I found a resource online to help work through step one of the 12 steps of al-anon. this is going to be a long, long road. i am going to jot down some initial thoughts about each question here.
this is like one of those chain letter quizzes, except way cooler because, you know, it actually does have a consequence
and it’s not that i won’t find love for 7 years
(although that’s possible too)
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
Working Step One:
Do I accept that I cannot control another person’s drinking? Another person’s behavior?
- i have had to face this realization before and have done so successfully. however, it isn’t out of habit yet.
- i wrote down some examples of things i need to accept that i cannot control, e.g.,
- i cannot control my mother’s need for validation by men, nor her denial
- i cannot control my sister’s refusal to get adequate treatment, nor any of her self-destructive behavior
- i cannot control my grandmother’s learned helplessness
- i cannot control my aunt’s need to control those around her
- i cannot control my advisor’s refusal to hear my side of things
- i cannot control my ex-advisor’s using my bipolar as a scapegoat for his actions
- i cannot control the addictions nor the behavior of my father or my sister’s father
- i cannot control XBF’s rejection of me
How do I recognize that the alcoholic is an individual with habits, characteristics and ways of reacting to daily happenings that are different from mine?
- in a previous relationship with an alcoholic, i had to realize that he was truly ill and that his personal hell was killing him. also, there was nothing i could do about it.
- this question extends beyond the alcoholic for me. i have trouble with conflict, and one of my biggest challenges is accepting that the person with whom i have conflict simply isn’t going to see my way all the time.
Do I accept that alcoholism is a disease? How does that change how I deal with a drinker?
- yes, it is certainly a disease.
- i don’t know if that changes how i deal with a drinker at all.
How have I tried to change others in my life? What were the consequences?
- what is the difference between change and compromise?
- i have observed individuals changing their behavior at my request.
- i have also expected change where none may be possible
- or where my expectation was unrealistic
- consequences include wearing myself out “waiting” or being the best “support” for that change; i end up angry and resentful, or defeated
- specific examples to come
What means have I used to get what I want and need? What might work better to get my needs met?
- i have feigned inferiority to avoid aggression
- i have played dumb to get information i want
- i have used seduction or flirting to get things i want
- i have debased myself to fulfill a need for pain and shame
- i’m not sure i know what my needs are, so figuring that out is probably a solid first step
How do I feel when the alcoholic refuses to be and do what I want? How do I respond?
- haha, that reminds me. i don’t know how many times i have thought to myself, “if you would just do what i want, everything would be FINE!”
- i feel defeated
- i feel like it is my failure
What would happen if I stopped trying to change the alcoholic or anyone else?
- they would keep doing what they are doing
How can I let go of others’ problems instead of trying to solve them?
- stop equating empathy with a need to act
- figure out a way to be supportive without taking on a burden*
- turn inward to reflect on what role i should have, if any
Am I looking for a quick fix to my problems? Is there one?
In what situations do I feel excessive responsibility for other people?
- anything regarding my sister
- romantic relationships
In what situations do I feel shame or embarrassment for someone else’s behavior?
- when my alcoholic ex peed himself on my friend’s friend’s carpet. super awkward.
- when XBF would tell stories about high school around my friends. they would look at him kinda funny and then me. ugh. it made him look so young and unexperienced.
- when others go through a shameful or embarrassing situation, i also feel shame and embarrassment, both on their behalf and because i was there to observe it.
What brought me into Al-Anon? What did I hope to gain at that time? How have my expectations changed?
- i went with and for a friend who asked me to accompany her for moral support.
- however, i knew i needed to go for my own reasons too, such as needing to reflect on myself, find my own voice, and build a support network
Who has expressed concern about my behavior? My health? My children? Give examples.
- a range of people have expressed concern about my risky behavior
- ex-boyfriends, for one
- my aunt
- probably some friends
How do I know when my life is unmanageable?
- i start to crumble
- i am unable to keep appointments or plans
- i can’t keep up with my responsibilities
- i can’t see which way is up
- i feel like i’m skating on the surface of my life, without any deeper interaction with the experiences that compose it
How have I sought approval and affirmation from others?
- i am the poster child for “approval-seeking”
- interestingly i am also extremely stubborn and rebellious against authority
- you tell me
Do I say “yes” when I want to say “no”? What happens to my ability to manage my life when I do this?
- i have often done this, but i am getting better
- life can get pretty out of hand otherwise
Do I take care of others easily, but find it difficult to care for myself?
How do I feel when life is going smoothly? Do I continually anticipate problems? Do I feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
- i wait for the other shoe to drop
- i worry and fear whatever problems have been “building up” during my period of respite
- i feel more capable during crisis and i also get a lot of satisfaction out of surviving crises
How well do I take care of myself?
- moderately. you could really go either way.
How do I feel when I am alone?
- at peace.
- able to be myself fully
- able to pursue my own interests without worrying about anyone else
What is the difference between pity and love?
- i had to look this one up
- according to dictionary.com
- pity: sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy
- love: 1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
- i’m going to have to think about this one a little more
Am I attracted to alcoholics and other people who seem to need me to fix them? How have I tried to fix them?
- i think the answer is probably yes, but that is not what is coming to mind
- what is coming to mind is that i feel more comfortable around other people who have faced problems and need fixing
- because i have faced problems and need fixing too
- so i feel safer around them
- i do not understand people who do not have those characteristics
Do I trust my own feelings? Do I know what they are?
- when i am not overwhelmed i can trust my feelings
- when i am overwhelmed, i cannot tell which way is up
- i cannot sort out my feelings and figure out what to do until i have time and space to reflect and think about them