January 11, 2011

My Functional Family, My Healthy Self

I came to Emotions Anonymous because I had problems handling my emotions. Years farther along in my recovery, I found I was suffering because I could no longer deal with a loved one’s dysfunction.  That is when I discovered Al-anon's focus included me. 

I kept coming back after my first meetings because, to quote the author of Today's Courage to Change, I found that 

"[i]n my 12-step fellowships, people can relate to my emotions as I share my problems, but they never try to solve my problems. Instead they allow me the dignity to find my own way to solve them. They do offer experience, strength and hope. When they share what they are working on it amazes me sometimes that I hear just what I need to help me with a troublesome situation."

Al-anon became my second sanctuary.  Over these many years,  friendships in twelve-step fellowships helped gave me access to a me that had long been hidden.    I feel blessed because, this family accepts me as I am-- "neither put down nor glorified. Here, I am no more special than anyone else.  

One member at a time,  I’ve become part of a second "family."  This second family does not use my vulnerabilities and errors against me.  It is there for me in a way that I can always count on. I can speak from my heart and know that my words stay here. "I never need to pretend or hide my feelings. "

I feel safe in my fellowship, where "love is not given because I do something to deserve it.  No, I am not loved for what I do right or denied love because I have made a mistake. It is given freely as a gift.  I don’t have to earn it—I can just relax and be myself."

Today I see that the course of my illness is a sweet and sour experience. There's sourness in the flavor of the pain I have suffered at the hands of my family of origin; but without that pain, I would not have searched for a sweeter way of living.  Because I've woven myself into my 12-step family, I can finally enjoy a place where I belong.

1 comment:

  1. I agree--if I had not had the pain of alcoholism in my life, I would not have learned a better way to live.


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