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...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Month of 10th Steps

I thought I was working the 2nd Step this month, but it turns out I'm working the 10th Step, having had to make five as-soon-as-possible amends. I use the word "had" because if I did not, I would lose my serenity, which is the goal of my Al-Anon program.

With making my 10th Step amends, I have figured out the character defect I've been practicing that results in needing to do 10th Steps. It is dishonesty. But more important, why am I dishonest in the first place, especially when I have nothing to hide?

Both my sponsor and a sponsee asked me the same question: why do you feel the need to lie to make yourself look or feel better? The answer is that I'm still learning to love and approve of myself, my big lesson of last year. I guess this year I need to practice unconditional love for myself. Here is a quote from Hope for Today, Feb. 23rd, page 54, that contains the solution:

"No longer do I expect to be perfect, and I don't hide away in isolation for fear of having my imperfections discovered. Neither do I easily give away the precious, vulnerable parts of myself; I wait until I deem the other person trustworthy enough to receive me with love."

In other words, I am not ashamed of my humanity. But at the same time, I am careful whom I share my faults and errors with, through Step 5, Step 9, and Step 10. And I am careful not to harm myself as well as someone else when I make my amends, as it states in Step 9. I check in with my Greater Power and sometimes my sponsor, depending on the gravity of the situation.

The important thing I've learned is that I love myself enough to make amends because when I do, and when I give the results to God, I am given the priceless gift of serenity. I don't just feel this myself. Others can see it, or so I was told at an Al-Anon business meeting this last weekend. What a nice compliment to my program and my sponsor's relentless reminding that my goal is indeed serenity.

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At Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:44:00 PM, Blogger Syd said...

The tenth step is a great one that I can use whenever I feel myself getting uncomfortable. That usually means that one of my character defects is flapping in the breeze. Your comments on this are good.


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