January 15, 2011

Powerlessness: The River is Deep and Wide But I Can Swim

Last year at this time, I read January 14th's reading, editing out the reference to alcohol and applying it to my personal recovery and attempts to accept my dry drunk.

Today, I was early to my Al-anon group, so was able to say, "yes" to leading the meeting.  I had hoped to discuss this reading with a friend who is a full-fledged Al-anon, but with our unusual snow, she's had no child-free breaks for reflection.  I began the meeting with my story, sharing that I was not raised with alcoholism, but that my grandfather's life in Stalinist Russia drove him to drink. The ripple effect of his alcoholism has affected me. I finished my share saying how much respect I had for people in our group who could witness their family member getting well. I will likely never witness this. All I am able to do is acknowledge when I am irritated in talking to my dry drunk over long-distance phone line. Whether I feel angry or guilty, it has little to do with my dry drunk.   "Instead these [negative emotions] indicate that I need to work my program."

I need today to leave the reading from CTC exactly as it is.   The topic struck a deep chord with many at our meeting.  Thanks for stopping by to see if this resonates with you:

"I learned in Al-anon that I am bound to fail to make someone else stop drinking because I am powerless over alcoholism. Others in the fellowship had failed as well, yet they seemed almost happy to admit it. In time I understood: By letting go of this battle we were sue to lose, we became free.

Gradually, I learned that nothing I did or did not do would convince my loved one to get sober. I understood this intellectually, but it took time before I believed it in my heart. Frequent Al-anon meetings, phone calls, and reading Al-anon literature were indispensable to this learning process.

Later, when my loved one chose sobriety, I found new ways to apply this principle of powerlessness.  Although I was tempted to check up on the number of meetings  attended and to protect the alcoholic from anything upsetting, I had accepted that nothing I could or could not do would make or break another person's sobriety. After a while, I saw that my fears had little to do with the alcoholic. Instead they indicated that I needed to work my program.

Today's Reminder

When I am able to admit that I am powerless over alcohol, my life becomes more manageable. Today I will take the path to personal freedom and serenity that begins when I surrender."

"Our spiritual growth is unlimited and our reward endless if we try to bring this program into every phase of our daily lives." The Twelve Steps and Traditions

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