Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eye Exams and Other Tests

Hubby and I picked up new glasses the other day. It had been two years. During the recession, we didn’t feel we could afford them, but we couldn’t put it off any longer.

I found myself struggling to read the small type in my daily readers in the morning. Working on building our house up at the land had also taken its toll. There was a spot on my left lens that would not come clean. I wiped and wiped but it would not go, and without my glasses on I couldn’t even see what it was.

So once I got through the December deadlines that kept me so busy, Hubby and I decided it was time to take care of the things we had been neglecting. New glasses were at the top of the list.

The salesman at Eyemasters hooted when he looked at my lenses.

“You’ve had some fun in these!” he said.

Yes, I admitted, I had.

When our glasses came in, we went in to have them fitted. The instant the salesman put them on my face, it was like a veil had lifted. I could see! Everything looked crisp and sharp. I marveled over it all evening. Hubby and I went down to the dock to watch the sunset. I felt like I was seeing everything—t he lake, the birds, my husband—for the first time.

With my new glasses on, I looked at my old lenses. They looked cloudy. There were nicks and scratches. On one corner, a film had started to separate from the glass.

My prescription had changed significantly, but looking at the condition of my lenses, I thought, “No wonder I couldn’t see!”

I won’t be the first to say that joining Al-Anon was like getting a new pair of glasses. Through the lens of Al-Anon, I could see things I simply had not been able to see before. Through the lens of Al-Anon, I understood for the first time how significantly my vision had been distorted.

But my new glasses remind me that I also need to check my Al-Anon lenses from time to time. They, too, get old, scratched and cloudy. I need regular check ups.

In my line of sponsorship that takes the form of an annual inventory.

The idea is not universally accepted, of course. There are those who believe that once you’ve worked the steps, regularly practicing steps 10, 11 and 12 is enough. And I’m not saying they are wrong.

But it doesn’t work for me. I need to take a closer look from time to time, and a second set of eyes from my sponsor.

My second fourth step did, indeed, yield fresh insights. It wasn’t as dramatic as when I got my first pair of glasses. More like a prescription adjustment, where everything felt crisper. Something I’d noted on my first fourth step finally made sense. More was revealed.

“You can’t pass a test you haven’t taken,” I heard someone say recently. My inventory is like an annual eye exam. I can measure my changes and adjust my “prescription.” I can see everything come into a little sharper focus.


  1. I love your analogies! I will remember this for a long time. Funny, my husband and I just went and had our eye exams after a couple of years of lag time, I can also see clearer now through both my glasses and through my Al-Anon lenses. I love your writing!

  2. I can see much more clearly who I am through my Al-Anon lenses too. I am indeed grateful for the steps and the perspective that they have given me. Thanks for sharing this. Enjoy the new glasses.

  3. I just found your blog and I loved your post! It's time for my own new set of glasses too! And I find at the beginning of each new year, it's often time to re-evaluate how I've been looking at life; time for God and I to sit and take stock of attitudes and thoughts that have become part of life that might need an adjustment!

    I grew up with alcoholic grandparents and an alcoholic mom. Two of my four kids abused drugs. I've realized that though I didn't get trapped in the kind of addiction that sends people to rehab, I have an addictive personality ... I've been affected by addiction in my life by living around it. It affects who I am.

    I am so thankful that God has freed me from some of my "stinking thinking," to borrow a phrase from Joyce Meyers. And there's always room to grow!

    Blessings to you and yours, and enjoy those new glasses!!!


  4. I am thankful you got your new glasses so that you can finally see clearly. I like how you relate this to taking a clear inventory of yourself. I know for myself, this is a easily I can slip the blinders back on and I don't notice the things that are hurting myself or someone else.

    If the filter through which I am seeing myself is cloudy, broken or scratched, the way I see myself, life and others is distorted. I miss so much. I miss life. Doing these "eye" exams are essential to my serenity, happiness and peace.

    I hope that now that you are seeing clearly that you will see all the things you've missed! XX

  5. That is a good way to look at recovery. It is an ongoing thing for sure, and regular check ups are helpful. Seeing clearly and living in the present has been a life saver for me.

  6. Kathy thank you for all your encouraging posts. Sorry I have not been around that much, have not been feeling well.

  7. Kathy,
    This is a great insight.... Thanks for sharing. Glad to see your back in bloggy land. You were missed. :)