Al-Anon Lifer

Anonymous sharings from a long-time member of Al-Anon, which is a safe place to recover from the effects of alcoholism in a friend or relative...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Let It Begin with Me, Really

The slogan "Let It Begin with Me" usually refers to 12th Step work, but I’m using it right now to make amends to myself. I’m letting it begin with me by finally putting myself on my 8th Step list, something I’ve never done even though it has been recommended to me several times. I wish I had done it, but we work the program our own way in our own time. So I’m not going to beat myself up.

In fact, I’m going to stop beating myself up because that’s what I’ve been doing most of my life. It started in my childhood when I was told I wasn’t good enough, that I was just like my alcoholic father, and that no one would ever love me – and I believed it, all of it. So this amends to myself - to tell myself that I am loved, I am forgiven, and I am approved of – will be a lifelong endeavor.

And I’ve noticed something already. That when I’m starting to feel bad, either about myself or someone else, if I get back to thinking that God loves me, God forgives me, and God approves of me, I can change my mood. And when I change my mood or my attitude with those self-affirming thoughts, I change my persona. I actually become a different person because I’ve changed my core beliefs.

That doesn’t mean I change my personality, just how it comes across to the world. I am no longer the damaged little me who barely keeps her head above self-pity, criticism, and justification – running off any potential friends in the process. I become someone who is confident, tolerant, and receptive to others liking me. I am attractive because I love myself, I forgive myself, and I approve of myself.

Actually, when I become an attractive person, from the inside out, I am doing 12th Step work – attraction not promotion. So for me, “Let It Begin With Me” is about my recovery coming first before I can help others. That means I have to put myself first, which means I have to love myself. Although my sponsor has been working with me on this, my ah-ha moment came when I was seeking God’s will and read:

“When I learn to love myself as my Higher Power loves me, I believe I am doing God’s will.” (Courage to Change, page 206)

Although I still desire to be loved by many people and to have many friends, my sponsor reminds me that all I need is the love, forgiveness, and approval of God and myself. That is enough.

P.S. Yes, I know I'm repeating myself some here (see 2 posts ago) but this learning to love myself is a huge lesson for me and a long time coming. So it bears repeating again and again.

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At Tuesday, September 09, 2008 8:10:00 AM, Blogger Syd said...

Great post. I wrote about something very similar today. Learning to forgive myself has been a good lesson.

At Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:15:00 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I can walk in recovery and healing for years and years and I have...still the first thing I throw me. Great post. Great lesson. Great reminder!

At Friday, May 29, 2009 4:04:00 PM, Blogger Karoline said...

This is a very good post and I'm very thankful to be able to read it. I also struggle with self love and acceptance. However, the next time the "strident voice of my disease" tries to tell me that I'm not good enough I can remember to consider the source and realize that it's' just the disease trying to get me to believe it's lies again.
I'm so thankful that Al-anon gives me the tools to see the truth; that I am loveable and more than good enough.


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