step one

by lifeonaxis1

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?

  • no, and probably not

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?

  • bingo

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
  • 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