Anonymous Acts by my HP

“God is no stranger to anonymity and often appears in human affairs in the guises of “luck,” “chance,” or “coincidence.” If anonymity, somewhat fortuitously, became the spiritual basis for all of our traditions, perhaps God was acting anonymously on our behalf.”
– Daily Reflections 11/25/14

I like how this talks about luck, chance, and coincidence as being anonymous acts by a higher power. I like to live with this notion that my higher power is always watching over me and taking care of me if I do the work to connect to him.

If my higher power is my guide then I will take his lead and do my best today to do random acts of kindness, work a program, and do my best to help the still suffering alcoholic while sticking to the tradition of anonymity.

It’s not about receiving praise for my acts, but just to be of service and I end up receiving more than I could imagine. ILML!

-JasonW

Gratitude Trumps Expectations

“It is hard to appreciate what is, when we are holding certain expectations of what should be…” Attitudes of Gratitude in Love

This is why making gratitude lists – and sharing them with others – is so vital for me. It puts my focus on all the gifts I currently have in my life, how truly blessed I already am. I wake up each morning, and the first thing I think is, “I’m alive again, how lucky.” Then I think “I’m sober and didn’t create chaos last night, awesome.” Then all the other great stuff starts seeping into my consciousness (health, home, wife, kids, work, etc). When I focus on gratitude, unmet expectations are less likely to be so important. ILML!

-JamieQ

If It’s Not Loving…

Recently a Sponsee called me and asked me about some behavior his spouse had engaged in, and proposed a text response. In reading it, I explained that it felt like he was reacting from hurt, blaming, justifying and his ego was running the show. I could say that because I spotted behavior I’ve engaged in too many times to count with my spouse. He asked me to help him discover how he should respond and we agreed upon a more loving, kind response. In thinking about all of it I then sent home the following email and thought it may help someone out there, going through a similar situation. Enjoy!

———————-

If it’s not a loving thought, it’s your disease and ego talking to you.

Oh wait, what about being a doormat? Simple. If you feel you’re a doormat, act, speak and behave exactly the opposite of how you think the other is treating you. In other words, respond EXTRA loving. This is STEP#1. Be sure not to react, blame them, or explain your hurt feelings at this time. Just be 100% loving and in gratitude.

Then write everything that happened down on paper. STEP#2. What you did. How they reacted. How their reaction made you feel (like a doormat, for example). What it affected (financial, emotional, self-esteem, etc).

Then call your sponsor. This is STEP#3. Tell them that you felt someone treated you like a doormat and you feel that you may need to set some boundaries. Read to them what you wrote AND tell them the contrary (loving) action you took. Now tell them what boundaries you think you need to set in the relationship and (1) When you would like to set them, and (2) How you would like to inform the other person of these boundaries.

Assuming your sponsor agrees with you, now write down what you would say to that person to make them aware of your boundaries, remembering that these boundaries are for us, and not a tool which allows us to tell them they must honor them or else. Rather we say something like this (provided we have our sponsor’s blessing):

I wanted to tell you something going on with me. I was hoping I could speak for a minute without interruption, then I’m happy to hear your input, would that be ok? Great, thank you. When people ——- (yell at me, raise their hand in anger, put me down in front of others, etc) it makes me feel —— (bad, sad, hurt, uncomfortable, less than, angry, etc). Recently when you —- (told me I was a selfish idiot in front of our neighbor, cornered me in the kitchen and yelled at me, etc), I felt —- (bad, sad, hurt, uncomfortable, less than, angry, etc). I wanted to let you know that I am not expecting it to never happen again, but felt it only fair to let you to know that if it does I will need to —– (walk out of the room, sleep at a friends, leave the relationship, etc). I care deeply about us, but feel that I need to take this action in order to love and respect myself. I’d love to hear how you feel. (Now allow them to talk uninterrupted as long as they need to and don’t respond other than saying ‘thank you for sharing’. If they push you for a response, let them know you need some time to think about it, then call your sponsor).

