Two friends were discussing how angry one was at having grown up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic parent. The other friend began to explain how she overcame her anger from growing up in a similar environment and how she now has a loving, adult relationship with her Mom.
To explain, she took her friend on a mini 12-step journey. This process is used in numerous types of Twelve Steps Groups found throughout the world. She explained how she used the steps this way:
“First, I admitted I was powerless over my childhood and the survival skills that I developed made my adult life unmanageable. Second, I came to believe that my Higher Power would show me how a healthy adult behaves. Third, I made the decision to notice the people and situations my Higher Power put in my life to illustrate healthy behaviour. Fourth, I made an inventory, a list, of my attitudes and actions that hindered me from having a better relationship with my family. Fifth, I admitted to God, to myself, and to my sponsor, another human being, that my anger from the past prevented me from accepting the love my family was able to offer me today.
Sixth and Seventh, I became ready to have my defects of character removed and I humbly asked my Higher Power to do so. The next step, which asks me to make a list of all people I had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all, was easy because I already knew my mom belonged on my Eighth Step list, and I wanted to make amends. However, the Ninth Step presented a challenge as it asked to make amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. I questioned if I would not injure my Mom by dredging up the past. So instead, I decided to change my behaviour by accepting her love and loving her in return.
Tenth, I examined my behaviour every day to see if my actions stemmed from old patterns. Eleventh, I asked God to make me a more loving person, which I believe is His will for me. Twelfth, I began spreading this message of healing by sharing my experience with others and showing how I broke out of old cycles by living and practicing the Steps on day at a time.”
The rooms in which Twelve Step Programs are delivered are healing places. They provide support, understanding, compassion and empathy. The give many useful ways and practical tools to aid you in living a new, different and better life. They help you know yourself intimately as you learn to love yourself and those around you in healthier ways. They help you deal with your anger in a healthy way.
The above is an excerpt from Hope For Today, a collection of daily thoughts and meditation based on the sharing of Al-Anon members who grew up with the family disease of alcoholism.