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Step One, Take 1.

Old 10-02-2011, 04:50 PM
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Step One, Take 1.

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

I struggle with this every chance I get, but I do finally think I accept I cannot control my qualifier's drinking, nor his behavior.

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 definitely can see the difference between how I live, as opposed to my qualifier's. I spent so many years trying to control his drinking and behavior, without taking into account how different he is from me, that this would and could never succeed. Now that I have stopped trying to control his behavior/drinking (through great failed tactics such as martyrdom, cold silence, lectures, combativeness, example, and manipulation) I can see that his process is 100% different from mine, even more so now that I have become "real" about this situation/relationship

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

I definitely accept that alcoholism is a disease. However, I have trouble with this area as I have historically been resentful of my qualifier "choosing" alcohol over family, family time, ME and MY FEELINGS, etc. When I acknowledge that this is indeed a disease, it changes a number of things in our dynamic. For one, I can feel more forgiveness, as I realize that my ego has not suffered a blow... However, it also really makes me look hard at my situation in a new light, as I consider the question: Do I want to continue to live my life with an alcoholic, and continue this relationship. Am I even ABLE to?

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

As I said earlier, my tactics have all failed. REFUSING to enable simply built resentments -which is a feeling that fosters more drinking. COLD SHOULDER/RESENTFUL actions foster low self esteem and further resentments, also puts me into a role of a martyr- all of which, have hurt my qualifier's self confidence and self esteem. I recognize the consequences of this has been advancement of my qualifier's disease, as well as advancement of my OWN disease, as a Codie and as a family member of an alcoholic. My indirect attempts at control have harmed all of us, years past what was required.

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

Assumptions, expectations, martyrdom, evasiveness, secrets. What might have worked better to get my needs met would be to have followed through on so many of the ultimatums made over the years. Holding myself accountable to my own standards would've put me into a better position to not have continued those worthless REactions.

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

I feel resentful, sad, and angry. I respond usually with those feelings or by wrapping the safe blanket of denial around myself and disappearing into my fantasy-reality in my head. The "what-ifs" and the "when I...." and the "someday"s...

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

Then I would have to keep true to my boundaries. I'd have to expect action from myself backing up my words.

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

I can pray to my HP for help in acceptance and patience.

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

I have in the past. Which has wallowed me in further to my situation and into my illness. There is no quick fix. There is only steadfast study and huge doses of self-accountability.

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

When I am faced with my qualifier's depression, sadness, or self-disappointment. I want to help him or prevent him from feeling badly.

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

Public displays of alcoholism. The slurred speech, the unstable gait, the disrespectful treatment of me and talking down to me.

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

I have met the point at which I could blame no one else for my problems in life, I have met the end of my limits with my qualifier. I hope to gain insight and hope for my future. My expectations have changed in that I see how the disrepair of our relationship has helped to feed my qualifier's illness, and I don't want to feed it any more. I didn't expect to begin to think of my own better mental and physical health was not the only benefit, but that my qualifier would benefit also, by default.

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

Everyone I know that loves and cares for me and respects me. My daughter's school has expressed concerned about her environment over the past 2 years. It's effected every aspect of my life.

How do I know when my life is unmanageable?

When I felt helpless to solve anything. When I realized I needed help from somewhere other then my own mind and my loved ones attempts at help.

How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?

Mostly just with my qualifier.

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 do this. My life has become unmanageable because of that. Now that I have made it clear my yes's mean yes, and my no's mean no, I feel that I am engaged less to do so. However, I see and feel the pressure to continue or to eventually switch back to this behavior, and I know that I can't do so. I need to do what feels right within me and with my HP's approval.

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

Yes, absolutely. I feel a little restless when there is no crisis/chaos. I do anticipate problems, sometimes even create "mountains out of molehills". I feel stagnate when things are smooth or problem free.

How well do I take care of myself?

I do not do this area of my life well when I am living with and around my qualifier. I feel frazzled and unfocused, and that often results in not taking care of my basic needs.

How do I feel when I am alone?

Peaceful.

What is the difference between pity and love?

Wow. That's a great question. Pity is something you feel for someone when you care for them, but feel powerless to help them in any way. Love is when you care more about the other person's well being then you care to meet your own needs. I guess I identify love with self-sacrifice, however I know that this fundamentally must be incorrect, as without self-love, one can not truly love another.

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

YES!!! At first, I am everything they need. I sense their wants/needs/desires and I mirror this back to them. I feed off the satisfaction of their happiness about my pure existance, and place in their lives, regardless of the fact that it is not truly MYSELF. Encouragement in the beginning, disapproval/martyrdom later.

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

This is something I am working on. I DO trust my own feelings. Absolutely. And I haven't known what they are for a long time but as I work the program, and study, I am better identifying what they are.

Questions from Paths To Recovery, Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts ©1997


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Old 10-04-2011, 02:13 PM
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Good job, Wishn! What did you learn about yourself?
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:27 AM
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The more I think on Step 1... the more I realize I havent admitted total powerlessness. In my situation, even though Im working on my detachment, Im still in denial that I dont have to do what I have to do. That Im not accepting Im powerless because Im still in the game...
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wishin4change View Post
The more I think on Step 1... the more I realize I havent admitted total powerlessness. In my situation, even though Im working on my detachment, Im still in denial that I dont have to do what I have to do. That Im not accepting Im powerless because Im still in the game...
(First, thank you for such an in-depth & thoughtful working of your first step...those aren't always easy questions.)

What do you mean when you say 'I don't have to do what I have to do'? I'm thinking you mean you are in denial of what you know you need to do but don't want to do it...? I guess I'm asking because I'm not sure being in denial about what you need to do means you can't admit powerlessness. For me, and my understanding at least, powerlessness means I acknowledge that I can't control or change another person. It has nothing to do with what I do with that knowledge. It's the acceptance of this fact that allows me to move forward; that helps me move from a place of trying to change/cure/fix to a place of honesty.....adimitting that I can't. It's the first step for a reason. You have to admit your old way hasn't worked, before you're ready to find your new way.
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:44 PM
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So, I guess what I mean is that I know that I need to move out and physically detach from my AH. At least that's the way I meant it when I wrote through STep 1.

HOWEVER, I recently learned AH has been cheating on me for the majority of the year. Game over. I'm not in denial to any degree any more and I am 100% in the understanding that I am powerless to his disease .
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Old 10-13-2011, 03:13 PM
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Isn't it funny how one thing can make the difference for us and push us over the line. I had something similar in my world that opened my eyes to my reality. I realized I had choices and that he had violated one of my primary boundaries.

So what was I going to do about that?

Because I had grown in my own recovery, I was able to make decisions based on what worked and didn't work for me.... what was OK and not OK. I didn't detach because of what HE was doing, but rather I detached so I could concentrate on what I was doing.

Sometimes it happens in baby steps, and sometimes its ** BOOOM *** something big. The good news is that we move in a healthier direction.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CatsPajamas View Post
Sometimes it happens in baby steps, and sometimes its ** BOOOM *** something big. The good news is that we move in a healthier direction.
Sooo true.

Keep moving forward wishin4change, once you've taken this step, you are more free to take the next. Hugs~
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