults and let God take care of the rest.“

Alateen – A Day At A Time

Alleged Insight:

Where to start? I have a problem letting go of things, I try to control things and micromanage it all to the utmost degree. But at the moment I am struggling with something that feels like a root canal problem. But having seen the dentist just today, he can’t find anything wrong, so it’s up to the doctor I am going to see tomorrow. It’s time to let go and let God. I have no idea where the pain is coming from, and it’s only up to me to fight it or let go and pray.

However, cutting this all short, I am in a great deal of pain, and trying to think through that and the painkiller haze that’s my reality right now it more than I can manage.

You are all in my thoughts, take care and have a peaceful night.

Duke.

Focus on What’s Important!

Focus on What’s Important!

Courage To Change — November 13, 2019

Life is busy. Attention is so very short. People can’t be bothered, they just quickly deal with it and forget it. That’s about how things are working. The insistent and the immediate are so often chosen over the important things. If we can focus on what’s important, the rest will fall into place, but when the immediate get’s done, the insistent is addressed. And the important is forgotten about, then life falls apart.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.
If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 318 in “Courage to Change

I read somewhere that the things that are urgent are rarely important, and the things that are important are rarely urgent. I can get so caught up in the nagging, trivial matters of day-to-day life that I forget to make time for more important pursuits. The Al-Anon slogan I find most helpful in getting my priorities in order is “First Things First.”

Today, maintaining my serenity is my first priority. My connection with my Higher Power is the source of serenity, so maintaining that connection is my “First Thing.”

If I imagine I am in a dark room and that my Higher Power is my only source of light, then my best hope for navigating around the furniture will be to bring that source of light with me as I move through the room, but my passage is sure to be slow, confusing and possible painful.

Today’s reminder

As i think about what to do with this day, I will set some time aside for what is really important. I will put “First things first” today.

Quote

“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails.“

Henry David Thoreau

Alleged Insight:

Well this is a good follow-up to the weekend’s madness. First Thing First.

Yep, Madness, that’s about right.

This weekend’s been challenging, with a new fur baby, family issues and general stress, life is filled with so much noise and busy activity, that it’s almost impossible to see the important for all the noise of the immediate chaos.

It snowed yesterday, and the boy’s came through like champions. Shovels were out and the road was cleared in record time. It was a magnificent sight, and finally after hot-chocolate for all we settled down for a short spell. We’re retraining a 2 yr old dog so calm is a relative term.

But what’s important? Yeah, dinner is kinda up there, as is housework, and school schedules and all the other issues of the day. But what’s truly important is that my children end up in bed, sleeping and calm, feeling secure and loved.

I think I’ll make cookies with them tonight for lunches tomorrow.

Have a well-loved night and take care of yourself.

In Grace,

Duke.

Sharpen Your Saw Before Getting To Work

Sharpen Your Saw Before Getting To Work

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Courage To Change — November 12, 2019

When I had hit the absolute career bottom in my mid-20’s, I was broke, and pleading with Employment Insurance (government support program we have here in BC) for a path out of this mess. They enrolled me into a study and life skills program, and it was structured around Stephen Covey book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s a good book. Relevant to the reading today is that there is a chapter titled “Sharpen the saw”.

Literal translation, take care of the tools you use to get the work done. In our case, it’s a little more esoteric. We have the tools, but now we need to maintain them in order to keep us working at our best. So yeah, maybe it’s time to sharpen your saw

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

So onward to Today’s Reading

I’m not particularly handy with tools.  Recently a friend demonstrated to me that oiling a saw before using it make sit work more smoothly, whether it’s cutting metal or wood.

Later it occurred to me that learning to oil a saw is a little like learning to apply the Al-Anon program.  Though skeptical, I considered learning a new way because I saw it demonstrated. I knew that the program worked when I saw how serenely Al-Anon members in circumstances similar to mine were coping with difficult situations.  So I tried their approach – I learned to apply the Steps, Al-Anon literature, slogans, meetings and sponsorship.

Using this oil doesn’t change the raw materials of my life, nor does it provide me with new equipment.  It does make what I already have more useful, and that removes many of my frustrations, giving me great satisfaction.

Today’s reminder

Building a  useful and fulfilling life is not an easy task. Al-Anon helps me learn more effective ways of living so that I can avoid needless difficulty. With proper tools, progress is just a matter of practice.

Quote:

“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving.  Begin as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.“

   Francis de Sales

Alleged Insight:

When you get up in the morning, the first few minutes are often on autopilot and it’s challenging to adapt to anything new. That is exactly the time when having the right tools to hand means the difference between responses and reactions.

In short, while the big projects of our recovery are the materials from which we rebuild ourselves into the people we choose to be, our acceptance, self-awareness, placing unmanageable tasks in our Higher Power’s care, there is a whole aspect that’s neglected.

Our toolbox is what helps us get from here to there; sponsors, slogans, prayer, meditation, self-care; all lead to the end results of becoming the better version of yourself. Taking care to maintain these tools in their best shape only makes senses when you think about it. Oil the steel and sharpen your saw before you get to work.

