Step Work Board

Where we discuss each of the Twelve Steps

In the order they are written, one step at a time, every two weeks.

Learn How The Twelve Steps Work.

Participate in your own recovery as well as the recovery of others, by being active on this board as we go through the 12 Steps of recovery together!
Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Alanon Step 1 ( Sept-1-2016)


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:
Alanon Step 1 ( Sept-1-2016)


Tired of this Please remember that working each Step is a process. Intellectually we can understand the Step and "admit that they are true" and then, moving this knowledge to our Hearts where we accept the principle and can act according takes time.
Actually I take the first 3 Steps each day I admit I am powerless over people places and things, I believe that GP will guide my decisions and then gratefully trust this Power.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Step and please do keep coming back.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:

I know it's good to work the steps formally repeatedly so I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity presented here and work them on this wonderful forum. I'm also working on them with a sponsor.

1. How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

Unfortunately, I realize my life is unmanageable when I'm crying out in desperation for help from HP. It takes a lot to get to that point.

2. How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

I didn't used to think of myself as a people pleaser, but I am coming to realize that I do get a large sense of validation when I get approval form others. I realize this most in my intimate relationships. I was desperate to get attention from my abfs over the years. I was so drawn to men who were un-attainable, and I thought if I could get their attention, it would make me feel great. When I get attention from others, I don't really care -- but once they start witholding it, then I work really hard to get it. I get mad when friends don't reciprocate with invitations (if I ask them out for coffee, I expect them to ask me out for coffee -- if I email them and invite them to do something, I expect them to do the same the following weekend). And when I don't get that, I either go overboard with inviting them to do things (which I feel resentful about) or I isolate and cut them off -- then when they finally pay attention to me, I have an irrational reward feeling -- I love them again.

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

Sometimes I do this.

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

Yes, though this is something I'm getting much better about. The problem is when I'm in an intimate relationship, I like to make sacrificies and stop doing what I want because I more want to make the other person happy and think that by sacrificing my wants to his, I will do that (I see that this is (a) not healthy and (b) not even something the other person is aware of).

5. 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?

Yes, I thrive in drama. I so want to change this. I want to feel happy and content when things are going well.

6. How well do I take care of myself?

If I'm alone, I do great. When I'm dating, I throw it out the window.

7. How do I feel when I am alone?

I like being alone, if I'm alone. If I'm dating someone, I want him to want to be with me all the time.

8. What is the difference between pity and love?

Big difference. I don't think this is an issue for me.

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

Yes -- I'm attracted to addicts/alcoholics, but I don't try to fix them -- I want them to believe that I accept and understand them and will be there for them no matter what. but then I resent their inability to be there for me. i think I'm more an enabler than a fixer.

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

I'm working on discovering them. I'm trying a bunch of new things and then evaluating whether they work for me or not.




__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Good Idea EI M I believe that working and reworking the Steps is a great exercise.
Glad you are here.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:

 

 

 

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

 

YES, I believe I do. I realized a long time ago that my AH parents were who they were and would always be that way. Whether or not they drink I have worked very hard to make sure it impacts them not me. However, where I do need work is in controlling another persons behavior. I constantly try to reason with my sister who still lives with my parents and deals with the repercussions of that. I get frustrated with her because she just wont listen to reason and I am sick of worrying about her. Being an over-protective older sibling has always been my role and I dont seem able to shut it off. So that along with many other unhealthy life habits is why Im here. Its time to take control, learn to let things go, and learn to better myself.

 

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 alcoholism is a disease, however I know even without the disease my AH parents would still have certain character traits due to their upbringing and generation of thinking. This is not something I can change either.

 


Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?
Yes and no. I think with anyone unrelated to me I can understand it. Even with cousins and other family members. However, with my parents this is something I struggle with even as an adult. I understand that this is a disease that they are now fighting, however I still get irrationally mad or hurt by their life choices. I guess thats why I am here. To learn more acceptance.

 


How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
Yes, as I said before with my sister and in past relationships. Even with my girlfriend now at times I catch myself trying to help fix how she is living her life. Luckily, with her I at least realize I am doing it and stop. I fell in love with her for the person she is and I have no need to change her. If she is struggling I am here to lean on but I dont need to save her from anything. Shes a tough cookie. As for the others I have tried to change. It only ends in stress, anxiety and regret.

 


What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?
Sob stories. Poor mes. Pity parties. And I am definitely good at playing the victim. I dont trust many but when I do I make sure to tell my life story with all the emotion I can. I need them to stay in my life so I make them want to save me. Which is ridiculous. What works better. Voicing my needs like an adult. This is something new Ive been doing. Just saying it like it is. Hey you mean a lot to me as a friend, etc. and our relationship is important.

 


How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?
I dont think I really care much anymore as sad as that is. Ive lost the desire to have these loving supporting parent figures. I do get frustrated when they hurt my sisters finances. Again though I feel I need to distance myself from that.

 


What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?
I would be a lot more peaceful and happier. I would have healthier stronger relationships with others as well.

 


How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to solve them?
Its something I need to work on every day. I need to be more me focused. I have plenty on my own plate. Time to clear that first.

 


Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?
I have been my whole life. There isnt one. This is me finally ready to do the work.

 


In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?
Situations of abuse or emotional turmoil.

 


In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior?
When my parents are drunk in public.

 


What brought me to Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?
I just got here. Suggested by a close friend. Im hoping to mature and move past some of this pain.

 


Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples.
My friends, family members, my gf at times. I sink into boughts of depression and self-hate which can be pretty ugly at times.
How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?
Always trying to please everyone and make everyone happy.

 


Do I say yes when I want to say no? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
I used to. I dont much anymore. I like to have control of my own future and when I say yes when I want to say no I pretty much am giving up that control.

 


Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
Yes, yes, yes and ummm yes.

 


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 am always looking for problems and when I am in them I feel so alive. Its my natural comfortable state. Lately Ive been better though. Enjoying moments more and in a crisis I go into problem solving mode still but cant wait for it to be over.

 


How well do I take care of myself?
Better than before but still not great. Im trying and improving as I go.

 


How do I feel when I am alone?
I enjoy it. For the most part. I dont like prolonged periods alone.

 


What is the difference between pity and love?
Huge difference. Pity is feeling bad for someone and helping them because they are in a lower place than you. Love is standing by someone and loving them no matter what.

 


Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
Yes. I tried to fix my ex in so many ways. In the end he didnt want to be fixed and I didnt want to be with him. I shouldve respected that and moved on. The only lure to me had been fixing him.

 


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

 

Yes I do. I am at the point now where I have strongly defined feelings.



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hi lehcellei Welcome, I am glad that you have joined in and shared your thooughts on this important step.
Please do keep coming back and sharing your wisdom.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:

hotrod, thanks for your response several days ago. I have been trying to log in from various devices. Apparently I didn't correctly save my password. I am powerless over technology and often my life is unmanageable because of this.

I think in alanon it does have to be a daily walk through these first three steps. It is harder to be powerless over people, places, and things than alcohol...for me anyway.

I am going to move on to your step two page but keep in mind that step one is not once and done.

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Great idea Tired of this It is all a process so please do continue.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:

Thanks for starting this thread hotrod.  I recently joined Al Anon.
 
 
Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?
Yes, I believe I have finally accepted that I cannot control another persons drinking.  This acceptance has brought some relief and lightness.  I am also learning to accept that I cannot control another persons behaviour.  I am learning to focus on myself.


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 have started to read about alcoholism and other peoples experiences in living with alcoholics.  I'm starting to realise the alcoholics have their own ways of dealing with things.  Learning more about this disease is helping.


Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?
I think I am starting to accept alcoholism is a disease as I learn more about it. This is difficult for me to accept.  However, it's helping me see I cannot save the alcoholic, I don't have the cure or the solution.  Perhaps I'm becoming more compassionate for myself and the alcoholic.  I'm realising that all I really can do now is to look after myself.


How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
I have definitely tried to change others.  I have tried to get my alcoholic to stop drinking.  To make him see he has a problem.  It certainly didn't help. Made him and go on drinking binges.  Now, I'm learning to focus on myself.


What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?
Manipulation, crying, shouting, threatening to leave, passive aggressive behaviour.  Better to use clear and honest communication - this is something I need to work on. And to focus on myself and looking after my own needs.


How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?
I think at this point I have began to realise and accept the alcoholic will never do what I want.  I don't feel as sad or disappointed now as I did in the past.  I realise this relationship will never be the relationship I had dreamt of having. I'm working on detaching from the alcoholic and focusing on my own journey.

What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?
I don't know.  So far,  I feel a bit more peaceful and calmer than I did when I was trying to control his drinking.  

How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to solve them?
Through focusing on myself and my own journey.  Reading Al Anon literature and attending meetings.  Spending time doing activities I enjoy.


Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?
I'd love a quick fix but I realise there isn't one.  I grew up in alcoholic family and now I'm in a relationship with an alcoholic.  I realise there is no quick fix.  I want to face things fully now.


In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?
I think I grew up with a feeling of being responsible for other people. Trying to take care of everyone.   Feeling I couldn't say no to people.  I feel overly responsible for my parents now, their health and wellbeing.   Feel excessive responsibility for my partner, although he is a grown man who is capable of looking after himself.  Accepting responsibility at work for things that don't concern me.

