August 27, 2010

One, Two, Three, One, Two, Three...

As it admits in the August 27 reading of Courage to Change, Al-anon newcomers might be put off to hear the twelve steps and not " a 'do's and don't's' list for changing the Alcoholic." When I went to my first Emotions Anonymous I too was unsure that Twelve simple Steps would really insure a recovery from mental/emotional illness. Desperation made me decide to work a few of them right away.

I had no problem admitting powerlessness. The second step, a belief in God, and a restoration to sanity, was trickier. My God had failed me by giving me a grave illness AND a dysfunctional family of origin. It was pretty clear to all the doctors that my family of origin probably was not going to be part of my healing. So, I tried step two with a tentative belief in the group as my Higher Power.

Step Three, Letting Go and Letting God would be something I would do in stages; I was not willing to turn my problems over or lay them on the group! I believed too closely in the old adage, "God helps those that help themselves." Only much later would I learn this was not the way spiritual healing actually worked.

It was when my husband had cancer surgery, and my son was an infant, that I finally leaned fully on the Higher Power. In the territory of our crisis, I could no longer count on work to earn God's grace. On my knees I learned my true power was in praying, "Not my will but your will."

The first three Steps worked me on a much larger time frame work than I'd anticipated. Progress takes time, and God shows us perfection in His time.

As I wrote yesterday, I am grateful for Al-anon because I have learned a new set of skills for living a more serene life. The coping skills I had when I worked my first Step Three, have been replaced by new tools that I have mastered, with God's grace, and patience.

Al-anon's chosen quote for today suits just fine:

"As long as you live, keep learning how to live." Seneca

1 comment:

  1. I think that it took a while before I could understand that I was powerless, that I could believe in a power greater than me, and that I could indeed let go. But once those things are in my mind, life is much sweeter.


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