What is ‘healthy giving’?

Christmas gifts.

“It is giving that holds the giver and the receiver in high esteem. It is giving based on a desire to do it rather than from a sense of guilt, pity, shame, or obligation. It is giving with no strings attached. Or it is giving based on a clean, direct contract. Whether it is giving of our time, efforts, energy, comfort, nurturing, money, or ourselves, it is giving that we can afford. Giving is part of the chain of giving and receiving. We can learn to give in healthy ways; we can learn to give in love. We need to keep an eye on our giving, to make sure it has not crossed the line into caretaking. But we need to learn to give in ways that work for us and others.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 360). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

God’s will

AA Big Book

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Each day, ask God what God wants us to do today; then ask God to help. A simple request, but so profound and far-reaching it can take us anywhere we need to go. Listen: all that we want, all that we need, all the answers, all the help, all the good, all the love, all the healing, all the wisdom, all the fulfillment of desire is embodied in this simple request. We need say no more than Thank You. This Plan that has been made for us is not one of deprivation. It is one of fullness, joy, and abundance. Walk into it. See for yourself. Today, I will ask God to show me what God wants me to do for this day, and then ask for help to do that. I will trust that is sufficient to take me into light and joy.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 359). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

You might also find this helpful…

“The following summarizes the description of the 11th Step provided in Alcoholics Anonymous (primarily on pp. 86-88). This is supplemented by some suggestions [in brackets] that we have found helpful.

Preparing for the Day Ahead

  • We ask God to direct our thinking, asking especially that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
  • We consider our plans for the day. We can now use our mental faculties with assurance.
  • If we face indecision or we can’t determine what course to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy.
  • We pray to be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of problems.
  • We ask especially for freedom from self-will. [We might also pray for help with specific defects or problem areas, and review our 10th step corrective measures for the day ahead.]

Prayers to be of Use

  • We ask for guidance in the way of patience, kindness, tolerance and love especially within the family.
  • We pray as to what we can do today for the person who is still sick. [We might also pray for specific people in need, or those with whom we're angry.]

Spiritual/Religious Exercises

  • If appropriate, we attend to our religious devotions, or say set prayers which emphasize 12 Step principles.
  • We may read from a spiritual book.

Practicing the 11th Step Throughout the Day

  • We pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.
  • We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.””

Source: 11th Step Guidelines

For the record, the first excerpt can be found in Melody Beattie‘s book “The Language of Letting Go”. I recommend getting the Kindle edition — it’s cheaper and you can view it on your computer, smartphone or Kindle. The second reading comes from Recovery.net which features a website and an android app…


Cover of "The Language of Letting Go (Haz...

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One of our choices in recovery is choosing what we want to think—using our mental energy positively. Positive mental energy, positive thinking, does not mean we think unrealistically or revert to denial. If we don’t like something, we respect our own opinion. If we spot a problem, we’re honest about it. If something isn’t working out, we accept reality. But we don’t dwell on the negative parts of our experience. Whatever we give energy to, we empower. There is magic in empowering the good, because whatever we empower grows bigger. One way to empower the good is through affirmations: simple positive statements we make to ourselves: I love myself…. I’m good enough…. My life is good…. I’m glad I’m alive today…. What I want and need is coming to me…. I can…. Our choice in recovery is not whether to use affirmations. We’ve been affirming thoughts and beliefs since we were old enough to speak. The choice in recovery is what we want to affirm.
Today, I will empower the good in myself, others, and life. I’m willing to release, or let go of, negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. I will choose what I want to affirm, and I will make it good.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 358-359). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Needs and boundaries

Todd Lohenry

“When we don’t ask for what we want and need, we discount ourselves. We deserve better. Maybe others taught us it wasn’t polite or appropriate to speak up for ourselves. The truth is, if we don’t, our unmet wants and needs may ultimately come back to haunt our relationships. We may end up feeling angry or resentful, or we may begin to punish someone else for not guessing what we need. We may end the relationship because it doesn’t meet our needs. Intimacy and closeness are only possible in a relationship when both people can say what they want and need. Sustained intimacy demands this. Sometimes, we may even have to demand what we want. That’s called setting a boundary. We do this not to control another person, but to gain control of our life. Our attitude toward our needs is important too. We must value them and take them seriously if we expect others to take us seriously. When we begin to place value and importance on our needs, we’ll see a remarkable change. Our wants and needs will begin to get met. Today, I will respect the wants and needs of myself and others. I will tell myself, others, and my Higher Power what I want and need. I will listen to what they want and need too.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 355-356). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.


