The Alanon Steps Bring Us Peace and Serenity
Alanon is an organization that helps the family and friends of alcoholics find a way to live a happy, serene life despite the problems that they may have suffered because of someone else's drinking. Alanon is a 12 Step program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the steps are almost identical. Like AA, you are given the opportunity to work on self-improvement, because that is the only way you can pull yourself out of the pit of despair that you may feel you have fallen into.
In the 7th Step of Alanon, you are expected to humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings. Of course, most of us would rather pray that the alcoholic's defects of character are removed! Unfortunately, the program does not work that way!
When doing the Alanon Seventh Step prayer, only you know what you need to say to the God of Your Understanding. Still, the prayer seems to help us find the peace and serenity we crave in our lives.
You may also find that reading Alanon literature, like some of the books mentioned below in this article, will also help you find peace and serenity.
ASKING GOD TO REMOVE OUR DEFECTS OF CHARACTER
In asking God to remove our own character defects, it is important that we have done the steps in order. It may seem that it would be a lot easier to just make a general petition to God, asking Him to remove all our character defects, without examining them first in steps four through six. However, it is only in going through a thorough process of self-examination that we can possibly know what we are really asking God to remove. This is also the only way that we will be able to see the progress we are making during our years in the Alanon program.
How should we go about asking God to remove our shortcomings? During my many years as an Alanon member, here are some of the thoughts about this step that I've heard mentioned by my fellow Alanon members.
First, now that you have shared your shortcomings with someone else, and decided that you really want to change, you need to ask God, however you envision Him, to help you to remove your shortcomings. Pray to God in the way that is comfortable for you, and that is in keeping with your religious beliefs.
Once you have asked God to remove your defects of character, does this mean that everything about you will suddenly be different? That is unlikely. However, Alanon members believe that your faith in God will help set you on the path to changing your life for the better. Most Alanon members admit that they did not feel any immediate difference after they asked God to remove their shortcomings in the 7th Step. However, during the following weeks and months, a series of small successes made them realize that God was working in their lives.
HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS
Second, after doing the 7th Step of Alanon, you will learn to be realistic. After all, having unrealistic expectations of others is one of our potential defects. Having unrealistic expectations of ourselves can also keep us from being satisfied with our own progress. We are going to make mistakes. We are sometimes going to slip back into past behaviors. However, every time we handle a situation in a more relaxed way, each time we accept responsibility for our own part in our unhappiness, each time we behave in a more mature and assertive manner, each time we mend a damaged relationship, we will see that God is helping us grow and move forward. God is gradually removing our defects of character, even if we don't get a sudden bolt of lightening or a voice from above telling us that we are now going to be perfect! It's a journey, not a destination.
PERSONAL CHANGE COMES SLOWLY ... BUT YOU WILL CHANGE
Finally, we discover after doing our Alanon 7th Step that God often uses other people within the organization to help us outgrow our defects of character. Having a sponsor will give us another point of view, when we just cannot see our own part in our situation. Spending time with Alanon friends will help us remember to take things one day at a time. Talking on the phone with another Alanon member will help us learn to take it easy. Gradually, turning your life over to God will help you see things more clearly, and you will realize that, although you will always have defects of character, these defects will no longer be such a destructive force in your life. Asking the God of your understanding to remove your defects, when you pray to Him in your Seventh Step, is just the beginning of a lifetime of progress.
If you are interested in learning more about Alanon, and how it can improve your life and your relationship with an alcoholic, you may also want to read the following articles:
Al-anon Books are Very Useful Between Meetings
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(price as of Aug 25, 2016)
Here's Another Excellent Book on the Al-Anon Steps
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