Courage to Change


If we are truly loved and capable of functioning in loving relationships, what else really matters? What else is there?

But if we are able to glory in and share in the love around us, then we shall have found the key which makes life worth living.

Humility is truth. To be humble is to know the truth about our limits… 

The truth is that some things are unchangeable.

Talk doesn't cook rice.

The primary task of human beings is to creatively work at making their lives a remarkable thing of beauty.

...life is the medium and we are the canvas.

We can visit with friends and family and not try to win a verbal exchange.

What is worse is losing both ways: making our choices and then denying ourselves the pleasure of those choices.

Life…Demands laughter, relaxation, and the ability to play.

Joy is the freedom to do what needs to be done.

What could be more valuable than peace of mind? Truly, no human condition is more desirable.

Peace is the reward for turning our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand Him, so we can do what is necessary.

How often have we given our all to change somebody else? How frantically have we tried to force a loved one to see the light?

Today, I will focus on changing myself and entrust those I love to the Higher Power who loves them even more than I do.

God has said He loves us.

It is often the little things that count- inches make the difference.

Every day is new- fresh and shimmering with possibilities.

"Hey, I'm hurting. I've been having a bad time and I need help" Would the earth tremble if we said it right out, just like that?

The "I can" people are the ones we want to spend time with and to use as models.

More of the same gets more of the same.

Security based on our own belief in ourselves, in our ability not only to cope and survive, but to celebrate life is the only security that lasts. As hard as it may be for adult children to learn they can trust themselves, it still is the only lasting security.

Walt Disney went bankrupt seven times before he met with success.

Moving on to a new place, a new state of freedom is being born again.

… we so often end up attracting and being attracted to people who have monumental personal problems.

If we want our children to walk tall, laugh happily, and sing joyously – we ourselves must do these things for them to see.

We take responsibility for things we can't control. That's what playing God is.

Can we care enough to let others make their own mistakes?



What are the skills of a child? Openness, lightheartedness, trust, the ability to expect wonderful surprises.

The essence of loneliness is isolation from self.

Emotional management is learned, not inborn. Positive action is, was, and always will be the best remedy for wayward feelings. And consistent, positive action is the very definition of competent emotional management.

Our own personal growth is our own personal responsibility. Either we take on the job or we don't – it's as simple, and as difficult, as that.

" Everything I ever let go of had claw marks on it."

When Augustine finally got around to giving up his delusion and denial, he became one of the towering figures of his century. Augustine was an exception. And he became a spiritual giant because he finally did bend his will to that of a Higher Power.

In short, non-recovering alcoholics are incapable of functioning in healthy relationships.

When our low self-esteem nudges us into relationships that can only end in heartbreak…we are rewarding illness.

What God wants most for us is our happiness, contentment and peace.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

As long as those habits and patterns remain unchallenged, of course there will be nothing new.

There's no way out but through. The rewards of discovering that path are great and will stay with us for a lifetime.

If there has to be pain, let me accept it now, get on with it, and through with it.

He wanted love as we all want love.

The sanity promised by the Second Step restores the ability to think on our own and to act on today's decisions.

A free flow of love is as necessary to the spirit as a free flow of blood is to the body.



Alone or lonely – it is a matter of courting silence or not.

Every day -- I take more pleasure in  my own company.

Accidents happen, while setbacks, injustices, and evil get rewarded and good goes begging...But God can write straight with crooked lines.

It is quite possible to grow old and die marching along – blindly, silently, passively -  to the same sad tune piped to us in our youth.

…we must practice saying, "I am here. I count. This is what I think. "

There is no such thing as standing still. We either inch along forward or we slip backward.

It takes courage to look back down the road to see how far we have come toward daylight.

It is through the mysterious, subtle, powerful act of sharing that we can muster the courage to shed our fears. It is by asking for and gaining the support of others that we can dare to stand up in the sunshine with the rest of God's creatures.

We discover in that same aloneness a most marvelous person – ourselves.

The difference is in the attitude we have toward ourselves.

As my recovery grows, so does my ability to be comfortable in my own company.

Prayer works.

The word Father often represents a reality that is both powerful and confusing. For some of us it is the father we never had. For others it is the father we wish we never had.

