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Post Info TOPIC: ALANON STEP ONE( 1-2-2018)


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RE: ALANON STEP ONE( 1-2-2018)


Thanks Betty :)

 



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Mimi


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My share
I am new to Al-Anon by about two months. I've tried to dive in headfirst, but it's overwhelming. I've bought so many Al-Anon books and have been studying and reading and taking notes. I've tried to soak up everything there is to learn all at once. I need it all, but I realize I have to slow down and take it all in. Even my approach to Al-Anon seems to be unmanageable!

I really, really want a sponsor so I can work the steps and know when I've completed a step.  I guess I don't know who is ready to sponsor in my face to face group.


Step one questions

Do I accept that I cannot control another person, their behavior or the drinking?
Yes. This was a hard one for me because I've always been a survivor. Growing up in an alcoholic family, I had to take the reins so our family could function. I've now outgrown this need to be in control and acknowledge how it's not healthy for me or for my relationships with others.

How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits and needs and ways of reacting in a different from mine?
This has been very difficult for me because the alcoholic in my life is my young adult son (newly in recovery) and I have struggled with what is good mom advice and what is going too far. I'm learning that it's best for me to sit back and listen. To allow my son to make his own decisions. It's not always easy, but I'm learning. Sometimes I have to literally hold my mouth shut. But my relationship with my son is improving by doing this.

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?
Yes. And it is a disease that affects the whole family.

How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
I have tried to tell my son what to do and how to do it. I've tried to fix things for him. I've tried to love him back to health. I've tried to manipulate others into doing what I think is best for them. The consequences were strained relationships and nothing good ever came out of it other than the illusion I carried for quite some time that I had control.

What brought me into Al-Anon? How have my expectations changed?
My family expressed serious concern about me and my obsession with my alcoholic son. I was devastated and was watching him die, spiraling downhill and I just didn't know anything else to do, other than try to save my son's life. I didn't understand at the time that only he could save his life. My expectations have changed in that I understand so much more about the disease of alcoholism and that I am powerless not only over alcohol, but also other people, places, and things.

How do I know my life is unmanageable?
Because my life was in complete chaos. I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't breathe. I think I was much sicker than my son. Things are improving, but I am still hanging onto crazy at times.

Do I take care of others easily but find it difficult to care for myself?
Yes. Others come first. Through Al-Anon I'm slowly making changes to that. It's a bit uncomfortable, but I'm working on it.

Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them?
I don't know that I'm attracted to alcoholics, but I'm definitely attracted to other people who need me. I want to feel needed and I like to help fix things for others. Maybe it's because it seems easier than fixing things for myself.

What is the difference between pity and love?
What a great question. Love is supportive and mutual. Pity puts someone in a superior position. I'm reflecting right now on this question because it's helping me realize the excuses I made for the alcoholic was out of pity (self-medicating due to trauma, due to anxiety, due to unresolved grief). Pity isn't helpful for anyone. It allows me to enable and try to take over control.

Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
Yes. I do trust my feelings, but I don't always trust my gut, which is a big mistake.



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Hello Growing, I can see that you are certainly dedicated to "growing 'as your responses to this Step are extremely insightful and honest. As far as selecting a sponsor, I suggest that you make as many meetings as you can,listen for a person you can identify with, who has good recovery and then ask .
Keep coming back here as well you are not alone.

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Betty


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Step one questions

Do I accept that I cannot control another person, their behavior or the drinking?

Actually i am up late tonight and sharing on this step board because i thought it might help me find a little more 'acceptance .. I'm up because i am 'feeling my powerlessness and just need to sink it to my heart now .. i figure sharing is Better than sitting here thinking of All the 'things in my life (including myself & others) i wish i could Control right now in this moment (all in a moment; imagine that; that would some kind of control; only god can do that and 'only if i let him) .. probably a very good thing (i) can't control (no one could take it .. funny to think of this .. but to be honest .. no one would feel think remember look have choices (be different than me) .. hmm sounds a little (lot) like my upbringing ..

How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits and needs and ways of reacting in a different from mine ..

well to be honest i should probably begin by admitting .. i am not sure i treated my addict as an individual (deserving) of respect or love .. I believe in my mind i was often reminding myself he 'deserved to be punished for .. look what he did (to me)

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?

do i believe it and do i accept it are 2 different things .. Yes i believe it definitely is a disease and that i have one too having been effected by it .. accepting it is hard .. with those i am angriest with it has taken me longer to let it sink they are not bad people they have a disease ..  i am hard on me too sometimes (that is my disease)

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

i manipulated ..reasoned yelled blamed pointed cried laughed entertained .. nothing worked the alcoholic was angry
realizing lately too trying to change other things .. including my 'feelings ? i can't even control change cure those or my thinking without an entire fellowship and god in the center .. realized Just today wow . i can't control these things so i let the food smokes other control them instead .. i eat because i cannot control my feelings ? change them ? cure them ? how insane is that .. pretty insane for sure

What brought me into Al-Anon? How have my expectations change?

came to change the alcoholic get the answers .. i no longer expect Him to change when I have recovery

How do I know my life is unmanageable?

