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...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The First Step

"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."

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."

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At Sunday, August 31, 2014 6:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so very grateful for this post.


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