Recently I learned why I am still suffering in one area of my life. I wasn’t doing the work. I wasn’t on the path I thought I was on, in that area. I spent this week humbly asking my higher power to help me remove my shorting comings. These character defects include a lack of self worth, anger, fear, insecurity, blame, control and negativity or as we say in Al-Anon “stinking thinking”.
There are two big hurdles to overcoming my internal struggles. Awareness is the first hurdle. If I don’t know what I am doing that is hurting me, how to act, react and thinking differently I can’t change. If I don’t have the information and the tools I can’t change.
If you are familiar with Al-Anon’s three AAAs (Awareness, Acceptance, Action) you might think acceptance is the second hurdle and that is true in some cases. But for me the second hurdle has been the willingness to change my part of this particular situation. I have been confusing control of doing things my way with changing my way of doing things. Holy Ship Wreck! That deserves its own paragraph. Let me say that again so it sinks into my brain.
I have been confusing control of doing things my way with changing my way of doing things.
The stinking thinking I indulge in over and over becomes what I believe in my heart and mind and eventually what I become. The life, the situation I make for myself. If I continue to think I am not valuable, then I am not valuable. However, if I do the work to become invaluable, then I am invaluable. If I am ignorant in some area and I don’t do the work to learn a different way than I stay trapped or stuck in that way of thinking and that situation.
We not only have to choose something different we have to act on that choice. There are those three AAAs again. For me the three AAAs should be AWA. Awareness, Willingness, Action. AWA Sounds like an Airline. I see some symbolism there. An airplane takes you someplace different. And isn’t that my ultimate goal? I don’t want to be stuck anymore. I don’t want to be trapped anymore. I want something different. I want to be happier in this area of my life, free of stinking thinking and invaluable.
Did you know hot air balloons can only go where the wind takes them, there is literally no steering? They can control altitude and vertical speed by heating the air inside the balloon, but they cannot steer. Now if you are floating in a beautiful sky, high above the land that can be a very serene experience. But if the wind has you headed into power lines you could say it’s more of a powerfully dreaded electrifying sensation.
Have you ever heard someone say Al-Anon doesn’t work? Or AA doesn’t work? They are right (kind of). I/we have to do the work. The program is just the tool. It brings us knowledge and awareness. It is the facilitator for change. Life is going to travel in the direction of our most dominant thinking, just like the wind that guides a hot air balloon. Al-Anon is the airplane that provides the steering.
Change requires effort. My old way of thinking is engrained, it comes out of habit and it doesn’t require effort. Change requires responsibility and effort to think and do something different. I have to stop doing things the way I want and start practicing ‘his will’ so I receive from my Higher Power the relief from stinking thinking I have been asking for. If I want relief I have to work for relief. It is an illusion that my old way is easier. It is not easier if I’m still unhappy. It’s just less work.
Change is uncomfortable, but not changing is a trap. I need to travel outside my comfort zone. I need to buy a one-way ticket on the AWA airline. And once I am in the pilot’s chair I need to steer my life in the direction that will allow for a smoother landing and in the location I desire. Now that I am Aware and have become willing to change my part in this situation, I need to Act- make the time to create and work towards a different outcome.