Every area of my life seems broken .. my finances are a mess; my health is a mess (smoker) my weight isn't where i want it .. my family relations are distant to virtually nonexistent .. I feel my powerlessness .. I feel myself trying to cling to things slowly being removed (or being lost) (we) lose ourselves (things we love) in this disease (things we don't turn over to god)

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

caring about ourselves wasn't part of growing up; wasn't important as long as we cared (or made it look like we did) for others

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

And vice versa .. i can't stand it .. tonight on the phone with an alc who is 'also untreated alanon (the reading in blue how alanon works; little god calling all the shots (knowing Everything self right smug; lord i am irritated)  .. i realized i can't say one word because he will hack it apart and make it a Huge deal when it doesn't need to be (fix it) I did that for years; always had the answer (never the solution) . I am fried

What is the difference between pity and love?

pity is perhaps sympathy while love is perhaps empathy (sharing experience hope strength)

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

No i do not; I don't always trust my 'own' thinking either (nor should I) without a fellowship of others I am a danger to Myself .. (confused alone)

I don't trust my 'feelings when: i am angry; lonely; afraid; worried; obsessive; confused; it's possible i will be able to trust them at different times like when i am in a meeting with serenity or when i am praying and feeling at ease (guided)



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Great responses Freedom Your honesty and wisdom will serve you well as you walk this road to recovery.

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Betty


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Do I accept that I cannot control another person, their behavior or the drinking?
Yes, I accept this much more readily than a year ago, when I first came to the 12 steps.

How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits and needs and ways of reacting in a different from mine?
I think this is about learning not to take on what isn't mine to begin with. Learning that someone else's choices are not my business, and that I am not the centre of the universe - not all things involve or have to revolve around me and what I see as 'right.' I can listen, observe, and hold back from reactivity.

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?
Yes.

How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
I have tried to stop people drinking, taking drugs. I have tried to get others to be more responsible, or kinder, or less powerful. None of my efforts at controlling others have helped. Efforts to control or change others only damages that person further, and damages myself.

What brought me into Al-Anon? How have my expectations change?
I saw the changes in a friend's life, who has worked the NA programme for many years. She has always suggested I give Al-anon a chance, because of my family background, and the difficulties I had at times, with living. I don't think I had any expectations then. I just didn't want to go further down into the depression I lived with.

How do I know my life is unmanageable?
My life is unmanageable when I look into the week ahead and wonder how I'm going to fulfill everything I have to do. My life is unmanagable when I just want to give up when things get too much, or I lose perspective on and gratitude for what I have, and how I am able to hold it together. When I feel anxiety, my life is unmanageable

Do I take care of others easily but fin it difficult to care for myself?
This has been the story of my life.

Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them?
I used to be. Not really any more. Now I am more attracted to situations that I believe won't function well without me in them. I am working on that.

What is the difference between pity and love?
I find it much easier - and clearer - to pity and to want to help than to love or act out of love. Love, I suppose, is there even when I am not needed for something. This is still a murky area for me.

Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
I don't trust my own feelings fully. I don't yet operate out of what is truly good for me. I still suppress my own feelings, often not knowing what they even are, and I react to the needs of others, rather than acting for my own needs or what is healthy for me. I feel this will take time to untangle.

Thank you Betty for your service.


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Hello Midnight Jane thank you so much for sharing your in depth thoughts with the MIP Board.   Step one is the start of a very important journey into ourselves.. Keep on keeping on



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Betty


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My share

I'm "sort of" new to Al Anon. I went to 3 face-to-face meetings two years ago but I haven't been back or worked the program. I did and didn't like the meetings. It definitely helped to listen and learn I wasn't alone. Just knowing I'm not ALONE or INSANE was a huge deal. after the first meeting I got in my car and cried. But they were very small meetings, I felt out of place. I'm trying to push myself to go again. At my last meeting I was given "How Al Anon Works." I read that, took and read my AH's AA blue book, and then started reading and reading other literature. that helps alot. I joined this and another online group this week. feel hopeful but anxious. I don't know what to do about my marriage. I'm not sure which direction to go but I can only go up.

Do I need a sponsor to work Step One? I want to try answering the questions.

Step One questions


Do I accept that I cannot control another person, their behavior or the drinking?
I know this in my head and I'm trying to accept it. I'm getting better at letting go. I have moments where I catch myself. I'm still doing or saying things to my AH that I "hope" will stop his behavior. I can't make my AH stop drinking or using. only he can make that choice.


