Thursday, August 7, 2014


     Al Anon meeting. 
     We talked about the step 8 in recovery: 
     8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and and became willing to make amends to them.
     I thought about it, as people in our group read pages about that step and talked about it. I am still very new to Al Anon, and don't feel like I can say with confidence that I  achieved anything. So, I prayed silently for all the people whom I offended or of whom I was negligent.
     Through the ensuing sharing, one theme kept repeating: as we make a list of the people whom we hurt, we should put our own names first!
     "Aw, poor babies", - I thought sarcastically - "You hurt yourself! What is it, a pity party?"
     Then the words from the literature sank in. To make amends to others all we need to do is say: "I'm sorry, how can I make it better?" To make amends to ourselves we need to change the behavior that hurt us
     Here I began to feel a little shaky. Do I have strength to change? Nothing in my past tells me that, I can do it and keep on doing it. No wonder, it's a step 8! Before it come steps 1 through 7, which make a person's soul ready for change with God's help.
     More and more people in the group piped in with their opinions and reflexions on the read material. Then a couple of them began saying that, our past contains so many unrealistic ideals and expectations! Most of the relationships fall short of the stereotype. Most of us spend years and years of our lives chasing that stereotype and get frustrated from not finding it, because it doesn't exist!
     I perked up. That was right there with what I was thinking about. Our parents and the entertainment industry supply us with an unending list of unrealistic concepts, like what's beautiful and what's not, or what is appropriate in relationships and what's not (from the point of view of people who made mistakes after mistakes of their own). I am not challenging the basis of our society here. I am just saying that, we get programmed with certain rules and expectations, which are too petty and unnecessary and only make us spend our time on this Earth feeling inadequate and frustrated
     My mother used to tell me, for example: "Dina, that is not beautiful!" - for any reason, starting from me standing up for myself to slurping noodles! That's one of the Russian phrases that my daughter remembers too, because her grandmother said it to her many, many times! We keep these small irritants in our minds and let them sting us every instance when we go against them. My mother is right there next to me, when I do something opposite from what she taught me! 
     Petty, false expectations, accusations and concepts lead to false, immature lives. Learning to relax, let go and let God or stand in our own power and find our own voices makes us grow up for real, no matter, how old we might be!
     As I re-read this post, I realized that, it sounds as though I am promoting unorthodox behavior and anarchy. That is not my meaning. I want to say that, our parents lived with their own emotional baggage and mistakes. They imparted their "wisdom" and example on us through countless admonishments. Besides this, we are also very good at making and hanging on to false assumptions, which lead us to a lot of trouble. It's time to be real and let go of the falsehood!

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