Today I give whatever understanding and encouragement I can to the alcoholics in my life. It is based on what I can provide, not on what they want.
Failure is impossible. --Susan B. Anthony
Failure is an attitude. Having an attitude of failure can't help us. It can only hurt us. If we're not careful, it can grow into a way of life. So, when we feel like failures, we'd better look at our attitudes.
An attitude of failure often comes from making mistakes. But we can learn to see our mistakes as lessons. This turns mistakes into gains, not failures. Sometimes, we try to do things that just can't be done. When we act like we can control others, we're going to fail. When we act like we know everything, we're going to fail. If we try to act like God, we're going to fail.
We can't control others. We can't know everything. We're not God. We're human. If we act human, we've already won.
Higher Power, help me to learn from my attitudes. Whatever the outcome, help me learn.
My Path: From Self-Mutilation to Self-Respect
Sometimes it takes a concerned friend to make us aware that we need Al-Anon. In my case, it was my meditation instructor.
I attempted suicide twice.
After growing up with an alcohol-abusing father and a violently abusive mother, I left home as soon as I could and found myself in a relationship with an alcoholic. I worked two jobs while he collected welfare; I bought his liquor. I drank too, and I never understood why he didn’t want to stop until he was involved in a dispute of some kind, usually with his violent, alcoholic brother.
When I left for a year of graduate school abroad, I was shocked that I couldn’t function. I dropped out of school and returned to him, not realizing that my addiction to him was as strong and harmful as his addiction to drinking.
I began treating the alcoholic very badly and working as a stripper in addition to my day job. I had no friends and it seemed that people went out of their way to hurt me.
Before long, my belligerent, self-pitying personality led to a final break up with the alcoholic. It was then I sliced my wrists repeatedly. Years of unbearable pain followed.
I cut myself to gain admission to psych wards where I believed I might find help. I got involved with a depressed patient with drug and alcohol issues. I overdosed. The pain went on and on. Even when I went back to school and found a part-time job in my field, I felt empty. I had panic attacks and stayed in bed all day when I wasn’t working.
Finally, I ended up at a meditation center, having exhausted all other possibilities. I wanted to die, but my meditation instructor told me about Al-Anon. I finally learned I didn’t have to feel this way. I could “let go and let Goddess” and allow my Higher Power to address everything I had been micromanaging.
It’s been a year for me in Al-Anon now and I read literature or attend a meeting pretty much every day. I am so happy to say my panic attacks are gone. I no longer contemplate suicide. I have found a new, supportive relationship. I am off disability. I no longer self-injure. I love my full-time job. I’m almost ready to work Step Four.
By M.K., Nova Scotia March,2008
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
Today's Hope is a Recovery themed site with a focus on Friends and Families of Alcoholics and problem drinkers. We are not affiliated with any 12 Step program. The daily sharings contain a reading from
Al-Anon's Conference Approved publication The Forum, an inspirational quote/saying and a recovery based reading/meditation. The intent of Today's Hope is to share experience, strength and hope. Please take what you like and leave the rest.