M(3), 11/23/15: Holiday Family Challenges


Very excited to report that we had 15 attendees at this morning’s meeting.  I can’t remember the last time we were over 12 people!

We read from As Bill Sees It, a book that is usually read by topic rather than by chapter.  Typically I select gratitude in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  However, any time I do this I get at least one or two comments about the number of times this month they’ve already talked about gratitude.  Which, if you ask me, means they could possibly use a little more gratitude, because it sounds a lot like they are complaining 😉

In any event, to prevent such grumblings, I selected another topic which is timely to many this week:  family relationships.  Here in the US we celebrate a family-centered holiday this Thursday, and all over the globe we have a variety of upcoming holidays that promote familial gathering.

It was a powerful meeting.  Besides the number of people present, the shares from the attendees had quite a bit of emotion within them.

One woman just organized and participated in an intervention for her alcoholic brother.  The intervention did not go well, and so the chaos continues for her.  She knows that as much as she would love to share with her brother all of the invaluable tools she has been given in her 28 years in our 12-step program; unfortunately, she can’t force him to take those tools.  All she can do is turn him over to her Higher Power, then do today what she needs to do to stay sober herself.

Another woman shared of her painful history with relapse, as it relates to family dynamics.  She had 5 years sober when she lost her mother to the disease of alcoholism.  The loss of her mother was a traumatic event in her life.  But instead of opening up about her pain, she held it in, told herself she was okay on her own.  From there it was a slippery slope… not sharing turned into a decline in meeting attendance, which turned into no meetings, which turned into a relapse.  She finally made it back into the rooms, and she will soon celebrate two years sober.  She learned a painful lesson:  stick with the basics, and you will never have to re-learn them!

A gentleman shared his no-fail remedy for challenging family relationships:  he turns the challenge over to his Higher Power.  He was taught in our 12-step program the benefit in a restraint of pen and tongue, and he first employs that restraint, then shoots up a quick prayer to help him navigate the troubled waters of whichever situation is in front of him. He said this simple act has brought an incredible amount of peace over his 30-plus years of sobriety.

Another attendee talked about the enormous amount of stress he currently faces; enough stress to create high blood pressure for the first time in his life.  He said that while he has quite a few obligations awaiting him this day, he knows it is equally if not more important for him to get to a meeting and share what’s going on with him.  He recognizes that he must put his sobriety first in order to have the presence of mind to deal with all of his other stressors.

Another woman, one who has been chronically relapsing for months, shared that she drank again this past weekend.  She had a few years of sobriety under her belt, but since taking that first drink, she has been unable to get back to the basics of recovery.  She knows that she must keep trying, because she wants the peace that sobriety had brought her back in her life.

Finally, a woman shared her go-to solution for dealing with holiday stress.  When she is dealing with challenging family situations, or just stress in general, she has a 2-step process for handling the situation:

  1. She checks in with herself and ensures she is behaving in a way about which she is proud
  2. She then lets go of the results of the interaction

She says the more a situation involves family, the more difficult it is to follow this process; after all, we are invested in the results of any family interaction!  But the more we focus on that which we cannot control, the less at peace we are with ourselves.  The less at peace we are with ourselves, the less peace we are able to transmit to the world.  It’s important to keep in mind that we can only control ourselves and our behavior; how anyone else wishes to think, feel and behave is under their control.  So let go of the results, and be amazed at how peaceful life becomes.

I told her and the group that I am going to take that advice as I prepare Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday… I’m going to throw that turkey in the oven, and let go of the results!

Today’s Miracle:

I’m praying that all readers of this post have a miraculous Thanksgiving holiday.  And if you’re reading and do not celebrate Thanksgiving, then I’m praying you have a miraculous Thursday!


Posted on November 23, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Those are powerful shares. Aahh, family gatherings…I’ve already noticed my pulse quickening at the thought of it over the last couple weeks. Love the strategy to turn it over to my Higher Power; our HP will be quite busy Thursday 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I felt like I was in the meeting room with you! Great information imparted by all. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “She checks in with herself and ensures she is behaving in a way about which she is proud
    She then lets go of the results of the interaction”…I LOVE THIS…thank you I will try using it this week

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a firm believer in covering the breast side down turkey and NOT basting. Leave that turkey in the oven and FORGET it! Spend time blogging not basting.
    Letting go of the results is quite terrifying for me, especially in my current car buying process. I keep praying for specific answers. This was a good reminder to turn on the oven, put in the bird and leave it. My favorite version of HP would tell me’ “Girlfriend – I got this! Get out of the kitchen!” *Sigh* My HP doesn’t seem to need my constant ‘basting of the situation’.
    Once my turkey is done (my behavior) I need to let go of the interaction (if my family thinks it is the juiciest turkey ever.) 🙂 Lori

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it. I am in charge of the rest of the meal, my husband is in charge of the turkey. I have to ask him how much, if at all, he basted, I was too busy with the other stuff to pay attention. He must have done something right, because it was delicious! Hope yours was too! More to the point, your analogy is spot on, and it is critical to keep it in mind for the rest of this holiday season. Thanks for the reminder to keep the letting go process going!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t ask! It is always best when someone else makes it!! 🙂 The best dish I made was green beans. I boiled them and added butter s&p and everyone went crazy. Really?!? My mom asked what I did, I said I made them with love – lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Thanksgiving!!
    I love the wisdom of the lady that said she checks in with herself to be sure she is behaving in a way she is proud of.
    I don’t get to see my family much, about once a year, so it can be a little anxious for me.
    But, I do love them, so I will try to smile and be a good role model, for myself!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. For me, it’s important to remember that just as family and friends couldn’t control me in my active alcoholism, I can’t control other people or situations either. I share my progress and journey of recovery at ChristopherKarl.com

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this, Chris, and I will be sure to check your website out. Thanks for the comment!


  8. Josie..your reply reminded me of my goal to behave well with family here for Thanksgiving….I did well 95% of the time even in the face of antagonism… but I did unfortunately one time allow someone to push my buttons and I reacted badly…I felt justified at the time, as if I was standing my ground…but truthfully I now look back and feel like I behaved/reacted badly…it really took me to a very low place and I felt horrible …and I cant afford to do that to myself so I am doubling down my efforts to behave in a way that makes me proud, and let go of what I don’t control. I can remain strong and calm and not allow others to determine my behavior…my sobriety depends on it.
    Thanks for replying this morning…you really helped me refocus my thoughts on this matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you! Self-kindness is so important!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For me … it’s not about how others are behaving. It’s about how I am “bringing the love” rather than expecting another to bring it. Good read for me this morning. Holidays can be peace-filled if I keep the focus in the right place. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

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