I’m grateful to be going through the Al Anon steps with a sponsor. I’ve gone to Al Anon on and off for a couple of years, and usually get something meaningful from the meetings. I’ve learned a lot from the wisdom of the group and from the Al Anon book, Courage to Change. But working with a sponsor is different. WOW. We are digging into truth that is brutal. We’re looking at my peace, or lack of it. Looking at my obsessive thinking, my selfishness, my fear, my desire to control.
I think everyone should go through a 12 step recovery program like Al Anon or Celebrate Recovery or Codependents Anonymous. We are all quite broken; but most of us are not awake enough to notice.
Here are a few ideas my sponsor has shared that seem true to me:
- An expectation is a premeditated resentment.
- Sanity=doing things differently, not doing the same thing over and over.
- Control is a delusion – we do not have control.
- When I fear, I am not trusting God. We all fear.
- Worrying is just punishing myself in the present about something that may not even happen in the future.
- We are all selfish, fearful and emotionally dishonest.
- When we find ourselves in that “panicked place” or obsessive thinking, we need to pause. Call someone in the program.
- “Pausing” can sound like “I’m going to think about this and get back to you” or “I need a break” or “I can’t deal with this right now”
- If you can’t ‘detach wth love’, just detach any way you can
- Signs of recovery include peace and clarity
The first few steps in the recovery program are really a big decision. Are you really willing to turn your life and your will over to God? Most of us who have grown up in the church believe we did that years ago. But few of us really live that out. Even though I went to church and prayed and read my Bible, I was, for the most part, a practicing agnostic. I lived my life each day depending on myself, not on God. But in the program, you have the opportunity to admit that your life is unmanageable, and decide if you are willing to really turn things over to God. I can see how people get stuck at this step for a while. We all desperately want control of our lives. I did. But turning your life and will over to the care of God is an exciting step, and one that starts a new way of living. It brings great freedom.
Here are a few of my favorite thoughts or slogans from the program:
- “One day at a Time”:The slogan “One Day at a Time” provides a practical approach to challenges and fears. We focus our energies on dealing productively with today, and we give up worrying about a future we cannot predict or control and about a past we cannot change. It helps us break tasks into manageable steps.
- “How Important Is It?” The slogan “How important Is It?” helps us to have perspective, to determine what is of most value to us personally, and to avoid being upset over things that are of minimal importance at the moment. It helps free us to appreciate the good things that life offers.
- “Live and Let Live”: The slogan, “Live and Let Live” has two parts. “Let Live” reminds us to allow others the dignity of making their own decisions and experiencing the consequences of their decisions and choices. By minding our own business, we are freed from feeling responsible for changing others. We also learn to “live” by taking care of our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
- “Let Go and Let God” The slogan “Let Go and Let God” helps us to let go of trying to control things we can not control. When our attempts at control are not working, when we feel we have run out of options, when we don’t know what we can do, this slogan helps us trust that God will help us when the time is right.
If you are on the journey of separating or divorcing from an abusive person or narcissist, I encourage you to go to an Al Anon meeting. Just try it out. I believe you will find support and wisdom to help you detach from the crazy-making that an abusive spouse intentionally create. You will learn to focus on yourself and what YOU can change. You will learn some slogans that help you get through the day. You will learn ways to restore your sanity and trust in God.
Love and blessings,