Tag: Forgiveness

Expectations Are What Leads To Misery

Expectations Are What Leads To Misery

You can’t control others, so having a set of expectations on them can only end in disappointment, usually.

One Day at a Time – January 3, 2020

Responsibilities, obligations and expectations are at the heart of my emotional Gordian knot concerning recovery and mental health. In truth the readings help, but they often act as more of a touchstone that allows me to start thinking. Today’s reading is a good example of this. The reading is an example and a summary of Loving Detachment. However, in recreating this reading, the idea that comes to the fore is that my mental mess is all centered around my expectations about other’s actions. In short, my expectations are what leads to misery, not somebody else’s actions.

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled “One Day At a Time In Al-Anon” available from Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local meeting. If you’re an introvert then go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the daily 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.

Today’s Reading

Why do I waste my precious time and energy trying to figure out what makes an alcoholic drink – why he doesn’t ‘consider his family, his obligations, his reputation? All I need to know is that he sufferers from a disease – alcoholism, the compulsion to drink. Why shouldn’t I have compassion for him and his illness when I am so ready to feel sorry fro people who have other diseases? Do I blame THEM? Why do I blame HIM? Can I cure him by reproaching him? Can I look into his heart and realize the true nature of his sufferings?

Today’s Reminder

The fact that I am the spouse, child, parent, or friend of an alcoholic does not give me the right to try to control him. I can only make the situation worse by treating him like an irresponsible naughty child.


“On this day I promise God and myself that
I will let go of the problem which is
destroying my peace of mind. I pray for
detachment from the situation, but not
from the suffering drinker who many be
helped to find the way to sobriety through
the change in my attitude and the love and
compassion I am able to express.”

Alleged Insight

What I get from this is probably not the thing I was supposed to understand. On the surface, this reading is about not trying to fix others, to control their recovery and ultimately to let go and let God. The whole of the reading can be summarized by the concept of Loving Detachment .

However, in reading and thinking my way through this one today, all I am getting out of it is our roles and obligations and the expectations we have of other people and their actions is where the disconnect comes from. In truth I am having a rough day today, and part of it is related to this expectation mindset. The rest is quite simply an issue of stress and deadlines from work.

Closing Thoughts

The only one you can truly directly affect in this world is yourself. Your actions may indirectly (or directly in some cases of physical contact) impact another individual but at the root of the issue, they choose their responses (intentionally or subconsciously) to your actions and choices.

I wonder who is completely able to function at this level, aware of their every choice to respond each situation rather than operating at a reactive level.

Today is hard, but typing this has helped. It’s only a month late so I guess I’m not losing ground as fast as I thought I was. Until the next post, and take care of yourself out there.


What in God’s Name is Loving Detachment?

What in God’s Name is Loving Detachment?

Photo by Shaojie on Unsplash

Oh, there are so many definitions on the web of what loving detachment is. I first came across the idea when I really started to try to understand how to live in the same house as my father when I was older than young, but younger than old and he was still alive.

There were so many times that I just wanted to give up, to write off my father, and by extension my whole family, move back across the country and start over without all their drama and problems.

Guess what? I didn’t do that, although it came closer than I’d care to remember, more than a few times. Guess what else? I would have succeeded only in getting some personal space. His problems, their problems had become my problems. I didn’t know that at the time, but it was truer than true.

That is the doctrine of the alcoholic family. It was his drinking, but it was OUR problem by the end of it. The patterns we see as children, we tend to repeat as adults. In the alcoholic family, there is rage, temper, isolation, accusation, and all other manners of unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I learned them all, I was a good student.

Literal Definition:

Quite simply, and literally, Loving Detachment is the ability to care about someone, without being the one who cares for them. You are not responsible for the consequences of their actions. That’s it, as distilled as I can make it.


Leading or walking beside a partner? In loving detachment, you are walking with your significant other or partner; you can either be walking with them, or you can be leading your partner. If you’re leading, choosing, directing and guiding a person, you are not detached and supportive, you are controlling (or at least trying to control them).

Supporting child or doing it for them? Oh, parenting, almost as challenging as marrying an alcoholic, but the rewards are different. So, where does the loving detachment come in here? Children are naturally risk takers, and as parents we tend to defray those costs to our children. We literally keep them from harm, and shelter them from the consequences. But where does the point come at which it’s time for them to carry their own burdens? If I am waking my sixteen year old up every day and making his lunch, packing his books and chivying him into his seat at class, that’s probably too far, but to do so for my grade three boy? At some point we as parents have to come to the decision that our child is ready and it’s time to detach, with love, and let them carry their own books and schedules.


If you’re in a place where somebody else’s activities are affecting your ability to live your life. Well, then it’s time to step back, mentally that is. I know you that you still care for them, in my case Love is the correct term, but trying to disentangle your emotions and responses from those actions of your loved one is the key here. “Boundaries” is a great read and it was so very eye-opening when I was in that place when I needed to put up my walls. Still caring about a person while not totally taking care of them including their consequences, it’s tricky, really really a delicate situation. To find that balance between supporting and taking over, I’m still struggling with that one, but that’s the point you’re aiming for. Basically you’re going to try to put an over-watch on your own mind, keep vigil over your own self. I guess that’s at the core of this whole muddle, you need to look to your own self first, and have a second level care to what and how you’re thinking of all things.

