The last couple of days, I’ve been noticing little slips.
This morning, my husband cooked breakfast. I usually make the toast, but I was preparing grapefruit when the toaster popped. The bread we use is too big to fit into the toaster, so we toast one side a little, then flip it and toast the other side.
I noticed my husband turned the bread slices, but did not flip them, as I would, to be sure it browned evenly on both sides. I corrected him.
I realized what I was doing as soon as I did it. I caught myself before telling him to be careful he didn't let them get too brown.
What was going on with me?
Yesterday, he came home from the store without half-and-half. When I asked about it, he said it wasn’t on the list.
It was on the list. I was sure of it.
I actually asked him to see the list. He was digging around in the trash when it hit me that I was trying to prove I was right. How important was it? Watching him root around in the garbage, I was embarrassed.
These are the little things that remind me why I need Al-Anon. I am grateful that these little slips are the extent of my problems--so far. But they are warning signs that I need to tend to something in my spiritual maintenance.
I have heard people share in meetings about relapses when they stop going to meetings, reading literature, calling their sponsor, praying… all those things we are taught to do in this program.
I experienced the same thing a couple of times. Once, when my schedule changed and I thought I could get by with only one meeting a week. The other, when I was sick with the flu for two weeks.
But sometimes, like now, I feel myself slipping even when I seem to be working a good program. Heck, I don't even need an alcoholic around.
When that happens, I need to remember the three As: Awareness, Acceptance, Action.
Awareness. These days, thank God, I usually am aware of my relapses right away. They make me feel uncomfortable.
Acceptance. I remind myself that my goal is progress, not perfection. I will make mistakes. That’s okay. Today, I can forgive myself for being human.
Action. I need to take some sort of action.
I didn’t understand the action part for a long time in Al-Anon. Action seemed the opposite of acceptance. When people talked about taking action, I thought it meant taking action on the external things. Today, I understand that action has to do with fixing something internal.
I need to talk with my sponsor. Maybe I need to do a fourth step around an unresolved issue. Maybe I need to make an amends.
One thing I know I won’t do is to vow to do better. That doesn’t work. If it did, I’d have cured myself long ago.
I will start with prayer. There is a little 12-step "rosary" I do, symbolically working my way through the stps. Lord's prayer, serenity prayer (the long version), third step prayer, seventh step prayer, prayer of St. Francis.
Then I will spend some extra time in meditation, make my mind quiet so I can hear the voice of God, as I understand God. This always makes me feel better, whether or not "more is revealed," as we say.
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