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...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Some Compassion

Now that my blood father's visit is less than two weeks out, I have finally found some compassion for him with an exercise I came up with while reading Survival to Recovery.

I pictured my father as a 7 or 8-year-old boy whose father died from dust pneumonia during the dust bowl of the Depression. I was the same age when my father left the family not to return.

Then I pictured him as a 14-year-old boy whose alcoholic step-father kicked him out of the house for good. When I was 14, my mother told me I could go live with my father right before she pushed me out onto the front porch on a below zero night in January in the country in Montana. Soon after that, I was adopted by my step-father.

Then I pictured my blood father as a young man in a loveless marriage feeling trapped with children. I have a picture of him next to my mother who is happy holding me as a baby, but he looks detached and is standing several inches from my mother.

After that is where our lives differ. Although I felt trapped as a young wife and mother, I stayed and got help for my attitude. I've worked on that attitude ever since and I think, finally, am making a major breakthrough - through my original anger to a place of real forgiveness.

I like compassion - it gives me the freedom to see someone else's humanity without condoning their behavior. It helps me understand what happened to someone else without letting them interfere with my serenity. It helps me keep an emotional distance to take care of me first.

This truly is detaching with love - for me and for others.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

HOPE FOR TODAY'S page, March 18

Many of the amends I need to make center around letting go of the past. It's time to give myself and others a second chance.

In Al-Anon, I learned to take care of myself even around people with whom I have a long and painful history.

If disagreement occurs, I can use my program to help me make decisions I won't regret.

I know I can ask my Higher Power for help with this letting go process.

Today I choose to be gentle with myself and to love unconditionlly while detaching with the past.

Enough said, just for today. I cannot add to the quotes above from today's page in Al-Anon's daily reader, HOPE FOR TODAY, written by and for adult children of alcoholics.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Arghhh!!! He's Actually Coming!!!

Okay, so I set my boundaries for my blood father to visit and he decided to respect those and we're in the process of making plans. But now that his visit is less than a month away, I'm experiencing the schizophrenic behavior that adult children of alcoholics often go through. One minute I'm this little girl stamping her feet and yelling obsenities or crying, remembering my feelings as a child as if I were right there, almost 50 years ago.

The next minute I'm my adult self with grown children and grand-children who is both capable and willing to stand up for that little girl should her blood father who abandoned her as well as emotionally abused her, over and over again, say or do anything that is unacceptable. But what do I really want? I still wonder. So I'm reasoning it out with others - my trusted friends and sponsors in Al-Anon as well as my spouse.

I want to tell him, my blood father, off. I want to abandon him like he abandoned me so he will know what it feels like. Oh, he does know what it feels like. I have hardly been in contact with him, my decision, for years. He was also abandoned by his father through death as a child during the Depression, and then his alcoholic step-father kicked him out of the house when he was 14. But does he know that he did the same to me and my brother? Does he know it was wrong? Does he get it?

Probably not, so I think I need to tell him until I'm blue in the face and he finally nods in agreement, apologizes, changes into this magical daddy and granddaddy and great-granddaddy who doesn't really bother us again but does shower us with gifts and especially money, lots of money, to make up for everything! Money was how I knew I was loved or better yet not loved in my family. I wasn't given any. It was withheld. It is still withheld, like the love is, like the care is. Like the nurturing is withheld.

But I'm really not in it for the money. I don't really need money. I wouldn't put myself through this for mere dollars. It wouldn't be worth it. I'm really, truly in it for myself, not for my blood father. I need to make peace with the situation. I need to find closure NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES OR SAYS!!!!! I need to find PEACE and SERENITY. I need to know that I AM A GOOD PERSON with the ability to FORGIVE and HAVE COMPASSION for another's DISEASE while at the same time, STAND UP FOR MYSELF.

In short, I need to grow up. My little girl needs to be nurtured by me until we are one. Yes, I can cry, which I finally started to do this morning. Yes, I can ask for what I need, like I finally did last night. Yes, I can get help from other adult children of alcoholics. I can rely on them and my Greater Power, Gracious Mother. I am not alone. I have help. I have a fairly healthy Al-Anon family.

And I have all of you who encourage me and thank me everytime I blog. I have this platform to show you that no matter how long we're in the program, we're growing. We get the opportunities to stretch ourselves, to practice the principles, to use the tools. And it works. It really works. So bear with me, believe in me, pray for me, and love me the same way I "already love you." I'm walking through a fire right now but I can see the door out...

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Monday, March 01, 2010

It's March!!

I made it through February, which to me is the darkest month of the year. It has less to do with being the dead of winter than with being the month my life changed as a child, when my parents got divorced and we left our house for good. I figured this out a few years back through therapy, so now I'm hypervigilant about taking care of myself every February. And this year, I didn't get depressed!

Although I did get a bit insane towards the end there with obsessive thinking, arguing with my blood father in my head after deciding to contact him and invite him for a visit, to which he has not replied. Then I remembered that I could ask the God of my understanding to take that stinking thinking away from me.

I also did the footwork by writing out a fourth step, and you know what? The next morning I woke up happy. And yesterday I forgot to worry about opening my email should an angry letter be waiting for me. You see, I had invited him but with a couple of boundaries, ones that I needed to establish to take care of me, ones that may have upset him.

From his past behavior, when not getting his way has kept him away, I can make all kinds of assumptions about his current state of mind... however, I haven't seen him for ten years and have had very little contact, so I have no way of knowing how he's reacting now. I can only know myself, and even that can be tough at times.

So I've decided to really give the results to God. My goal in this exercise has been my own serenity. It wasn't working for me to emotionally divorce my blood father, to be totally unwilling to see him. But now that I've made contact and been as civil as one can be while putting my needs first, I know I've done what I can do, for now. Just for today.

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