In Conclusion?

The concepts in Al-Anon are big; bigger than big; and they can apply across your whole spectrum of life, not just in the recovery from Alcoholism frame of mind. Loving detachment is one such concept. To be supportive of a person means to lift them up. While the mess I so often find myself in is that of trying not to support a person but to save them from the consequences of their own actions. That’s the difference; supporting someone rather than protecting and saving them from the consequences of their actions.

I guess that’s about it. I’ll leave off and get back to the other things I am supposed to be doing today.


Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Changing Your Perspective Can Help

Seeing it all clearly can allow you to understand the whole picture, and how you fit into it.

One Day at a Time – January 2, 2020

Hindsight is 20-20. Seeing something from a vantage point of knowing the outcome usually gives us insight we never would or could have had were we to access it during the moment. Life is a linear experience, usually, and as I saw somewhere, in life, you get the test, then the lesson. The benefit of getting the test and then the lesson is that it forces you to shift your perspective. Literally, you get to see the results of your test and how it applies to the lesson you were supposed to learn. In real life, changing your perspective is one of the most powerful tools you have in your toolbox to effect the changes you need to make. Changing your perspective can help, it really really can.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled “One Day At a Time In Al-Anon” available from Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local meeting.  If you’re an introvert then go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the daily 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.

Today’s Reading

If I were to sit down in a quiet corner and look back over my troubled life as though I were examining the life of someone else, or reading about it in a book, how would it appear to me? I know I can do this only by guarding against all self-justification; looking at the facts honestly. Have I said or done things in haste, anger or desperation that made my situation worse? Are there things I recall with regret? We learn only from experience, and only by making up our minds not to repeat past mistakes.

Today’s Reminder

I will not fall in with the alcoholic’s craving for punishment to relieve his guilt. I will not scold and weep, for it will not help me overcome the difficulties we are trapped in. I will try hard to deal with my day by day difficulties with quiet poise, remembering always that I am doing this for my own benefit.


“When I am tempted or pressured into irrational
behaviour, I pray that I may stop and think before
I do or say anything whatever. I ask God to
Remove these impulses and help me to grow into the
person I want to be.”

Alleged Insight

Oh man, where the hell to start? Look, I know this post is late, no excuses, it’s now January 31, 2019, and truthfully even when I thought to post, I was unable to.

Frozen in fear, paralyzed and over-analytical. Now it’s so far past the day that there’s no real chance to catch-up, yet here I am, trying again. That’s the take away from this. To sit back, attempt to understand, and then try again, and again.

Each morning that you awaken to a new day is another chance to choose the positive. I keep trying that. Life is BUSY. Kids are CHAOTIC. My world is literally running flat out most days.

As an example, right now I have the littlest two at home because they’re not old enough to go to school, the next two because they didn’t feel like participating in the extra-curricular activities that the school had planned for today (cross country skiing at +2 Celcius in sleet and slush mess. I can’t fault them for choosing to stay home and skip school today. Anyhow, from that aside, I have four kids at home, I’m clearing out to renovate a pair of the bedrooms, and dinner prep is starting right quick here. This is on top of the usual daily maintenance for seven people and their crap.

It’s not about the crazy however, and acknowledging the sense of failure as just the feelings that it is, shifting perspective can allow me to climb back on this horse and get moving again.

Closing Thoughts

Somewhere I read that the biggest saboteur of my own success is my own mind. I can run with my feelings, getting stuck in my own mental ruts, or I can jump the track, get a fresh perspective and get back to work.
My tentative goal is to push through a couple of simple, emotionally loaded posts per day until I catch up. If I can gain three or four in a week I’ll call it a success. In addition, there are other posts that are formulating, percolating and getting created as I work through my own crap, which will see daylight occasionally.

You can do this, and I believe I can as well. Cheers. 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.


“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.

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.

Pause to find the beauty of life in the smallest of moments

Pause to find the beauty of life in the smallest of moments

Courage To Change – October 20, 2019

Life is busy, insanely so most of the time. With technology driving us at an even faster and more connected pace, I find the need to pause becoming even more compelling. When life has been reduced to a blur of images and impressions, taking a moment to find the beauty in life allows a reset at my deepest levels. A bird in flight, a child’s smile, a fully formed flower, life will impress you and leave you speechless, if only you pause for a moment to see 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.
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 by David Clode on Unsplash

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Today’s Reading

As a child I would get down on my hand sand knees for the longest time, just to watch a caterpillar crawl around. It never seemed to go very far, yet I patiently waited just in case it should do something spectacular. It never did, but I didn’t mind, because simply watching this peculiar looking creature gave me pleasure.

Remembering this makes me question how many such precious moments are passing me by unnoticed because I am so focused on other things. Before Al-Anon, I spent years ignoring life’s beauty because I was too busy trying to get all the alcoholics’ to stop drinking, and in recovery I’ve lost many, many hours waiting to solve a problem or be freed of a character defect. Today I am learning to make room in my life for the wonder life has to offer.

