Sunday, June 07, 2009

Al Anon and Me

I don't have an alcoholic in my life. I'm not one myself. But I have really found a great deal of meaning in much of the Al Anon literature.

Al Anon is a twelve step fellowship for those who have alcoholics or addicts in their lives (vs. Alcoholics Anonymous which is for Alcoholics). But more, it is a framework or philosophy for living, acting and becoming in spite of the devastating things in your life you can't control (e.g. violently alcoholic parents).

Much of what it leads to is that you may be powerless, but you are not helpless. You may not be able to control some things that seem crucial, but you are not controlled by those things or persons.

From a grief perspective, that is a shared need and meaning. I enjoy the literature. Maybe some day I'll attend a group, though I hesitate.

But the core is finding courage and belief and strength to change and improve the things that can be changed. The antithesis, the rejection of their approach is the philosophy captured in the statements:
  • "Yeah, I offend people, but that is just the way I am;" or,
  • "I just can't change and you shouldn't expect me to;" or,
  • "I know that I'm doing xyz wrong and my life is toxic, but that is just the way I am;" or,
  • "I'm just helpless."
Those statements are not true. You are not your defects and you do not need to let your flaws mold what you are or choke the life out of those around you. Just because there are things in life that render it uncontrollable does not mean that life remains unmanageable or without hope.

There is a higher power and there is always hope.


Ann said...

My time in Alanon was a time of great growth and learning. The Twelve Steps are a wonderful framework for accepting responsibility, gaining humility, and seeking forgiveness.

Do you have one of the old Blue Books? Its daily readings and plans are inspiring and encouraging.

Ariel said...

You write such consistently inspirational posts. Thanks for this one in particular, it was wonderful. :)

Tom and Suzanne said...

Thank you, Stephen, for this post.