In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior?
In social situations I feel very embarrassed for my partners behaviour.  He sometimes behaves inappropriately in public, it is clear to people he is drunk.  I see people looking disgusted and I feel ashamed.  It reminds me of being a child and feeling ashamed of my father's drunken behaviour.  I feel people are judging me for being with this alcoholic, that they think I am stupid or weak for being in this relationship.


What brought me to Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?
I guess I reached rock bottom and could no longer cope with my situation.  I realised I needed help of some kind.   I hope to get advice at Al Anon.  I realise now that people don't give advice at Al Anon but it is great to have a place to share my feelings and to not be criticised. 


Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples.
Parents seem concerned that I have become so stressed and anxious.  I started to talk very negatively. I lost interest in things I used to enjoy.  This caused my parents concern. 


How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
When I feel totally overwhelmed and anxiety. I feel like I cannot cope at any more.  Thoughts are spinning round in my head.  I feel like I cannot calm down.  Can't eat properly or sleep.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?
Not expressing my true feelings.  Trying to tell people what I think they want to hear.  Lying. Agreeing to do things I don't really want to do just to gain approval.


Do I say yes when I want to say no? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
Sometimes and I usually feel resentful afterwards.  Sometimes life feels totally unmanageable when I do this.  


Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
Yes, I seem much better at figuring out what other people need in the moment than I do for myself.  I often neglect my own needs and wants.  I am kinder to other people than to 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?
I guess I have felt slightly bored or empty when everything was going well.  I grew in a chaotic and dramatic family.  I suppose drama is familiar and exciting. Learning now that I don't need chaos or drama to feel alive.

How well do I take care of myself?
I know I could do better.  I could eat healthier.  I could spend more time doing things I enjoy.


How do I feel when I am alone?
I enjoy some time alone.   However I think I have a deep fear of loneliness.  Being left on my own.  I believe is how I ended up in this toxic relationship - because I felt very lonely.


What is the difference between pity and love?
Pity is feeling sorry for someone.  Not necessarily doing anything to help them.  I guess love is compassionate.  Perhaps it is action.  Doing whatever is best.  Even if that action means walking away from someone.  


Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
It seems that I am attracted to alcoholics.  I never intended to end up with an alcoholic but somehow I did. I have tried to get the alcoholic to face up to his drinking. To quit.  Didn't work.

Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
I think is something I really need to work out.  Sometimes I'm not really sure what I'm feeling in that moment.  I grew up repressing my feelings so I am learning now as an adult about my feelings.   At the moment I mostly seem to feel anger, guilt and sadness.  I guess these are pointers for me to take some action.



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Welcome Emma
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and process in this important step. Please dokeep coming back

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:
Step !


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

1.     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? Yes, slowly I am beginning to understand that they are unreliable & selfish.  Their only motivation is to get that next drink.  I know their reality is completely different from mine.  They always have these grandiose plans but fail to follow through 99% of the time.  Whether they forget or just dont feel like it at a later date.   

 

2. Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?

Yes. 

2a.  How does that change how I deal with a drinker? When they drink, I am not longer able to have any sort of real communication with them.  When he starts acting crazy, irresponsible, mouthy, hateful, I have learned to detach.  I am able to separate the person from the disease.  One thing I have become much more aware of lately is how the only time he wants to be loving is when hes drinking, which is a boundary for me.  I dont want to be touched or loved on after hes been drinking.  That means we are no longer physically affectionate.  This is something I am not sure if I will be able to live with long term.  For now, I will take it one day at a time and use the time I do have in this relationship to work on getting myself healthy.

                                  

3.     How have I tried to change others in my life?  I cant think of one way I havent tried to change others in my life!  You name it and Ive tried it.  I am codependent, therefore, everyone elses problems are easy for me to solve.  Ive always been the one people come to for advice because I know BEST which is a really crazy way of thinking.  Ive never really focused on myself, which I suspect is the reason I am in the marriage Im in and why my life has become so unmanageable. 

3a. What were the consequences?  The consequences in trying to FIX everyone is that Ive never really found myself.  I am having a hard time even figuring out what I even want in life.  I dont know who I am and definitely dont love myself the way I really need to.  I am working on this.

4.     What means have I used to get what I want and need?  I have done anything and everything to get my needs / wants met.  Thrown fits, argued to the point that the other person would just give in so Id shut up, nagged, manipulated situations.  Everything I despise.  This is why I think I am having a very hard time loving myself.  I have done and said a lot of things that are not worthy of someones love.  I have to learn to forgive myself.  Now that I know better, I am working hard at doing better.

 

4a. What might work better to get my needs met? First, I need to identify what it is I need, then I will be better able to communicate to someone else what those needs are.  I need to learn to not react to other people, actually LISTEN to what they have to say and not think about how I want to respond before I even know what it is theyre trying to communicate.  I need to calm down, pray more and talk less.

 

5.      How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? I feel very pissed.  Angry, ANGRY.  I have really been working hard on this.  Letting Go and letting God and focusing on myself.  I cant change or FIX others, only myself.  When anger starts to well up inside me, I am capable of removing myself physically from the situation and cooling off.  I can ask God to please help me detach more and bring the focus back to myself.

5a.  How do I respond? Now, I am slowly learning to detach.  I can feel myself getting angry but then I have to keep repeating the serenity prayer in my mind, walk away and get some space.  Its then that I am able to realize he has to make his own choices.  I cant keep getting in the way of his God doing what needs to be done for him.  I cant fix him. I can only fix myself.

 

6.     What would happen if I quit trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?  I am able to spend more time focusing on the one person I can change, which is myself.  I have to allow people to have their own opinions, their own lives and make choices that arent what I would do, but thats not my issue.  I am getting busy on myself and minding my own business!

7.     How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to change them? This one has been hard for me but this time around, I am understanding a lot of things I didnt understand before.  I cant keep wearing myself out solving other peoples problems for them.  They dont listen anyway and then I end up mad because they didnt listen.  I can no longer do it.  I have been praying a lot and asking God to please help me hold my tounge and my opinions to myself knowing that I cant change someone.  When people are telling me their problems, I just take it as a vent.  I dont take it on as my own, like I would before.  Sometimes, I dont even respond for a very long time just so I wont try to rescue.

8.     Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?  No, I have learned there is no quick fix.  I have been doing the same thing for almost 35 years and it will take a very long time to change but thats okay.  One day at a time, with Gods help, I will get there.  Never being perfect, but thats okay, too.  I just want to be happy.

9.     In what situations do I feel excessively responsible for other people?  I used to feel excessively responsible for my dad, who I no longer feel that way about.  I can drive him to his doctor appointments but I cant make him do what they say. He has a home health nurse and a phone.  I cant fix him anymore than I can fix Reb.  As hard as its been, I am just having to let all that junk go.  It was really wearing me down because I carried it all.  Like it was my responsibility to get my dad better.  What a suffocating existence.  I will help him with things he is not able to do but I wont lecture him on his salt intake or smoking inside of his house.  When he gripes about his allergies I just dont respond because I have told him over and over what would help solve the problem.  I just cant do it anymore.  I am only responsible for myself and my daughter.

10.                        In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior?  I feel embarrassed a lot because of my husbands drinking so Ive really tried to quit going anywhere with him.  It makes me crazy, so its best for me if I just stay home.  Another situation in which I feel embarrassed is that he owes people money for services that he has not paid for.  That embarrasses me because that is not the way I was raised and I do feel responsible.  However, I will NOT pay his debts that he accumulated.  That is on him. 

11.                        What brought me to Al-Anon? I came to Al-Anon after my counselor suggested it to me.  I had been in counseling off and on for years.  My life was insanity.  I had made a list of reasons why I really wanted to get a divorce and as soon as I mentioned alcohol, she suggested it.  I came a few days later.  My first several meetings I pretty much cried the whole time.  It was very emotional to finally be in a place where people got me.  There was no judgement, only love.  I quit going because Sadie was out of school for summer and then it was one thing and then another.  I still read the two daily readers but I wasnt working my program.  This time, a lightbulb finally came on.  I got it.  I got what they were saying about focusing on yourself, doing the work, let go and let God.  I am so grateful for this program and for Kim & Steve, especially.  The people in my group are such amazing people.  I am blessed by their positivity, strength hope and love.

11a.  What did I hope to gain at that time? I wanted relief, to be understood, to be heard.

11b. How have my expectations changed?  This time, I am actually doing the work of the steps, trying to find out who I am, what I want for my future, what I enjoy and to LOVE MYSELF.  I realize this time how Codependent I am.  That is something I never realized, so I am also working on that aspect of my messed up thinking. 

12.                        Who has expressed concern about my behavior? No one, to my face.

12a. my health?  Several have commented on my weight.  I want to say, yes, I know!  I eat my feelings, I eat when I want love, I eat. 

12b. My children? No one. I can see that shes just like me though.  I am working on changing myself so she can see a better example.  Especially, in the reaction department.

