Tradition 2 – Episode 60

At the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Spencer and Adrienne discuss Tradition 2, which says “For our group purpose, there is but one authority – a loving god as He may express Himself in our group conscience.  Our leaders are but trusted servants – they do not govern.” Which, when you think about it, is a pretty radical statement. Have you been in any other groups that functioned without “leaders”?  What does it mean that our leaders are “trusted servants?”

We start with a reading from the blog al-anon journal about Tradition 2. Our discussion was shaped by these thoughts and questions:

  • From Courage to Change Page 215:
    • We strive to conduct our meetings as a fellowship of equals and to practice rotation of leadership. No single member has the right to take charge.
    • When I insist on having my way, I am tampering with the spiritual nature of AlAnon as a whole
    • Any attempt to manage or direct is likely to have disastrous consequences for Group Harmony
  • Why do we have this tradition?
  • How can it work? Can it really work to have no one person deciding how things will be?
  • What is a “group conscience?” How is it determined?
  • Is this sort of like Steps 2 & 3 for the group?
  • How can you use this tradition in your personal life?
    • In relationships
    • At work
    • With friends
  • How does Tradition 2 support Tradition 1 (welfare of the group comes first)?
  • Does this tradition remind me to not “take charge”?
  • What is a “trusted servant?” How do you lead without governing?

Our topic for next week is the question “is it Intuition or the Will of my Higher Power?” How do we hear our Higher Power’s will, which we are told to ask for in Step 11? Is our intuition the same thing? What do you think? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Continue reading “Tradition 2 – Episode 60”

acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.

 

“Every good thought you think is contributing its share to the ultimate result of your life.”
Grenville Kleiser, Courage to Change P. 176
My first months in program, I couldn’t gather new tools fast enough. I tried everything I could, anything anyone recommended. One of the personal methods suggested was to repeat to myself; “I am good. I am unique. I am beautiful. I love you,” while looking in a mirror. I had the initial thought that it was cheesy, something crazy people said to themselves. Well, I was feeling crazy, so I took a deep breath, and said it out loud to my reflection. With my low self-worth and self-esteem, I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt awkward, embarrassed and ashamed even in the privacy of my home.
In spite of my mixed emotions, I said each of these four sentences again and again, day after day. I would say it in my car rear-view mirror while stopped at a light, (heaven forbid, never when another car was beside me) worried that someone might see me talking to myself. Faithfully, I kept repeating these phrases even without a mirror, now memorized by rote from many weeks of repetition. The words almost became a mantra.  Internally, I didn’t approach the place of transforming love I had expected to reach (and I expected to reach someplace, anyplace, much sooner). I felt no comfort from my repeated efforts over time.
Disheartened, I concluded that saying these simple things could not possibly work and there was no use in continuing. As time in recovery went by, I would occasionally break out a simple, “I love you.” in the mirror. Still, after all this time, I felt the awkwardness spread through me and my stomach tensed as I looked away. Forgotten in the depths of my mind (lost in one of those bad neighborhoods) my affirmations faded, though I continued going to meetings.
When I experienced what seemed like a long period of no growth in my program, I figured I had plateaued. A friend shared during a meeting that change, lasting change, happens on her Higher Power’s time. All she needs to do is her footwork, go to meetings and be patient. This stuck in my brain like a burr. It would not go away. It echoed in my head daily.
That summer I went on an eight mile walk, in eighty degree heat.  I rested, but I had run out of water about 3 miles from home. Dehydrated, I arrived at my house, filled up on water and poured an ice-cold glass of milk. I sat down in front of my computer. I reached for my mug of milk, my hand moved way too fast, and I spilled the white liquid all over my laptop. The screen went half black, the other half froze and I turned the laptop on its side, unplugged it, and ejected the battery.
Anger rushed through me. Powerlessness surrounded me. The feelings were coming and I couldn’t stop them. I felt overwhelmed. I had heard so many times not to try to stop feelings. It was best to recognize them, feel them and let them go. But I made a mistake! And not just a little one! How could I of all people, be human? The turmoil inside me swirled. Old tapes told me to shame myself. New behaviors told me to laugh and accept it. Before program I would spend months, even years beating myself up over such an incident. Which direction should I take? Help me God, what do I do, where do I go?
The mirror. The mirror? Now? Really? My gut feeling was to walk into the living room and stand in front of the mirror. I felt nudged. I looked deep into my own panicked eyes and said, “I love you, Scott and there’s nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you.” There was no awkward pause, no feeling of inadequacy. I held my gaze and didn’t look away. A wave of gratitude washed over me. Tears welled in my eyes as I cried and laughed at the same time. My gaze was unwavering until it was blurry and I couldn’t see. Thank-you, God. Thank-you. I kept thinking that the feeling would leave, but there it was; solid in my Higher Power’s Love.
Only in looking back from now can I see that everything contributed to my growth; every meeting, every coffee, lunch and potluck. Each email, text and affirmation. Every conversation, every call to my sponsors, every vulnerable moment. All the Concepts, Traditions and every Step along the way. My Higher Power takes it all in and uses my experiences to change me into who I’m meant to be.
A meditation for October 16, 2013.

