This morning's reading in "One Day at a Time," an Al-Anon book of daily readings, really spoke to me. It said:
"This year is a book of clean blank pages on which I will write a record of my experiences and my growth through the daily use of the Al-Anon idea.... If I allow myself to be influenced by what the alcoholic says and does, it will make blots and smears on the pages of my year. This I will try to avoid at all costs.
Today's Reminder: I can live my life only one day at a time. Perhaps my confusion and despair are so great that I will have to take it one hour at a time, or one minute at a time, reminding myself constantly that I have authority over no life but my own.
'Realizing that nothing can hurt me while I lean upon my Higher Power, I ask to be guided through the hours and minutes of each day. Let me remind myself to bring every problem to Him for I know He will show me the way I must go.'"
I picked up my daughter (aka my qualifier) from the airport last night. I was on the phone with my sponsor within the half-hour. I might have called sooner--like within the first five minutes--except my daughter and I were in the car together. As soon as I got us to the house, I went in search of a private spot to make the call.
So today, the idea of clean fresh pages seemed particularly appealing to me. I need to remind myself that I need not be influenced by what my alcoholic says or does. I want to remember to stop when doubtful or agitated and ask my higher power for the next right thought or action.
But having a good sponsor really helps me to sort out what the next right thought or action is.
I have to confess that my problem was partly one of expectations. Expectations of what this visit would be like. That she might be different and at least I would be. I had envisioned us coming together cumbaya like, holding hands and singing songs.
What was I thinking?
This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful, and it's been doing push ups in the back of my head just waiting for an opportunity. It nearly threw me. But I picked up the phone and my sponsor answered, and in about five minutes I was back on the beam.
That five minute conversation changed everything. Don't ask me how. It's a mystery to me. But I came out of the room and had a very different conversation with my daughter. She behaved differently when I behaved differently. It's a little spooky really, how well the tools of this program work when you use them.
I can only say that my sponsor helped me sort out what was reasonable, what was my part, what wasn't. She makes it sound so easy, so reasonable, I always hang up the phone wondering why I couldn't figure that out myself. It was so obvious.
And, always, after I talk to my sponsor, I feel calm, my problems right sized.
So today on my gratitude list, item number one is that I have a wise sponsor. That she picked up the phone. That she gave me the guidance that I needed, so that today might, indeed, be a clean page. Fresh, with no mistakes in it.
Later today, my husband, my daughter and I will leave town for a few days. There is no internet service, so I won't be posting. But there is cellphone service. I have my sponsor's number on speed dial. Two more things to be grateful for.
Wishing you a year full of things to be grateful for.