 

13.                         How do I know when my life is unmanageable?  I know when my life is unmanageable when I start to feel intense anxiety, the need to control people, start giving advice (warranted or unwarranted) and just generally feel down.

14.                        How I have sought approval and affirmation from others?  I cant think of a time where the ultimate goal of my actions havent been to receive some sort of approval or praise from people.  I am a giver by nature and I have been under this crazy thought that I needed to give people something in order for them to like me.  Whether it was physical gifts, time, advice, anything. I have continually worked myself into the ground for other people then I am left feeling mad because I never felt the appreciation I thought I deserved.  No one has ever given to me what I feel I have given to them, ever.  Its left me feeling angry, unappreciated and just generally worthless.

15.                        Do I say yes when I want to say no?  I have.

15a.  What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this? I become resentful, angry and out of control.  Recently, I have been saying no a lot more and I have found there is great power in doing so.  If it is something I am able to say yes to after I have given it a lot of thought and prayer, then I do so.  Most of the time, saying no allows me to exhibit the boundaries I have put in place and it also improves my self esteem.

16.                        Do I take care of others easily but find it difficult to care for myself? Yes.  This is one of my biggest struggles.  I used to be better at self care but since I have been in my marriage and have become a mother, I have taken on the martyr role.  I feel like they need me to take care of them, although, I dont actually get much from this.  When I cook, no one eats, or if they do its at 10pm, so I have really cut back on that.  If I feel like cooking or if I am having a craving for something in particular, I will cook it for myself. I have not taken care of my physical, emotional and mental health for a very long time.  I was in counseling for a long time but never felt better.  Now that I am working this program for ME, I am starting to see the light.  Sometimes, my life still feels unmanageable but I think thats mostly when I try to get to far in the future, instead of taking one day at a time, sometimes, one hour or even one minute at a time.  I need to work on surrendering myself to God a lot more than I currently am.  I know He is the ONLY one who is in control and he will give me answers to my issues in His time, not mine.

17.                        How do I feel when life is going smoothly? I feel uneasy and I am just waiting for something to fall apart.

17a. Do I continually anticipate problems? Yes

17b. Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis? Yes.  I can feel my adrenaline pumping, my heart rate increase and I all of a sudden get more evergy.

18.                         How well do I take care of myself? Not very well at all.  There are days I dont leave my home because I dont feel stable enough to deal with the outside world.  I definitely feel extremely vulnerable right now.  The only time I feel 100% safe is when I am at home or at an Al-Anon meeting.  I keep praying for God to help me with this.  I really need to get some sort of physical exercise.   

19.                        How do I feel when I am alone?  I feel okay when I am alone.  I spend a lot of time alone.  I feel peaceful, I am able to work on my program, my designs, my shirts, etc.  I enjoy being alone. I dont trust most people so being alone protects me from getting hurt even more than I am right now.

20.                        What is the difference between pity and love?  Pity to me is when you feel sorry for someone because their lives have become unmanageable.  Those are the people I am attracted to because Ive always thought I could FIX them.  Love is when youre able to feel safe but also not try to control them. The way I feel about my daughter is love. 

21.                        Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? Of course I am! I am codependent.  If people would only listen to me, I could FIX them! Ha.  Not a good way of thinking and slowly but surely, I am coming to grips with this character defect and putting myself first a lot more than I have in the past.

21a. How have I tried to fix them? I have tried everything to fix my husband.  Tried to be a great wife so he would have an easier life, tried to prepare him whatever kind of food his little heart desired, done his laundry, pretended like he hasnt told me something MANY times, pretended like he has never said really hurtful things to me (when he was really drunk then ended up having a blackout), my whole life with him has been me faking like everything is great when really I have felt resentful, angry, unhappy, depressed and obsessive.  I kept thinking surely there was something I could do to make him love me like I know I deserve, but I have never found the answer to that.  He will always love alcohol more than anything because of his disease.  He has always blamed everyone in his life when he has issues and for a very long time, I agreed with him, even to the point of blaming myself.  No longer will I live like that.  What he does is none of my business.  At this point, I have no hope for our marriage and its not the worst thing in the whole wide world.  I have been getting busy working on myself and I am letting his God take care of him. I cant fix him, only he can do that. 

22.                         Do I trust my own feelings?  No, absolutely not.  I have been such an angry person for long, that emotion is my go to.  I am working on trusting my feelings.  I pray this will come when I can pick up my self esteem out of the gutter.

22a.  Do I know what they are?  I think some of my feelings I am in touch with.  I am feeling vulnerable and unsure.  I am just praying for Gods will to be revealed to me while I work through all my junk. 

 

Thank you for letting me share! smile

 

 



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:
Alanon Step 1 ( Sept-1-2016)


Hi Sara Thank you so much for your through and honest share. This is a crucial Step and i am so glad that you took the time to process the questions and respond with such clarity Please keep coming back

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:

Thank you so much, Betty for your kind words

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Sara Keep up the good work  date.gif



__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:

Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?  
Intellectually yes, emotionally I'm not there yet. I still have the desire to try to although since I have attended two meetings I have stopped myself from saying or doing something along those lines.  1 hour at a time.


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 recognize this now that I learned my AH attempted to cheat on me (apparently she wasn't interested).  I never thought he would do that.  I had no idea that he was thinking about other women so this was a big wake up call.

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

Perhaps I need to read more about that to be able to say for sure that, yes, it's a disease.  I do believe that it is more powerful than I am and is basically my AH mistress.  Accepting that makes it easier for me to stop trying to change what I can't and try to finally focus on myself.  

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

I can be obtuse and operate under the guise of "but I'm trying to help you and I believe I know better than you".  Never ends well.  I need to work on that one.

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

I've used sex to get what I think I need.  Working on myself first would probably work better.

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

Exasperated.  Doesn't he understand that "it's only because I care...." lol.  I get angry.  I'm all angered out though.

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

I would probably be a happier person, but since I've basically pushed away everyone who was ever close to me that's an uphill battle.  I very much look foward to the meetings since I feel "normal" when I am sitting in that room listening to others share.  There was a period when I lived alone and was not involved with an alcoholic where I was relatively happy and I was not in crisis.  Remembering that it is possible to feel that again gives me hope.  At the same time I feel like things are so far gone that they may never be right again.  I struggle going back and forth on hope and despair.  I found this site when I was having a not so good moment.  I need to get help.

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

I've always tried to be the solver.  My husband only works part time and makes less than I do.  He had work done on his truck and he is tight on finances.  He was talking about it and I wanted to tell him that I will take care of it and he can pay me back later.  I wanted to but I kept my mouth shut.  He didn't ask/I didn't offer. He may ask a friend to borrow some money since I don't think he even has enough for alcohol this week.  I don't see how he will be able to not have enough but he is very adept at finding solutions to his problems without me. 

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

As much as I would love for there to be a quick fix I know there isn't one.  I am pretty sure I will end up leaving my husband but at this point I am not in a "good place" emotionally.  I have to learn to rely on myself emotionally by working these steps, going to meetings, reaching out, being honest and forgiving myself for not taking care of myself first. I know that part of taking care of myself is splitting up but it's kind of a catch 22 - because I feel so emotionally weak, I don't feel strong enough to leave - I have too much "stinkin thinkin" still going on.  

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

I don't know if this would qualify as excessive but below you missed an apostrophe in "elses".  I want to add the apostrophe but I'm going to choose not to.   [edit - and after I posted this I noticed I missed an s in apostrophe - I did fix that one].

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

I never have invited my husband to a social event at work.  I am afraid he will say or do something to embarrass me.

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

I think I covered this above but basically when I learned my husband had a date and when he was caught he was actually honest with me about what his intentions were.  My emotions were very mixed - I felt betrayed and humiliated but at the same time I realized that I had checked out and he obviously felt that his needs were important than any hurt that might cause me.  That was a big wake up call. I had to ask myself why I am fooling myself into believing that everything was ok.  I've "known" for a long time that they haven't been but have been living with the status quo because I'm telling myself that it's safer. I am listening to my fear rather than operating from a position of strength.  I want to be emotionally strong again (strong in the healthiest sense of the word).

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

My husband, of course feels that I am a nag and he is probably right.  Friends and ex-friends note that I am not acting "normal" (anxiety attacks, etc.).  In my mind I originally thought - but wait - he is angry unless he's drinking, I'm absorbing that anger and so how I'm acting is his fault.  I now realize that this is not the healthy point of view.  I need to change my behavior, not him.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
When I wake up in the morning and I am able to find no good motivation to get out of bed, but do anyway because, well...gotta pay the rent!


How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

Trying to be perfect, trying to solve everyone's problems but my own.

Do I say yes when I want to say no? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
I used to do this a lot more but the older I get the easier it is to say no.


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


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'm not into drama which is also what motivated me to go to Alanon.  A divorce can be drama ridden and I don't want that.

How well do I take care of myself?
I don't take care of myself very well at all.  This is something I need to work on.

How do I feel when I am alone?

In healthy doses I feel ok being alone.  I feel calm.  I don't have to try and pretend everything is ok when it isn't. On the other hand, I don't want to be completely alone.

What is the difference between pity and love?

