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Al-Anon Lifer Patient Expert

Littleton, Colorado
I'm a long-time member of Al-Anon which is where I continue to recover from the effects of living with alcoholism in family members. It is where I've learned to love myself and make serenity my main goal in life, no matter what is going on. I now have a Greater Power of my own understanding who... Full Bio
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Nov 10 2009 by pataspalmeadas
I just happened across your blog. It is wonderfully authentic. I am new to Al-Anon (3 months) and am a sponge right now for anything I can find that might offer me insight or compassion. Thanks for taking the time to write this. It helped me today.
 
Aug 19 2009 by Al-Anon Lifer

It's mid-August and when I realized that I had indeed worked Step 7, I began working on Step 8. Since I've been here before several times, my list isn't very long or complicated. What keeps it simple this time is putting myself first - finally.

I've heard it said many times at meetings and even read it in Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature that I'm the person I have harmed the most with my negative attitudes, reactions, and behavior. But I just got around to truly making amends to myself this year.

A sponsee on the same step asked me how one does this, make amends to oneself. My answer was that I'm just figuring that out, although I've been doing it ever since I came to Al-Anon almost 20 years ago. First, I went to meetings. Then I got a sponsor and worked the steps. Then I've done service work.

All through it, I've learned to use the tools of Al-Anon to detach (with disdain at first), then to detach with love, then to detach with love for myself. I detach to protect myself from my own resentments and also to protect myself from further harm.

Now I'm in the process of becoming willing to make amends to myself, to truly take care of myself by loving myself, forgiving myself, accepting myself, and approving of myself - all the things I never got from my parents and consequently from me. I didn't think I deserved unconditional love.

But I do. So "Let It Begin With Me" has taken on a new meaning this year. If I can truly love myself, then I can finally, really love others. This doesn't mean that I am selfish or allow others to harm me. It simply means that I see myself and others as my loving Greater Power does.

How I actually make amends to myself comes in Step 9. I won't find that out for sure until it happens. Step 8 is just making a list and becoming willing to follow through with whatever my God wants me to do. Right now, I get the feeling that it is to recover those things in life which used to give me joy. How this happens, I won't know until it does.

In the meantime, I can rejoice that I'm beginning to feel free, really free, for the first time in my life. May you find this joy and contentment through the Al-Anon program by working the steps. But first, go to a meeting or better yet, six meetings as close together as possible. Doing that changed my life and it will also change yours, if you let it.

 
Jul 25 2009 by Al-Anon Lifer

Oh, my, it's almost the end of July and I am just getting around to posting my thoughts on Step 7. Could be because I'm really still on Step 6, which just goes to show you that God is in charge of my recovery, not me.

In fact, that's what my sponsor asked me think about, that perhaps I need to be willing to let God decide what character defects to remove from me. Maybe I still need one or two of them to protect myself - maybe they are really assets still.

So I did quite a bit of meditating on Step 6 this last week and it all came down to the first slogan I used in Al-Anon - Let Go and Let God - to realize that I'm not in charge no matter how much of my life I try to control. I learned not to control others, but myself? Am I really that powerless?

In many instances, yes. I have limits and I will never be perfect. In fact, the older and more mature I get, the more I realize just how far from perfect I am. This doesn't mean I need to beat up on myself. It simply means I can accept myself just the way I am now - and love me the way God loves me.

Now that I'm willing to let God decide what's best for me, I can move on to Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove these character defects. I've become humble once again, knowing that I don't get to decide what gets removed or when.

It's like losing weight - I can diet and exercise, but the actual part of my body that loses fat is pretty much out of my control. I can only do the footwork and leave the results up to nature (God). And sometimes, I don't even have to do that much before a burden gets lifted - sometimes I ijust need to Let Go and Let God.

(c) 2009 Al-Anon Lifer

 

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