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Post Info TOPIC: Alanon Step 1 ( Sept-1-2016)


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Alanon Step 1 ( Sept-1-2016)


Step 1

We Admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable
 
C2C page 283:  the first step prepares us for a new life, which we can achieve only by letting go of what we cannot control and by undertaking, one day at a time, the monumental task of setting our world in order by a change in our own thinking.",
  
My  share
 
The above quote from the Courage to Change is indeed extremely powerful and very true.  When I first entered program it was pointed out to me that the first word in this step was the most important---"WE".  A powerful reminder that I am not alone and that I cannot work this program alone.
 
Asking for help by admitting that I did not know how to live my life with the insanity that I endured on a daily basis, opened the doors to a life I could not have imagined.
 
  
"This step was the key to my recovery journey!!.  I needed to understand that this program is a process and one day at a time, develop the tools(by practice)  that will help me to grow and change into the person I wanted to be.  It is not an easy road nor is it a quick fix, however it was the answer to all my pain.  
 
 When I first looked at the step, I thought my life was not unmanageable on the outside, however, on the inside I was filled with anger, resentment, self-pity and fear and did not have a clue how to rid myself of these painful emotions.   I put on a happy face, but I could not find joy and happiness. That is unmanageable at the finest!  I am glad I finally surrendered to the first step.
One day at a time, by keeping an open mind and showing up regardless of how I felt--That was the key.
 
Keep coming back is essential. 
Step 1 Questions
 
 Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?


How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?

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 refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?

What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic 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 elses behavior?

What brought me to 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 and 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?



 

 

 


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Betty


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What if alanon is not for me? Maybe I'm too effed up in other ways that need repair before I take this on? I couldn't answer some of the questions.... If I stopped trying to control his addictions I would have to face ________????if I won't fill in that blank, I won't move on. That much I've figured out...
The steps are necessary but they have to be solid before taking another. That's just common sense...the emotional turmoil elicited in me by these questions in step 1 is overwhelming....feel kind of nauseous about what do I feel I have to do but don't want to...that involves physical intimacy. I feel zero desire for the guy. I feel resentful about so many things...I want to say to Rob... I told him one day he'd look up from his addiction and I'd be gone, with my absence...
Why did I come in the first place? I saw my daughter leave and return to her addicted husband for the umpteenth time...family pattern...
Thanks..



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Hi Geems Recovery is a process and new members are encouraged to keep attending meetings, attempting to use a slogan or two on a daily basis and write a gratitude list when possible and to keep coming back.   Stay or go in the relationship is up to you--  The tools will help you to feel better regardless of your decision.   

In time, after several meeting and obtaining a sponsor, we often become ready to tackle the Steps. I know many long time members who have not done so.  In fact in my weekly Step meeting we have two members who have been in program for over 15 years, who are just now attempting to process the Steps. There is no time table for recovery.

I found that working the slogans lead me automatically to the steps. Let go and Let God was the first 3 Steps, examining my motives was the 4 th Step,Sharing at a meeting a 5th Step and so on . It is not an easy process and I do understand your position .

Please remember that we are doing all this to recover our self esteem and self worth and to discard all the negative voices that haunt our days. You deserve to feel better. 
You are not alone so please do keep coming back.



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Betty


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Thank you I will.

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Great-- Remember progress not perfection is our aim. 



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Betty


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I have been attending AlAnon meetings for four years now.  When I read the questions I can see how much I have grown.  I do take better care of myself and I do see so many good qualities of my A.  I have come back to this step so many times in my recovery.  I also see that I need to do more work.   My husband is my A and he was sober for three years (no program) and has relapsed for about 8 months now.  I also grew up with an Alcoholic father so when my husband drinks it feels like I have PTSD.  Ugh it is so hard to live with.  I am working on myself to become stronger so I can stick to my boundaries, which is if you don't start working a program we have to seperate.   I also have great joy in my life even know all this crap is going on which is a miracle unto itself.  I just got a raise, yeah me! I know its a process and I know I'm worth it.  Thanks for letting me share.



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Kelly Sweeney


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Hello Kelly Thanks for sharing youru thoughts on this important Step Congrats on the raise and on your positive attitude I appreciate sharing the journey with you

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Betty


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Today in the meeting we were discussing step 9. I wanted to stay stuck on step 1 because I would not consider the possibility that the addict had no control. After all I do. It never occurred to me being the self righteous close minded person that I am that they don't. Even when they aren't using it controls them. I wanted to be right about this. I shouted and railed against reality like some kind of crazy person about them not being sick once they stopped.... and when I came back to the room, every eye said to me "you aren't right about this"....I was convicted. It was Humbling and yet freeing. Thus ends week one of alanon for me.

