From Each Day A New
Beginning, Karen Casey, October 1:
“’Women are often caught between
conforming to existing standards or role definitions and exploring the promise
of new alternatives.’ ~Stanlee Phelps and Nancy Austin
…Recovery means change in habits,
change in behavior, change in attitudes. And change is seldom easy. But change
we must, if we want to recover successfully.”
This applies to both addicts and to
those who love them, for we all need recovery.
At first, many years ago, I had no
idea that loving an addict had the potential to make me sick: denial, guilt,
obsession, depression and anxiety; it would be hard for a parent to not
experience one of those things.
But over time, I realized that I
was doing things I never would have done under normal circumstances. These were
not normal circumstances, and I let myself justify a number of things, the most
damaging being not making Angie accountable for her actions. I enabled and
overprotected, which stood in the way of her growing, changing, and recovering.
Fortunately for me, I have adopted
many new attitudes from sitting in the rooms and enjoying the support of many
other parents. My knee-jerk habit of rescuing has stopped, and my behavior has
changed toward everyone in my life. I believe that it has a lot to do with my
inventory work in Al-Anon, but others find the ability to change through other
means. It doesn’t matter where we gain our strength. The important thing is to
make the necessary changes that will enable us to live well and be
happy—because we all deserve to have a good life.
“Today’s reminder: At the start of each day I can make
the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. This way I
begin my day with a strong assertion that I choose to accept the reality of my
life. I am growing in a healthy direction, growing ever more able to live a
good life and to love those I meet along the way.
‘Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being
My will(fullness) has gotten me into trouble often. I’ve
exercised bad judgment and made questionable decisions, especially around my
daughter Angie. I wanted to help her beat her addiction—as if I had any power
When I was finally, after much trial and error, able to
accept my powerlessness, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Nothing changed
in our situation except the way I began reacting (or not) to it.
Taking my attention away from Angie and the struggle that
is hers alone, what was I going to do with all my energy?
Focus on myself and all the blessings God has given me.
When I turn my burdens over to Him, I am free.
cannot be discovered by a journey of miles…only by a spiritual journey…by which
we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.” ~Wendell Berry
Without the gift of spirit in my life, I would be drifting on an island in the middle of the ocean. Spirit can be anything we want it to be: some people say God, or Higher Power; others focus on a statue or a tree in the garden. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that it’s not US. “My best thinking got me here.” (into the rooms of recovery)
another acronym: EGO=Easing God Out.
floating island in the middle of the ocean can be a dangerous vessel without a
steering wheel. Maybe not dangerous; just completely self-reliant and without
was something I learned as a child because I had to. The adults in my life were often distracted with their own
problems, so I learned to do things by myself. This was a vital survival
strategy when I was a child. But as an adult, it became a huge defect.
adult, I’ve too often carried that survival tool into situations in my life
that required outside guidance. Too proud sometimes, or afraid, to ask for help
or advice, I steered my ship into some dangerous waters. Like everyone else,
I’ve made mistakes, and some of them were preventable if I’d had the humility
to ask for help.
like everyone else, I’m just a child of (God, a tree, the stars), and I’m
growing every day, learning (hopefully) from my mistakes and trying to do
better. Humility is a great leveler, and it has brought me closer to the one
thing I’ve missed all my life: being part of a community of equals. When I’m in
touch with the spirit within me, I’m no longer alone or isolated. I’m at one
within my fellowship—and it feels good to be alive.
From Hope for Today,
Al-Anon approved literature, January 5:
“During each Al-Anon meeting…I hear ‘In Al-Anon we discover
that no situation is really hopeless.’ At first I had a hard time comprehending
that idea in my mind and heart. I felt anchored in a place so dark and full of
despair…Even if Al-Anon folks could stop my mother from drinking, they
certainly couldn’t go back in time and give me a happy childhood. I felt
doomed. Yet as I looked around me at meetings, I saw many smiling faces. Maybe
there was hope after all.”
When I first went into recovery, I always challenged the
word “hope.” I said to everyone at the meetings, “Hope for whom?” For my daughter—or for me? In time, though
with tremendous difficulty, I accepted that I had no power over Angie’s choices
and I learned to let go. Then I put the focus back on Marilea and started to
feel an unfamiliar brand of hope: for myself.
As it says in the reading, “Situations don’t lose hope;
people do. What is lost can be found, restored, replaced, or recovered. Even
though the members of Al-Anon didn’t change my mother or my childhood, they did
help me change my attitude.”
I realized with stunning clarity that my “poor-me” attitude
was getting me nowhere, and I’d better make an effort to be more positive if I
wanted to be happy. I’m not unique; I’m no different from millions of other
parents out there who have lost children. We are an army of men and women who
are facing one of our society’s cruelest challenges.
But if we can let go of our addict, we find that what’s left in our lives looms larger. My other children are more precious to me now precisely because of the sister they have lost. I would prefer to have all three of my babies healthy and happy, but we don’t always get what we want. Accepting that with all the grace I can, I’m able to move forward in my life and enjoy the years left to me.