Dec 28 2012

Using Step One

Published by at 12:05 pm under Using the Steps

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Welcome to Using Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps in Our Personal Lives. This is a series of podcasts to discuss how Al-Anon members use the basic principles of Al-Anon.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they used Step One to help them overcome the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

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54 comments on “Using Step One”

  1. jeany says:

    I am new and my husband is an alcoholic. I need to find a way to deal with this. We have been married a long time. But I’m ready for help.

  2. Lara says:

    This is my first time seeking guidance with this group. I am in a very new relationship with a man who struggles with alcoholism. I had my first experience of pain and distress when we met early one morning for breakfast and I smelled alcohol on his breath. When I asked him when he had last taken a drink, he immediately confessed that it had been during our call late in the evening the night before.

    I would have simply been disappointed about it and called off any more association, except that I felt as though I had been the reason for him drinking. The evening before, we were talking on the phone and sharing very intimate ideas and emotions. As it turned out, he decided to drink during the call. This made the drinking part of my emotional life, because I had shared so much and he had shared so much. I had begun to care for him. I did not want to just leave the relationship and him–so what should I do?

    I have decided to seek to understand first. And I will take action as I learn what the action should be.

    So this First Step teaches me that I am powerless over alcohol. And this makes me understand that it was not my fault that he chose to drink during that call. And it teaches that my life had become unmanageable–but I do not understand that part.

    My life is not unmanageable when it comes to alcohol abuse, because this relationship is too new. So does this Step predict my future if I choose to stay with him? And if so, should that fact be the deal killer? Why bring chaos into my life with alcoholism when I already have to deal with chaos from several other issues going on in my life?

    Thank you for the opportunity to share. The journey begins.

  3. Samii says:

    I have been in these rooms for years. Like many, there was no active alcoholism in my family of origin. It appears my grandfather stopped drinking for years or even decades. But, my mom was still affected as I was. He died before I was born, but the “ism’s” of alcoholism were there and I picked them up. Some were obsessive worry over money, loved ones, and other problems.

    I lived with a lot of fear and anxiety. I was a people-pleaser. I had a lot of guilt and low self-esteem. In these rooms, I have found a way to cope with life. I learned I am powerless over others. I am not powerless over my own happiness and serenity. I learned I am not a victim, but a volunteer. I learned to set boundaries and to love myself.

    All I can say to those who read this post is that you are not alone. Try this program, join an on-line meeting. Consider going to face-to-face meetings to learn more. You are worth it and no one has to live in the chaos and pain caused by alcoholism (please notice I did not say the alcoholic). It is a family disease and many of us have been traumatized or affected by the disease—not just the drinker.

    There is help and hope!

  4. Don says:

    This was what I was looking for this morning. The alcoholic closest to me hasn’t had a drink in over three decades. Since we’ve been together for less than five years, it’s pretty clear to me that I didn’t cause her sobriety. That leads me back to the assertion in Al-Anon’s Step One that we’re powerless over alcohol, and I wonder how that’s helpful for me.

    I grew up in a tea-totaler religious community, so there was no drinking in my childhood home. For an active alcoholic, I’d have to go back at least to the grandfather who died years before my birth, after having sworn off the bottle and taken up the bible. Thus alcohol doesn’t appear to be a looming giant in my life.

    Be that as it may, I have plenty of misery: unhappy with my career, fretful about not having time for non-earning activities that bring joy into my life. So powerless over money and the political economy, powerless over others, powerless over my own thwarted dreams, powerless over distractions, yes.

    Am I making the drinking of ancestors long gone into a scape goat for my real challenges? Does being married to a sober alcoholic automatically make me a good candidate for Al-Anon? Is my spending time with Al-Anon tools the best way to seek healing from the things that distress me?

    I don’t have answers right now. Sharing the questions may bring me to more clarity, and I thank everyone who brought me this opportunity.

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