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Great share geems That is how it worked for me as well. Keep on keeping on

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Betty


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Thanks Betty. I immediately camped on step 1 and meditated on it, prayed about it and made a plan...Instead of being an ignorant know it all with a big mouth, I will be an informed know it all haha! I've been reading and researching alcoholism and the effects plus am going to an open forum AA meeting to learn everything I can about it. My big mouth could be an asset if I learn to use my powers for good I expect. Man I can be insufferable lol!!! Taking it easy though...(((Betty)))

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Powerless over ALL of it. Not just the substance alcohol. The disease of alcoholism. It's effects on us historically, present day, and in the future. It's not mine to fix or control...think I'm going to cry...what a relief!? This is big.

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This is huge geems.  Once we reach "acceptance", as you have done, and know the truth, that is when we are able to find different solutions and maintain our serenity .

Good job my friend.



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Betty


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I'd like to start using this board for my step work.  I worked with a wonderful sponsor, but she is not currently available, so I hope it is OK if I come here and write about steps for the time being.  

Here goes Step 1.  I am writing on how I viewed this step when I was living with active alcoholism, and how I view it now that I am in a different phase of life.

Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?

Two years ago, I accepted that I would no longer look for or throw away my AH's alcohol.  I was working on trying not to be in control of other medications and whether or not he would follow doctor's instructions. I was beginning to understand that I could put the responsibility back on him, as my attempts at control had proved ineffective.  Today, I have learned more about alcoholism and about the progression that would inevitably occur, so I feel much firmer in my belief that I cannot control anyone's behavior but my own.

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?

Then:  I accepted enough about the disease that I stopped "going ballistic" about alcoholic behavior.  I had begun to understand that my AH literally could not abstain from drinking, despite doctor's orders, seizures, hospitalizations, loss of driver's license, and the obvious effects on my emotional state.  I came to understand that he did not want to hurt me, but was compelled to drink secretly although it would hurt me when I found out. I did not feel compassionate, but I did feel somewhat rational.  

Today: I have learned more about the disease and the advances science has made in understanding it.  As I gained more serenity, I can step back and see my late AH as a whole person, not just the alcoholism.  As I see my lovely adult daughter having some of her father's traits and really liking to drink ... I don't know if she will fall into the disease, but I am grateful that she and I both have exposure to Alanon principles and we talk about them.  I have learned enough not to let my fear interfere with my relationship with my daughter.

How have I tried to change other in my life? What were the consequences?

Then:  With my late AH, I thought that if I (finally) expressed how upset I was, then he would stop drinking.  Much to my surprise, this tactic did not work. From his perspective, the problem was my upset, not his drinking.  Another situation was when my young son had difficulties in school.  I tried doing more of what was not working ... more homework help, tutoring, holding firm that he "had to" do what the school wanted him to.  The insanity of doing more of the same and expecting different results.  What finally helped was releasing him and letting go of control of academic performance.  Ultimately this saved our relationship, so that when he became an adult he was able to be open with us about the real root cause of his issues, and we could help him address them.  This was a long-drawn-out practice of powerlessness, which was scary at times, but eventually bore great fruit.  It helped prepare me for the concept of letting go of control of alcoholism.

To be continued in another post ...



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Welcome Freetime I appreciate your wisdom, honesty and clarity and look forward to reading more of about your recovery journey .

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Betty


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Thank you, Betty, for your response. Here is more on Step 1:

Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health?

I'm glad for this question.  Looking back, I remember that my son shared with me that he felt I was "too busy."  I believe he was responding to his perception of my stress level, and attributed it to the fact that I was doing many activities, such as volunteering for two organizations, taking yoga classes, holding down a full time job, and had just recently completed a master's degree. This really made me think, as it was not like my son to share such a perception with me.  I explained that I did all these activities because I enjoyed them, but what I did not reveal at the time was that they were a way of running away from the realities of living with active alcoholism at home. Also a dear friend, whom I did share my realities with, mentioned Al-Anon, for which I am eternally grateful.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

I felt panic, unable to think clearly, felt I could not make plans or count on anything happening, because of the increasing frequency of crises with my late AH. I had a sense of impending doom, that something bad was always about to happen, and I was not sleeping well.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

In so many ways.  I thought my value and identity came from the man in my life. I thought I should always do what others wanted, and that is how I would ensure they approved of me or loved me. I did not know it was possible to say no.  I shared little with others, and kept my true wishes and thoughts private.

Do I say yes, when I want to say no?  What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?

I always, from childhood, said yes, no matter what I really meant.  This was my mode of operation, all the time. As a child, it got me a lot of approval from adults, but even my mother eventually noticed that I would agree in the moment and then not actually do what I'd agreed to, because it was not what I really meant.  It got me into some bad situations as a young adult. 

