Helping hands in service

Bookmarks – December – Counting My Blessings

Dec 8, 2023

“It’s beginning to look a lot like crazy, everywhere I turn.”

When those “alternative” lyrics popped into my head recently, I thought I better work my program!

For many of us—women especially—this the busiest time of the year. Holidays and families. Now there’s a combo ripe for conflict. And then there’s me, able to play those old perfectionist tapes in my head at a moment’s notice. I can be a self-igniting keg of dynamite.

Which is why I am so grateful for Al-Anon. I have choices. Will I be manic or will I be sane, and perhaps even joyous? It’s my call.

My home group met the Monday before Thanksgiving; the chair chose gratitude as our topic. I needed it.

I’m amazed at how quickly I can stress myself out over having company for Thanksgiving. But the slogans, especially “How important is it?” and “First things first” helped me keep my act together.

But it was the meeting that really grounded me into the here and now, and made me realize just how very blessed I am. The readings and sharings gave me that blessed gift of perspective.

We started with Hope for Today, page 23, which ends with how an attitude of gratitude can lead to a continuous awareness of blessings. Our chair also tapped into A Little Time for Myself. I appreciate the challenging questions at the end of each page of the new reader.

As it turned out, Thanksgiving was relaxed and fun! I had decided not to cook, having wound up exhausted after a prior do-it-all Thanksgiving meal. I bought everything we needed to heat and eat, plus two pies, from the supermarket. It was all quite delicious, and it didn’t break the bank. My husband, our two guests and I were sated, and we enjoyed being in each other’s company.

I’m sure you know the expression, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody’s happy.” Well, I had decided to be happy, and hospitable, and I enjoyed myself.

Now I am knee-deep in all manner of holiday activities. To keep sane, I am reading my literature and going to my meetings. And my sponsor and I recently had a good long chat.

One of the most gratifying things I do each year is to buy gifts for two county Children and Youth kids. I get the first names and gift requests from another group I belong to; I know these young people would get nothing for Christmas without “the kindness of strangers.” It makes me feel good to help out and I feel blessed that I can.

I also feel that it has been a great blessing and privilege to be your Area Literature and Forum Coordinator these past three years. Writing about our Conference Approved Literature has been a time for me to reflect on how it helps me grow. I hope it has helped you.

It is really true that in giving, we receive.

Wishing you merry and blessed holidays!

In grateful service,

Ellen C.

Literature/Forum Coordinator

Panel 61