Apr 26: Coping with Change

I’m Louise and I’m an alcoholic and very, very grateful to be sober and to have a spiritual toolkit to apply in my living each day.

Change is something I don’t particularly like! If things are ticking along nicely, well, I’d rather they stayed like that.

But change has come, hasn’t it, big time, on a global scale, one that affects all of us, no matter what part of the globe we’re in.

It’s a bit like the disease of alcoholism, and a bit like recovery from the disease. We have meetings all over the world too. But only those of us who have suffered from alcoholism know what it is like. Like having been shipwrecked together and now so joyous to be free from the grip of alcoholism and to have discovered a new way of living that allows us to be happy, joyous and free.

Today, all the world is suffering, and, if we’re fortunate enough to have escaped so far, or survived, the clutches of this particular disease, we’re all beginning the slow recovery from it.

I was reading today from a writer on 20th century disasters. I’m including some of her insights. Saying that we have reached a crossroads, she says that our main task now is to understand this moment and what it might require of us:

“A disaster changes the world and our view of it. Our focus shifts, and what matters shifts. What is weak breaks under new pressure, what is strong holds, and what was hidden emerges. Change is not only possible, we are swept away by it. We ourselves change as our priorities shift, as intensified awareness of mortality makes us wake up to our own lives and the preciousness of life. Even our definition of “we” might change as we are separated from schoolmates or co-workers, sharing this new reality with strangers. Our sense of self generally comes from the world around us, and right now, we are finding another version of who we are”.

Right now we are finding another version of who we are. I’d love for you to share your experiences on any of the words above. I know I’m changing when I wake up one day feeling nervous, anxious and panicky, and another waking with a depth of peace. I’m feeling a little fragmented at times. Now, I know from past experience that that is a good sign for it means I haven’t got the answers, that I’m teachable. And I need to always remain teachable.

I start each day with my 3rd Step Prayer, followed by the 7th Step one. I ask what I can do for others. I ask my Higher Power to shape me into what He would have me be. I ask for freedom from fear when I’m scared and I at once commence to outgrow fear, as our book tells me.

I’m not sure yet about another version of who I am …Perhaps for me that simply means deepening what I have already found within myself, working this program. I do think we in this Fellowship have a head start on others as we/I have been forced to look at myself through the Steps! For that I am grateful.

I’ve discovered that I’m more of an organizer than I gave myself credit for. I’d bought masks in January when it became clear that what was happening in China was going to travel outside China! I began then to sort out freezer supplies etc. I began to think ahead and try to envisage what obstacles might come up for me in my daily routine, and plan as best I could for it. (I live alone so had to do this.)

I’ve concerns for my family, particularly a son who has been locked down on an island off Venezuela (he’d gone on what should have been a short business strip). There are now food shortages where he is, no veg or fruit, bread, meat, and power is likely to go off. I ask God as I understand him to take my powerlessness to do anything here and translate it away from catastrophising (what I very easily do) and into faith, hope and love.

What I find difficult too is that I can’t be out there helping more. I’d like to think that if I was younger and healthier that I would be but, even then, I might have been too scared. I don’t really know.

My sense of self is a little shaky at times. And I have a strong sense of self, one that’s developed over years of living sober, of being on this journey, of being a work in progress. But the ground has shifted under my feet. It’s more important than ever that I maintain contact with other alcoholics. I was at a Big Book Study meeting this morning on Zoom, and thank heavens for these meetings. A newer more enlarged self will emerge, if past sober experience is anything to go by, but the process can be scary.

Being grounded for me amounts to having faith that I am being looked after, and trusting in that. All is well when I get there.

I’m home alone, older, a bit more vulnerable healthwise today. Some of you might be out there on the front line– what’s it like for you? A nurse, doctor, cleaner, care assistant, paramedic, shop worker… how are you coping with change these days?

Welcome to all our newcomers of late! We’d love to hear you share, whatever it is on 🙂

Hugs and love