I've been attending support group meetings for five months now and I'm still on Step One. What does that mean exactly? It means that even though I've read through many of the steps at group meeting, in my personal study at home I've never gone past Step One. That isn't because I don't understand it, it is because I've been terrible about making "step work" a priority. What does it mean to "work" a step? For me it means to study it, read about it, ponder about it and then of course apply it to my life in a way that changes my attitudes AND behaviors. Anyway, I think I've had a break-through with Step One but I want to share my thoughts here before I move on to Step Two.
I'm in a good place right now. I'm full of peace and hope. But occasionally I am reminded that this problem isn't gone forever, and that it will likely continue to re-surface in my future. This can be a depressing thought, and just the thought itself often robs me of my peace. Then fears and doubts creep in and I find myself thinking "Is this going to be my life forever?" "Do I have more misery and hurt awaiting me?"
This is no way to live. I don't want those feelings anymore. Enter: STEP ONE (Choruses of angelic voices sing it.)
My favorite quote from Step One:
"We begin to discover the freedom and the power we do possess- the power to define and live our own lives."
There are two roads ahead:
1. My husband will not relapse, and we will continue to enjoy the blessings of his good choices.
2. My husband will relapse, and I will be tempted to feel anger and self-pity.
Ultimately I want the end of the roads to be the same place, a place of peace. So I am determining right now that which ever road becomes the way, either way I am going to get there, to my place of peace. I've said this in comments on forums and blogs but it is my new mantra.
"No matter what happens. [Relapse or no relapse.] I am going to be okay.
I really am. And suddenly the burden and anxiety I mentioned before about the future is lifted. My peace is not robbed from me, because I've let go of my fear and doubt. I am powerless over Pete's addiction. I can not control which road will unwind before me. I will not waste another minute trying to do so. And furthermore, should the road be bumpy and unpleasant, I will be okay. I will feel God's peace again, as I have before.
Elder Richard G. Scott [one of my favorites]
"Rest the burden in the hands of the Lord... and worry no more."
**I am referring to Step One of the Healing Through Christ Family Support Guide which includes a 12-step program for those who have loved ones in addiction. There is actually a new and updated manual, which I will post a link to when I get it.