“Women like to sit down with trouble as if it were knitting. How often we turn minor challenges into monumental barriers by giving them undue attention, forgetting that within any problem lies its solution! However, the center of our focus must be off the problem’s tangle if we are to find the solution’s thread. The best remedy for this dilemma is the Serenity Prayer. We cannot change our children, our husbands or partners, not even the best friends who we know love us. But with God’s help we can change the attitude that has us blocked at this time. A changed attitude, easing up on ourselves, lessening our expectations of others, will open the door to the kind of relationships we seek, the smooth flowing days we long for. We need not take life so seriously. In fact, we shouldn’t take it so seriously. We can measure our emotional health by how heartily we laugh with others and at ourselves. The 24 hours stretching before us at this time promises many choices in attitude. We can worry, be mad, depressed, or frustrated, or we can trust our higher power to see us through whatever the situation. So, we can relax. It is our decision, the one decision over which we are not powerless. I will be in control of my attitude today. I can have the kind of day I long for.”
This paragraph hits home for me any day of the week and makes me chuckle. For example, the past two months I’ve been quite anxious about an upcoming family vacation – 12 days with the parents/sister-in-law, which hasn’t occurred since my pre-sober days. Before sobriety and AA helped me to change my life, alcohol was my ‘friend’ during these types of visits. When the going got tough (i.e., things not going my way, family pushing my buttons as they are wont to do), I could ‘depend on’ my buddy booze to numb me up for a few hours each day. Of course, in reality going this route had a terribly negative impact on relationships and always made me feel worse.
My approach of dealing with the anxiety is different today, thanks to this program and tools such as Hazelden. While the same feelings of resentments and anger do come up, I choose to respond differently. I am able to quickly recognize that I cannot control others, only myself. I keep my expectations and self-centeredness in check. My God is here to support me if I am willing to slow down long enough to pause and listen, followed by doing the next right behavior. While the 12 days of vacation will likely have a few self-induced bumps, today I have faith that I will find my way to enjoyment, in spite of my stubborn defects! As always, I will take it one day (or if needed one moment) at a time.
I would very much like to hear how you prepare for upcoming events that bring up anxiety well in advance, perhaps with people that tend to ‘push your buttons’.
Thank you for being here!