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Post Info TOPIC: We've got it backwards


~*Service Worker*~

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We've got it backwards


Living with alcoholism means we are living with or have lived with a person who drinks or were effected themselves by a drinker but as far as I've learned the disease doesn't end there. Its within us, living with a drinker or not. So, we talk over and over about the drinker, desperately trying to understand the behaviour the thinking the motives of the drinker because FALSELY we believe the answer lies in the drinker. Our life will improve if the drinker behaves, gets sober, gets help, etc. So we are not the problem according to our faulty thought processes.

This is the merrygoround as far as I can see. We keep searching for the answer to get this drinker to behave because its this drinker that is ruining our life. WRONG!!! Our lives are crap because we can't see reality. The freedom comes when we can look in, with the help of Alanon meetings, steps, sponsor and we can see that the change we want can only come from us and within us. We have to root out our motives, however painful it seems. I found it amazing and liberating at first with a hint of pain. 

Why do we continue in the chaos and misery?, we come up with all sorts of excuses and justifications, its finances, its love, etc, its lack of choices. What if you looked in and saw that the reason you are in chaos is not because of the drinkers addiction but our own addiction. We are addicts just the same, addicted to them, addicted to the excitement and drama, the adrenalin pumping through our bodies with each and every crisis and the anticipation of the next crisis, we get withdrawals in the calm, we cant handle the calm and then we complain about how crap this all is. We crave it. So Alanon is vital for us, we begin to get clean as we learn to separate ourselves from the other person, not physically necessarily, become an individual again, a person in our own rights seperate from every other human being.

We can see how we have taken part all along, been a big player in it, never the innocent victim filled with self pity and hopelessness that I remember believing this of myself for years. The power for change is not in the hands of a desperately sick alcoholic but in us sick just the same but when we get the courage to open our minds to the truth and take responsibility for our own lives we begin to grow up.



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Senior Member

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Thank you (((el-cee))) for describing so clearly what it's really all about. Just love this share and can't agree more that the focus and the work needs to begin with us. Our behavior does seem to parallel that of the drinker and pointing our finger at them only leaves four more fingers pointing back at us.

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HES

a4l


~*Service Worker*~

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It's funny. I'm thinking about doubles within family systems. The whole " get to the root of your own crap" sprung to mind recently. I held it in and softened it, because the feelings I could see felt real to the person and are themselves a conditioned think, feel, respond pattern. Realising there is a way out of this helplessness, so powerful. It doesn't have to be the way we've come to accept it, and that's so joyful to me, after all these losses.

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Senior Member

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Well said el-cee, I love, love, love this! It didn't take me long when Al-Anon first found me to realize I had it backwards and that I had an addiction to my AH, my dysfunctional FOO, the chaos, the drama, drama, drama. This is a great reminder that I have an addiction and that I must work at my recovery every single day, lean on my program when I slip and embrace HP's loving energy to guide me to peace and serenity. Thank you for sharing and ((hugs)) to you.

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- Carrie

Stress is caused by being 'here' but wanting to be 'there'. Eckhart Tolle

2HP


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I remember being angry at myself when I began to see my part in creating my reality. I had no tolerance for my own errors.

They assured me that denial has its place and it comes BEFORE awakening to such honesty. It protects me from what I am not yet ready to deal with. I accept today that I am still in denial over things I expect I'll eventually wake up to some day. I am recovering, not recovered. I expect more shall be revealed as I continue to persevere. I expect others may be looking at me and wondering, "when will she ever get it?!!"

when I do.

In working with others, Ive had to exercise caution in pulling the comfort rug out from under my fellows. some of us have deep emotional wounds and are very badly damaged. I happen to know many in Al-Anon who refuse to work a "fearless and thorough" inventory with a sponsor, even after coming for over a decade. And some think they do the steps "a few times" believing they are "done" and go on to  "service" 

Everyone gets to decide how far they are willing to take recovery. Al-anon suggests that we keep the focus on ourselves.. for our own spiritual benefit. Some people never hear that, but it is not my place to direct the show.