When I heard in Alanon, "Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean"... that was a revelation to me.  If only I'd known that years ago, I might have suffered less ... but I am glad to know it now.  



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How do I feel when my life is going smoothly?  Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?

I have never liked crises, and the reason I approached Alanon was that I started to feel my life would never go smoothly again, that it would always feel like a crisis.  Living with the results of alcoholism, and not being very far into Alanon, the best I could say was that I could maintain some level of self-control during a crisis.  It was really "white knuckling," because I would appear somewhat calm but paid a price in mental exhaustion after the crisis passed.  

I did anticipate problems, and at the time that was truth, because I could almost predict how many weeks it would be before the next crisis, and the interval kept getting shorter. I had a Peanuts cartoon posted on my bulletin board, where Charlie Brown is saying, "I have a new philosophy ... I only dread one day at a time."  That was the best I could do. Some of my fears were realistic, while others were just made-up thoughts.  

As I've posted before, I heard from a wonderful Alanon friend, "If you're going to make s*** up, why not make up good s***?"  And today that helps me stay away from needless dread.  Today, every day, I am grateful that my life is going smoothly now.

What is the difference between pity and love?

I believe that pity means I feel the other person is less than me, whereas love means I recognize that the other person is equal to me (not greater than) and that I see or strive to see what we have in common.  I think this is the key to understanding others, including alcoholics.

 



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Thank you for your follow through  Freetime  Your definition between pity and  love is true.

I appreciate your sharing the journey.



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Betty


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Good Morning (((Betty)))! How are you?
Welcome to recovery Freetime. Glad you could join us. I really enjoyed reading your answers. Great insight and humour. Thanks for that!
So I've resigned from my self appointed dictatorship of controller of the universe after week 1 in alanon. You who have gotten to this place know what I mean. You who want to get here, it's worth it. It's a crappy job anyway.
Just completed my first week. As the week and I progressed, life got shiney again. That is a miracle in itself given the only thing that changed was the decision to let go. Two years ago a Dr. prescribed anti-depressants for me. In July I went to see a Psychiatrist at the behest of the Dr. as I failed to see any results from these anti-depressants. I was thrilled to be coming off of them! The Psyc. agreed that I was not clinically depressed and could come off the drugs by using half then a quarter etc til done. Oh, and here are 80 other pills to pop to help with your anxiety lol! Madness. Life never got shiney when I was medicated.
Admitting I am powerless frees me to be powerful in healthy ways. Improved communication with myself and others, decisions that move me forward towards a better life, a clear mind, a love for myself and others that is authentic. Those are seeds HP has planted this first week that will continue to grow as I do.
Cannot thank you all enough. (((Betty))) especially.

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((Geems)) You are a Miracle in Progress.  Please do keep on keeping on.



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Betty


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Hi Geems, glad to hear you have resigned from the controller job!  As things became clearer to me, I realized that controlling others was not in my job description.



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Boy, those questions are very extensive and I need to take some time to go over them slowly and carefully. I can relate to most all of them, but I can sense the freedom that can come in just the awareness of how stuck I get in other peoples' problems.

I grew up in an alcoholic family and internalized all of that trauma, carrying with me throughout my life these traits of feeling "responsible" or "guilty". And even though I've intellectually come to terms with it all, at a deeper level I feel that I'm still operating out of unhealthy coping patterns.

I'm very glad I found this thread. I'm ready for awareness and change. I'm very ready to start living in the joy of my own life.

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Welcome Shoofoolatte Glad you are here . Please keep coming back.

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Betty


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Thank you for the welcome, Betty. I'm back!! I'm still figuring out this site, but it is just what I need now. Thank you for being here.

Among other things, I am realizing that I am powerless over negative thinking and a voice in my head that is always judging, blaming, holding resentments, trying to justify myself, make myself look "better" than the other, etc ... I let other peoples' behavior make me crazy. I judge and blame to the point where I am the crazy one. Truly sick. I don't know how to Live and Let Live. I do not know how to become a blessing to the world. I am a perfectionist with myself and a chief judge and criticizer of others as well. I'm sick of myself at this point.

I'm ready to find another way, but I can't do it by myself. HUMILITY and joining with others on this journey is necessary. Learning and practicing principles of letting go, letting the world and people be the way that they are, finding my own peace and serenity ...

... but I'm getting ahead of myself. For today I'm on Step 1 - admitting that I am caught in negative energy and powerless.

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Great First Step awareness shoo . Keep coming back

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Betty


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Forgive me if I am over-posting on this site, I'm not sure of the protocol.

As I spend more time on Step 1, I realize that I am powerless over other people. How they are, who they are, how they behave. I do not, and can not, change them. I can let them be as they are.

I have spent way too much energy and life analyzing THEIR problem. How they should change, be different (so that I can feel better or something). This is nuts.

