Memory used to be my enemy. There was so much that I felt guilty about. There were so many bad memories of the past.
I would avoid thinking about my past and would never talk about it. I thought of myself as a bad person and not worthy.
As I wrote about my past and my feelings and shared my writings with a trusted person I was able to let my guilt go and realize that I am not such a terrible person. When I made a list of persons I had harmed and became willing to make amends, I became gentler with myself and even grew to like myself. I can look back on my memories now without pain and realize that I did the best that I could with where I was. I can see my past self with more love and acceptance.
Memory has become a trusted friend that I can turn to when I’m feeling down or frustrated with myself. I’ve made lots of memories from going to support meetings and as I’ve learned to pay attention. Memory can help me be patient and gentle with myself as I look back and see where I used to be and how much I’ve grown over time.
My unacceptable behavior.
I find it very easy to react with the same unacceptable behavior that is being given to me. If I’m faced with insults I’m tempted to respond with insults. If anger is directed towards me I want to respond with anger. Sometimes it’s so hard to turn the other cheek.
In support groups I heard others talking about choosing how they will act when faced with confrontation. They talk about how they want to “detach with love” and choose their actions based on their own values, not on how someone else is behaving.
I am still not perfect at choosing my actions instead of reacting, but I am improving. When I choose a gentle action instead of reacting to what others say or do I feel better about myself.
I can “let it begin with me”. I do not have to accept unacceptable behavior and I can start by not accepting unacceptable behavior in myself.
I am thankful for support meetings.
I am learning that support meetings are a way of life. They teach me how to apply the Savior’s atonement to my life in practical ways.
I learn these practical lessons from the steps and principles and also from listening to and watching how others apply the atonement to their lives. Support meetings keep me present, looking around me more clearly and with more understanding. They keep me from wallowing in self-pity and help me see my blessings. The meetings remind me that happiness and gratitude are attitudes that I can develop. I think everyone would benefit from attending support meetings!
I find that I quickly fall back into old habits and weaknesses if I begin to think that I no longer need to go to meetings. It is harder to grow and learn when I am only listening to my own thoughts. I am a much happier, healthier person when I can share and listen to others in meetings.
I know that I can help newcomers in my support meetings. If everyone stopped coming after finishing the 12 steps or principles, then there would be no one for the newcomers to listen and learn from. I am so thankful that there are long time members in the support groups I attend. What a gift of experience, faith and hope they are for me! I learn so much from newcomers. They often say something that helps me deal with my own situations. They help me remember where I used to be and show me how much I’ve grown. Newcomers bring a breath of fresh air and new ideas and thoughts to meetings.
I am so thankful for support group meetings. They keep me sane.