The ever-patient Higher Power unconditionally loves us all, even my erring alcoholic loved ones. How grateful I am Higher Power so patiently waits for me, and welcomes me with open arms when the "awakenings" come.

That is what I read in your post, that we are more alike than different, its' a great reminder... all of us walking around in innocent ignorance, seeking outside methods for lasting happiness and peace rather than from the One who can provide it.

I like this page from Al-Anon Groups at Work manual p. 27 because it emphasizes the process.

"We who have turned to Al-Anon have often done so in despair, unable to believe in the possibility of change and unable to go on as we have before. We feel cheated out of a loving companion, over-burdened with responsibilities, unwanted, unloved, and alone. There are even those of us who are arrogant, smug, self-righteous, and dominating. We come to Al-Anon, however, because we want and need help.

While we may have been driven to Al-Anon by the effects of someone elses drinking, we soon come to know that our own thinking has to change before we can make a new and successful approach to living.

It is in Al-Anon that we learn to deal with our obsession, our anxiety, our anger, our denial, and our feelinsgs of guilt. It is through the fellowship that we ease our emotional burdens by sharing our ESH with others.

Little by little, we come to realize at our meetings that much of our discomfort comes from our attitudes. We begin to change these attitudes and learn about our responsibilities to ourselves. We discover feelings of self-worth and love, and we grow spiritually.

The emphasis begins to be lifted from the alcoholic

and placed where we do have some power -  over our own lives."


thanks el-cee!!




-- Edited by 2HP on Friday 19th of May 2017 11:51:32 AM

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~*Service Worker*~

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Great topic and great shares....I am a double-winner and was NOT HAPPY when my sponsor suggested I go to Al-Anon. Even with recovery under my belt, I still had a ton of self-righteous indignation that I was part of the problem with the chaos in my home because of the active disease. It was MY EGO that caused my DENIAL for a long while after the suggestion. I went at first to placate my sponsor. I attended one meeting, and went with a closed mind and reported back that it wasn't for me.

I returned to my EGO state and DENIAL for a while longer until I was broken and full of despair. I finally had the gift of desperation which gave me enough willingness to attend a different group with an open mind. I did not understand how focusing on me was going to make things better but it was painfully honest what I was doing was not working at all.

It took me a while to align my recovery with my recovery. The easiest way for me to understand how I could be working the 12 Steps in AA and be this insane over another was AA was about my relationship with the substance first and foremost and all else was secondary. Al-Anon gave me the gift of examining my relationship with self, forcing me to deep-dive into me, my thoughts, fears, insanity, insecurities, patterns, defenses and much, much more.

My thinking was so distorted about so many things - I too wore a 'victim' hat loud and proud!! It's been an incredible journey to find my truth, my power, my faith and myself again by being willing to work on me and keep my focus on me. So - I agree....when we arrive we have it backwards. If we resist and allow EGO to try and drive the bus, we will hold on to the bitterness, disdain, anger and look outward for fault/solutions. If we embrace the program as best we can, and allow our growth to unfold through the suggestions, we clearly see a new way to live/be/do/act.

Love light-bulb moments - I am grateful that I'd been around a while and felt the love of the program before I began to 'see' my part. I knew already by then that God loved me as I am and knows all that I've been/done and accepts me in my imperfect state. If he can love and accept me as I am, who am I to not try and do the same for those around me who suffer with this disease?

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



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I almost didn't post here. Because I was afraid I would be told that I am in denial, or that I am not working my program hard enough. But I paused, took a breath, and decided that my opinions are just that... mine. No one else needs to agree with me... and they are important.

I don't agree with this point of view FOR ME.

Yes, I am seeing more serenity by working the program by keeping the focus on me. By examining my motives. By letting go and allowing my loved ones handle their own stuff. All of that is good. But I am NOT addicted to this chaos! I do not feel some sort of pride for being the only adult that can manage working, raising a teen, tutoring, keeping house, etc. I have FOR YEARS wanted an equal partner in all that I do. I envy other people's relationships who truly enjoy a 50/50 relationship. I hate the drama, I hate the feeling of anticipating the crisis, and I long for the calm.