Admitting and realizing that they are not my "job" and that I can't do anything about them even if I want to, frees up a lot of energy in me. Let them be. Live and let live. I only have to take care of myself.

I am still very stuck in thought patterns that gear toward "them", all those others that are so "wrong". I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself still thinking about other people and how they should change. Geez. I'm finding that it takes strong inner discipline to move my thoughts out of that realm of negative thinking into a bigger, free-er, open space. Admitting that I am powerless over others, that they are not my business, helps me to do this.

At this point, I am using this Step 1 - I am powerless over other people - on a daily basis, and multiple times a day.

Thank you all for being here, for starting this board, and for having the Steps here for me to use. It is a miracle that I found it on the day that I did.

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"put yourself in the place where grace can flow to you." - robert lax


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Hi shoo Great work with processing the Step and becoming aware of the negative voices within.
I found that repeating the serenity prayer or a simple slogan, helped to stop the voices and restored me to sanity. Keep up the good work

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Betty


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I am powerless. I can do nothing, I must let things be as they are. I must let people be as they are. I must learn how to accept this and live this powerless-ness.

Its a bit like being passive. Sitting still. Letting my mind stop racing around solutions and admit that I'm stuck. Take my foot off the gas of a car that is just spinning its wheels in the mud.

I cannot change people -- or life. Life is the way life is.

I am stuck; my old ways of doing things do not work. By myself, I cant work my way out of this mess. I have to become humble enough to admit my wrong-headedness and reach for help. Learn from others.

[thank you for letting me work my way thru the steps in this in this space. I was raised in an alcoholic home and developed unhealthy coping patterns that are now causing me a lot of problems in a family relationship (an adult estranged adopted son and his wife). I'm not actively dealing with an alcoholic, but the dysfunction seems very much as if I were. I feel I need to work the 12 steps for myself.]



-- Edited by shoofoolatte on Friday 9th of September 2016 12:43:40 AM

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It sounds as if you have accepted your powerlessness so that it may be time to move on to Step 2 I will post it next week. M ean time keep on reciting the serenity prayer and making a gratittude list and each morning remind yourself of the First step.



-- Edited by hotrod on Monday 17th of October 2016 06:01:31 PM

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Betty


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Hi all, I have recently joined Al Anon - I have been to four meetings and have already found a wonderful sponsor. Already, I can see and feel the benefit of the program, and have felt my higher power intervene in the times when I needed it the most. Last night I decided to answer the questions for Step 1, as I am waiting for my Paths to Recovery Step Book to arrive.

1. Do I accept that I cannot change another person's drinking? Another person's behavior?
Yes. Alcoholism is a disease that can only be treated by the person suffering from it. It is a lifelong disease that can be managed, but the only person who is capable of doing that managing is the alcoholic themselves. I have no control over the actions of others.

2. How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?
I know that their disease affects every facet of their life, even in the smallest ways. Because I don't know what it's like to have that disease, it is sometimes foreign and therefore difficult for me to understand the way that an alcoholic may act.

3. Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?
Yes. It means that I am powerless over their alcoholism, just as I would be if they had cancer or any other disease. It means that they should get no special treatment from me because of their illness, whether it be pity, anger etc. They are sick and therefore deserve help and compassion, but ultimately they are the only ones who can help themselves achieve recovery.

4. How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
Yes - I tried to change my last girlfriend who I wanted to grow up and start being more responsible. She felt that I was being overbearing and that I was overly concerned with her personal decisions. I tried to get her to go back to school, because a degree is something I value, and something she does not. I tried to get her to understand where I was coming from, but ultimately I had no power over how she led her life, and she resented me for trying to make her into something she wasn't and she broke up with me.

5. What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?
In past, I had used my own instability and mental health to try and keep people in my life that I felt I would be lost without. It was a way of guilting someone into staying with me. My fear of being alone or lonely has in past led me to try and get people to love me the way I wanted them to, even if they were not the right person for me, or were not interested in being with me. Instead of relying on others to meet my needs, I need to be more comfortable relying on myself. When I need something, I tend to be fairly clear about asking for it, but sometimes fear that this directness occasionally works against me.

6. How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?
This isn't something I have a lot of experience with. After relapsing, my AGF immediately realized that she needed to seek help, and I have only experienced her drunk once. Tonight I found out that her situation is far more complex than I imagined and while she is going to rehab, she plans on then doing outpatient and staying with someone who she has admitted on many occasions she is scared of and who manipulates her. All I can do is suggest that perhaps this person is actually a trigger for her, and hope that with time and more recovery, she will choose the path that will lead her to be healthy and sober.

