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STILL think I have more control than I actually do!

Old 09-30-2011, 08:04 AM
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dbh
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STILL think I have more control than I actually do!

I'm an adult children of an alcoholic (ACA) and have been working on my recovery for almost four years. My parents divorced over thirty years ago, my alcoholic father passed away last year, and I rarely see the other members of my family of origin. I've been happily married for 13 years to another ACA and while our life isn't perfect, it is good.

I often wonder why I still hang out here. Why do I need a site like SoberRecovery? A good friend of mine once told me that in any 12-step program you should make sure that you stick around until the miracle happens. I guess that's why I'm still here ... still waiting for the miracle.

This week I got a glimpse of the miracle. On another post, someone was expressing how sad it is that we can't "save" the alcoholics in our lives. I was able to truly related to that feeling. I wanted to save my father until the day he died. I also have a brother who is struggling and I am occasionally up at night wondering what I can do to help him get his life on track.

There were two other responses on the thread that made me think. To paraphrase ...

1) Accepting our inability to save is the work of Steps 1-3.
2) Trying to save someone actually takes away their dignity.

Wow!

I did a little step work yesterday and I came to the conclusion that I haven't completely given up the idea that I'm in control. I've been able to detach, but in a twisted way I think that me detaching will cause the people that I love to change. A part of me STILL thinks that what I do/don't do matters way too much.

In the case of #2. I really need to think about this more often. I grew up in a family where we were always "saving" each other or at least telling each other how to think/feel/act. I'm almost 50 and my mother will still occationally tell me what I "should" do and it drives me crazy.

"Saving" isn't good. "Saving" doesn't help. My attempts to "save" are part of the problem! How in the world is anyone going to be able to pull themselves out of the grasp of addiction/dysfunction when they are surrounded by people telling them what they should be doing!?!

My codependency formed when I was young. When you live in a chaotic home, you NEED to believe that you have some control. As a child, realizing that I had no control would have just been too scary. Becoming codependent probably kept me relatively sane.

My home is no longer chaotic and I need to accept how powerless I actually am.

While this might initially make me feel sad, frustrated, and scared. Hopefully over time, this acceptance will bring me peace and serenity.

Thank you for letting me share.

db
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dbh View Post
There were two other responses on the thread that made me think. To paraphrase ...

1) Accepting our inability to save is the work of Steps 1-3.
2) Trying to save someone actually takes away their dignity.Wow.

db

this is huge....thank you!
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:33 AM
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dbh, thank you for your post.

My home is no longer chaotic and I need to accept how powerless I actually am.

While this might initially make me feel sad, frustrated, and scared. Hopefully over time, this acceptance will bring me peace and serenity.
My experience is somewhat different. Once I gave up the illusion of control I realized that I didn't give up anything really. I never had control, all I gave up was an illusion. I was then free to work on what I really had control over, my choices on how I react to what is going on around me and my attitudes. This was real power because it was something I really could control.

Also when I gave up the illusion of control I found that I gave up all that responsibility that I assumed that wasn't really mine to begin with. It was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

As for coming back here I expect that I will for a long long time even though I am in a really good place right now. It just feels right.

Your friend,
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
Also when I gave up the illusion of control I found that I gave up all that responsibility that I assumed that wasn't really mine to begin with. It was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
A year or so ago I was distraught over my brother and his situation. When I talked about it with my therapist, she told me that raising him and making sure his life was good was never my job to begin with. When I heard "It wasn't your job", I too felt a weight being lifted off my shoulder.

It comes back though. Recovery truly requires perseverance.

Control is an illusion, control is an illusion, control is an illusion, ...

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Old 09-30-2011, 11:08 AM
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Hope everyone can stand another post from me today. I'm having a reflective day.

Below is a favorite reading of mine that has to do with control. I remembered reading it years ago and was able to find it with some Internet searching.

It's from Days of Healing, Days of Joy: Daily Meditations for Adult Children by Earnie Larsen, Carol L. Hegarty

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr
Some things I cannot change: my age, who my relatives are, my eye color, my height, my childhood experiences, my inborn talents, my nature, someone else’s abuse of alcohol or other drugs, whether the sun will shine, my job history, what I will inherit, how my parents feel, yesterday’s lost opportunities, how long I will live, who forgives me, how my parents treated me, how much I am loved, the past.

Some things I can change: the youthfulness of my spirit, who my friends are, my hair color, my weight, my adult experiences, my achievements, my character, my reaction to someone else’s use of alcohol or other drug, whether my eyes will shine, my job possibilities, what I will bequeath, how I feel, my ability to act on today’s opportunities, how well I will live, whom I forgive, how I treat my own children, how much I love, the future.

I thank God for my growing ability to choose.
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