Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday 12/27/09 - "SERENITY IS..."
... a way of life absorbed slowly and practiced one day at a time...perspective...becoming aware of and accepting my many characteristics and not judging what's "bad" or "good" but what's useful to keep and what to release...a spiritual journey without a destination...the space between the impulse and the action...accepting what is...honoring my feelings without aiming them at someone else or letting them run my life..a gift I choose to give myself..."
(From "Hope for Today" December 25, p. 360, Al-Anon Family Groups)
What a perfect reflection for December 25th and for every other day.
What about the space between my impulse and action? Over the years that space has changed. I used to have emotions that erupted with such force and my impulse to action was so strong that I would find myself acting in ways that I would later regret.
My most intense emotions were feelings of being unloved, unlovable, rejected, abandoned, despair, and sadness. In response I would either feel burning hate or more often I turned that anger inward and experienced self-hatred, and suicidal thoughts. The space between the impulse to run from these feelings was almost instantaneous and I sought immediate relief. The quicker I could escape the better.
When I first found alcohol as my solution, I thought I was in heaven. I had been searching for 35 years for something that would work. Nothing did. Alcohol did. The space between my impulse and taking a drink was so short it could not be measured. This was good. It brought that instant relief I had been looking for. However, this solution failed me quickly and within a few years did not work at all and caused even more devastating feelings.
Then I found Alcoholics Anonymous and later Al-Anon. I worked the twelve steps in each program. In AA I found a power greater than myself that served not only to fill the space between that impulse and the action of drinking alcohol, but allowed me to not take that first drink and gave me the power to live life on life terms and find happiness.
Al-Anon gave me additional tools like the three As: awareness, acceptance, and action. They allow me to be aware that a negative impulse is trying to take hold of me, gives me the willingness to accept that impulse so I can look at it, and allows me the grace to reflect on what action I wish to take. I can think long enough to choose an appropriate, healthy, and loving response that does not hurt me or others.
This widening of the space between impulse and action allows me to experience serenity. Serenity and peace of mind are gifts of the program from my Higher Power that I value above most things. I thank God for them.