7. What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?
I would likely experience a lot less anxiety. I learned some time ago that it is pointless to try and change others - someone has to want to change, or needs some kind of experience that allows them to realize that a change must be made. My mother is an untreated AlAnon and especially when I was younger, had a lot of anger and bitterness and was very controlling. Once I realized that my mother was uninterested in seeking help for her own problems and therefore unwilling to change, I let it go. I am powerless to change her and so I learned to live around her peacefully. The only behavior I can change is my own.

8. How can I let go of others' problems instead of trying to solve them?
By focusing why I fixate on other's problems and learning that this behavior is unhelpful to both me and the other person, I can learn to let go, to live and let live.

9. Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?
I don't really believe in quick fixes. When you quick fix just about anything, it' a bandaid on a larger issue. While it would be nice to have some kind of cure all, especially in matters of the heart, such things don't exist. It is far better to build a solid foundation and work on a long term fix.

10. In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?
In gatherings that I have organized, I feel very responsible for making sure that everyone is enjoying themselves. Often in social situations, particularly if I have chosen the location. I also often feel responsible for the ones I love. When AGF relapsed I felt the responsibility to be strong for her, to maintain myself like a pillar so that she would have an anchor to cling to. This mostly happens in romantic relationships. It's like if I can just be the strong one (the tables are not usually turned this way, to be fair)

11. In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else's behavior?
I really dislike being around people that are intoxicated in any way. People that are argumentative, people that create tension. Anyone who causes a scene. My roommate has been known to get drunk and get into arguments or make snide remarks to my friends, which I find embarrassing. I used to get really embarrassed when one of my parents would send food back at a restaurant. I don't any more though.

12. What brought me into Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?
I came into Al-Anon after my girlfriend relapsed for the first time after being sober for six years. I initially came because I thought it would be another way to be strong for her and support her recovery. Half way through my first meeting, I realized that this program is not at all about her, but about me, and how I can learn to cope with the ups and downs of life with someone that has the lifelong disease of alcoholism. It has also been a revelation in ways to bring myself out of darkness, even if that dark is not caused by someone else's drinking.

13. Who has expressed concern about my behavior? Give examples.
My parents have always expressed concern with my relationships. They think that while I am very picky about who I get involved with, I tend to move very quickly and become deeply emotionally invested in people far faster than most people do. This has for the most part been to my own detriment - I find it hard to stop, even when the person I'm seeing has clearly not exhibited the same level of interest or dedication to me as I have to them. My sister has also expressed concern about this as well, but she is more understanding of my "big feelings" than my parents are, because she experiences them too.

14. How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
I know my life has become unmanageable when I start spinning stories about why someone hasn't called me back, or why they might not want to be with me. When I am so caught up in anxiety about a relationship that I can't even see that I am hurting myself with my level of emotional investment. Suddenly the relationship is completely founded on that anxiety, and I have to consult many people on what my next "move" should be, as if I am playing a game of chess.

15. How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?
I think I seek approval from others in two very specific ways. One is related to intelligence - I know that I am a very intelligent person, but whether or not it is narcissistic, I seem to seek this affirmation from people I find to be equally or more intelligent than me. The other way is romantic - I have a fear of being alone, and in previous romantic entanglements have sought my lover's approval, whether it come in the form of acknowledgement of their desire and attraction to me, or in their level of interest in me and my life.

16. Do I say "yes" when I mean to say "no"? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
No. This is a boundary I think I am very good at maintaining. I can actually be very stubborn when it comes to saying no - I end up in a lot of scenarios where the "PC" or easy thing to do is just say yes, but if I don't want to do something and me not doing it will not be harmful to others, I simply choose not to do it.

17. Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
Yes. I am a nurturer by nature. I find it very easy to cheer people up (specifically those I love) and I have a huge amount of empathy for the suffering of others, particularly when related to ones' mental health. When it comes to me though, I start to come unraveled and look for someone to cling to, which puts a lot of pressure on other people. I also have a tendency to turn inward and isolate, wallow in pity, or not allow myself to feel anything other than the suffering I'm experiencing.

18. How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the the midst of a crisis? When life is going smoothly, my anxiety is kept at bay. I am content. I am constantly scanning the horizon for problems, but they are almost an afterthought. I try and let myself be in the moment when things are going smoothly. I hate crisis. It is chaos, exhausting, racked with anxiety.

19. How well do I take care of myself?
I am much better at taking care of myself than I used to be. I used to cope with my issues by harming myself, or denying myself necessities for survival. I reveled in my pain; it made me feel viciously alive. These days, I have learned better tools for taming the darkness. I know not to isolate myself. There is still the impulse to create physical pain to try and outdo the pain I am feeling inside. I still go to a very dark place, but I now have tools to take myself out of that darkness and to begin practicing radical self care again.