May God bless you, and DFTBA.

Sincerely, Duke.

Adaptability is Key

Adaptability is Key

Courage To Change — November 9, 2019

When you’re attacked, or under pressure, the main responses are to freeze or run. Changing that up so that you can choose the right response is critical. Responding to a situation requires flexibility. A certain adaptability is required to pick the best path, especially when the path through the darkness is riddled with traps and dangers. We need to be adaptable; adaptability is key to surviving and thriving in the madness that sometimes surrounds us at every turn.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me.

Photo-Credit: Spotsoflight@Pixabay

Today’s Reading

ODAT November 9, 2012 – Change It Up, You’re Adaptable

Quoted from Page 314 in “Courage to Change

We humans are wonderfully adaptable. We find creative solutions to impossible situations. One coping skill that some of us develop is manipulating other people in order to get what we want. Alcoholism can create such a threatening environment that manipulation seems necessary. Today, with the help of Al-Anon, we are learning to do more than merely survive, and such manipulation becomes unnecessary and unacceptable. In Al-Anon we learn healthier ways to meet our own needs and to behave toward others.

Manipulation had been a normal part of my life for so long that I forgot how to have a discussion or make a straightforward request. If I wanted someone to do the dishes, I tried to make them feel guilty by telling them how much I had done for them, or I complained that they never did their part. It never occurred to me that I could simply and politely ask for what I wanted, or that I could accept my request being turned down! But I’m learning. A day at a time I’m learning.

Today’s Reminder

Today I am creating a better way of living, free of guilt and deception.

Quote

“We choose to behave with personal integrity, not because it will make someone else feel better, but because it reflects a way of living that enriches and heals us.“

. . . In All Our Affairs

Alleged Insight:

So, manipulation hey?

Yeah, I’ve heard of it.

Hell I got it leveled at me on an hourly basis back when I worked in an office, and let me tell you, its’ frustrating as hell to have to face that down, time and time again. I sound like a selfish sonovabich rather than a team player when I repeatedly set those personal boundaries and defend them.

I’ll do what I can, as I can for as long as I can, but I refuse to act guilty because somebody else is overwhelmed, because they left the deadline until it was too late, or because they saw the whole picture without understanding the situation. I can sit here and rationalize this until the sun finishes getting it’s tired butt over the crest of the mountains and heads to bed, but the truth is that I do have work to do and this is a sore topic with me (but you’ve figured that one out haven’t you?).

Closing thoughts:

I do my best to avoid manipulating others, but I slip occasionally. My personal demon wearing this label is that I tend to run afoul of people who like to pas the buck, refuse to stand up to their own failings, and then try to make their problems mine. I’ll help as I can, but I have a live to live as well, at work, in church, at home, wherever. So, good luck and have a blessed day.

P.S. – Sorry for the growly tone of this one but, but I need another coffee before the last one kicks out.

Sincerely, Duke.

Photo Credit – Lood Goosen @ Pexels

Service as an Act of Love

Service as an Act of Love



ODAT November 8, 2012 – Service as an act of love

Quoted from Page 313 in “Courage to Change

“Just for today. . . I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count.” What a terrific exercise! It helps me to break free of the habit of doing kind or generous things in order to get something back. Only when I perform a loving act with no expectations will I reap the true reward of giving.

I am learning that giving doesn’t have to take away form me or anyone else – if there are no strings attached, everyone stands to benefit. Every good and loving gesture soothes my soul and contributes to a healthier world. These anonymous, positive actions are the building blocks of a flourishing spiritual well-being. My Self-Esteem grows because I can feel good about my actions. I am engaged in worthwhile pursuits.

Today’s Reminder

Today I will put unconditional love into action. When I give freely, without expecting anything in return, I always receive more than I give.

Quote

“I was created in love. For that reason nothing can express my beauty nor liberate my except love alone.“

Mechtild of Magdeburg

Insight

Where to start? I read an article one time about the differences of cultures experienced by a sailor named Bob Bitchin’, and since I can’t find the original podcast clip (since the organization went dormant) the one point that captured my memory was a story of a culture where the individual’s were focused on outdoing each other in kindness. The worth and sense of self was generated from acts of goodness, not in acts of dominance and acquisition like our society.

Maybe we’re not as advanced and culturally superior as we all think here in the First World. While we have material comfort, the other rots of a wealthy or affluent society are starting to show through. Like a pear that sat on the table, looking perfect for too long, the rot finally breaks out to the surface and when you go to pick up the pear, you realize that is’ rotten through the core.

I start to feel our society is like that pear, shiny on the outside, but rotten through the core, and maybe one way we can start to fix it is to try doing like the reading says: Do one true act of kindness out of love, and endeavor to do so without being noticed or acknowledged outright.

Ok, I’m done with my soapbox, I’ll step down now. Take care of yourself out there, and remember, to change the world, you must start with yourself, one good deed.

Sincerely, Duke