How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits and needs and ways of reacting in a different from mine?
My AH is a human being worthy of the freedom of choosing his own life's path. We all are. If I want that for myself (and I do), I need to recognize he has that same right. He has a right to his opinion, and has different needs and perspectives than mine. My AH and I have very different upbringing and background. We grew up in very different places in the world. I often think about how my memories from youth and young adulthood are so different than his. So he has his own view of the world and that is okay because we all do.

Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease?
Yes. At first I saw it as a choice. that if he loved us more or he cared he would stop. Now I've come to accept this is a disease. he isn't doing anything "to" me. He's doing it because he is sick.

How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
I tried long and hard to change others. The consequence, simply put, is it made me sick. Physically, mentally and spiritually sick. I cannot control or change other people. I can change myself. I can change how I interact and react to people.

What brought me into Al-Anon? How have my expectations change?
I came to Al Anon in desperation. I came to Al-Anon looking for how to change my AH. How to help him get sober. I came wanting to know THE answer. I learned Al-Anon is a program for me. I learned I didn't cause it, I can't control it, and I can't cure it. I learned Al-Anon could help me live my own best life regardless what AH is doing.

How do I know my life is unmanageable?
I know because it's hard for me to stop thinking about AH. Even now when he is gone since this morning, it's hard for me to focus. Worrying about AH has cost me sleep, affected my diet and my parenting. I've canceled fun plans because of it. I've missed work. I made excuses for AH. So I know my life is unmanageable and a change has to happen.

Do I take care of others easily but find it difficult to care for myself?
Yes. I've often put myself last and then felt sorry for myself and felt neglected. I'm ready to take care of myself. I'm ready to learn self-care, so I don't have to wait for someone else to take care of me. Only if I take care of myself, I can better help others.

Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them?
I'm not sure. I don't see this trend in my friendships. But of the three serious romantic relationships I've had, two men were alcoholic/addicts (AH & ex-husband). And the third my ex-BF was not an alcoholic but we had an unhappy relationship around his lack of self-worth. In all three cases (including my current AH) I had strong feelings about being there for them, trying to please them and trying to "Save" them "from themselves" and their "circumstances". I was somehow attracted to these personality traits but I'm not sure why.

What is the difference between pity and love?
I think pity is feeling sorry for someone while believing they're incapable of doing for themselves. Love would be accepting another's shortcomings but seeing their strengths and capabilities, and giving them freedom and dignity to do for themselves.


Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
Yes, I'm learning to trust my feelings. I'm more in touch with them now than a year ago. I'm learning that my gut can be right and my feelings are not crazy. I can feel all my feelings, process them, and release them. I still doubt myself a lot but I'm getting better.



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Guru

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Hello sakina I ampleased that you shared your thoughts on this Step andcdo understand your feelings after your first meeting I too found the meetings comforting and off putting at first but the more often I attended the more comfortable I became . We have on line meetings here in the cht room which are extremely beneficial that you could try The alanon book that you have is great and goes into important details of the program, You had teh courge to work this step you can now move to Stepc2 and Keep coming back

link to on line meetings and schedule

l-Anon Family Group
Meeting/Chat Room

Meetings
9 AM EST Mon-Fri
9 PM EST Mon-Sat
10 AM EST Sat & Sun
7 PM EST Sunday

 

here is the link

 

http://www.12stepforums.net/chatroom2.html



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Betty


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Step One Questions

 