20. How do I feel when I am alone?
I don't like to be alone and at the same time I relish solitude. The difference is whether or not that solitude is self imposed. I love being in relationships. They make me feel content in a way that nothing else does, and when they are loving, full of communication, and lacking anxiety, I never want to be apart from that person. But, when I do want space, to think or write, it helps to know that I can impose that upon myself and then go back to that person when I'm ready. Being alone and having no choice about it is much harder. I have spent much of my life feeling overwhelmingly lonely. I end up getting wrapped up in my thoughts, particularly if something is worrying me. From there I spin in free fall until I can snap myself out of it, get out of the house or find someone to be around.

21. What is the difference between pity and love?
There's a huge difference. Love is to support someone at every turn, regardless of the situation. Pity is to feel empathy but also sadness for someone else.

22. Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
I have never been with an alcoholic, and I did not know that my AGF was one until I had known her for nearly two months. I tend to not be attracted to people who need to be fixed.

23. Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
Yes. My feelings are all I have, and I have learned to interpret them as such. Sometimes my feelings get the best of me, but I feel each and every one of them intensely. Sometimes when my feelings have me spinning, I need to step back and ask myself if I am having big emotions and if they are helping or hurting me in that moment.

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That all was very helpful to me Keg. Thank you for posting it. And thank you (((Betty))) for your support and affirmation. I am going to my 1st ACOA/AlAnon meeting on Monday at 11AM. I need to be around a lot of healthy & honest thinking!

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I decided that it would be helpful to me if I answered the Step 1 questions.

-- Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?

Im getting there. But in realizing that I cant control another persons behavior, I am still stuck in dwelling on it within myself too much. Analyzing where they are wrong, how they have hurt me, nursing resentments, etc. I have a ways to go in letting go. For now Im on an emotional roller coaster of rage, hurt, and trying to talk myself into acceptance. But at least I am aware of my own powerlessness to fix the other person. My feelings are another matter.

-- How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?

By standing back and giving the relationship the space it needs. I have always thought that my way was better than others ways. I ended up judging from my perspective, only. When I cant put myself in anothers shoes, at least I need to give them the freedom to live their own life. For now, I think that all I can say to this question is that I back off.

-- Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?

Answering this question, I have to go back to my fathers drinking. I loved him so immensely yet his drinking made me afraid and feel that all of life was out of control. I wanted him to straighten up, but I also felt immensely sorry for him. Sometimes I think that the sadness at the center of my soul begins with his alcoholism. I had no idea how to deal with him or my own sadness.

-- How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?

I try to change others by complaining. It never turns out well. My adopted son and his wife are completely estranged from us now. Hostile. A lot of confusion and unresolved pain.

-- What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?

I have tended to put the needs of others before my own, and then end up angry and having a tantrum of sorts, blaming others for my unmet needs. I need to work on asserting myself more at the beginning and establishing boundaries.

-- How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?

At first I am taken aback, and might take it personally. How can you do this to me??!! Then I just back off. This might be why they call me passive aggressive, but I still dont understand or recognize myself in that definition.

-- What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?

I dont know. It may open up a whole flood of new water into my life. It may help me and them.

-- How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to solve them?

By focusing on my own life and needs more. By actively engaging in my work and art and interests. By listening to others problems, but detaching from the need to solve them. By availing myself to AlAnon resources, meetings, and people.

-- Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?

Oh yeah. I want to quickly put this behind me (or under the rug). I dont like uncomfortable feelings. I want to quickly apologize, rid myself of involvement and guilt and move on. But I realize that my co-dependent behavior patterns are going to require a long term commitment and I need to work on myself. Its not going to happen in a day.

-- In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?

When there is relational tension. When people are upset. When someone is angry. When someone is hurt. Whenever emotions are at the verge of getting out of control. I want to run. Then I feel that everything is my fault.

-- In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior?

When they blabber emotionally. When their behavior is duplicitous - they say things that obviously hide their true feelings. When they are putting on a front to hide behind. When they hurt another person.

-- What brought me to Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?

Pain. Emotional Pain. I hope to find others who know this pain and have found their way through it and can share that way with me. Im still too new to know how my expectations will change.

-- Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples.

My son has completely turned away from me because I have not liked his wife. My husband is concerned that I am so sad. My sister keeps her distance from me.

-- How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

The confusion is such that I have no idea what to do. I dont know how to solve my own problem. If I try to solve my own problem I will just continue to run in the same circles. I dont sleep much at night.

-- How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

Yes. I have shared my dilemma with my close friends and my husband. They are supportive.

-- Do I say yes when I want to say no? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?