Good question since pity is what I felt for my husband before we got together.  He was in a bad place and I felt sorry for him and was able to come in on my white horse and rescue him. Now he's in a good place, has many, many enablers and I'm left feeling pity for myself and not quite sure what I feel.

Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
Yes, a bad habit I need to break. I guess it makes me feel like a good person and also allows me to ignore myself. How convenient!


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

No, I don't.  I know they are part pity/love/hurt/humiliation/despair/loneliness/confusion/grief/sadness/fear/resentment and a little bit of hope back and forth, up and down and all rolled up into one right now.



-- Edited by mercury on Monday 17th of October 2016 01:39:04 AM

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hello Mercury Thanks for sharing with such thoroughness and clarity. I noticed that you identified your feelings as that of pity, love humiliation despair, loneliness, confusion,grief, sadness and resentment.

I can so recognize these feelings as the deep feelings that i lived with for many years prior to entering alanon. I thought that these feelings represented who I was and did not know that the were simply negative feelings that I developed as a result of living with this disease.

While working the Steps I discovered that under these destructive feelings were buried the positive constructive ones of compassion, empathy, self esteem, courage, and wisdom. Keep on working the Steps as you will reap the rewards.


__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:

Thanks for your reply. I have begun to feel these negative emotions define me. When I look in the mirror I don't know who I am anymore. That is the scariest part. Thanks for sharing that. I need to remind myself that there is more to me than where I am right now.


__________________


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 4
Date:

Here we go..
 
Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?
 
I do. 


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?

They are dealing with a disease that I do not fully understand. This disease affects every avenue of their being. From relationships to self care to behavior. I am not an alcoholic, so I can not understand the way an alcoholic thinks.

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

I do. I have more empathy for the drinker than I did before. It changes how I deal with them entirely. I do my best not let their actions and words hurt me anymore. I don't try to make sense of what they do. I hand it over to HP and pray for them.

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

I tried to demand change. I demanded apologies. I demanded they work on healing themselves, I made lots of demands. I laid out life plans for success, and expected that they would agree that I knew what was best for them. The consequences were that I ended up in more hot water with the alcoholic and their enablers than before. I strained the relationships more. I caused more heart ache for myself and those around me who I turned to for support.  


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

I went over and above my duties to try and make the alcoholic happy. I honestly believed that if I showed them how much they were loved or supported that they would love and support me back. I tried to lead by example to get my needs met and it never worked. I ended up full of resentment and anger. I would still go above and beyond my duties, but I started doing it begrudgingly or out of spite. Then my resentments grew to the point where I would explode. I would yell, cry and feel so full of RAGE. Not at all understanding why my needs weren't being met at all. What will work better - is if I meet my own needs and stop looking to others to meet them for me. I will take care of myself, my own emotional, financial and physical wellbeing.

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

Right now? I feel fine. I've released any expectations I had of them. They will not be and do what I want, that is not an issue anymore. If I happen to make a request and it is not met, chances are I will have prepared myself for that outcome so I will let it go with peace in my heart. Pray for their wellbeing and move along. 


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

Nothing. I will be at peace. 

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

They are not my problems to solve. I can listen and be a shoulder, that is where it stops.

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

Not at all. Well, not anymore. Maybe I was. I believed that treatment - or at least admitting there was a problem - would start the path to wellness. I have seen from other members that tell of 10 + stays in a treatment program with no end in sight. I now realize that even my "quick fix, happily ever after" ideas were probably not all that well rounded or plausible.

There is no quick fix, maybe not even a fix at all - for them. For me? My fixing will be a lifelong process.

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

When they are in real physical danger.

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

I am embarrassed when my qualifiers try to shame me publicly, or when they embarrass themselves publicly. I believe it reflects badly on me. I'm working on that.


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

I came to Al Anon because I was losing control of myself. I was becoming someone I was not proud of and I realized that I needed guidance to get myself in check. I want to break the cycle for my children's sake.

I hoped to gain peace in my life, whatever that meant. My expectations have not changed, I am gaining peace. I wasn't sure what tools I was going to need to get there, but I am learning and it is working.


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

My best friend, my ex boyfriend. My ex husband and his family. I am still in close contact with my ex's. I am lucky to have supportive people around me even if we have been through some difficulties ourselves. 

My best friend encouraged me to go to Al Anon, along with my ex boyfriend. They could both see through all the drama, chaos, he said/she said stories - and it boiled right down to my parents alcoholism. Their sickness led to other family members becoming sick (as this was the coping mechanism we were taught - deny, suppress and numb out), which in turn has caused a lot of emotional pain over my lifetime.

My ex husband and I share children. He has seen my family problems through the years. He has been supportive of me seeking help in various forms over time so I could break the cycle.

Most of the voiced concerns have been about my behavior or my physical appearance

Ie: "You're becoming overwhelmed, stressed and angry in all areas of your life, your family problems are leaking into your daily living and attitude."

"You look like sh*t" (as someone who always took pride in my appearance, a true indicator of my mental health is how I am maintaining my physical self)

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

When I am yelling at people and filled with rage.

Normally, I don't yell, speak ill of anyone or get riled up very easily. I would consider myself out of control emotionally when I first approached Al Anon. 

It's dumb - but I always think of that episode of the Simpsons when Ned Flanders checks out and starts yelling at everyone. That's me to a T.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

Absolutely do this. All the time. I do things for others that hurt my soul and may even go against what I know is right, just to gain their trust, loyalty and approval.

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

I do this all of the time. I become resentful and angry when I do this, because 9 times out of 10 I will not get the affirmation I am seeking by doing said task. My emotions will get the best of me, and my bitterness at that action will affect my entire ability to function. I don't sleep well, I do not take care of myself because I become depressed. 


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

Yes. 

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 am incredibly anxious. I sought psychiatric help for this 2 years ago. I don't just anticipate problems, I anticipate ultimate worst case scenarios for the most mundane daily occurrences. 

Doing a load of laundry = the house is going to burn down, my children will be locked inside, I will not be able to save them and I will have to witness the most graphic painful death of the only beauty I see on this earth.

I know I am sick in this regard. I know my upbringing has a lot to do with it. 

I do not feel alive in crisis, I feel intense fear.

How well do I take care of myself? 

Some days well, some days not so well.

I am vegan, I try and eat the best I can every day. Get my greens, drink my water.

I do smoke from time to time when things become overwhelming. Sometimes I smoke excessively for days in a row, sometimes not at all for months.

I do drink from time to time. I don't often get drunk. My stomach hits a "nope" point after more than 2 drinks & I will just get sick.

I do not sleep well. I do not exercise enough. I do not dress well every day and put on my best face. Most days I look like I've been hiding in my bed, it's more than likely that I have.

How do I feel when I am alone?

Recently, I'm ok. But that's new to me.

Usually, I'm itching to focus on anyone or anything besides what's in my head.

What is the difference between pity and love?

Pity sounds negative to me. Like your concern for them comes from a place of judgement.

Love is based in kindness and a genuine desire to see someone thriving as their best self. 

Love can also accept that that desire may not be met, it doesn't not mean that you don't hope that for them though.

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

I am. This is something I've only realized over the last two years of my life. I also realize that my ego is so inflated that I truly believe I can help them live up to their potential (potential, meaning MY idea of what a healthy life looks like).

I could write pages on this. I have tried talking to, being a shoulder, keeping them out of trouble, keeping them housed/fed/paid for, keeping them alive and safe from harm.

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

I do trust my own feelings. I know exactly what they are.



-- Edited by SarahGee on Wednesday 19th of October 2016 07:47:20 PM

__________________
Let go


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Dear Sarah Thank you so much for your through responses. I is clear that you are dedicating yourself to the path of recovery so please do keep coming back.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:

I decided to start out answering some of these questions, i will have to add another post when i answer the rest.

Thank you (KEG302) for your answers, they are helpful.

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

As of right know typing this i cannot say that my actions and thought still try and control my environment. I try and control my husbands behavior, but he does not think he has a problem. He thinks his problem is holding stuff in, then he drinks. He thinks he has made progress with not drinking as much, the fact of the matter is he gets beligerant when he drinks certain IPA's. I threatened to leave him.

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 listened to a book on habits and it was inspiring that you could change your habits, it takes work but it can happen. My husband does not think he is an alcoholic. I still am trying to include him on some of the self help books i am reading, but he wants nothing to do with it.

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

I still see this as a choice, if anyone has a resource to help me understand this. I would like to read it.

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

A).I have tried to change others in my life by having them listen to self help books, the consequence is "them not wanting to listen anymore".

B.) My mom I have played the advocate for my family before my parents divorced, and have been my moms concelor too when it comes to her depression. The consequence is positive at time and she feels better. I am left feeling drained.

C) I have told him to seek help or i will leave, i never leave permanently. I might leave for the night, but come back furious the next day to fight with him. The consequence is he stops for a few weeks. I have built up resentment.



__________________

Hoping4thebest



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hello Mz.  Welcome  Thanks for sharing your process with such honesty and clarity.  Keep coming back and sharing the journey 



__________________
Betty


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 17
Date:

I'm new to the group and so glad I found it! Thank you so much for the simple presentation and a place to see how others are doing their step work! 

