The AA Way: 10 Lessons We Can All Learn From

I’m not a member of AA, but through the course of random events, I’ve met some amazing women who are.

They are funny. They are insightful. They are a joy to be around and possibly the most non-judgmental people I’ve ever met. The more time I spend with them, the more I realize what an incredible program AA is. Truth be told, I’m jealous of their connection and what they learn in group therapy because what AA boils down to is a healthy, wholesome way of life. It’s a philosophy anyone can benefit from, addict or not.aa way copy

Now, you may think you don’t know any addicts. You may assume addiction recovery is irrelevant to you since no one in your circle is struggling. If so, it’s time to broaden your mindset.

The truth about addiction, one of the most pressing problems of our generation, is that it’s a dark, prevalent secret in every community. It’s more common than people think, and with all the things people can be addicted to – alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex, shopping, eating, gambling, work, technology, exercise – chances are everyone will be affected at some point in some way.

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If I Die Young

Nobody likes to think about their mortality, but the untimely deaths in 2012 of two Birmingham moms – both younger than me – really made me consider mine.

I never met Laura Black or Elliot Williams in person, but they inspired me. They were the moms/friends/wives/amazing women everyone knew and loved. For months I followed their stories on Facebook, praying as our mutual friends posted updates and bawling my eyes out at my computer. Whenever I started to complain about my life, I thought about Laura and Elliot. Compared to two moms losing their earthly battles to cancer, my problems suddenly seemed small.

What Laura and Elliot made me mindful of was that good health is a privilege. All the ordinary events I take for granted – driving carpool, grocery shopping, taking care of my kids – would seem like amazing blessings if one day I woke up and couldn’t do them. Because of Laura and Elliot, I became more grateful. I realized what an honor it is to be able to serve the people I love.

After these amazing women passed, I sat down and did what I’d thought about doing for years: I wrote down long-term advice for my daughters. I thought about what I want them to know when they go to college…start working…get married…begin a family. Just in case I’m not around.

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What is a Sister?

“I hate my sister! I wish I was an only child!”sister5

These aren’t the words a mother dreams of hearing, yet I venture to say they’re heard in many homes. Whenever they’re voiced in mine, my heart breaks in two.

My girls love each other, and I catch them all the time having Hallmark moments, moments where they cackle and grin simultaneously, making their faces mirror images…moments where they dance around the house acting like nuts and singing their favorite songs…moments where they whisper in quiet corners while glancing up to make sure I can’t hear.

In these moments, I have hope. I see a foreshadowing of the underlying bonds that will cement later in life. I remember why I have four kids, because what they give each other – the magical world of a shared childhood – is more powerful than anything I can offer.

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