I don't feel like I am addicted to my AH. The reality is that if my husband didn't have a problem with addiction, I wouldn't be in this position. I would never be visiting these boards. If I could support myself and my son, I would leave without looking back. Believe me, the fear of being homeless and/or unable to provide when you have a child is the greatest fear... it is real.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Oh dear think I feel your resentment posies. Maybe you've taken my post personal? Not sure. Clea

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~*Service Worker*~

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Thanks for all the comments. They have given me something to think about.x



-- Edited by el-cee on Saturday 20th of May 2017 03:16:58 AM

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~*Service Worker*~

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PnP - I hear you loud and clear. There should never be judgment when we share where we are - none at all from me. I can actually relate to what you share and was there once upon a time - and I seriously did not want to be here. I also recall the sadness I felt when I realized that my marriage was far from optimal or even remotely successful. I do get it and where you are is your truth and is what it is...

I actually stewed with that phase for a long, long while before I came to Al-Anon and a bit after. I believe for me change in my attitude came when I could not deny that small steps I tried as suggested brought me some results (as you share). It is in the working of the steps that the self-inventory revealed to me many things that held me back - in my own success, in my relationships and in my daily journey.

Living with this disease is brutal. Be gentle with you and allow your journey to be yours. Know that we all are imperfect humans living in an imperfect world and each have our own truth. (((Hugs)))

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 

2HP


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PosiesandPuppies, I love that you spoke your opinion too and hope you hold your opinion in equal esteem as everyone elses because we are a fellowship of equals. that is awesome recovery right there, Applause! Applause!!

I have a friend who sometimes says, "Opinions are a lot like (noses,) everyones got one. "

So have no fear, you are right on track with your recovery. Do not worry yourself by anyones personal share because I find it terribly self-sabotaging when I compare my insides to anothers outsides.

I can vividly recall my own experience that I will share... everyone, please take what you like and leave the rest.

I began my recovery here on the internet. Gratefully, they kept encouraging me to get to real F2F meetings. And eventually I did. when I was ready.

I found a sponsor and she quickly told me to get off the internet. She said I was getting mixed messages from strangers who didnt really know me and harming me.   As a double winner, she also believed the internet was addictive and not a healthy way to feel good about myself. She wanted me to "seek" elsewhere.

I followed her suggestion and substituted the internet with 3-4 meetings per week. Even in inclement weather, I'd get myself to a meeting so I could experience and witness the true effects of our program with my own two eyes... this is how I was "inspired" ...by seeing it for real. This was also how I expressed my decision in step 3. Firmly. I am delighted to share that I went on to make the best friends a girl could ever want in my face to face meetings. There, I could actually see and hear and feel the emotions behind all the words being shared at a meeting, where technology often fails.

A few years later, after a major move and transitioning, I had another double-winner sponsor who said internet is about feeding ego. She always told me, "isn't it great that you can get away with saying to someone what you might NEVER ordinarily say to them face to face?!! And isn't it great you can write whatever you want people to BELIEVE about you whether it is true or not, you still get to log off with the feeling of being right? Ego loves that,"  she would say. She believed the internet is a very subtle way of building ego rather than building spirit consciousness and Presence in the present moment because of the constant story-making, the constant re-living and re-feeling... more and more "thought" which is troublesome for someone like me who has a thinking problem.

Al-anon service manual suggests using internet ONLY as a supplement to F2F meetings and i love how MIP does well in pointing this out. and still, it is only a suggestion, one we can use or not, we each get to decide.

If you care to read any further (((big hugs))) it seems to me that el-cee's post has made you uncomfortable...?

Today, thanks to recovery, we have choices and the choice you have today... whenever you feel uncomfortable... by whatever means... you just notice it... you notice your feelings... you notice any fireworks going off in your head... just be present with yourself, observing your reactions. You can tell yourself, This is uncomfortable or I don't like this or Life is now feeling unmanageable... my stomach is in knots... my chest feels heavy... I'm getting a headache... All of this is about getting honest with yourself.

