"NOT BUMPER STICKERS, BUT BUTT-KICKERS"
I was asked to prepare a topic for our Tuesday Al-Anon meeting. I chose a section from "Opening our Hearts - Transforming our Losses", the reader we use for this meeting.
I picked "Making use of the slogans", p. 148-149. A few sentences shouted out to me and gained my attention. Here are a few of them.
"...the simplicity of our slogans is what makes them so effective."
"If we are having a hard time focusing our attention, we can simply turn to the slogans."
"Al-Anon slogans and phrases are quick reminders for us to stop whatever we are doing and focus on some aspect of taking care of ourselves."
"When fears about the future bombard us, "One Day at a Time" and "Let Go and Let God" can help us focus on this day, this moment."
"Our slogans can help calm us when we are anxious."
The slogans serve me well when the s--t is hitting the fan and I am in crisis dealing with chaotic emotions and thoughts. These one-liners are often what come to mind when the head is swirling. The simplicity of the ideas they express make them manageable. Sometimes what I need to remember is to just KEEP IT SIMPLE or remind myself - EASY DOES IT!
Here are a few things I heard in this meeting.
The slogans aren't just bumpers stickers, they're butt-kickers.
The slogans aren't just slogans, they are profound advice.
Slogans are life savers - not concrete building blocks.
Even though these slogans are short, that is no indication that they are of lesser value.
We talked about LET IT BEGIN WITH ME. We needed to take responsibility for ourselves, for our own lives - that responsibility had to begin with each one of us.
I then thought about shortening this phrase to LET IT BE. I was thinking about how often I have to let things be what they are. If I am powerless and cannot control a situation or cure someone, then I need to let it be. (surrender) I can use the Serenity Prayer and ask God to grant me the courage to change anything I can and ask for the wisdom to know what that might be, but otherwise I need to accept it - LET IT BE.
I spent many years before recovery denying, distorting, ignoring my feelings. When I found recovery and had worked the 12 steps, I came to understand how important it was to feel my feelings. If I stuff them, they will corrupt me and make me sick. I also learned that if I allow my feelings expression, they will eventually pass.
JUST FOR TODAY I need to LET IT BE!
Another one-liner that can help put things in perspective is HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?
Is it a lump in your oatmeal?
Is it a lump in your throat?
Is it a lump in your breast?
A non recovery one-liner that a lot of us heard from our mothers was:
YOU MADE YOUR BED, NOW YOU MUST LIE IN IT.
Today, my response to this idea is that I don't have to lie in that bed. I can throw the bed out, sleep in a different bed, buy a new bed, or sleep on an inflatable mattress. I have learned new ways of dealing with life and I like it. :)