Step One: My Answers.

Old 08-31-2011, 03:00 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
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Step One: My Answers.

I have decided to work each step. I am posting my answers as I feel it may help me to get out some feelings I have been having. Thank you for reading and if you feel like it, sharing too. Thank you so much for being a safe place for me. This is going to get long, I'm afraid.

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

I am still learning this; that I must let my dad (my qualifier) live his own life however he wants, even though I think it is likely to kill him. I cannot save him from himself. It's not my responsibility to nag him, remind him, or take on his problems as my own.

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?

Though I feel that he lives a destructive lifestyle, it's his choice to live that way. I cannot change the choices he makes or the way he lives. It wears me out to worry about his problems. It's not healthy for me. I'm tired of people asking me why he does this or that. I cannot crawl into his head to figure it out. It's not my place to tell him how to live or my responsibility to explain it to others. I must worry only about my own life choices.

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

Yes! It means I'm not equipped to fix it. I'm not qualified!

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

I've tried to rescue people from feeling "bad" by overextending myself and saying yes when I really wanted to say no. I've felt that I've sacrificed my own feelings, been used, and then I become resentful towards the person asking for help.

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

Whining, complaining, guilt. (Wow, how embarrassing!) Perhaps I should just be honest and forthright from the beginning about what I can and cannot handle.

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

Angry, resentful, frustrated, hurt. I respond by yelling, complaining, crying, and complaining about him behind his back to other family members.

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

I hope life would become easier. I hope I would get some peace of mind.

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

Remind myself that their problems aren't mine. Try not to let guilt rule over common sense. Recognize manipulation for what it is. Take a moment to decide "Is this healthy for me?" Stop worrying how others will react to saying no and taking care of myself.

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

I'm beyond thinking there's a quick fix. In fact, right now I feel there's no end in sight, ever. I've been dealing with the pain of having a drug addict dad since I was seven years old. I feel defeated, cynical, and worn out. Sometimes I wish I hadn't been born, because it feels like I was born to suffer this burden. That sounds totally pathetic and self-pitying, but I do feel this way on my worst days.

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

I feel responsibility for others when I think I can make them less sad, depressed, or overwhelmed.

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

When others ask about my father and his homelessness, addictions, or behavior. When others call him names or are disgusted by his actions, I somehow feel it reflects on me. As a child, I took on the role of making excuses for him and defending him, and this has been the hardest part of letting go for me.

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

My inability to stop enabling, worrying, and overextending myself at the expense of my own well-being brought me to Al-Anon.

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

My step-sister has expressed concern over me trying to "help" my dad. She has expressed that she wouldn't invite such chaos into her life, because she feels it would take over her life. She's right! My psychological health has suffered, yes.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

I know my life is unmanageable when I can't sleep, I'm losing weight, I cry at the drop of a hat, am extremely irritable, angry, and can't even answer the telephone because I think someone will want something from me. When I can't find joy in life at all, when I can't be thankful for small things, when I sense impending doom around every corner. When I don't want to see friends, isolate myself, and don't care for my own needs.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

Yes, all my life I have sought affirmation. I've needed to be thought of as the good person and good friend.

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

Yes, but I am working on this a lot. It's a slow process, but I just have to remind myself that I am not responsible for others' feelings when I say no. I must care for myself and self-preserve.

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

Oh yeah! When I allow others to guilt-trip me especially.

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 do not remember a time when life went smoothly, ever, for me. A smooth life sounds like bliss! You bet I anticipate problems. I do not feel more alive in a crisis, I tend to break down now, unless it's something I crave sub-consciously and am not aware of.

How well do I take care of myself?

Not well at all. I'm not sure I know how to. that's why I'm working these steps ; )

How do I feel when I am alone?

I do not mind being alone when I can. It gives me time to unwind. I like the peace and quiet sometimes. I love to read, listen to music, and do as I please. Perhaps I crave too much alone time?

What is the difference between pity and love?

Love is shared, pity is felt by one.

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

No, not anymore! I stay clear now of other people (besides my dad) with addiction problems. However, I am still addicted to trying to "help" and "fix" my dad and continue our dysfunctional relationship for some reason. I've tried pleading with him, yelling at him, begging him, finding him doctors, sober living, taking care of his dog, inviting him into my home, and doing other various forms of enabling over and over again.

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

Not really. Besides the feelings of anger and frustration, I really have no clue.

Thank you for allowing me to share.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:45 PM
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Do you have a sponsor? I believe you need someone who's been through the steps to help you!!
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:09 PM
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So I've been wanting to check out alanon because my fiance is an alcoholic and I feel like I really could use the support. Also, I definatly need to change the way I respond to him. I am an alcoholic too but I've been sober for almost 2 years. Anyway, because my parents aren't alcoholics I thought I wouldn't fit in. That maybe the "ism" has to be instilled at a young age. Well...I just read your post and could relate SO MUCH! Just as much as I related to the alcoholics in AA. Thank you so much for posting!! Good luck to you and your papa.
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Old 11-25-2011, 04:07 PM
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What a great posting,

I needed to read that today,

Thank you
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:43 PM
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Hi guys thanks for the responses : ) Sorry it took me so long to get back to my post and to step one. I do not have a sponsor yet, but I have now (since I posted this) attended two al-anon meetings. They are share meetings, though, so perhaps I should also attend a step al-anon meeting? I'm still getting used to the al-anon format. Thanks again.
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