The First Step
I am back to step one today and have been for some time, although I've gone through the twelve steps of Al-Anon many times. It's not a bad thing to realize, once again, that I am powerless, not just over alcohol but people, places, and things.
Just for today, I am powerless over an alcoholic in my life. She is a dear friend and has been sober for over two decades, but that doesn't mean she is completely well. She is no more cured of her disease than I am of mine.
What is the alcoholic's disease besides the obvious? One defect of character many alcoholics share is self-importance. Al-Anons on the other hand feel "less than."
So what can happen when the alcoholic gets on her "high horse"? If I am not in an especially good place, for whatever reason, I can easily get "triggered" into feelings of not being good enough. I feel judged, even unloved, and want to either get angry or run away - the "fight or flight" syndrome.
But what Al-Anon has taught me is to not react, instead to reason it out with a trusted friend or my sponsor and, above all, pray. And to remember that I am powerless over the other person's behavior. For now, I can just accept that I'm aware of my feelings in response to another person.
What a concept: I don't have to "break up" with my friend or call them to have a long, drawn-out conversation about everything that has ever gone on between us and what they did or didn't do, blah, blah, blah (which would probably end the relationship).
I can remember that by thinking I can control another person or situation, my life becomes unmanageable. Thus, I need to stop trying to control others, which includes thinking I can control others. The only means I have to do that is to give it over to God.
One of the first slogans I learned in Al-Anon was "Let go and let God." It helped me in those early days when I was living with active alcoholism. It can help me today when I deal with sober alcoholics who aren't always as loving and giving a I think they should be.
The first step, just for today, means "let go and let God."