Sunday, March 25, 2012

Glorious Spring

The first of my tulips showed their flowery faces yesterday!  I think they are two weeks to a month early.  I am a bit worried about them.  If I were a wagering woman, I would gladly take the odds that they will be covered with snow before another two weeks has passed.    And then if I am wrong, I would be happy.

Yesterday I went out with my running group - it was a glorious morning.  When I was done with that, I went to a local mall and actually waited for the stores to open.  I purchased some new clothes which I need for work.  And wouldn't you know it?  They placed a Swarovski Crystal store on my way out of the mall, so I had to stop in and buy a bracelet.

When I got home, again I saw my neighbor out in my yard, cutting up the tree we cut down on Friday night.  I wanted to cry.  All I wanted to do was eat lunch, take a bath, and a nap and wait till it was time to go to church.  Instead, I changed into my working-in-the-yard clothes and helped her.  Some of you have said that you wouldn't do that.  But I think this points out the difference between a recovery program for an alcoholic and a recovery program for an Alanon.  Now, I can't speak for Alanon because I don't know that much about it.  But I can speak for being a recovering alcoholic.

And let me say that the last thing I would want to do is offend any of my readers who are members of Alanon.  I have tremendous respect for Alanon and its members - particularly the ones who read my blog!

You may have noticed that alcoholics are like a black hole, a whirlpool, a magnetic field.  We draw everything in.  Nothing ever comes back out.  We are self-centered in the extreme.  Taking away the alcohol does not really change this.  It only changes by conscious effort and the help of God.

I live alone.  I am extremely independent.  I am also used to everything being on my schedule, according to my needs and wishes.  When something varies from this, I balk.  But I must get over myself and go with the world according to the other 7 billion people from time to time.

I have a wonderful neighbor who loves to work outdoors.  She sits inside all day in her job just like I do.  When she gets off work, unlike me, she does not want to sit indoors and "rest."  She gets out and weeds and waters, builds things, tears down things, and generally works her butt off.  Occasionally, she will wander over the property line and help me to do these things that I have absolutely no desire to do. When she does, I am eternally grateful.

I can show my gratitude by changing my clothes and pretending to help her - work in my own yard!  I can hold the log still while she chain saws it.  I can carry around little sticks.  I can tie the top of the huge garbage bag full of twigs.  And when I am done with this, I can look around my yard at the lack of dead trees and the look of a clean, spruced-up place and have the good feeling that brings.

I know that other people have to learn how to say "no."  I am not one of them.  I have had to learn to say "yes."  It still is not the first word that comes out of my mouth.

I am dependent upon the Grace of God, because left to my own devices, I would be sitting alone in my house (or alone homeless) - drunk.  But by the Grace of God, I get to live sober among my fellows.  Phew!  That's a good deal!


Pammie said...

Thank you for such a wonderful explanation!
I want to say NO to everything that doesn't benefit me. The YES'S have all come from hard work and God.

Syd said...

I think that explains the difference well-- I had done what others wanted me to do most of my life, I had to learn to say no. It took a lot of practice and getting over guilt. Whatever path we are on is a good one aimed at recovery.

Anonymous said...

You got that right, Mary!

Lulu said...

Is it possible to be both an alcoholic and co-dependent?

I swear that I can be the most selfish jerk in the world, and then in a different situation be all worried about other people's feelings and filled with guilt when I haven't made things "right".

I was talking to my SIL last night (also in recovery) and I told her that my default mode is an "anti-serenity prayer" mode. I obsess about things out of my control and I don't do things I should that are in my control. Thank God, I go to meetings and am reminded of just how crazy I am. Haha!!

Annette said...

I love this explanation! Excellent post Mary. You know I say yes a lot and I have learned to say no more often....but I still strongly believe in team work! We all work together for the common good. Loved this post Mary. I want neighbors like you and Pam have!!!

John Harper said...

i really appreciate these words; just incredible insight. thanks for all you do, and all you are. we are getting better.

Anonymous said...

I think helping others when we would rather say no is not about Alanon. It's about being nice or kind or unselfish. So interesting to read this, because lately I have found myself thinking some people in Alanon use the excuse of self care to not help others when they should. Or they call simple human kindness enabling. I don't feel going out of my way for someone always has to be labeled co dependent. Enabling and codependent have almost lost their meaning, they are tossed about so much. I'm examining some of the slogans, and trying to discern what I really believe. Sorry to meander, but this has been on my mind, and your post brought it to the fore for me.

Maybe I'm at a point in Alanon where I'm not as "desperate" so I'm questioning more?? I don't know, but I appreciate the post because it made mt think.

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

Hmmm... leaves a lot to contemplate today, this automatic skew to say yes or no to our detriment.

There are alcoholics who are selfish to the extreme in their saying yes, and in saying no.

I guess it really is true that God knows our hearts, and it's only deep down inside that the truth can be found.

For some the yes is the most selfish thing we can say, for some it's no.