Today, I ask myself: Are my opinions really mine or were they given to me by someone else?

For some of us, however, there is no passage to life, only from one stage of dying to another. Too few lessons have been learned, too little wisdom has been gained for the wound to heal. There is nothing natural or guaranteed about a springtime of the spirit.

People who don't know how to relax have a very rough row to hoe in this world. Adult children, perhaps, need to learn to relax more than anyone else.

… Immediate recovery is impossible. The only thing we need to do immediately is to relax.

…but the lasting test is always, "Can I trust them?"

Decisions that make a difference emanate from free will.

Genuine peace comes from making choices that create more life, not less.

When we felt unloved, we didn't have the sophistication to wonder whether our parents loved themselves. We didn't have any way of knowing that loving has much more to do with the capacity of the giver than it does with the deservedness of the receiver. 

We deserve to be loved, just as we always did. We don't have to think with the mind of a child anymore.



That's why it's so important to celebrate every success, no matter how small. The direction is right this time. We have every reason to expect health and happiness.

I accept the fact that life is a journey. I've given up the delusion that an 'arrival' is necessary for happiness.

It has been said and proven over and over that a person's self-image is largely formed by the image reflected back from other people.

We are the most important people in the world to our children. Their identity, as we reflect it back to them, is the first and most important information they receive.

I will lose no opportunity to show my children how beautiful they are.

We are all born reaching for love. The family system we were born into was the "school" where we learned what we know about fulfilling our needs.

Sheer courage, and courage alone, is what it takes to move boundaries into healthier territory.

For us, "What's healthy?" is a better question than "What's normal?"

I will applaud beauty.

A refusal to forgive is called a resentment. Forgiveness is a giver and resentment is a taker.
To hang onto a resentment is to harbor a thief in the heart.

We become better able to love and be loved. Especially for adult children, the fullest experience of love is, and will always be, the ultimate quest.

For better or worse, our attitudes are ours alone.…Attitude is everything.

Evil and incapacity are not the same thing.

Joy is a secondary effect of a primary action.

...those who have made a decision about the past, have left behind what was, and are creating sweet new days as they walk the path of recovery.

We may become so obsessed or attached to the dysfunction of the past that looking back is all we do. Then we might spend the rest of our lives comforting our wounded child.



At any given moment the best for us may not be the best for someone else.

The trouble with deep feelings is that they shout over the soft spoken voices of our thoughts.

Given the purest intentions and the most rigorous homework – there's much we don't and can't know.

Seek the guidance and wisdom to recognize where our responsibility ends and God's begins.

I will not say a thing today that I can't back up with action.

Making a free and happy life is a work of art. Writers write every day of their lives. Artists are never very far from their craft.

If we want something beautiful, we'll have to give the recovery process the consistent, daily attention that brings beauty into being.

If we habitually wear an aloof, unapproachable expression, we will not be approached.

For drinking alcoholics, love is incomprehensible.

Most of us are responsible for the rain that falls on our parades. We need to lighten up, to back off, and to be more open to happy surprises.

Self will run riot – stubborn, single-minded ferocity – sheer, brute force of will– awesome intensity.

If the relationship is healthy and growth oriented, we need hesitate no longer.

Today, I will think about my time and energy as my "capital". I will ask my Higher Power to help me spend it wisely.

Today, I will allow others the dignity of living as they wish to live.

Intimate, human acceptance is based on intimate human contact.

This is how it works: we learned to meet our needs in ways that were modeled for us.



It is from the depths of our spirituality that we become more able to forgive.

If we work so hard at recovery that we have no time or inclination to be with friends, to laugh, to discover and revel in beauty, then we have missed the point. 

Do we have any activity that we do just for the joy of it?

Until we realize that we have a choice about the way we respond, our emotional well-being is entirely dependent on what someone else does.

Because good children didn't act out anger (or so we thought) we learned very early to turn anger into hurt. We are becoming aware that a hard core of anger is under all those layers of hurt feelings.

We can wait our whole lives for fortune or love to come our way, but if we don't initiate action (which means risking failure) the opportunities that pass before us daily will probably never be actualized.

I can allow myself to look back with compassion, understanding, and forgiveness- for my family and myself.

Behind the success story is always a courageous decision and a gallant action, or a whole series of actions.