  1. Yes. I remember very clearly when I first had the thought about my AH that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I say or do will make one bit of difference in this situation. I felt very powerless, although I couldnt name that emotion right then. Thats what first drove me to seek out Al Anon.
  2. By letting him live his own life without attempting to manipulate or control him.  By stopping my efforts to get him to react in the way that I want or to make the decisions that I would want. Give him the freedom and respect of making his own choices and learning his own lessons (or not).
  3. Yes although I had a lot of trouble with that at first. It seemed to me it wasnt a disease because it was their choice to drink. Regardless of whether or not they could stop drinking once they started, the decision to have that first drink is always a choice. Also because they can choose to stop and become sober for life. So the element of choice seemed to prevent it from being classified as a disease to me. But then I realized that there are plenty of other diseases that can begin with choice. Type 2 diabetes sometimes is the result of long term poor diet/exercise choices (+ genetic susceptibility). Cervical cancer can be caused by contracting the HPV virus which starts with choices about sex. Heart disease is another one often caused by poor diet and exercise choices. Lung cancer can begin with the choice to smoke. Some of these can be managed by making healthier lifestyle choices (just like an alcoholic can choose to become sober). So all of these start with a choice but they are all still diseases and no one would claim otherwise. Once I realized this it made it easier to accept that alcoholism is a disease. 
  4. OMG I was ALWAYS trying to change others in my life, although I didnt realize it until Al Anon. I tried everything bribes, threats, demands, lectures, showing them written materials that supported my point, cold shoulder, so many tears, bargains...I tried it all. None of it worked. Not one bit in the long run. It caused many fights and a whole lot of stress, anger, sadness, anxiety, yelling but never did I get my AH to stop drinking or even to drink at home.
  5. What brought me into Al Anon? How have my expectations changed? What brought me to Al Anon was my initial realization of powerlessness over my XAH and his drinking and partying. I felt defeated that I couldnt get through to him and angry about the life I was living. I knew that Al Anon had something to do with family members of alcoholics but I didnt know what. I knew it wasnt about getting the drinker to stop but I didnt know what it was about. What I was looking for was some comfort and companionship with others who went through the same bs I did. I was insulted when I realized that Al Anon suggested I work the 12 stepsafter all, I wasnt the one with the problem!!! The alcoholic had and was the problem in my life. However the isolation and unmanageability of my life made me return and keep reading until I realized that no I dont have an addiction but I do have many problems that contributed to the life I found myself in.
  6. How do I know my life is unmanageable? Because my life was full of crises, chaos, stress and drama all the time. I was always freaking out about something. There were some calm interludes but at any moment the drama would begin again. My life is so much calmer now compared to a year ago. But even now Ive realized Ive been trying to control again the XAH and the XBF. I slipped back into it and unmanageability is creeping back in. So I am trying again the let go of that and and let them live their own lives, even if that means we dont stay together.
  7. Do I take care of others easily but find it hard to take care of myself? Thats a HUGE YES on that one. Both of my marriages were to men who needed me. (An abuser and an alcoholic). I was always taking care of their needs and doing things for them while never having my needs met. Because that is what a good wife does (according to what I learned growing up). Even now I feel guilty when I do any small thing for myself. Like today I got a babysitter and went out to lunch and spent the rest of the time getting ready for a trip Im taking my kids on. When I felt that guilt, I told myself it was ok to take a couple hours for myself bc Im giving them a whole trip just for them. When Im a single mom of 3 its hard to find ANY time just to do something for myself. And when I do I feel guilty bc I should be doing something with/for my kids, not me. But I guess you cant pour from an empty cup.
  8. Am I attracted to alcoholics or other people who need me to fix them? Again a HUGE yes. That applies to both of my marriages, to several friendships, possibly even to my job (in a helping profession). The only good thing about how bad both of my exes treated me is that it seems to have burned out my desire to fix/help people. I am much better at saying no now. And I dont jump right into peoples problems any more with my advice and solutions. After some soul searching I discovered that the reason I was attracted to people I thought needed my help was because I thought if they didnt need my help why would they ever want to be with me? Low self esteem and feeling unworthy and insecure were the root causes.
  9. What is the difference between pity and love? I sure didnt know in the past! Both of my most recent marriages were to people who I felt sorry for because they needed me. That was my security that they wouldnt leave me. Because they needed me. Well neither one of them left me but they treated me in ways that caused me to leave them. The first was abusive and the second was a cheating alcoholic. I was wrongthey didnt need me to fix them, they needed me to enable them and I just couldnt do it forever. The treatment became too bad. Pity is feeling sorry for someone. It is feeling like they need you to do something for them or fix/save them. It is not the same as love. Im still a little unsure how to define healthy love. I sure didnt see any of it growing up. All the adults around me were divorcing or should have divorced because their relationships were so unhealthy. I never really knew what love should actually look like, and I was aware of that lack. So I just guessed, and I guessed wrong. Today I have a better idea of what a healthy relationship should look like, but that is as far as I have gotten.
  10. Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are? For most of my life the answer to those questions has been no. I disguised anger and frustration as sadness. I mirrored the alcoholics mood for a long time. I pretended things didnt bother me when they did. And I NEVER trusted my own feelings or instinct. I always rationalized them away. I asked everyone under the sun for advice and verification of my feelings because I didnt trust my own ability to read a situation and make a decision. I trusted everyone else more than me. Even people who werent trustworthy. Only very recently have I begun to realize that my instincts were often correct; the problem was I didnt listen to them. And then I got myself in trouble. Im starting to gain more confidence in trusting my own feelings and not having to ask everyone around me for help. Ive also learned to feel my feelings and realize what they are. I still have a ways to go to fully trust myself but Im better than I was a year ago.


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Guru

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Hi Jayla Thanks for sharing your well thought out thoughts on this important STEP. It is a pleasure to be sharing the journey.



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Betty
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