Step 1 was magical for me.....I can vividly remember the weight that lifted off of my shoulders when I realized that I was powerless over alcohol.  That I had been powerless all along.  Knowing it wasn't my job to control or try to fix anyone else came as both a shock and a relief.

I came to accept alcoholism as a disease partly after reading the definition of an alcoholic and more about alcoholism in the Big Book.  The "light bulb" moment happened when I attended my first open AA meeting with my husband.  I sat and listened to "our" story being told over and over by complete strangers.  At that meeting I came to the full realization that I was not fighting my husband, but a disease.  

Any time I begin to wonder at his being late or unreachable or any of the other things that would cause me anxiety in the past, I simply remind myself that I am powerless over alcohol.



__________________
Kim C


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 3
Date:

I answered these questions 2 weeks ago.  I've been to about 7 meetings since then and I think I need to keep answering them until I feel that I have incorporated the answers and "feel it" rather than just "know it" before I'm ready to move to Step 2.
 
Do I accept that I cannot control another persons drinking? Another persons behavior?
Yes on the drinking.  I've made a little progress in the last couple of weeks on the behavior.  I am confident that I cannot control his drinking.  What I was/am having an issue with is the amount of time he spends at the bar with his bar buddies.  None of them are in relationships and I've heard how they joke about women - they are the type of men who like to label their ex's crazy and blame their failed relationships on them rather than take personal responsibility.  The people he hangs out with is a big issue for me.  This is a place he can go and tell any version of the truth that he chooses and get full support and then some.  I am sure that he feels understood by them and who doesn't want to be understood?  I can't compete with that. He's spent the last couple of weekends at home which was nice.  Since I have been going to meetings I think he has been making some effort. I realize that I really did want to control my AH behavior and I let go of some "Sherlock Holmesish" behavior that I was ashamed of but at the time felt that I was justified.  I realize now how toxic that was.  I think I accept the drinking and know I can't change that and don't try but I feel abandoned by his behavior.  During the week I don't say anything about his going to the bar (at least I haven't lately smile).  When I go to meetings I find that I care less about what he is or isn't doing.  I have been isolating and the bottom line is that I need to get a life. I have always been somewhat of a loner who stays home a lot so this is a big change I need to make.  The scariest, actually.


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 have been reminding myself that "Men are from Mars/Women are from Venus".  Just because I see it one way and he sees it another, it isn't necessarily because he doesn't care (whether he does or doesn't).  He just sees things differently, whether he drinks or not.  He also isn't focused on me the way I have been on him.  He has a way of doing things that, to be honest, a lot of the time I don't respect or care for but these were things that I was aware of from the beginning and chose to overlook. I don't have a right to judge him if I made the decision to be with him.  If I can't accept him for who he is then I simply need to move on (hmmm...simply.  I'm a riot!!).

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?
The word disease still stops me from saying yes.  Do I think he can control his drinking? No. When I come home from meetings I feel more compassion for him than other times.  I think this is something that I am slowly getting but I think my negative emotions get in the way of being able to consistently feel that towards him.  In a nutshell, the more time I spend with others who understand what I'm going through, the more I can feel compassion for him but the more time I spend with him, the less compassion I feel. I think this is because his actions or lack of actions on a day to day basis lead me to believe that he doesn't really love me.  Alcohol is his mistress. I have to work on getting over that resentment.  I have been able to honestly not feel that and that is when I have my needs met (coming from a meeting). 

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

I thought I could make my AH happy by focusing on his needs rather than my own.  The consequences?  I often feel like I'm on the verge of insanity and don't know recognize myself at times.

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

When I was younger I used sex to get what I want/thought I wanted. That only gave me a false sense of security that didn't last.  Giving to myself would work better.  I need to learn to get rid of/understand/no longer ignore the negative feelings I have and learn how to become the person I know is hiding inside me waiting to come out.  


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

I blame myself for not being good enough.  I get sad. I wonder what is wrong with me?  I used to project those feelings onto him and see him as "my problem".  My problem is my problem, not his. I get this intellectually but not emotionally.  Last night I was feeling agitated.  I couldn't identify exactly what I was agitated. I found myself making small jabs at him and as I was doing that I realized what was happening so I was able to make the jabs less than they could have been.  We didn't have a fight but I think he noticed that something was up and he just kept his distance.  I felt very alone after that and was up most of the night reading this forum, feeling sad, beating myself up and wondering if I am really capable of changing.  Today I feel hopeful but at 3:00am hope is sometimes hard to come by. 

What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?
The focus would be on me and I realize now that I have been avoiding that because focusing on me is very painful. I have contacted a therapist who I hope to start working with so I can begin to work on that because I can't do it alone.  The meetings are great but I need more than that.  A sponsor would be great to but no one raises their hand at a meeting.  I am really ready.

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

That's a tough one since I have been solving my AH problems for a long time.  Recently he needed to log onto the webserver and he wanted me to contact them to get the password so he could point his new website to the correct host.  I am a little more tech savvy than him so in the past I would have gotten the pw, logged in and entered the info but this time I was able to just give him the info and let him do it. He started complaining about money the other day and I decided to leave the room to get a glass of water. As soon as I got up I think he realized he didn't have an audience so he changed the subject. In general, when I hear myself thinking "I can help" I have to stop and tell myself "It's not my problem".  That is very hard because I strongly identify with the "I can help" part of me and when I choose not to I struggle with feeling selfish and uncaring, even though I realize at the same time it's the healthier choice. 


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

No, I am not, though if there were one I would want it but I know it doesn't exist.  I think that I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't going to be quick - and I feel anxiety over that because I'm 57. Not to be morose but sometimes (not always) I do wonder if I'll even be alive before I can get even close to being "the real me/the better me".


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

My AH has been having some issues at school (he teaches part time at a junior college).  His student evaluations have not been good and he has had negative reviews and his chair has asked him to make some changes to his syllabus.  He believes he does not have any issue and that she is over-managing.  I have felt the need to help him with this because if I didn't I believe he would lose his job.   I re-wrote his syllabus for him in the manner she had been requesting. In this case I didn't feel that I was being excessively responsible because if he got fired, it would affect me since I am the main breadwinner and it would be a big burden if he wasn't working.  He likes the outcome as well as his chair.  I'm not sure if this example applies to this question but I did feel the need to insist (and I tried to be gentle). 

In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else's behavior?

I believe my AH doesn't have what I define as appropriate boundaries with people.  That statement tells me that this is perhaps a control issue that I need to work on but I don't know.  He feels the need to tell everyone he talks to all of his money/health (and most likely "women") problems he has.  For the money and the health issues he talks about, I believe he does this to garner sympathy and it does work for him.  It worked on me after all!  I am pretty sure he talks about our personal issues with others and this makes me feel very emotionally unsafe.  I am embarrassed that people that I can't even identify probably knows about things that go on between us that I consider private. I feel like I'm in an emotionally unsafe environment because anything I do or say will be broadcast to whoever will listen.  I feel a lot of resentment about this one and I don't know if I am going to be able to get past this. 

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

My husband attempted to cheat on me (she wasn't interested).  I found out (via my Sherlock Holmesish tactics mentioned above) and was telling a friend how devastated I felt and she suggested Alanon.  I brushed it off and said "Oh no, I'm not a group type person.  I hate talking in front of people".  She offered to go with me if I changed my mind and we changed the subject. The next morning I changed my mind. My expectations have changed quite a bit.  So much so that I have to remind myself "Easy Does it" and "ODAAT" and any others that may help for whatever I'm going through.  It is a lot of work looking at myself/my motives and questioning my behavior.  I am trying not to be too hard on myself because that's what got me here in the first place. I guess the best I can do is try.

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

I ran into a co-worker about a month ago in the parking lot.  We were chatting and she mentioned that I looked relaxed.  I ran into her the next day and decided to ask her "as opposed to?" (it was her last day at the company so I had nothing to lose).  I said "I was curious, you mentioned yesterday I looked relaxed.  How do I normally look?".  She said I normally look very uptight and worried. That surprised me. I do know that I am not a big smiler and I don't walk around smiling and saying hello to people (I usually keep to myself at work) but I didn't realize I looked like that.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

When I think that life is not worth living and that I will never change, that it's too late, when I cry and I'm not sure why, when I'm not alone but I feel lonely, when I have strong feelings of sadness and I can't pinpoint exactly why I feel this way, when I feel like I want to get out of my head and stop negative thoughts but I can't, when it seems everyone annoys me and I am angry at a lot of people and I start imagining that they are all talking about me and I don't know if I am imagining it or it is real and then I beat myself up for being a bad person but I remember the good one but just can't seem to find her and wish I could so that others would know that part of me as well and then maybe things wouldn't be so bad. 

