CHANGE: a compass for growth
Chartered client, Sheila Foster*, vowed during her life planning meeting at Chartered she could not afford to get involved in service to others as a career that did not yield an income.
But, as many of us have learned, life has a way of redirecting us on an unanticipated path … and for Sheila, this change has resulted in the happiest and most joyful days of her life.
Today, Sheila works with a group that helps members with their addiction. “I am a personal sponsor to three wonderful people who are battling with their pain,” she says. “My greatest joy comes from seeing changes in their attitudes and behaviour.”
Not content to have just one channel of helping others, Sheila also chairs a quilting group that does great work for a few ‘gogos’ who run creches in the Inanda Valley.
“So I just want to say thank you, Chartered, for your inspiring newsletters and your hope-filled editorials,” says Sheila, and, true to her generous and caring nature, has shared an article that she has written on Change, in the hopes that other clients will be similarly encouraged. Please click here to enjoy it.
*not her real name
CHANGE: a compass for growth
Just as seasons change, so we, too, experience many changes in our lives.
The changing seasons can have powerful effects on us: winter can be depressing, spring is all about expectation, summer is the fullness of contentment and happiness, and autumn is a time for slowing down and going into a restful period, knowing that all is well with the world and with us too.
The Serenity Prayer talks of accepting what we cannot change and having the courage to change those things within our power to do so. One of the things that we cannot change is the fact that we do have an alcoholic in the family or in our group of friends. What we can do is accept that this addiction is a disease and that we are powerless to fix it. We can also accept that we are not alone – we know there is a Higher Power always with us and a community where we can share our burdens, losses and grieving.
We say loss and grieving because that is exactly what it is. As the disease has taken control, our alcoholic has lost his own power … and we have lost the dreams of childhood and adult expectations. It is helpful to recognise that we are grieving and, at the same time, to know that there is help, strength and the ability to turn those losses into new beginnings of a rich and happy life for ourselves. We have the choice, and so many discover this by following programmes such as our amazing and proven one. It doesn’t take long for change to start making itself felt without us even being aware of it.
By changing our own attitudes towards our alcoholic and our loved ones, we can:
- extend thoughtful little courtesies towards them
- apologise for our own behavior
- convey our regrets to the alcoholic
- express our understanding of this disease
- try to be more tolerant and gentle
- try to bring a little humour into the relationship.
As you work the program, these little things start to make an enormous difference. As you both grow together, you will find that life will change and winter will slowly but certainly give way to spring and summer! Many times an active alcoholic will change, too, and start to want the things you have. That’s when their programme will start and with your encouragement, a new beginning will take place.
So, change is filled with wonderful possibilities … if we will but take hold of it.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor Frankl