Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oops, I Did it Again!

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.


  1. thank you for sharing this, kathy. it sounds like you've developed the ability to take your temperature (that's what i call it). to see how you are doing, to step back from yourself to recognize where you are, vs. where you want to be in your life. reading about this and seeing your gentle reminder to yourself is encouraging.

  2. Oh Boy, me too. Remembering to treat my spouse with dignity and in the same way I want to be treated is a daily lesson for me. Keeping my mouth shut helps alot. :-D When I run something through T(houghtful)H(onest)I(ntelligent)N(ecessary)K(ind), I usually find a good reason to stay quiet and get busy on me. Whew...good post.


  3. Sounds like you are becoming very aware, you can't accept or act on something you're not aware of. Great work :) I love your 12 Step rosary idea. I wish I had a husband.

  4. I love the St. Francis Pray..

    (hugs).. at least you know you are slipping.. we all slips and than get stronger.. :) (hugs)

  5. Imagine how wonderful it is to be married to a woman who can become aware of this, and when aware, work to not treat her husband this way?

  6. This is a great post Kathy...your awareness is becoming my insights. Thank you for sharing and stay strong ok. You inspire me.

  7. Oh yes, those little slips. So often for me they are a sign of something off kilter. No doubt something will be revealed. It usually is. Eventually. God's time and all.

  8. When I become comfortable in my recovery and think I am doing such a great job, this kind of thing happens. I am controlling things around me and not getting out of the way of God. I am sure I am supposed to help. It takes so much pressure off me when I don't try to be controlling of the things that will be fine without me pushing it forward.

  9. Your post reminds me of Step 7, "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." On my own I will never stop doing the kinds of things you describe. We all need God's help. I am so grateful it is there for the asking if we are entirely ready.


  10. Hi Kathy. First I thought, wow you (yes, you, not me) have come a long way, really. Then I thought, wow that sounds like a big job (something else to do) with all those prayers, and then finally I thought, man I have such a long way to go!
    So is Al-anon a lifelong thing, then would you say? I have been there just over two months, and I am frustrated that I haven't got further, even if I have made changes. It is a bit like me training for this 21 km half marathon, and even though I started training quite late, and my results are quite good as far as fitness is concerned (I ran 8km in 51 minutes yesterday and I couldn't a couple of months ago) I am frustrated that I haven't got MORE fitness, because I want the end goal, not the journey. I sometimes enjoy the journey, don't get me wrong, but I think I want more results with my husband, and haven't been able to fully let go, Al-anon style. I want 30 years of behavior to vanish overnight, and I would be fully recovered, haha. Even writing it I realize how horrible that would be. Do you send private emails too btw?

  11. Just this morning I realized(awareness) I have old issues with myself internally that need forgiveness (acceptance), and that I needed to press on (action).

    Also, I have this little meter called a child, who pushes the AWARENESS button for me. I appreciate that a lot.

    As always, thank you for your gentle reminders!

  12. Hey, I think you wrote about me & my husband today! He had the TiVo remote - we were going to watch an episode of House - and I said, "you know I'm going to have to check it myself to make sure you've got the right episode." Because as I am becoming aware of all the big AND SMALL ways I try to control, I am sharing with him, now we can make a little joke when I just can't help myself! Thanks for the three A's, I hadn't heard them before.
    I learn SOOOOO much from your blog!
    God bless & thanks :)

  13. Hi Kathy,
    I was out all day yesterday and missed this post....totally there sometimes. Especially with my husband. Poor guy. That wanting to be right thing is a hard one to die. Unsolicited advice another one that I need continued maintenance on.
    Thanks for the reminder.