Never compromise.

Smother love is not successful. It's best for us if we recognize obsession for the trap that it is.

If we look at our inability to play as "devotion to serious duty", we will never learn to play.

For many shame-based reasons, it is always easier to acknowledge our flaws than our good features.

I pray that I may live in the present, no matter how difficult it is.

… But all of us have faith in at least a few (of our) abilities.

Trust must be earned. It must be deserved.

Some restlessness is necessary. When tension ends, so does life.

Freedom from all addictions is found in truth. 



It is when things turn mean and all light seems to have gone from the sky that we most need support and love - especially from ourselves.

Like a baby who learns to calm herself after a bad dream, I too am learning to rely on myself for comfort.

We can rise above the conditioning of the past and choose thoughts of courage, of freedom, of community.

Some decisions are very hard to make. But indecision is hard, too…It fixes us, in fact, right at the point of pain.

Sometimes we know very well that a decision must be made long before we're emotionally ready to carry it out.

Recovery means walking in the sunlight.

Some relationships simply are not destined to be eternal.

To accept something is to receive it willingly.

Past experience has taught us to equate aloneness with abandonment.

If we become willing to spend time with our own best friend – ourselves – we need never be lonely again.

Today, I will judge my progress according to my own standards. I will run my own race and sing my own song.

I am willing to risk temporary discomfort for the rewards of a better life.

Enablers are those of us who take the responsibility to protect other people from pain.

We need to realize that harboring resentment makes us – again – victims.

Behind every marvelous tale of death – left– behind is a common theme of peak moments. These peak moments may occur as long as we live. Or they may not. Perhaps we'd better make a decision someday sooner than tomorrow.

Humility is about recognizing the truth and accepting it.

We must be willing to exercise the discipline if we want to reap the rewards of a healthy lifestyle.

Humility is truth.



Peace is an inner reality for those who come to accept that which cannot be changed.

Peace in my world begins and ends with me.

Giving all our time away is foolish, not virtuous. We can only expect others to respect our limitations if we are clear about our boundaries.

Today, I value serenity above all else.

Without a desire to confront and resolve past issues… (I am) "getting by".

I have confidence in the new direction I am taking. In the long run I trust that all will be well for me and mine.

No one wins every time out.

Unaware, we may be completely devoted to perfectionism, martyrdom (or) rigidity...

Words are the wings of love.

Grief is extremely personal; no two people grieve in the same way.

Are we too cool to be caught or too scared to be honest?

God already loves our loved ones even more than we do. And because God loves them, they have already been gifted with everything they need.

Authentic love is trusting; fake love is not.

Every smile, every word of comfort, every resisted temptation, and every bead of sweat over our work are valid contributions, no matter how minute, to the quality of human life.

I will not define my life by my problems.

Understanding without accountability is just excuse making.


Balance is necessary in every area of life.

In the middle is the balanced view.

Today's challenges do not intimidate me.

Why do we wear ourselves out rushing after meaningless trinkets, and pats on the head when all the while, just outside the door of decision is the power and the love that make all things possible and precious? 

The isolation that was meant to keep anyone from getting at us also keeps anyone from getting to us.

The only real action takes place on the bridge between people.

If there is emotional and spiritual poverty in our lives, the problem isn't out there, it's in here.

They stopped hoping to hear a good song and started singing one. They are in touch with their own specialness.

We know we can make it because we've been pumping iron, mentally and emotionally, in the daily practice of our program.

I will do the little things that count, creating a massive reserve of strength against the day when such strength is needed.

Today we get what we give ourselves.

Some of us adult children have to divorce our parents before we can develop a healthy marital relationship.

Many people find it difficult to care about others as much as they care about themselves. The problem for us is quite different. If we want to have more to give to others, we must first give more to ourselves.

Acceptance and gratitude are antidotes...to envy.

Let us have the wisdom to accept our lives as they are.

Every confrontation with an unfriendly habit is a singular victory. Every time counts.

It is exciting to consider that we can make decisions now, about our lives now, that will enhance our lives forever.

My higher power gives me the courage to acknowledge my responsibility for hurting others.



Compassion allows us to listen.

This is the point when we have heard most of what the others have to say, and received most of what the group has to give...The time comes for us to assume leadership.