Today’s reminder

I am learning to choose where to focus my attention. Appreciating life’s simple gifts may take some practice, but as I become more aware of the beauty that is all around me, it gets easier to appreciate the beauty within.

“Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful…”

Just for Today

Alleged Insight:

Where to start? Yeah, guilty of this big time. The reading isn’t 100% accurate for an ACOA or y’know, not the actively chasing and battling an alcoholics’ behavior. But the mindset still applies. Getting lost in waiting, busyness of life, and general chaos.

Have you ever just stopped and watched the honeybee flitting across the dandelions that come up in spring? Does the baby’s (or toddler’s) laugh get overlooked in the noise of life? How many moments do you catch in a day, how many do you miss? It takes a good intentional focus to pick up on them, otherwise they get lost in the chaos.

To be constantly hemmed in by other’s perceptions, external pressures and society’s demands, it’s exhausting; but more importantly, it’s draining on a physical and psychic level. To recovery our physical energy we need good food, and proper sleep (two things that are in increasingly short supply, inversely proportional to the number of children you have).

How do you recover your mental energy, that driving fuel of the spirit, the desire to get up and be okay, to feel good and content/happy/complete? Well, the world will provide, but you need to take the time to find it. You need to pause for a moment in the middle of the busy noise and find the beautiful moments that spark joy and replenish your soul in life.

Closing thoughts:

Children are a joy, life is a blessing, and chaos in the normal state. Sometimes you need to take a moment for yourself to see the beauty. You should not feel guilty for taking that moment. Without the depth of character and identity created when you take that time to round out yourself, you will end up feeling like a transparent version of yourself, washed out and maybe only half a person. We all need those moments of joy and blessing that God bestows on us when we least expect it.


External Links:

A song that comes to mind from this reading is here:

George Strait – I Saw God Today



Forgiveness is the Key to Your Serenity

Forgiveness is the Key to Your Serenity

Courage To Change — October 15, 2019

Our lives are often tangled messes. Webs of resentment, regret, shame and discontent are so tangled and extensive that finding a string to start unraveling the whole often means getting strangled by the rest of the strings that still hold us fast. Forgiveness is the key to understanding the big picture; which threads to pull to loosen the whole knot. Forgiveness is not about proving anything, or about actual redemption, but about letting go. It’s for you, the forgiver, not for the forgiven. Forgiveness is the key to freedom, your freedom, of spirit, mind and body.

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.

Credit: Pixabay


Today’s Reading

The most loving form of detachment I have found has been forgiveness. Instead of thinking of it as an eraser to wipe another’s slate clean or a gavel that I pound to pronounce someone “Not Guilty,” I think of forgiveness as scissors. I use it to cut the strings of resentment that bind me to a problem or a past hurt. By releasing resentment, I set myself free.

When I am consumed with negativity over another person’s behavior, I have lost my focus. I needn’t tolerate what I consider unacceptable, but wallowing in negativity will not alter the situation. If there is action to take, I am free to take it. Where I am powerless to change the situation, I will turn it over to my Higher Power. By truly letting go, I detach and forgive.

When my thoughts are full of bitterness, fear, self-pity, and dreams of revenge, there is little room for love or for the quiet voice of guidance within me. I am willing to love myself enough to admit that resentments hold me back, and then I can let them go.

Today’s reminder

Every time I try to tighten the noose of resentment around someone’s neck, I am really only choking myself. Today I will practice forgiveness instead.

“A part of me wants to cling to old resentments, but I know that the more I forgive, the better my life works.

. . . In All Our Affairs

Alleged Insight:

I am so very guilty of this. Focusing on other’s behavior and actions rather than on my own self and soul. The poor me, pity train is a hard one to derail. When you wake up in the morning, you’ve a full day ahead of you, a gift from God, which is why it’s often referred to as the Present. Live life to the fullest, enjoying your Present. Holding on to the past is like trying to pull on the water that’s gone beneath the bridge. The past has passed, and it’s gone. The only things left from the past are those things that we learn, remember and cling to.

While there’s no harm in memories, focusing on them, obsessing over them is literally pointless. You’re sacrificing today’s joy for yesterday’s pain. To be truly free to live your life and be the best possible version of yourself, focus on the good from the past and make notes of your own shortcomings so you can maybe learn and grow.

Others may change because of your feelings on things; it’s possible, if they are so inclined; but the reality is that most people are who they are. Without a major external influence, most people are just going to go on being themselves, regardless of how you feel about things. Thus holding onto your feelings about other peoples actions is kinda like drinking the poison so the other guy will die.

Closing thoughts:

The point of life is to do good, to serve others and our sense of well being (true happiness) is not found in acquiring or possessing, but in serving and supporting. True freedom comes from letting the past lay where it fell, learning the lessons it imparts, and growing from the experience. Once you’re past something, it’s power over you is solely determined by your choice to let it affect you.


At the end of the day

In every way,

You can choose to be

For all to see,

Gracious and Awesome