Then proceed to give yourself what you need to feel peaceful again, whatever that looks like. Be for yourself (but not against others. we don't have the right to pin our needs on others) Develop the ability to respond on your own behalf (responsibility,) and move in the direction of nurturing self-care.

If you are doing that, you are indeed working recovery and doing awesome!!! you don't need to worry yourself about any of the themes in this thread such as denial or ego or anything you don't yet understand or makes you uncomfortable. these ideas come much later. you are not there yet, my friend, today is not the day.

A sponsor who knew me and loved me was my god-send... an answer to my prayers...   because I simply could not make heads or tails of this program on my own. Perhaps when you are ready, you will try it.  Just for today, EASY DOES IT ((hugs))



-- Edited by 2HP on Saturday 20th of May 2017 12:40:50 PM

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Senior Member

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Not everyone will agree with what you posted. But I do, I think thats the backbone of the program, get yourself together, straighten out your own life your own thoughts, your own financial situation.

Although no one ever said its easy and its not. Amen 

My hero is Helen Keller, the things she accomplished even with having such disabilities is amazing. 

 



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~*Service Worker*~

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It is a touchy subject dependant on where we are. I just keep pushing probably ego driven to some extent but also to dive deeper for myself. I always get what I need to hear and if it's uncomfortable it's usually close to the truth in my experience. Just like you say 2hp. It's easy to say it from behind a screen and give yourself a pat on the back maybe. At a f2f meeting the sentiment is easier to see. I just think of how long I spent in denial and it could have gone on forever. That's a scary thought for me. I think all our posts come from where we are with our own disease and we all have the right to speak our truth from where we are on our journeys. I think your sponsors were very wise because the Internet can definitely trigger my addictive personality as can food exercise work. Anything really and the ego wants fed a lot .

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el-cee,
This is an interesting post and I can understand part of what you are saying because I believe that some of us have or have had codependent relationships. That the program does teach us how to change ourselves to cope with a relationship in our lives with an alcoholic/addict. After all It is a program based on the 12 steps that were intended to help alcoholics stop drinking. However, I think the program is so much more than that and that everyone can apply it to their own set of circumstances. We have to learn to not put people in categories, that everyone has their own story and reason for being a part of Alanon.



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Sharon 



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Oh, I am sorry el-cee if my post created some friction. I did not mean it as an attack. That is why I pointed out that I was speaking only for me. But in reading my post and everyone's shares on this subject, I thought deeper on this. And I believe it is true that a button was pushed for me. Why? Because I have been going to F2F meetings, I have been reading the literature and I have read Co-dependents No More cover to cover(several times). I see some progress with me, but I don't always see myself in common online descriptions of partners of alcoholics. Yes, I see me in some things - and those are the things that I am concentrating on changing - but not in a lot of what is described here.

I do love what shrnp said, '...everyone has their own story and reason for being part of Al-Anon.'

I especially gained some insight with 2HP's share. And in examining that this topic did make me uncomfortable, I realized that the post made me think that I was at fault for my present situation. That is what pushed my button! After two months of seriously working on the three C's - something that was the beginning of serenity for me - and then I am reading a post by someone I value the opinion of, and they are telling me that all of this may be my ego, or my own addiction to my AH... that created some strong feelings for me...b/c that is the farthest from my truth...but I forgot that one of the major things about Al-Anon is that you "take what you want/need, and leave the rest."

Your truth, may not be my truth. But everyone's ESH is important to someone out in cyberspace looking for help.

So, more work on me!

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~*Service Worker*~

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Thanks for the feedback, shrnp, not sure where anyone has put people into 'categories' at all but if that is your interpretation then your entitled to take what you like.

Hey Posies, you created some great friction. Change mostly only happened for me in the 'friction.' I really liked the way you spoke your truth, it was written with dignity and humility and I learned a lot from it.

Thank you.


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