I will not make a virtue of giving trust to everyone. Trust must be earned. I will be discerning in who I  trust and whom I don't trust.

The wars our parents fought were raging between their ears. It need not be so for us.

Personal relationships… Important because such investments put so much of our feelings, sense of self-worth, and serenity on the line.

No matter how committed we are to making it work, if our partners don't have or won't do what it takes – we are out of luck.

The quality of a relationship simply cannot be healthier than both of the parties involved.

There are no born losers. We all deserve to win.

Slowly, we learn that by turning over our lives to the care of God as we understand God, we are not alone nor left to the strength of ourselves.  Then, as we encounter situations we cannot control, we will be able to trust that we will not be dashed to the ground.

Chronic pining for experiences and circumstances that never were or no longer are is a sure way to sabotage progress. Why? Because this crippling habit is based on the idea that who we are and where we are now is unacceptable.

Receiving is painful. It makes us feel vulnerable. We are strangers to the wisdom that receiving is the deepest form of giving.

We can start thinking one forgiving thought a day.

If we repeatedly fall into dependent relationships, this may be proof that we learned to get validity only in our relationships to other people.

We, all of us, can learn to live above our circumstances if we're willing to alter our attitudes.

A 10th step only takes a minute or two.

We may have to move away from people, systems and places that, however toxic, are still part of us.

There are no two ways about it – leavetaking hurts.

It's okay to hurt for a while.

Today, I am grateful for life and breath and opportunity.

Personal renewal is possible for me; my program promises it.

Being and doing are not the same thing: being is first and foremost.



Our attitude toward...reality is what makes the difference. People in general are limited by attitude, not by opportunity.

Children, no matter how wounded, are naturally honest. Play is their main task in life. Wonder, imagination, trust, and love are as much a part of them as their fingers and toes.

Other people's refusal to hear is not our problem – it's theirs.

Today, I will not be frustrated by someone else's unwillingness to communicate. I will accept what is.

Wishing alone does not…improve our physical conditioning.

I no longer expect a medal for each lap I run.

Sometimes we don't know what our real needs are.

Today, I will ask my Higher Power for insights about my real needs.

Only when the outcome is uncertain, and the effort itself a feat of daring, must faith and courage come on the scene together to get the job done.

To stand firm in a decision, if we have always given in and given up, is to back our faith in a most daring and courageous way.

The quality of our lives is determined not by how we start but by how we shall choose to end.

We come to like ourselves and discover the word "us " is sweet indeed.

I'm growing more able to find peace and enjoyment in my own company.

Strange as it may sound, our own mental health is no doubt the greatest gift we can give anybody. Which means that if we really want to do our loved  ones a favor, we will take care of ourselves.

Are we free to move around and shake things up?

Today, I pray for the strength to persevere when a task has stopped being fun.

Today, I will be satisfied to run my own race and sing my own song.

The payoff is that we learn to like ourselves more and that is as good as it gets.

Tell your child that he or she is permanently off duty, that you will be the parent now, and that no one ever dreamed of the kind of good times that the two of you are going to have!

I am free to find joy and laughter.

I'm with you.

The word anger doesn't begin to describe the absolute fury that festers in the hearts of adult children. There probably is no word, in fact, to capture the depth of what we feel.

The question isn't whether we're angry or not. The question is whether or not we are dealing with it.



That's why it's so important that we play, even if it feels uncomfortable; that we celebrate, even if we feel undeserving; that we laugh, even if we don't think we know how.

Nor is it prudent to broadcast all the details of our private lives, either in public or in meetings of adult children.

Today, I pray for the wisdom to share what I should and leave the rest unsaid.

Effective, creative living takes practice and work.

We are the sum of what we were.

The hours and days of our lives can grow increasingly brighter through all our remaining years if the self we are becoming is willing to pump enough iron.

We have a choice, as always: yesterday's hurt or today's celebration.

We have not all started at the same place.

Our task is to learn to stay within ourselves.

Healthy living demands enough of a central focus that something gets finished once it gets started.  Lacking this we often return to fight the same battle once again.

Forgiveness, on the other hand is the gesture of a healthier mentality and power.

As long as we fail to forgive we condemn ourselves to be fixated at our point of pain.