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

This weekend I made chocolate chip cookies. When I was a teenager, I used to bake a lot.  Their was always a lot of chaos and tension and I think I liked to bake because cookies and brownies and cakes always make people happy, right?  If nothing else it's aromatherapy for me.  Cookies make my husband happy.  When I was cleaning up I offered him some of the batter from the bowl.  I have given him some in the past and he accepted it.  He didn't want any.  His reason was that it had raw egg in it.  I started to become incredibly sad after this but luckily I knew that it was about me and didn't show him my reaction.  I went for a walk while there was a break in the rain (which was new - I never go for walks by myself but need to continue that). I continued to feel sad and just tried to allow myself to feel whatever I was feeling and figure out why I felt that way.  I felt like not accepting what I offered meant that he didn't love me and didn't want anything I had to offer.  At the same time I felt ridiculous for feeling what I was feeling and wondering if I was just creating a scenario based on my own lack of self-esteem. Either way I felt miserable.  It started raining and I continued walking/crying in the rain, feeling very much like a lost soul. When I got home he could tell something was wrong but I told him that I had gone through something but it was about me, not him.

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

Yes, I say yes when I want to say no.  If I do say no I find it hard to do so in a kind way.  I feel like I have to make sure that No is heard because I probably really want to say yes.  I think I say yes to myself when I ask myself if I think this relationship is worth trying to fix when what I really want to be able to say is no.  The reason I don't say no is because I don't feel emotionally strong enough at this point in time to leave. I am too raw and feel too vulnerable.  I want to leave when I feel strong enough to survive such a big change. I am also afraid he will be angry and hostile to me and I am not sure I could handle that on top of dealing with logistics of moving out.  He doesn't make a lot of money and will be in a very bad place financially.  I don't want to "just leave" even though I believe that if he was in my position and an opportunity arose he would take it with minimal thought of me, I still can't bring myself to do that to him.  Do I want to stay?  Yes.  I mean No!  I mean I DON'T KNOW!!!!  Oy!

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

I probably focus more on others but I'm not the most nurturing person in the world and am not good at consistently taking care of myself.  If I can't take care of myself, I can't take care of others but I suppose I tell myself that caring = taking caring of. I love plants that don't need much water. I need to learn to put my caring into action (which I've done successfully in the last couple of weeks - baby steps), rather than relying on feelings.  

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 can honestly say that I am not drawn to crisis.  I don't try to create it. I prefer things are smooth.  That isn't to say that I won't inadvertently create a crises by reaching my boiling over point and then believe that I have to have my say and the hell with you if you don't like it.  It's the truth so deal with it. Ha!  

Having low self esteem, it isn't so much that I anticipate problems but just generally feel that things are not what they could be. Although, the last couple of weeks after meetings I have felt good and things have generally been ok but I still feel that my AH isn't communicating with me and then I start wondering what he is feeling (again, sometimes - not always) and then I will start to spiral and wonder what I'm doing...

In the midst of a crisis I do like to come in with my cape and save the day.  I suppose that makes me feel good about myself but it's probably more my ego than my self who benefits.  I am probably more ego driven than I realize.  It's one trait I judge others on - acting from their ego - so there's a good chance that I don't like it because I see myself in that.  

How well do I take care of myself?

Not very well.  A month ago I wasn't getting dressed on the weekends, not going out at all.  Now I make it a point to get dressed and go out to either just get coffee or go to a meeting. Self care is a huge issue for me, if not the issue.  I have to learn to focus on myself and do things for myself that are healthy and will make me feel good.  Sounds so simple, eh?

How do I feel when I am alone?

I feel calm when I am alone.  I don't feel threatened or afraid someone will hurt me.  I probably like to be alone more than what is healthy. I don't like to be alone ALL of the time though. If I am, I will sink into depression and despair. I have to create a balance of being alone and being with others.  That is probably my biggest challenge (or at least in the top 3).  As you can probably deduce, I'm a thinker and I spend a lot of time in my head.  Because of that I am very insightful when I need to be and can intellectualize until the cows come home.  Unfortunately, in the past that ability hasn't translated to any ability to face my fear and have the courage to change.  I think that I feel comforted by telling myself that "I'm smart".  The problem is that I am not self actualizing so the only person who really knows how "smart" I am is me.  That makes me feel trapped in my head. The prison of the mind.

What is the difference between pity and love?

This question resonates for me but I had to look up the actual definition of pity. I then looked up love. In the beginning of our relationship I think I felt more pity for my husband than love.  He was having problems and we were friends and I wanted to be there for him.  That developed into a sexual relationship and it probably never should have.  Having been together for 10 years, I love him but I can't say that I respect him or trust him so I don't know if that can be considered love. This is the dilemma I have.  What do I feel for him?  Is it healthy or is it based on fear? Should I stay and try?  Is it over?  How does he feel?  Am I fooling myself?  Probably.  What am I afraid of?   

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

Well, I certainly was and maybe I still am but I don't actively seek out anyone to fix these days.  I'm the one who needs fixing.  Right now, today - I honestly don't think I could put myself in the position of being the fixer again.  Life is short. My heart went out to my AH back in the early days.  I felt such compassion for him and didn't want him to wallow in his sorrows.  He needed me and it felt really, really good to be needed.  I bought him equipment he needed as birthday gifts and Christmas gifts and I gave him sex and companionship.  In general I had more money and was able to offer that without realizing at the time that perhaps I was trying to buy him??  I thought that if I gave him the material things that he said he needed, he would be happy and see that, the fact that I was willing to buy them for him that that should show him how much I cared.  But he wasn't and it didn't and now here I am.

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

Lately I'm a bit afraid of my feelings because they feel very raw and I may be happy, calm and centered one minute but the next I am full of doubt and fear and anger again.  I am getting better at identifying what they are.  I don't always know why I feel that way.  I assume they are feelings that have been buried and not felt in the moment so they have to come out sometime.  That makes me feel anxious so I have that on top of whatever the repressed emotion of the day is.  It's why I couldn't sleep last night.  I just felt bad and all the positive things I tried to tell myself just didn't seem powerful enough.  I guess it's like slaying dragons but I need to do so gently.  Exercise would help - I did get on the treadmill on Saturday (and told myself I would do it every day...). I wonder if a massage would help.  Do I trust my own feelings?  In a word, sometimes.



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Great , in depth responses Mercury. I would like to assure you that recovery will take hold and you will experience the benefits of your hard work, Serenity, courage and wisdom, will be yours in a very short time. Keep on Keeping on.

__________________
Betty


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 17
Date:

Do I accept that I cannot control another person's drinking? Another person's behavior?

I have accepted that I cannot control another person's drinking or behavior.  Does that mean I never try? NO. I have to constantly remember that I am not in control.  And that I am not responsible for anyone's behavior but my own.

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

Accepting alcoholism as a disease was a hard concept for me to swallow.  I felt like the drinking was just bad decision making.  Like my AH was running from me.  I took the drinking very personally as if he were having an affair.  After reading about alcoholism in the Big Book and attending a few open meetings I did come to the realization that he was sick.  That it is a disease.  Now I can deal with the alcoholic behaviors separately.  I can recognize them for what they are.

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

I have tried for 20 years to change my husband.  Have tried most of their lives to change my children.  The consequences are that I end up disappointed in them and I feel like I have failed somehow in the process.

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

Mostly I have allowed my needs to go unmet until I become very upset and "erupt".  A good fit sometimes gets me what I want but leaves my family devastated.  I am learning to express myself in more constructive ways.  And to take care of things before I get to the boiling point.

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

My alcoholic has been in recovery for 4 months.  My answer to this question would have been drastically different 6 months ago.  Now when we have a conflict of some kind we are able to discuss it.  I try not to place demands on him to be or do what I want.

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

I have tested the waters in this area and found, much to my dismay, that they function pretty well without my interference.

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

By simply staying on my own side of the street.  Easier said than done.  I have to practice letting go of a perceived responsibility to fix or help people. Especially the people who are accustomed to me solving their problems.

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

I wish there was a quick fix!! I know that it has taken 25 years to get where I am today.  It will take time and effort to get back what I have lost.

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?

I don't think I feel excessive responsibility for other people.  I do feel shamed or embarrassed when my AH or children behave badly in public.

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

I came to Al-Anon just looking for something different.  Some way to better cope with my crazy life.  I knew it was out of control and I needed to find a way to just function normally again.  I have only been in the program 4 months. I do not have a home group where I can go to meetings.  I have been reading the literature and was so glad to find this site where the program is being worked and I can see other's responses and learn.  

Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children?

At my lowest it was my children who expressed concern about my behavior and health.  They were the ones who saw me day in and day out.  Who were witnesses to my hopelessness.  The outside world thought I had it all together because that is what I portrayed. The fear and sadness on my children's faces is what drove me to find help.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

I know when my life is unmanageable when I can't go to sleep at night and don't want to wake up to face the day in the morning.  When I feel like there are so many responsibilities that I can't keep up.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

By being the team mom, the dependable friend, the one who would do anything for you.  By filling my days with things that make me look good and like I have it all together.

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

I did this two days ago.  I couldn't think of a valid reason to say no so I didn't.  As a result, the things that needed to be done for me and my family didn't get done and I started my week behind.  I am still trying to catch up.  

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

YES!

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 when things are going smoothly and try not to anticipate problems to the point that I create them.  I do, if I'm honest, feel more alive in the midst of a crisis. 

How well do I take care of myself?

Not very well most of the time.  

What is the difference between pity and love?

Pity is feeling sorry for someone.  Love is a daily decision.  It is a commitment to another person. 