Continue reading “acceptance – a guest meditation by Scott B.”

self – a meditation

 

It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey.

Ella Maillart

What I find most beautiful about this quote is that it doesn’t say that I need to be someone different at the end of the journey. What I see in this quote is that spiritual growth is not about changing into someone else, at all. It’s about becoming more myself. This is something I feel is true with every passing day in recovery. Sometimes I think to myself that I’m not recovering, I am uncovering. That, I seek out the person I am under all of my fears and resentments and anger. I used to reject that person because I thought that person was weak and unloveable. I thought that acting on fears or anger makes me strong. But I realize that it’s those anger-based actions that have brought me the most suffering because I am not being myself. I do not believe I am an angry person or a scared person. I am a person that can feel angry or scared, but basing my whole life on those two emotions has brought a lot of imbalance in my life. Once I became more aware of myself, I am able to feel fear and angry and choose to act out of love for myself.

A meditation for October 09,2013

Continue reading “self – a meditation”

amends – a meditation

 

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.

John Green, Looking for Alaska

I have had a lot of anger towards loved ones in the past. I remember that I used to write down the resentments against them when I took my inventory. I was so upset from the harms that I perceived had been committed against me – even if they were decades old. I had heard in the meeting rooms that forgiveness is key to finding peace. And I kept telling myself to forgive these people. I would even chant it to myself or act as if I had forgiven them. Nothing helped. My resentments remained and I felt frustrated.

Eventually, I got to the 8th Step in my Stepwork with my Sponsor. To do the 8th Step, I had to make a list of all persons I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all. I listed everyone on my resentment list and listed my anger and judgment against them to be reasons for my amends. Thankfully, I had a wonderful Sponsor that asked me where my amends to myself was on the list. I realized I had no amends to myself – not really. I had hastily scribbled my name on the last page in the margin. My Sponsor reminded me that I was not really honoring  and respecting myself by ignoring my self-amends. I took her suggestion and sat and wrote a proper amends to myself. In the amends, I apologized for not standing up for myself in the past. I apologized for lying about my feelings  to myself and others. I apologized for ignoring my own needs. I apologized for giving up my power to other people. And then I cried because I had just been given an amends by the one person with whom I actually angry, myself.

As I cried, the pain left me and the suffering left me and my wounds started to close. Since then, every day that I am honest about my feelings, every time I honor my needs, and every time I stand up for myself, the wounds close a little more and open up more space for gratitude and love and even more forgiveness. And as I heal and forgive myself, forgiveness for others comes so easily. I think this is because my reality exists within me and I project that reality onto the world around me. Now that my reality is that I am responsible for loving myself, so I am able to seeking external validation and resenting people when I do not receive it.

Today, my Higher Power blessed me with happiness and peace as well as pain and fear. All four blessings are always present for me; some offer comfort and some offer opportunity. When I can see all of these as equal, one not better than another, I can stop feeling like a victim and be accepting, grateful, and forgiving.

A meditation for September 29, 2013

Continue reading “amends – a meditation”

be – a meditation

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Max Erhmann

 

There are so many beautiful messages in this poem. I feel that every time I read it, I read something that speaks to exactly what I am feeling in that moment. So, today, I put it to you, reader; what does this text invoke in you? Please share your experience, strength, and hope as a comment on this meditation with your thoughts on how this poem touches you.

A meditation for September 21, 2013.

Continue reading “be – a meditation”