Sometimes, though Im a pretty good NO sayer. I can be stubborn. But recently (4 months ago) my son asked us if his wifes 21 year old brother could stay with us. Since we were hoping to improve relations with his wife and her family, we said yes. We did not specify a $$ contribution toward room & board or an end date for the extended stay. After 4 months I was annoyed. We were feeding a boy who went to school 2 days a week and the rest of the time sat on our sofa looking at his phone. When we went out he went with us and we paid for his food etc. No one ever said thank you or offered any money for compensation. No one called at all. I complained in a semi-tantrum. Said that he needed to pay for room & board and we needed to know how long he would be there. His sister and mother came over within hours and dramatically removed him from our home because he was no longer welcome. We were the bad guys. They (including our son) have totally exorcized us from their life.

So I have really learned the lesson of saying NO, setting boundaries and conditions when someone asks something of me. Up front.

-- Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?

Possibly. But I also make good efforts to eat well and exercise, get enough rest and ask for help when I need it.

-- 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?

I like it when life is going smoothly. I have a good husband and a wonderful dog. A lot to be grateful for. I dont generally like crises unless I feel that something is going to be resolved by the upset.

-- How well do I take care of myself?

Well enough.

-- How do I feel when I am alone?

Im a natural introvert and am comfortable being alone and doing things by myself. I need a fair amount of alone/down time to function well.

-- What is the difference between pity and love?

Pity is feeling sorry for someone who is stuck in a situation and cant get out. Love is identifying with someone on an equal footing. Seeing things from their point of view, sharing differences with respect and wonder.

-- Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?

Not really. Im pretty tired of being pulled into toxic situations. I do give money to the homeless man who begs at the interstate ramp, though.

Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?

Im not sure about this. My emotions are so strong (mostly rage and hurt) now that Im not confident that I can express them without hurting others or saying the wrong things and making things much worse. I am expressing them somewhat to my husband and through journaling. Also swimming 1/2 mile a day.

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"put yourself in the place where grace can flow to you." - robert lax


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Great effort shoo Remember that recovery is a process and there are steps that help us to shed the anger adn pain of the past Keep on Keeping on-- One step at a time. It works
When I read the 12 th step that stated "Having had a Spiritual awakening" I made the decision to work these steps so i could receive this promise.

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Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Yes, but I get frustrated/disappointed when that person (AH) cannot control himself. Another persons behavior? Likewise with his behavior. How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine? In my younger years I didnt really mind if people drink, I myself drink on occassions. When my husband and I were still dating, I knew he drinks but I didnt notice that there is something not normal in the way he drinks. Not until we were married and lived together. Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? Yes, but I dont really know if I fully understand the concept of it being a disease. If it is, then it can be cured or perhaps theres a remedy to it, but how and what? How does that change how I deal with a drinker? In my mind I need to have compassion but just like a disease I feel its contagious. I feel I am being affected by this disease and to protect myself I need to either quarantine him or quarantine myself How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences? Looking back, I dont think I did a lot of changing others. I didnt see the need to change them. Sometimes I will tell them that I dont like their manner or behavior or something in them or how it affects me and then I let it be. Its either I accept them as they are or I just avoid them. But with my husband, its different. I did tried to change his attitude and behavior especially those that I think are unbecoming because it will reflect the choice I made. So when he manifests shameful behaviors and when hes acting so differently from the rest I felt people will judge me or I get frustrated with myself for the choice I made. And I think my AH felt rejection from me. What means have I used to get what I want and need? I want a husband that I can be proud of, a normal guy, and exemplary one and I kept on telling him and reminding him of how he should act and behave. What might work better to get my needs met? I dont know, its the only way I know How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? I feel ashamed. How do I respond? I retreat and interact less with people. What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else? With others, I think life went on because I didnt mind. But with my AH, I dont know, I havent really tried. How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to solve them? I dont normally solve problems of others not unless my help is sought. Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Only in unbearable situation. Is there one? I sure hope there is In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people? When it will involve my own family, husband and children. In my case, just husband because we dont have kids. Come to think of it I feel the same way for my dogs. I wonder why I dont feel responsible for the behavior of my parents and siblings. In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior? When it involves my husband What brought me to Al-Anon? Because it was pointed out by a counselor that alcoholism could be the cause of my marriage discontent. What did I hope to gain at that time? I am wanting to separate from my husband but something still vague keeps me from doing it and I was hoping I could get help/support, a go signal from this group. How have my expectations changed? That Al-anon is not an approving body to separate from the alcoholic. It taught me how to deal with alcoholism, educated me on what it truly is, it opened my eyes to my own reality. That separation can happen, whether I choose it or not. With God, it is making me a stronger person to face life as it is. There is so much wisdom in Al-anon, so much help, so much support, kindness, the ESHs are awesome. I think expectation is just undefinable. Who has expressed concern about my behavior? No one except myself. My health? I guess its just me who cares about it. My children? I have none. Give examples. I believe my loved ones care for me, but they dont ask nor be bothered about my behavior or health. I guess not unless I sought their help. How do I know when my life is unmanageable? When I accomplish little, I forget & fail to do my tasks, I have backjobs, I feel sick and weak, when things get disorganized and I cant keep up with my schedule. How have I sought approval and affirmation from others? Rarely do I seek it from my family and friends. I tend to get them from people who doesnt know me. I find it hard to open up to people I get to interact with on a daily basis. Probably because I am ashamed, afraid of ridicule and contempt. Do I say yes when I want to say no? Hardly, but I find that I can be easily persuaded. What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this? I feel always caught in something I shouldnt have done or I do things half-heartedly. Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself? Its actually the other way around I think. I find it hard to take care of others, especially when they are demanding. How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Happy. Do I continually anticipate problems? Not really but I have the tendency to be anxious over something I distaste or an impending situation that I dont like. Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis? Not really alive because I feel afraid and weak but I have the tendency to overcome this with strength and presence of mind. How well do I take care of myself? I think I care for myself, my worry is that I might be taking care of myself too much to the point of selfishness. How do I feel when I am alone? At peace. What is the difference between pity and love? Pity doesnt necessarily involve compassion, just a feeling of being sorry for someones fate. If you love there is compassion. Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? I dont think so. How have I tried to fix them? I only help when Im asked. Do I trust my own feelings? Not at once, only when I have validated it and clear in my mind. Do I know what they are? Its very hard for me to process my feelings, I first have to go to a certain stage of confusion.

