Letting Our Higher Power Restore Us to Sanity
Many newcomers to Alanon are particularly uncomfortable with the Second Step, because it deals with their attitudes about God. They have joined this organization for friends and families of alcoholics because their life is miserable as a result of the actions of someone they love ... in particular, their addictions or alcoholism. The Second Step tells them that they must believe that a "Power Greater than Themselves" can restore them to sanity. Some newcomers fear that they have joined a religious cult. They have their own religious beliefs, and are concerned about what is meant by a Power greater than themselves. Other new members may have given up on God and become atheists; they feel that they have no need for God. Still others feel insulted that this step hints that they need to be restored to sanity. What exactly does all this mean to you?
If you are a newcomer who already has your own, cherished religious beliefs, let me assure you that there is nothing in the Alanon program that is contrary to those beliefs. I have been a member of Alanon for over 28 years, and have known members of all faiths. Meetings are held around the world, attended by people of every faith, and these meetings have brought comfort to many friends and families of alcoholics. The Second Step actually says that you can use your own, personal religious beliefs to help you through the pain of living with an alcoholic. It encourages you to rely on your own personal religious beliefs to find comfort and support. No one in Alanon should tell you that you need to be a part of any particular faith or religious tradition in order to participate. The organization is there to help the friends and families of alcoholics, or drug abusers, not to change your religious beliefs!
For those of you who would like to buy a few Alanon books so you can read more about all the steps, you can use this direct link to Alanon books from Amazon.
You may be interested to know that, even if you are an atheist, the Second Step will still benefit you. In Alanon you will discover that the Power greater than yourself can be whatever you personally believe about the universe. Whether you belief in Fate, the intrinsic goodness of the human race, or the healing fellowship of belonging to a group, these are beliefs in a Power greater than yourself alone. By becoming attuned to the universe, as you understand it, you will be able to restore your life to to peace and sanity.
Ahhh, the word "sanity!" This last part of the Second Step seems insulting to many new Alanon members. After all, most of us feel that we have been the only person in the relationship who has been maintaining some semblance of sanity in our households. How is it that we now need to be restored to sanity? The truth is that, if we are honest, most of us feel as though we are living on the edge. Many of us feel that we just can't handle one more problem, one more job loss, one more DUI, or one more quarrel with the alcoholic. Alanon will help us learn how to use our religious beliefs or personal philosophies to guide our thinking and behavior towards a happier, more serene existence ... which is why I chose a picture of a seagull floating over a peaceful ocean as a symbol of this step. Not only will you begin to feel saner, you will also feel a peace that you may never have experienced before!
One more thought about the word "sanity," as used in Alanon. Many people describe insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results. How many of us have done this, in handling our situation with the alcoholic? How many of us have made excuses for them, loaned them money, bailed them out of jail, covered bad checks, or taken similar actions over and over again, each time hoping that this will be the last time?
In Alanon, we will learn an entirely new approach to the alcoholic. We will gradually begin to stop letting them drain away our energy and resources and, in this way, our lives begin to be restored to sanity! Enjoy the journey!
If you are interested in learning more about Alanon, 12 Step Recovery, and dealing with alcoholics and drug addicts, you may also be interested in the articles below:
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