A slogan that I’d like to write about is “It works if you work it.” I love this slogan today but I used to find it abrasive! When I first entered S-Anon, I had difficulty with the hand-holding circle at the close of the meeting and chanting “It works if you work it, and you’re worth it!” It felt like an implied requirement for “elite” membership and it was wrapped in a touchy-feely sentiment. Since I had not experienced much safe touch in my life, I certainly didn’t want to be touched by strangers. It was part of my isolation…

I needed something pragmatic to hold onto, I needed answers to questions like, “What did/does it mean to “work it?” What does it mean for me to be “worth it?” “Working it,” for me, means (I should let you know up front that I didn’t do all of this at once) that I show up to the meetings every time it is possible and that I share what worked for me with those who are still suffering. I read the Keys to S-Anon Recovery and The S-Anon Problem and study them. I buy the S-Anon literature and I read it as a part of my daily gift to myself. I cooperate with the standards the Traditions set for my group behavior (begrudgingly at first; with great admiration and respect today). I follow the meeting guidelines. I came out of isolation by calling people from the local meetings and in other cities and by attending fellowship activities. I have sought out sponsorship and committed to being open to guidance. I give back by doing service for the fellowship. I started and completed the Steps several times — most powerfully in a Step study with others from my group. My need for this work is profound and ongoing. I started and completed a Tradition study, and I study a Tradition every month. I started and completed a Concept of Service study, and I study one Concept a month. I attend conventions when I can afford them. When I am triggered I practice exquisite self-care and make restorative phone calls. I got a God Box and I use it. I fired myself as my own Higher Power and experimented with a real one. That experimentation led to a deep relationship with the God of my understanding that can and does restore me to sanity when I reach for it. I reach for it. Reaching for it means I prayerfully spend time in the world of my Higher Power — in parks, on walks, with God’s other creatures, and with my face to the wind and the sun. It means I practice gratitude. It means I surrender having to be right. It means I show up, suit up, and take guidance. It means I put effort into something I believe in. It took me time to believe in it, but because it worked (almost immediately), I grew in belief. Now I enjoy spending time, every day, spiritually centering and surrendering my will. I actively listen for God in the world, the literature, and the people around me.

Reprinted from the Fall 2010 issue of S-Anews©.

 November 4, 2019

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