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Great work jocylgp. You have a great deal of personal insight and honesty. Hope you are feeling some relief from being here. Once I felt that relief that I was set free from my crazy belief that I was responsible to tell the A's in my life how to behave, everything started to change. Keep it up girl!

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Great First Step Jocelgp Your honesty, clarity and insights are indeed evidence of your ability to look within and uncover the negative destructive concepts that are keeping you in pain.

Rest now, remind yourself daily of this effort in working the Step and next week we will move to Step 2.

Glad that you joined in and are sharing the journey.

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hi all, i love all of the shares on step 1 - super helpful in trying to get a hold of this step. I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable. My AS was the catalyst for me really understanding this step. My fear and controlling ways brought me to my knees, especially when it came to him and his life/choices. I felt like I needed to have the answers, to be able to get him back on track...when that wasn't working, I really started spiraling out of control with obsessing and worrying to the point that I wasn't participating in my own life anymore. I was distraught, scared and trying to run his life constantly. I couldn't see what everybody else was trying to tell me. It just got worse and worse. The fear was so great that the more I tried to control, the more my life spun out of control. I finally hit an emotional bottom and I could finally admit that my life was unmanageable and I needed to reach out..I needed to change. What a great realization that was for me because I am starting to be able to separate myself from everybody else. I didn't realize how enmeshed I had become with everyone around me, especially my son, who needed fixing the most. I am now hands off his life and choices. Its still early days, and I have moments where I cry and grieve, but then I reread my journals, do my recovery stuff each day and trust God like I never have before. There's no going back to the way it was before. I believe there is hope for me and my son. Thanks for being here.

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Great share seahorselady. Thanks for your honesty and clarity. Please keep coming back and working the Steps-- they are the answer.

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Betty


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I utterly accept that I am powerless over others. Whether it be their drinking habits or whatever it may be.

Since resigning from my self appointed job of trying to run the world, I feel ten pounds lighter and have a bounce in my walk.

I love the freedom of being stepped back minding my own business and letting people have the dignity of sorting out their own stuff. While I work on mine.

AH is free to drink and deal with his consequences as I am free to live my life. Feels comfortable.

I feel ready to hand it over to the God of my understanding. Good Orderly Direction. I want to live that way. Let go of all chaos. Let go of excited misery.

Feeling solid in myself as a person.

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Hello Calm Lady Thanks for participating in this Step Work Board. I appreciate your honesty and clarity. I will be posting Step 2 this afternoon and Look forward to your share.


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Hi all. I have been attending MIP for over a year now, but have not been very active on the message board. I did work the steps with an online sponsor, but am feeling the need to refresh. I loved all of the posts. I particularly related to shoofolatte. Since my AH has been sober for almost 9 months and has been actively working an AA program, my issues are more with trying to change others' behaviors. As I read through the questions (which I reflected on but did not write down) when I did step 1, I find that one of the hardest is "How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?" I am so easily annoyed by others. Sometimes I feel like "letting go" means going away for me. While I know that I can't change others, sometimes being around them is like listening to "fingernails on the chalkboard". While I can't stop the teacher from doing it, it still sends chills up my spine. I haven't yet figured out how to deal with that. I try to detach, but the people are family, and it's very hard to stay away.

So, admitting and accepting I understand are two different things. I admit my powerlessness, but do I really accept it? I don't think so.

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