Growth in Many Forms

I have been monitoring a Wednesday night AA meeting for just shy of 3.5 years. Last night when I got there, one of the old timers asked if I had a minute to chat. So we ventured to the front room where we sat. He proceeded to tell me how he loved my meeting- it was one of his favorites- and that he appreciated my service. In the next breath he went on to saw that “they” like to give lots of people the opportunity to monitor and a guy with six months wanted to step in and monitor that particular meeting. I said okay and thank you and just like that it was over.

Now that I’ve had some time to process ( I have rarely been one to think on my feet and my past tells me that when I have, my mouth tends to get me in deeper than if I had remained silent), I’ve come to some conclusions.

In the past, if someone asked me to speak in private, my heart would race, I would feel defensive, and my mind would kick into overdrive searching for what I did that was wrong, offensive, inappropriate, etc.

But that didn’t happen. I was calm and open-minded.  I took what he had to say as this is a natural transformation in our group. I didn’t look at it as a “punishment” or an “I’m not worthy moment.” In fact, I felt a bit relieved because I have numerous commitments this summer that would require me to either make a choice between the meeting or say one of my son’s baseball games or find someone to fill in which stirs up the old tape of not fulfilling my obligation. This is huge for me in terms of personal growth.

I wasn’t angry nor did I feel short-changed. I didn’t question why I didn’t get to be a part of the discussion and why this was decided for me. I didn’t internalize feelings of lack either.

When some members approached me after the meeting and inquired why I was moving on, I explained the scenario.  The reactions were varied: mostly anger directed at the old-timer. “How dare he make this decision?” “Who does he think HE is?” “We don’t have a president here!”

In all honesty, the only two feelings I have are relief and fear. Relief for the reasons above. The fear is my own. Wednesdays have been MY anchor, my absolute, my no excuses get to the meeting people are counting on you. Without that sense of obligation, I worried about what I would do. Would I slip away from AA slowly but surely? Would I become bitter? Would I find myself going without a meeting for weeks on end? What did this mean for my sobriety?

What I have come to conclude is that all things happen for a reason. Giving up being a monitor isn’t going to make me relapse. Not having that duty won’t be the reason I slip away. Actually, I feel I have more freedom now because I used to fret before the meetings to pick a good reading, have enough coffee on, debate to nauseum who would do the opening readings.

I am free now to go and to sit and to relax and to grow. Growth comes in many ways and this is just one more of them. For that, I am grateful.  🙂




Dropping Illusions

It’s been a long time since I have blogged—over a year. I am happy to report in that time, I have stayed sober, continued with my meetings, stayed with my therapist and have joined a women’s addiction group that meets twice a month. It ahas been a long journey with lots of growth and discovery. Nothing major has changed- no divorce, no moves, no new jobs, no more children, and thankfully no deaths.

What this gift of sobriety has given me in this lull is the ability to take a look inward and to see what illusions I had that I’ve learned to abandon. One of the most significant ones is that for decades, I subscribed to a damning, malicious, All- Powerful God the Father.  I have struggled in my recovery to redefine who my HP is. But before I could redefine him, I had to figure out what I thought he was, break that down, determine what I wanted, breathe, and seek.

Digging deep, I learned from a young age, that God was looking down at me from the great beyond and was judging every step I took, every breath I took, every move I made, every smiled I faked (cue Police music here). I lived in fear that if I died, I would surely go to hell. I hadn’t done enough good in my time here on earth. I sought out my flaws and imperfections, I constantly compared myself to others- looks, clothes, money, job, house, car- and I always fell short. I just didn’t know how to live. I thought I did, but when I would get on a roll, self-sabotage would set in. I believed for some time, that good things only happened to good people, and since I perceived myself as bad, anything positive must have been a fluke- even God wasn’t perfect in that concept.

Breaking down that illusion has come at a price. I left the church I attended giving up my role as Cathechism Director. This was a risky move as I am in a small town and people (including family) talk. My kids still attend with my husband, and it was a fine line to walk as to why mom didn’t have to go and they did.  I knew they needed to have some faith base, and this was one I was going to have to turn over to my husband while I began my quest. I wandered into a few different, more progressive churches but I still didn’t find what I was searching for. So I turned inward.

I’ve had to flush out years of doctrine that simply wasn’t true: Despite what I was dictated, I can be a wife, a mom, a teacher, but I can also be intelligent, kind, steadfast in my beliefs, a leader, respected and most importantly, wrong without shameful feelings. I also had to recognize that I may never have a big bang moment where the bush is on fire and a loud booming voice directs my steps. That irritated me. I wanted to believe someone was going to rescue me and that if I just did the next right thing, this powerful moment would happen, the stars would align, life would fall into place and I could sing kumbaya.

But alas. No fire extinguisher was needed. I had to go on living and navigate my way through this spiritual tango. However, I am grateful it hasn’t been a quick, swift redefinition. I would have missed some details along the way. I needed to look at the whys of how I thought and to figure out where the Truth was and discard the rest. I had to give myself permission to think very differently from how I was raised and to leave the guilt on the shore.  I had to embrace my HP as something greater than myself but with good intentions for me. I now see my HP as a powerful surge of energy that helps to align and synchronize events for the best possible outcome. I can honestly say that jealousy which used to run my mind is a thing of the past. I really believe now that we all have gifts and talents. When someone wins an award, it isn’t because I am not good enough, but rather it’s because she is! That award isn’t in my plan and to yearn for that is, in short, wasted energy and a distraction for when my time will come. If I look to my universe as being molecules of energy bumping into each other and finding like-willed molecules to join, I will have achieved happiness- and to some degree a deeper joy. Most of all, I have peace. I have discovered I don’t need to have an answer RIGHT NOW! The answer will evolve and if I am good-intentioned, a positive result will ensue.

Today, dropping the illusions of what used to be has been freeing. I breathe deeper, I sleep better, my blood pressure is low, I can stop and feel my feelings, I step back now and look for deeper meanings rather than react. In other words, I leave the spoon on the rest and let the pot cook itself.

It feels good to blog again. I hope all is well in your universe. Feel free to drop a comment about your spiritual journey. I’d love to hear about it.