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A Giver and A Lover
- A Giver and A Lover
- "... I began to feel I owed the world a debt I could never repay."
- I came into Al-Anon completely dependent on outside contributions. Alcoholism had crippled me to the point where I wasn't responsible for myself and my life. I was a nineteen-year-old single parent on welfare - receiving financial aid for school. I was burning out my family members by having them constantly baby-sit my child and give me rides everywhere. I was rapidly using up everyone around me, especially those who loved me.
- Because I felt the world owed me, I filled myself with resentments and justifications. Alcoholism had stolen huge pieces of my life and I hated the pieces that remained. I tried to get even with the alcoholics by taking as much as I could. I sold my soul, gave up my independence and compromised my self-worth because I depended too much on others. Eventually, I began to feel I owed the world a debt I could never repay. I felt like I would never be worth anything. As a result, I found myself in a constant state of submission.
- As I kept coming back to Al-Anon, however, the Seventh Tradition sparked a hopeful challenge in me. I read it over and over. I practiced it in my meetings by contributing what I could when they passed the basket. I also practiced it by making commitments to do various things for my group. Eventually, I tried applying Tradition Seven at home with my housework. I talked with my sponsor about it. Slowly, I began to grasp the hope and faith that I could become financially self-supporting too.
- I learned and grew by working the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon. My fear began to dissipate as I took action to become self-supporting. I began to realize my need for outside contributions was lessening. I risked practicing the principles in all my affairs and it worked. I found out I have all I need to be exactly who God wants me to be. I heard in meetings that if I supply the willingness, God will grant me the strength. Finally, I could start to see my way toward independence.
- Today the only real ties or debts I have are to this program. I still owe some money, but I have made arrangements to pay it back. I am bound by guilt to no one and to no agency. It's been a long time since I've sat in a social worker's office and felt ashamed to be poor. God doesn't make junk. I am useful today--a good Al-Anon member, mother, wife, daughter, sister and employee. I feel good about my life because I know I am doing my part. The Seventh Tradition has taught me to be a giver instead of a taker. I ask my Higher Power to show me where I can contribute to life each day. All of my needs are met. I am doing my part and I feel calm when that is my focus.
- I have many alcoholics in my life. Sober or not, they don't have to worry about me evening up the score. I leave the score-keeping to God. Just as I cannot live anyone's life for them, no one can live mine for me. The difference is now I don't want them to live my life for me. I want more of the good feelings that come from taking care of myself. Sometimes my sponsor and other Al-Anon friends remind me that I have made a commitment to Tradition Seven. That commitment calls for faith, instead of looking frantically for other people to give me my answers.
- My real answers have all come from my Higher Power whom I found through Al-Anon. To think when I first heard that the Twelve Traditions could apply to my personal and family life, I didn't get it. Tradition Seven hit me where I lived. The fear, shame and guilt that I constantly struggled with have been replaced with courage, acceptance and a freedom that enables me to live rather that just to survive. I am so grateful to Al-Anon for showing me how to grow up. I am experiencing what it feels like to be a lady with dignity. I love the Steps and the Traditions. I love everything about Al-Anon because today I LOVE MY LIFE!
- Sarah R. - California
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.
- These articles were reproduced with permission from 'The Forum', the monthly inspirational newsletter of Al-Anon. Al-Anon World Headquarters, Inc. is located in Virginia Beach, VA. See www.Al-Anon.org for more information.