"Tell me what company you keep, and I'll tell you who you are." Cervantes

Our whole task is to grow in the realm of self-esteem and self-confidence. This demands that we experience some success.

Stick with winners...not those who drag us down.

Promoting our own physical well being is as much a part of recovery as reprogramming our past. We live in our bodies, after all, and the condition of those bodies either limits or expands our capacity for emotional management.

Today, I will eat nutritious foods and get some exercise.

Others see it (the past) as an opportunity, fairly given it or not, to build strength and gain wisdom with the help of a loving God. The difference is all in the attitude.

Two deep emotional needs of every living human being are acceptance and love (to love and be loved).

We simply were not made to live alone.

To celebrate this is to re-create, refresh and remake the spirit.

In Step 12, we throw open the doors of the banquet hall to those who are still standing outside in the cold.

Like new shoes, my new behaviors and feelings will feel stiff and uncomfortable for a little while.


Courage to Change

Turning to an alcoholic for affection and support can be like going to a hardware for bread.

And no one person will ever offer all that we require.

Unhealthy and unsatisfying patterns of the past...

No one can stop me from changing.

Sometimes the most compassionate thing I can do is to let others take responsibility for their behavior.

It is my responsibility to solve my own problems

I care enough about myself to take a quiet half hour to relax.

I care about the alcoholic in my life more than I can say…and when I stop to think about it, that is enough.

How often I look outside myself for approval!

But when the applause of others becomes the reason for my behavior and necessary for me to feel satisfied, then I have given them power over me.

To value my own judgement…Approval, no longer essential, I provide.

When I sense that a situation is dangerous to my physical, mental, or spiritual well-being, I can put extra distance between myself and the situation.

And sometimes I try to put spiritual space between myself and another person’s behavior. This doesn’t mean I stop loving the person, only that I acknowledge the risks of my own well-being and make choices to take care of myself.

Step back from insanity rather than diving into it.

Detachment is a loving gift I continue to give to myself.

If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.

When I kept her from facing the consequences of her actions, I actually was depriving her of opportunities to want to change.

I try to check in with myself on a regular basis.

Detachment is not isolation, nor should it remain focused on not enabling the sick behavior of the past.

Detachment is not a wall…it is a bridge across which we may begin a new approach to life and relationships generally.

Look searchingly and fearlessly at myself, my feelings... I can only learn to love myself if I am willing to learn who I am.

I have a right to want what I want and to feel the way I feel.

I have been affected by someone else’s drinking. I don’t want to underestimate the lasting impact that alcoholism has had on me.

As a result, I have often found myself jumping at any opportunity without thinking it through. Behind my action was a sense of desperation: “I’d better grab this now – this may be my only chance”.

If I feel unable to do something today, I trust that there will be another opportunity if it is something I am meant to do. It doesn’t have to be now or never, all or nothing.

It is hard to stop acting as I have in the past. But with Al-Anon’s support, I can be the one to break the pattern. I can choose to do what I think is right—for me.

My idea of serenity was sitting on a mountaintop with a silly grin on my face, not caring very much about anything. I was more interested in passion!

Serenity didn’t have to strip me of my passion, it offered me a sense of inner security that freed me to live my life as fully and passionately as I pleased.

When I am serene, I am capable of becoming more fully, and more passionately, myself.

I was exhausted all the time!

I decided that the top priority for my unmanageable life was to recover from the effects of addiction.

It wasn’t a permanent change, just a way to give myself the time I needed for my emotional and spiritual health.

If I am overwhelmed, I may be trying to do too much. Today I will try to “Keep it simple.”      

One of the first things I heard in Al-Anon was that we didn’t have to accept unacceptable behavior.

I set some limits, not to control others, but to offer myself guidelines so that I would know what was and was not acceptable and what to do about it.

I can’t always know my Higher Power’s will.

Nowhere in Steps Four through Seven do we ask God to add anything, but rather to take away the things we do not need.

I, too, can transform something negative into something positive.

Doubt is an unavoidable companion of spiritual seeking.

Detachment is not caring less, it’s caring more for my own serenity.

I redirect the energy I’ve spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects.

Let us share our losses and triumphs with each other, for that is how we gather courage.