Above is just a general guideline. Remember, chances are that explaining boundaries will be interpreted as a threat – that’s because it really is. It’s a statement saying “if you do this, I intend to do this”. So fully expect the other person to be angry and probably threaten you back. That would be a normal response. Don’t react to them. Again, if it gets too volatile, leave the room.

Also, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Most folks tend to want to set boundaries when what they should be doing is changing their behavior – it’s common that their behavior is the reason why the other reacted poorly to begin with.

2. Often times the other person’s behavior (which resulted in the desire to set a boundary) is vague. I’ve heard others say things like “she is disrespectful, he doesn’t care about me, she is selfish, etc”. It’s inappropriate to set boundaries around these things. Everyone is selfish, disrespectful, and uncaring at times. However, if there is some disrespectful or selfish behavior that repetitively occurs (they gamble away their paycheck, they call me fat all the time, they never help with the housework, etc), and you’ve spoken with your sponsor to determine that setting a boundary is the most appropriate way to handle it, then by all means do the work above to set one.

3. Often time the consequences for the other’s action is disproportionate to the crime. For example, “if you yell at me again I’ll move out and divorce you”. That’s why it’s important to work with your sponsor on setting boundaries PRIOR to confronting another with them.

And finally, remember that out dis-ease and ego conspire to manipulate the tools of our program in order to control others – getting them to do what we would like so we feel better. This subtle form of self-deception is often at the root of our inability to form and maintain meaningful, healthy relationships that allow us to love, and be loved, by others. Be watchful to see who is sitting at the committee table in your mind.

- JamieQ

Happy Yesterdays & Hope-filled Tomorrow

“… yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision… (but) today well-lived, makes yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” Kalidasa 12 Step Prayer Book

So how do I “well-live” each day? Easy. I operate from a place of love. What does that mean? Simple.

Before acting or speaking I ask myself if what I am about to do or say is respectful towards others. If not, I stop myself before I create damage. The truth is that I know what’s right, kind and loving – we all do.

The days when I’m spiritually fit enough to be loving in all my affairs are the ones in which I create happy yesterdays and hope-filled tomorrows. ILML!

Knowing When to Surrender

“I can let go of the parts of my life that are not under my control and I can take charge of the parts that are”. Courage to Change

This reading helps me remember that whenever I find myself struggling (frustrated, angry, confused, or depressed about something), I can simply ask myself:

“Is this something I have control over?”

If the answer is yes, then I can write out the ways in which I can affect the situation. Then I can share these with my sponsor and, if any of them appear to be helpful, I can follow up with action.

Alternatively, if I discover that I have no control over the person or situation, or the options of actions I can take seem unwise at the moment (based on the conversation with my sponsor), then I can just look up and say:

“Oh well God, this one’s in your court. I trust you to take care of this in your own time. Meanwhile I’ll go out there and take some actions that will help me continue loving this life you’ve given me. “

- JamieQ

Being a Kind Person

“Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings … But we saw that it really worked…” Big Book

My ego fights against taking these actions because doing so uncovers my wrongs, showing me I’m not nearly as perfect as I often think I am. This is my path back to being right-sized or humble. People really don’t like me when I am arrogant, righteous or act like I know it all. Working the program daily aids me in being a kind person that others like and respect. A loving dad, husband, brother, son, employer, friend. These are what I aspire towards. ILML!

- JamieQ

I Have a God Room

“When someone says something to me and I have a strong reaction… I stop and visualize two doors. One is marked… “My will.” The other… “God’s will.” I imagine opening mine… (and seeing the consequences). Then I close my door and open God’s.” – Hope For Today

Sometimes I still choose and hang out in the ‘My Will’ room, and the results are always the same – I end up less happy than hanging out with my HP. The great news is that I have a God room in my house today, and I hang out there quite often. Choosing to go in when I’m feeling reactive is not easy, but the more consistently I practice my program, the easier it gets. ILML!

- JamieQ