Thursday, April 29, 2010

In All Our Affairs

Yesterday was the day my Wednesday group celebrates birthdays, so I celebrated “officially” and got my chip.

In our line of sponsorship, the sponsor introduces the sponsee, talks about their year from the sponsor’s perspective and gives the sponsee a word or phrase he or she feels represents that year.

My phrase was “in all our affairs.” That’s what my sponsor told me I had done. I had practiced these principles in all my affairs.

She said my marriage had improved because I was learning to say what I wanted and needed for myself. My relationship with my daughter had been transformed. She talked about my service work.

She said she thought it was a quiet year. Not much had happened. Just life on life’s terms. There was, she said, a calmness about me, which she thought might be a gift of the second year. “Don’t get used to it,” she said with a laugh.

I always believe I have an idea about what’s happening on my insides. And it’s always interesting to me to hear what that looks like on my outsides. Call it feedback. Like checking your hair in a mirror.

When my birthday came around, I thought about my year. I wondered what word my sponsor would give me. I like her word. It felt right to me.

But those aren’t the words that rolled around in my own head when I thought about my year. The words I thought of were faith and service. At the meeting I talked about service and how I had benefited from it. I did that because I thought that maybe there was someone who, like me, was skeptical about the claim that I would benefit more from service than those I had helped.

I was wrong.

That claim was absolutely true.

But the thing that most changed in me, I think, was faith.

I was happy to hear my sponsor say that she noticed a calmness about me, because that’s how I feel. Though, for me, it didn’t feel like an uneventful year.

My husband and I have faced what felt to me like pretty major things. We struggled to keep the doors of our family business open. Our incomes from the company and my work plummeted. My daughter’s situation is as bad as it’s ever been.

Here’s the difference. I didn’t freak out. It made me smile to hear my sponsor say that it had been a smooth year because while she is aware of everything I just mentioned, I didn’t seem to get that upset. Hence, she assumed things were not really that dire.

That’s faith.

It’s the greatest gift I’ve received in this program.

I believe that God has directed my life. That everything in it is just as it’s supposed to be. That he’s arranged everything for my benefit. I can only respond with gratitude.

Someone at a meeting shared a saying they had seen taped to their sponsor’s computer. It said: “If you pray, why worry? If you worry, why pray?”

For the last several months, I have doubled the time I spend on my knees in prayer and in meditation and it has made all the difference.

BTW, here are a few things I have taped up on my computer:

“If you don’t hear the voice of God, it’s because you are controlling the conversation” —from Epiphany, on her blog “My Road as I Travel It”

“Resentments are when things didn’t go my way in the past.
Anger is when things aren’t going my way now.
Fear is when I think things won’t go my way in the future.”
—from Kim A, on her blog “One Day at a Time”

“Sponsorship is not placing someone in authority over you; it’s asking someone to hold you accountable.”
—Mr. Sponsorpants

“Go placidly among the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be one good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they, too, have their story.”
—Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata,” from ODAT

It doesn’t escape me that three of four of these came from blogs.

I started this blog as part of my 12th step work. To carry the message. To be of service. Of all the service work I’ve done, I think I’ve benefited from this blog more than anything else. That’s because there’s a tremendous recovery community here online. It’s like attending a great, big meeting every day.

You’ve all taught me so much. I am truly grateful. Thank you for being such an integral part of my journey.

Hubby and I are on our way to the land later today. Take good care and I’ll see you in a few days.


  1. happy birthday :) it's wonderful that your faith and service have brought you so much learning and calm. and that despite crises you have felt more calm than in the past.

    very inspiring. thank you for sharing~

  2. Congratulations! A wonderful milestone...
    I keep my one year coin in my car, and when I am frustrated, stuck in traffic, or otherwise freaking out, I pick it up and hold it tight and try to leach out some of that calmness you speak of.
    It is amazing how much calm I can find inside that little coin.

  3. Congratulations. One of my meetings does the same thing with the words and I really like what comes out of it and the sharing between sponsor, sponsee and the rest of the group. Thanks.

  4. I meant to comment yesterday on Acceptance but your words so resonated within me that I'm actually still pondering them. You have an astounding wealth of insight and wisdom that blesses so many. Over and over again I see myself at different points in my recovery in your posts. I am reminded daily that as far as I've come, I am still working my own program and will continue to do so until God takes me home.

  5. PS- "Mass transit"-- I love it!

    Well done.
    You can be proud of you. It works if you work it.
    Have a few great days.
    Love from this side of the pond.

  7. Have a wonderful few days off and Congrats to you!

  8. Happy Birthday Kathy :)

    i loved the whole post....i needed to hear it...indeed...and i think i'll steal this and ruminate upon it :)
    'I believe that God has directed my life. That everything in it is just as it’s supposed to be. That he’s arranged everything for my benefit. I can only respond with gratitude.'

  9. Kathy, a very happy Al-Anon birthday. It is truly a testimony to your recovery that you are practicing the steps in your life. That is a great thing. God is in charge. I am essentially along for the ride in this life, trying my best to do His will.

  10. Congratulations on your Al-Anon anniversary. What blessings each year brings.

    Your blog got me to thinking about what words I would choose for me at the present. I thought of two: boundaries and sponsorship.


  11. Congrat on your anniversary!! Awesome post!

  12. Congratulations. And I have noticed the same thing in my recovery. I used to want the hard times to go away -- they haven't -- recent years have had just as many crazy things going on, but my reaction to them hasn't been crazy. Faith has done it all. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Happy Birthday to you! That sounds like a great exercise in your group. So affirming.

    I'm glad you joined the bloggie community. :)

    I feel the same way.... I gain so much more than I give on the blog.


  14. Kathy, congrats, this is wonderful. Your posts are always inspiring to me. Thank you. Blessings.

  15. Happy Birthday!!!! and cheering you on.....Sarah

  16. Congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment.

  17. happy birthday! as a mother i can only imagine the difficult road you've traveled. you are an inspiration to me. thanks for sharing your journey!