HAPPINESS: A CHOICE

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Friends: Libby, Sandra, Frances

A mom wrote to me: As the mother of a 23-year-old addict, I fear looking too far into the future. Recently, I visited a close friend who is dying of lung cancer. He and his wife savor every day, every hour, they have together. It reminded me how Al-Anon teaches us to live one day  – and sometimes one hour – at a time. The choice is mine. I can live each day in fear and anguish over my son, spending my time in dread and misery. Or I can strive to be happy and  – much like my friend – savor the time I have left. 

My reaction: When Jeff was in active addiction, I started each day with the prayer, “Dear Lord, keep him alive today.” Sitting quietly, even for a few minutes, was a challenge as my mind raced and conjured traumatic scenarios. I lived in fear that the phone would ring, especially in the middle of the night, blistering my sleep with frantic anxiety. In time, I learned to take my life back. Al-Anon’s steps gave me the road map to recovery and, eventually, to happiness.

Today’s Promise to consider: The choice of how we live our lives is ours. We can choose to live in dread and misery or we can choose to live in serenity and peace. When our lives are crumbling around us, it’s not easy to strive toward happiness, but I will. For today, I will savor the day, smile and rejoice.

 

 

 

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Jane
Jane
9 years ago

I made the choice to live in happiness. That beig said, it was a lot of footwork to get there. It is a state of mind sometimes, a peace and serenity that means happiness, a willingness to work on my self care and then doing iit etc. prayer, AlAnon, therapy and a lot of practice of the program. Living in the disease without those adjuncts is like flying a plane without wings

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

I no longer have a son who is an addict. I know I’m happy for that. It took me years to live for the day, the hour, the minute. I learned from people like you. People here, who have reached out to me with loving hearts. Thank you so much for your love, compassion, honesty and most of all, your friendship.

I agree with Libby and Jane. Happiness is a choice. I choose to live in happiness instead of living in depression. Therapy and support is necessary, like Jane says. You have to work hard at it. And, if you do, you may find the happiness that you deserve.

JOY
JOY
9 years ago

I used to think that mind over whatever’s the matter was never going to work for me. My emotions, my heart ache was just “more” powerful. Then, about sixteen years ago I went a therapist when I was so worried about my son’s mental health and feared a very dark road ahead. She said something that changed my life. I said, maybe if we do this and this and this and this. .it will be fine. She said- “well, it might not be fine, do you think you can live with that?” It stopped me cold. How can you find happiness if things are not okay? If your son is sick and at risk? Can you? Well as Libby and everyone else said, yes! And it takes intention and exertion. Whatever strategies you need, use them. Meditation really helped “train” my mind. Likewise, we have choice to be compassionate not angry towards the addict and ourselves.Choice to kind and gentle not irritated and aggressive. I still have to work hard at not being afraid and not being sad. But hard work of the soul is maybe why we are here. And coming here, and knowing that there are others like me — well that makes me more than happy– it brings a quiet joy to my heart. Thank you Libby. Thank you Jane and Barbara . Some days, you are my wings.

Barbara
Barbara
9 years ago

Dear Joy,

Every week, I read your words over and over. You speak from your heart. I like what you said “hard work of the soul is why we’re here”. Jane attests to that, and so do you. I want to thank you (and Jane) for coming here. I appreciate both of you and what you have to say.

With love,
Barbara

Paula
Paula
9 years ago

Joy, Thank you for your post. Your therapist said, “It might not be fine, Can you live with that?” It has not been fine with my son. I have been living with that. I have been upset and stressed off and on for most of his life. You reminded me about my meditation practice and how it helps me. I also use Emotional Freedom Techniques. So after I read your post and was anticipating a phone contact with my son and became anxious, I used a combination of meditation and Emotional Freedom Techniques. I am now much calmer.
Paula

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
9 years ago

Each of us brings love, strength and experience to these weekly thoughts. I, like Barbara, love, “hard work of the soul is why we are here.” These words remind me of something a mom once told me, “Life is a series of lessons and lessons are repeated until they are learned.” She then followed this with, “…and I’m sick of all the lessons.” At times, I feel that way too. I get tired, really tired, of learning the hard lessons of the soul. I still want to ‘fix’ my sons and my life, even though I know it’s useless and even though I know that I don’t know what’s best. We need to use whatever techniques we can muster to get through each day or as Jane says, “It’s like flying a plane without wings.”

Thank you all for being here and for sharing your stories, hopes and joys. We’ll hold hands and stay strong together.

L

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

What a beautiful picture and reminder that we do have choices.
Thank you, Libby and all above.
I am so grateful for your love and support,
Nanci