“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”
As promised, I will take what I learn from Al-Anon and share it here. Before I do that though, I’d like to share that this process is familiar. It’s not easy due to familiarity, but the feelings I had when I came into addiction recovery many years ago are not there. I can forge forward with more courage than I did over 19 years ago.
If you’ve been reading along you know I came to Al-Anon filled with despair and a strong feeling of hopelessness. Although I wasn’t struggling on how to get my spouse sober, I was struggling with how to cope with alcohol intake on a regular basis and to live around it in my home. I’ve seen my home as my safe haven away from people who alter their moods when drinking. One of the Million things that’s great about being a recovering addict is that I don’t have to hang around people who drink all the time like I did when I was active. Typically, it is rare to find me in a bar or club, and if I am you can literally set your watch to the minute with me. Without even looking at my watch, I spend one hour, then leave and find something else to do.
So, now I don’t have that safe haven anymore and that’s where I struggle the most. I like to be present in the moment, and I want that in people around me. That’s not the case all the time any more. I can’t control that no matter how much I piss and moan. And, with me, when I can’t control it, it gives me a sense of hopelessness and despair. Yes, it’s a character defect that pops up from time to time, and I work on it.
What I needed to figure out, acknowledge, and accept was that someone else’s drinking has affected my life, and I want to blame everything on the drinking. I also needed to realize there is nothing more I can say or do that will somehow convince another person to stop drinking. Once I did that, my problem(s) began to resolve themselves. Drinking or not I am powerless over alcohol!
Ask yourself these questions, an answer them as honestly as you can!
- Do I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking/drugging? Another person’s behavior?
- How do I recognize that the alcoholic/drug addict is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?
- Do I accept alcoholism/drug addiction as a disease? How does that change how I deal with the person?
- How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
- What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?
- How do I feel when the alcoholic/drug addict refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?
- What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic/drug addict or anyone else?
- How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?
- Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?
- In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?
- In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?
- What brought me into Al Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?
- Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples. How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
- How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?
- Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
- Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
- How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
- How well do I take care of myself?
- How do I feel when I am alone?
- What is the difference between pity and love?
- Am I attracted to alcoholics/drug addicts/other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
- Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
Recovery Rob BIO
Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.