Financial fears

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

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The following is from Melody Beattie’s ‘The Language of Letting Go’…

“I sat in the car, looking at the sign on the door of the food shelf office: “Closed until Friday.” It was Wednesday. I had two hungry children and myself; I had no money. I laid my head on the steering wheel. I couldn’t take it anymore. I had been so strong, so brave, so trusting for so long. I was a single parent with two children, recently divorced. I had worked so courageously at being grateful for what I had, while setting financial goals and working at believing I deserved the best. I had put up with so much poverty, so much deprivation. Daily, I worked the Eleventh Step. I worked so hard at praying for knowledge of God’s will for me only, and the power to carry it through. I believed I was doing what I needed to do in my life. I wasn’t lollygagging. I was doing my best, working my hardest. And there just wasn’t enough money. Life had been a struggle in many ways, but the financial struggle seemed endless. Money isn’t everything, but it takes money to solve certain problems. I was sick of “letting go” and “letting go” and “letting go.” I was sick of “acting as if” I had enough money. I was tired of having to work so hard daily at letting go of the pain and fear about not having enough. I was tired of working so hard at being happy without having enough. Actually, most of the time I was happy. I had found my soul in poverty. But now that I had my soul and my self, I wanted some money too. While I sat in the car trying to compose myself, I heard God speak to me in that silent, still voice that whispers gently to our souls. “You don’t ever have to worry about money again, child. Not unless you want to. I told you that I would take care of you. And I will.” Great, I thought. Thanks a lot. I believe you. I trust you. But look around. I have no money. I have no food. And the food shelf is closed. You’ve let me down. Again I heard His voice in my soul: “You don’t have to worry about money again. You don’t have to be afraid. I promised to meet all your needs.” I went home, called a friend, and asked to borrow some money. I hated borrowing, but I had no choice. My breakdown in the car was a release, but it didn’t solve a thing—that day. There was no check in the mailbox. But I got food for the day. And the next day. And the next. Within six months, my income doubled. Within nine months, it tripled. Since that day, I have had hard times, but I have never had to go without—not for more than a moment in time. Now, I have enough. Sometimes I still worry about money because that seems to be habitual. But now I know I don’t have to, and I know I never did. God, help me work hard at what I believe is right for me in my life today, and I’ll trust You for the rest. Help me let go of my fears about money. Help me turn that area over to You, God. Take away the blocks and barriers in my life to financial success.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 336-337). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

The victim trap

“The belief that life has to be hard and difficult is the belief that makes a martyr. We can change our negative beliefs about life, and whether we have the power to stop our pain and take care of ourselves. We aren’t helpless. We can solve our problems. We do have power—not to change or control others, but to solve the problems that are ours to solve. Using each problem that comes our way to “prove” that life is hard and we are helpless—this is codependency. It’s the victim trap. Life does not have to be difficult. In fact, it can be smooth. Life is good. We don’t have to “awfulize” it, or ourselves. We don’t have to live on the underside. We do have power, more power than we know, even in the difficult times. And the difficult times don’t prove life is bad; they are part of the ups and downs of life; often, they work out for the best. We can change our attitude; we can change ourselves; sometimes, we can change our circumstances. Life is challenging. Sometimes, there’s more pain than we asked for; sometimes, there’s more joy than we imagined. It’s all part of the package, and the package is good. We are not victims of life. We can learn to remove ourselves as victims of life. By letting go of our belief that life has to be hard and difficult, we make our life much easier. Today, God, help me let go of my belief that life is so hard, so awful, or so difficult. Help me replace that belief with a healthier, more realistic view.”

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (pp. 331-332). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.

Taking care of ourselves…

A Belgian Westland Sea King at work doing a re...

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A good thought this morning from ‘The Language of Letting Go’…

We do not have to wait for others to come to our aid. We are not victims. We are not helpless. Letting go of faulty thinking means we realize there are no knights on white horses, no magical grandmothers in the sky watching, waiting to rescue us. Teachers may come our way, but they will not rescue. They will teach. People who care will come, but they will not rescue. They will care. Help will come, but help is not rescuing. We are our own rescuers.

Our relationships will improve dramatically when we stop rescuing others and stop expecting them to rescue us. Today, I will let go of the fears and self-doubt that block me from taking assertive action in my best interest. I can take care of myself and let others do the same for themselves.

Beattie, Melody (2009-12-15). The Language of Letting Go (Hazelden Meditation Series) (p. 329). Hazelden. Kindle Edition.