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

I've always thought that those people were attracted to me.........now I can see that maybe I have been the one attracted to them.  Yes, most of my relationships are with people who seem to need me to fix them on some level.  I'll have to give some thought to that.  Thanks for opening my eyes.

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

A lot of times I don't trust my own feelings.  I am afraid that what I am feeling is wrong somehow.  

 

 



__________________
Kim C


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hi Kim Thanks for your through honest share on this important Step. I found answering these questions and sharing the Step journey with others very helpful Glad you are here.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:

About a year ago a counselor introduced me to Al Anon. As far as I knew, the only alcoholics in my life were all dead or people I'd never met. And certainly there was nothing in my life that I'd call "unmanageable." Over the past year I've slowly come to recognize areas in my life that were or are unmanageable.

Today's revelation: I realized that my emotional life is becoming unmanageable. That my memories are becoming unmanageable. That my nightmares have always been outside of my ability to manage. That the fatigue, inability to concentrate, and memories are becoming unmanageable. 

Years ago, I treated memories like enemies. Squashed them down tight and locked away tears as best I could. Eventually I learned that the tears were more manageable when I acknowledged them and allowed them an alloted time. It wasn't until today that I realized that the memories and the tears are connected. And that there are layers of emotions behind the tears. I used to be able to have memories without the emotion. They made good stories. For all of my life my memories have been stories that I could dole out carefully -- if I stayed far enough away from the story, I could tell it without emotion.

A lot of times, I would have emotion, but no story. I'd start to say something, start shaking or tearing up, and have no idea why.  

And now, today, I finally, understand that the stories and emotions are connected and that there are layers of emotions behind the tears.  That the uninvited memories and unwelcome emotions that come with them are called "flashbacks."

I finally, suddenly understand what the counselor meant when she used the word "chaotic" to describe some of my childhood experiences. I finally, suddenly understand why she labelled my symptoms as chronic ptsd. I finally, suddenly understand that what we experienced and how the adults in our lives responded was pretty far outside the realm of healthy. 

So far, Step One's been one giant leap forward after a whole year of slow awakening.



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Welcome JaneGrace Thanks for your powerfully honest share. I can readily identify with locking away feelings and have painful memory flash backs.
Step one simply asks us to accept that we need help and that our old destructive tools of denial and pretend no longer work. Glad that you are here and sharing the journey.

__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:

Thanks hotrod for your thoughtful comment. I'm new to the forums here and it was just what I needed to hear in this moment. I am not alone. Thank you for reminding me. 



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Welcome Amy,
I am so pleased that you found us and reached out I believe that the Steps are the key to recovery and love the statement :"If you are lost in the woods there are 12 Steps that will take you out" I found that to be true. Keep on keeping on you are not alone as we are a worldwide fellowship of member who truly understand.

__________________
Betty


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

 

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

I do accept that I can't control another persons drinking. I also accept that I can't control another persons behavior, I truly do, and I accept the idea and understand it and believe it but I know that I have tried to control behavior in the past. I have tried to make people act and behave in certain ways. I have done this with my spouse, I have tried to get him to stuff his feelings because they make me uncomfortable. If he is unhappy with me for some reason, or displeased, I have often tried to deny that I have done anything to upset him to avoid taking responsibility and not allowing him to feel his feelings. I do not  understand where this impulse comes from. I have also done this numerous times with my son when he acts or behaves in a way that makes me embarrassed or draws attention to us as a group. I get irritated, angry, or make unrealistic requests for a five year old. I accept that I cannot control another persons behavior, including the ones nearest and dearest to me. I pray that I have the strength to avoid doing so in the future.

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

I haven't used much because I don't even know what I want or need. I'm much better at complaining or noticing what I don't have or what I don't like or what I don't want when it is present. I have used passive aggressive ways to get what I  think I want or need by being seemingly quiet and/or "not needy" when in all actuality it is the other way around. Often, I have incredible difficulty making decisions, for fear it's the wrong one and will be a disaster, including the smallest decisions such as what restaurant to eat out, what kind of present to buy for someone, what to say in a conversation, etc. etc. At this point I am totally unclear of my needs or wants. I think I want to be loved and love, I want to accept myself and know myself. I want to be a good mother and wife and friend. I want to have a fulfilling life. I want to heal. I want to be alive. 

I think there are many things that might work better to get my needs met, first and foremost taking care of myself, working the steps with disregard to the potential outcome. In the past, I have been reluctant to dedicate myself to healing and growth, unwilling to do the work, looking for a quick and painless fix and especially reluctant to commit to an Al-anon program because there are no guarantees it will work! I know this is insanity, I truly do. I believe it to my core this is insane thinking. I'm as ready as I'll ever be to face this now. A quote I just found today about this is at the forefront of my mind:

There's freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing you won't be able to rescue you daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you've reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin" -Anne Lamott



__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

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

I think I withdraw. When people, alcoholics and otherwise, don't do what I want I think I withdraw with resentment. If I can think to most situations in the past when I haven't gotten the response I hope to out of people I never really can just let it go, and focus on myself. I think I withdraw, but not the detach with loving care kind. I have a tendency to withdraw, be bitter, and then be the victim. This happened most recently with a work relationship. I wasn't clear enough about my requests and my professional expectations so I withdrew with resentment which directly led to being the victim and why isn't anyone coming to my rescue? I avoided help and exposing the situation because I was afraid and ashamed of having a problem. I expected something to change without having to do anything. If nothing changes, nothing changes except somehow wrapped up in feeling like a victim I couldn't really see that. Today there was a quote in courage to change that I can't quite remember but it went something like this...."you understand life in reverse but you need to live it going forward"

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

I've always avoided putting the focus on anything or anyone but myself, for as long as I can remember. I'm so wrapped up in trying to do for others, because the doing and the cleaning and the preparing is what I base my self worth on. I think what would happen is there would be space and time to focus on myself, which is incredibly scary if you don't know who you are and don't really like yourself all that much.

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

I think the best think I can do is just focus focus focus on working the steps. I think I can usually let go of other people's problems unless they are very close to me. I have gotten better at this, but I'm not where I want to be. I think the best thing I can try do is to put on blinders and actively practice resisting this urge. PAUSE. I need to hit pause immediately My main response right now is 1. Listening 2. Asking "how can I help" of course, this is the best case scenario and I'm not always there and sometime I'm unable to pause and I skip right to worry/panic mode.

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

YES. A 100% emphatic YES. I am always always always looking for a quick fix to my problems. A quick and painless fix. I think that is an important note, nipping the pain in the bud is crucial for my past coping. I don't know exactly what this is, or how it came about, or what kept it going but it is how I coped for a long long time. I'm remembering a line in the codependency workbook about the bad habits and poor coping mechanisms that helped us survive. They worked for a while, and helped get us through. Now it's time to change them, time to say goodbye to them, time to give them up and look for a new way.



__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

 

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

I definitely feel excessive responsibility for other people when I make a mistake. If I forgot to do something or hurt someone, or did something that negatively impacts other people, usually inadvertently, I feel an excessive responsibility to fix, manage, or control other people's feelings and emotions. I really don't understand this urge, but I know it exists within me. I feel such discomfort when I make a mistake, and it is usually coupled with shame and guilt. Maybe I seek to avoid feeling and exploring these emotions that arise in myself by trying to prevent others from feeling their feelings. It's definitely a way I try to control situations and other people.

In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else's behavior?

I feel shame or embarrassment when my child behaves badly out in public. I think I have gotten better at managing this recently but in the past if he is behaving in a way that makes me uncomfortable I usually try and shut it down out of my own shame or embarrassment instead of letting him feel and be a kid and make mistakes.

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

I think total desperation brought me into Al-anon about three years ago, and I tried other 12 step groups as long as 5 years ago. I came to Al-anon out of total desperation for my life to change, to learn to stop hating myself, to help save my marriage and to try and be a better mother. I was looking for answers on how to live life and how to love myself. Three years ago I expected to gain answers, but only answers that didn't involve me having to really focus on myself and do the work. I wanted an easy fix, an easy solution, a PAINLESS solution, because after all, I was suffering so much and didn't I deserve to not suffer anymore???????? I wasn't willing to open up and share, to cry and let it all out. I don't know why it didn't work then, why it couldn't get throughI was and maybe still am too ashamed of being me, of being this imperfect mess of Amy. My expectations have shifted now, I understand that it's not going to be a quick fix. I have to do the work. I can't expect a magic key to drop into my lap to open all the doors. I really want to know why it didn't work in the past, why I couldn't figure this out 5 years ago, why I couldn't get my shit together then. I guess I wasn't ready then, and it's hard to not get sad/angry/depressed about that now, about the time lost, and the relationships that suffered and are suffering now because of my inability to take care of myself in the past. I understand now that this work is for me. I'm coming to the program for me. I think before I was just coming to the program for someone else. To appease my husband. To show him that I was trying to change. Maybe that was ok, and maybe if I didn't start this journey 5 years ago I wouldn't be where I am today, which is in a better place then yesterday. I have learned a truth about myself recently and that is that I am slow. I am a slow learner, I am slow about change, I am slow about a lot of things. 

