It's the little things. Like We have Choices.


one day at a time
There's been so much hard stuff lately for so many of us on this board. I'm very thankful that we aren't all in crisis at the same time.

For every time there is a season.

So.....what are we to do? With all of this mess.

Well, for starters---and for finishers----We have choices. I remember the first time I heard this in Al-Anon. I brushed it off, like I did so many things I heard there for so long.

Impatient for an ANSWER, something NEW TO DO, a WAY to FIX IT ALL, I didn't want to hear short, seemingly meaningless statements like this one.

***We have choices.

Today that statement---those three words---are a cornerstone of my recovery and my daily comfort. Those three little words can bring me back to NOW so quickly. Instead of living in the past or living in the future---they help me live in the RIGHT NOW.

***Living in the moment. Right now I am just fine. Pinch yourself. Right this very minute, you are okay. Aren't you? Oh, you aren't ecstatically happy or Pollyannaish---all is great!---but you are okay. That is the Right Now. We are most often really okay in the Right Now.

It's when we go off to Then and What If land---the past and the future---that we derail. We don't want the worst to happen, and we believe that by "preparing ourselves" we can ward off the intense hurt and pain.

If we imagine it, we can control it. That is really what we are saying. Not true.

***We can't control other people, places or things. Another short statement. Packed with meaning.

Well, if you let that fly right by you, of course you agree with it. But....if you sit with this statement, this truth, and let it flow into you, and rest with it, in silence, you will start to not only intellectualize it, but to feel it, and soon, to live it more and more.

We can't control another all. We can be like the Whack A Mole game---we can try. We can whack the newest upset, the newest problem, down. We can whack, whack, whack, each one as it pops up. But soon, problems are popping up all over everywhere, faster than we can whack them.

We move faster and faster, whacking more and more. We get good at it. But we're still way, way behind. Our difficult children can create havoc way faster than we can put a bandaid on it all.

Soon---or years later---we sigh, we stop and we look at what is really happening. Instead of one out-of-control person, there are now two out-of-control people. And the moles are still popping up faster than we can whack them down.

Nothing has changed, except we are just about crazy with it all.

***Changing our attitude and our thinking is the pathway to peace. You hear about making a daily gratitude list. Just sit for five minutes every morning, and write down five things you are grateful for. Sounds simple doesn't it? Then why don't we do it every day?

I think there are many reasons, but two of them that come to mind are these:

1. We don't really believe writing a gratitude list will make anything better.
2. The neural pathways of what we have always done are too deeply grooved in our brains to allow any change easily.

But consider this quote:

"Gratitude doesn't change the scenery; it merely washes the glass clean so you can clearly see the colors" (Richelle E. Goodwick)

There is a point to recognizing the good things in our lives, and actively being grateful for them. Does it take away the pain of what difficult child is doing? No. But it does give us a balancing perspective. And it evens out the despair.

These things are tools (and so many more). If we consciously pick up one or two or three tools every single day, and use them for a short period of time, over time, our neural pathways WILL CHANGE. They will.

And then....we will be better. We will be happier. We will be better able to function, regardless of what difficult child is doing.

It's the little things.

***If we can change just one thing today, we will take one step toward a momentum of change for ourselves.

Let's change just one thing today. Meditate for 10 minutes, pray on your knees, write a gratitude list, go to a 12-step meeting, get on the NAMI website and read for 10 minutes, study the 12 steps online, etc. etc.

If we start doing things differently, things will be different for us.



Thank you for your post. You have such an amazing way of expressing yourself and everything you say helps and encourages me. You are a blessing!


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Here is another phrase which echoes "choice."

Self government.

We are so used to thinking that means something to do with voting rights.

Self government.

Conscious choosing, in every instant, where we will place ourselves emotionally. Will we will hate or will we cherish? When does cherishing become enabling?

Someone famous, Rumi I think? Wrote: "Stop looking in that old way of looking."

Very hard, or impossibly simple, to do that.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Amen, CoM. Two things jumped out at me:

1. Being in the "now." I was just trying to explain this concept to Oldest the other night, as she panicked at dealing with another Crohn's flare. The "what ifs" are overwhelming her. During my worst times with both my kids, it helped me to study "mindfulness" and just recognize that in this particular moment, right now, I'm ok, and that concept could be incredibly comforting and centering. I learned to stop, breathe, focus on sitting in this moment and calm myself that way. It takes practice, but it works. The book "Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn helped me with this a great deal.

2. Gratitude. This is a biggie for me. There's a big challenge going around Facebook right now, the five things for five days. But what helps me is being grateful for ONE thing, every day. It can be tough to come up with five - but you can always find one. It really does change your thinking, for the better. You begin to react to stress differently when you practice gratitude. I even learned to turn things around to say, "if this bad thing hadn't happened, this GOOD thing wouldn't have happened, either."

Thanks for this .. it hits home this week for me.


Well-Known Member

that's what helps me.

Whenever it all gets too much I drive to a place in the mountains near here, where the view stretches for miles and miles, and I shrink to such a small, insignificant speck that all my troubles also become tiny and insignificant.

On the scale of the universe, I'm pretty insignificant.

That's what helps me keep things in perspective.

Does anything really matter? Not really, I don't think so.


Well-Known Member
COM, that really affected me (your post). It was out of this world. Thank you for it.

Cedar, I have to thank you too. Awesome.

LucyJ, I am only too aware of how insignificant we all are in the big pcture. I love to gaze at nature, but in a spiritual way, and think about how peaceful my life is RIGHT NOW and how beautiful the scenery is RIGHT NOW. Since I do believe in a higher power with all my heart and soul, I remember at those peaceful times, more than any other, why I'm here and how there is a reason for everything that I will learn when I leave this least for THIS earth trip home :) I hope I choose an easier path next time around :)

For different reasons all three of you made me smile. I am grateful for all of you today. That is my good thought of the day.