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A Good Life
- A Good Life
- Even the 86 year-old neighbor across the street had seen I was in deep trouble and that I didn't have a clue what the problem was. A secretary at work shared that I looked and acted like a snuffed-out candle. It was my third alcoholic marriage. I had grown up in an alcoholic home where mother and children had physical disabilities. I continued down a familiar path. As an adult I chose exciting personalities with severe problems so I could fix them, even though I hadn't been able to fix anyone in my family when I was young, either.
- Thinking I was helping, I rescued a husband and his two children from poverty and from the wife and mother who didn't want them. I stepped right into the caretaker role as sole breadwinner to provide nice housing, clothing, food and even allowances. As the downward spiral continued, I found myself assuming more and more of this man's responsibilities, trying to help out.
- In addition to teaching, running the house and taking care of the children, I made sure the house sparkled. I put a home-made dinner on the table at 6 p.m. so we could eat together when he came home. Of course he never arrived on time. Not until I came into recovery did we sit down as a family of three and eat at 6 p.m. I constantly tried to make things better, never seeing that I was only making things worse.
- When I finally entered the program, Step One was the best thing that could have happened to me. Step Two came as a welcome relief--Someone else was in charge! Step Three--Someone above me is more capable and more responsible!
- I never thought this rigid backbone of mine could ever relax. Here I was, 32 years old and supposedly educated, but I didn't have a clue about what a moral inventory was. Thank the Higher Power and Al-Anon for Blueprint for Progress, the Fourth Step inventory book. I was so sick that I made doctor, dentist and counseling appointments for my step-children, but it never occurred to me that I was also responsible for taking care of myself.
- Steps Five and Six--what wrongs! I was too busy taking care of others. That was my job, and no one could take better care of himself or herself than I could. I never took the time to think about either the good things or the bad things that I did. I never realized or gave myself credit for the children whose lives I'd been able to touch. There were days when my mind was crazed with what-ifs and molehills-turned-into-mountains. I ignored my step-children's pain by shutting them out--yet, I couldn't understand it when they did the same thing.
- I have worked on Steps Seven and Eight too. Seven was easy for me because of my willingness to accept all the help the program has to offer. When I first thought about Step Eight and all the people I had hurt--Yes, I'll admit I hurt some intentionally--I was overwhelmed. When I came across a paragraph in Courage to Change suggesting that I concentrate on one person at a time and not think about the others, a light bulb turned on. It sure made sense to me. I would still like to make amends to my stepchildren--if they ever surface. In my mind I have prepared myself to make amends to my ex-husband. I realize now that the situation took two of us to make it happen. As I learned in the in the pamphlet, Alcoholism, A Merry-Go-Round Named Denial, we fed off one another and our behaviors escalated. Neither of us was entirely to blame.
- I love Step Ten. It's one of my favorites. As I see myself do something wrong, I quickly make amends and then rejoice! That way, I can see I've made another step forward in my journey to recovery.
- I do Step Eleven by choosing a piece of Conference Approved Literature to read--or I lay in my bed meditating about how wonderful my life has become. Either way, I learn something new about myself or about life in general. Every time I re-read GAL, it amazes me how much better a message about life I'm receiving.
- My spirit was dead when I came into the program. Al-Anon showed me how to find my Higher Power. I began to realize I didn't have the weight of the world on my shoulders-Someone else is in charge of the way things happen. These realizations led to an awesome spiritual awakening for me. Eventually, I discovered that although I don't always understand why things happen as they do, they are still happening in my best interest. It's difficult to explain what a relief it is to think bad things are happening--and then to realize they're not!
- Chyrel R. - New York
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.