 



__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

 

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

Yes, I frequently say "yes" when I want to say 'no'......and immediate resentment is present in most cases. But I think it is more complicated than that. It is a deeper issue for me. It is a funny balance of yes and no when raising a child, because I feel that I constantly need to be renegotiating this boundary...of when to say no and when to say yes and my gut instinct isn't always appropriate because sometimes I am apt to be more strict, and say no, when I really should say yes....say yes to new experiences, say yes to love and connection. I say no a lot, and I have cut myself off from a lot of people and experiences out of fear. I want to say yes more, I want to stop the immediate response to say no. Sometimes that is the automatic for me.....to say no. If I say no, then I don't have to risk feeling vulnerable.

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

Yes, Yes and YES. It is much, much easier for me to take care of myself than for me to take care of others. I see so much worth and light in other people that I am unable to see in myself, although I am really trying to change that now. I think I have always been like this, even when I was younger and care taking was a very strong behavior that was modeled for me by the women in my family. Somewhere along the way I forgot myself, forgot that I am a person worthy and deserving myself of the care that I give to others. When I try to care for myself in the same way I care for others sometimes it is so incredibly hard to find that power to turn the care inward, on myself. I feel empty, and when I try and turn the focus inward I can't really figure out where to place it, where to start, where to focus the care. It's been so long that I have taken such care of others that starting with me is incredibly confusing and so difficult. I'm praying that I will figure it out.

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 feel like I have blinders on when life is going smoothly. I feel that there must be something that I am ignoring, some ugly problem under the surface waiting to rear its head at some point. I think this comes from years of not dealing with stuff and knowing that I've smoothed everything over on the surface but everything underneath is an ugly mess. For years this is how I have coped with many parts of my life. 

I'm not sure if I feel more alive amidst a crisis, but I expect I do as I only seem to make real progress or change when I am in the middle of turmoil. 

How well do I take care of myself?

I don't take care of myself all that well! But recently, I am doing a better job. I am convinced that working the steps will help me take better care of myself. I have hope. Some of the things that I am doing to take care of myself now are

  1. Reaching out. I can't do this alone anymore
  2. Writing and reading. Praying
  3. Praying more. Asking my higher power for help. I'm not even sure what exactly my higher power is to me just yet, but I'm just sending prayers out there anyway with faith that I will figure it out along the way.
  4. Did I mention writing, reading and praying??????
  5. Care of my physical self. Resting when I need it. Paying closer attention to my energy levels and when I am tired, admitting it and stopping instead of powering through.

How do I feel when I am alone?

Mostly scared. At least that is how I feel right now. It's hard for me to stop the focus on others, and sit and be with myself when I am alone. When I do stop, and be quiet, and be alone, sometimes it is terrifying but I have had times of great peace when I am alone, though, so I know it is possible. I spent a lot of my 20's alone, and feel very very alone often even within the presence of others, so it is not an unfamiliar space for me. I can remember feeling very alone as a child, feeling very different from the rest of my family and feeling lonely as a result of it. I was always told that I was different.....either physically (too chubby) emotionally (you're too sensitive!) or the way I dressed or did things (she's so artistic! She's so different!) and it was a very very lonely place to be in my family.


What is the difference between pity and love?

I think love is encompassing, and whole and true. I think love is big and bold and beautiful. I think pity comes from sorrow, maybe. I just had to look it up in the dictionary and it is defined as sympathetic sorrow for one who is distressed or unhappy. I think the difference between the two is perhaps a difference of intent and emotion. Pity is related to sorrow and love is not. Love is related to joy and a place of fulfillment.


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

I am definitely attracted to alcoholics in some way, but I don't think it is because I need to fix them, I think it is because I have allowed myself to be treated poorly and have accepted a lot of poor treatment in the past. I haven't tried to ever fix the alcoholics I've dealt with in the past. I've only accepted their behavior and also accepted being treated poorly, and probably felt that I deserved it. I was treated poorly by a past alcoholic boss, and by an alcoholic uncle and my alcoholic brother. I just accepted it as treatment that I deserved, or must have deserved for some reason.

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

I don't trust my own feelings and I don't usually know what they are!!!!!



__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 7
Date:

hotrod wrote:

Welcome Amy,
I am so pleased that you found us and reached out I believe that the Steps are the key to recovery and love the statement :"If you are lost in the woods there are 12 Steps that will take you out" I found that to be true. Keep on keeping on you are not alone as we are a worldwide fellowship of member who truly understand.


 Thanks Betty! That statement is a keeper for sure. 

Amy



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hello Heyamy,  Love your in depth responses  You are on your way 



__________________
Betty


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hi Tired of this, great response. I agree admitting and accepting are two distinct actions.
Remember the
3 As:" awareness, acceptance and action. "Seeing it" means we are on the way, and not running to change it is important. We must first accept that it is is an issue, and that we are powerless over it The greatest "action" I have found is to pray for help or guidance. Keep on keeping on it works.


__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 2
Date:

I really want to work the steps to help myself deal better with my life. I am a recovering Alcoholic, Drug addict, and an Adult child of an alcoholic. I have had a lot of people in my life that are addicts and alcoholics too. 

 

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


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?

The alcoholic is an ex, and we are very different. I wish I knew good habits that they have of reacting, they usually drink and get angry. They have OCD tendencies about the wrong things, or they ignore something that should not be ignored. They are also an adult child of an alcoholic. I see behaviors that I might have had myself years ago. 

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

   I know it is a disease. For my own sanity, I decided two years ago that I would not attend any gatherings where active alcoholics and drug addicts were. I stopped hanging out with friends who chose to do nothing about their unmanageable life or SO. 

 I recognized the disease and set strict boundaries for the one alcoholic that I chose to try and have a friendship with. One of those boundaries was recently crossed and that is why I am here to make myself strong again and decide how to take care of myself. 


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

  I have basically shut myself off from the world and been absorbed in my family. Being a part of this group will work better. 

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

  I feel alone, and I immerse myself in work and work to much or other unhealthy behaviors like overeating. 


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

   I cannot change other people. 
 
7. How can I let go of others problems instead of trying to solve them?

    I can find a healthy way concentrate on myself. 

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

   No, there is not a quick fix

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

   I only do this with my family, and that can be unhealthy for me. 

10. In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone elses behavior? None

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

 Someone I know is sick and in the hospital. I do not want to let their illness make my life unmanageable.  I did notice that there might be some other areas of my life  that could be more manageable. 

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

  No one. That makes me sad. 

13. How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

   I cannot focus on the things I need to do. My other relationships might be effected. 

14. How have I sought approval and affirmation from others? I don't anymore. 

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

   I only do this with my son sometimes but that could change. My health and well being usually suffer. 

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

  Sometimes I do and I don't eat right or get work done. 

17. 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 am very happy and content when Life is going smoothly. I do anticipate problems and worry a lot. I do not feel more alive in the middle of a crisis. It normally makes me feel sick because I have disabilities. 

18. How well do I take care of myself?

  Not as good as I should be. I should be getting some exercise and be on a diet. I do not normally spend any money on myself. I have tried to change that the past month. 

19. How do I feel when I am alone?

  I love being alone, if anything I am unsocialable and it is bad for me. 

20. What is the difference between pity and love?

  Pity is doing something for someone because you feel sorry for them. Love means maybe not doing something so that they can be independent

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 use to be, I have had three serious relationships with Alcoholics. I am not attracted to them at all now. I have my own recovery and I am not worried about drinking or doing drugs but I am worried about the heartache that comes with those people.  

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

I trust my own feelings and know what they are. I need to change how I show them to other people sometimes. I do not have to react to things that might not concern me. 

 

 



-- Edited by sharonp on Monday 23rd of January 2017 09:32:31 PM

__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Hi Shaon, I am happy that you shared your process and do encourage you to  continue on with the steps on this Board.  I appreciate your honesty and clarity.



__________________
Betty


Newbie

Status: Offline
Posts: 1
Date:

Just love your quote about PTS, have never thought of it like that before but share your sentiments precisely.  Wow, I have tried to tell my husband that for a long time, it brings it all back , but of course that does not have any affect on a person who has such a selfish disease.   I wish you everything you wish for yourself my friend.  



__________________


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 828
Date:

Dear tiredofthis Thanks for sharing your thoughts with such honesty . Being powerless over people,places and thingsis a difficult concept to embrace and takes time and prayer The key to the program is "acceptance".

When I did accept" life life's terms " my program and faith improved tremendously.
Please do keep coming back.

__________________
Betty
«First  <  1 2 | Page of 2  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us

Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book)

Al-Anon

Courage to Change

The 12 Steps 
For Adult Children

Miracles In Progress 12 Step Recovery Forums
Recovery Book Store

http://www.12stepforums.net/books.html

All Books in our bookstore are recovery related books, please visit the store and make a purchase for yourself or someone you want to shine some love on!

Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

 

 

Daily Affirmations for Adult Childern

When you buy a book you are helping support Miracles In Progress 12 Step Recovery Forums

We have over 100 recovery books in our bookstore which is affiliated with Amazon.com.  The fastest, safest and easiest way to get your new reading material sent directly to you.