(Adapted for personal use from Courage to Change in Alanon.)
When I first heard that ours is a program where we focus on ourselves , I was afraid I was being told that I needed to be cold and selfish. I wondered what others would think of me if I acted on those principles. Surely they would think me inconsiderate, thoughtless and uncaring.
I had spent years trying to remain considerate, thoughtful and caring towards my family members. Quite honestly, I was doing so out of an effort not to be like the dysfunctional people in my life. My heart really was not in my endless efforts to do everything in a way as to seem generous and loving. I’d put my focus on other’s responses, rather than what was really the right thing to do. No wonder I was feeling resentful.
I began to recover my personal power, when I let myself see that trying to please everyone else but me, was not working. Nor was this kind of giving unconditional—it had all kinds of strings attached. When I learned to pay more attention to myself and then doing what I thought to be best for everyone, I was free to give without strings attached, and practice true generosity of spirit.
Today I believe firmly that program works when I keep the focus on myself, take time for meetings and put my recovery first. It is only when I am fully myself, that I am truly able to treat others with love and respect.
“Selfish is caring for ourselves at others’ expense… Self-care is taking care of ourselves so we can be there for others.” Bill Crawford