Learning to Live and Let Live
One Day at a Time
Alanon is an organization for the families and friends of alcoholics and drug abusers. For over 60 years, Alanon Family Groups have helped people find a new way of life that brings them joy and serenity, whether or not the alcoholic or drug abuser changes their behavior. This amazes many people who have trouble believing that someone can still be happy, even if their loved one's life is spinning out of control. One of the ways that Alanon members find solace is by making the Alanon slogans part of their everyday life. Below you will learn some examples of the slogans and how individuals have incorporated them into their lives.
In Alanon We Learn to Live Life in the Present
One of the best known slogans used by members of both Alcoholics Anonymous and Alanon is "One Day at a Time". This slogan stresses the importance of letting go of past disappointments and reducing your concern about future potential problems. When we become stressed about possible disasters that have not happened yet, we call this "living in the wreckage of the future." When we live in the present, and let go of both the past and future, we find that it is much easier to cope with our life.
Another popular Alanon and Alcoholics Anonymous slogan is "Let Go and Let God." This slogan is often summarized by simply stating that you are turning either a problem or a person over to the care of the God of your understanding. This doesn't mean that we don't try to do our part by taking responsibility for our own actions and decisions. It does mean that we stop trying to fix other people, or problems, that are beyond our ability to solve. We trust that those problems are in the hands of God ... however we personally define Him (or Her)!
In Alanon We Learn to Think Differently About Others
In order to live "One Day at a Time" and "Let Go and Let God", we must also be able to "Keep An Open Mind" and admit to ourselves that we don't always know what is best for another person. Even if we are absolutely certain that they are ruining their lives, we don't have to let them ruin ours! We also need to be open to the idea that the problems the alcoholic is encountering may be necessary in order for them to realize that they have a problem. If you help them avoid the results of their behavior, they may not see that their drinking is a problem at all. Be open to the idea that difficulties help them grow!
One aspect of keeping an open mind is to get in the habit of reading Alanon books and literature. These books can help us get back on track when our minds are spinning out of control with worry over the behavior of another person. You can get many Alanon brochures free at your local meeting, or buy books there. However, if you want to order some books from the privacy of your home, you can also use this direct link to Alanon books from Amazon.com.
As you get in the habit of focusing less on the behavior of other people in your life, you may come to realize that you have also played a small role in creating the chaos. In order to improve our damaged relationships with the drug and alcohol abusers in our lives, there are a few more slogans which we may find helpful. "Let it Begin with Me" means that we must change our own behavior, if we hope that someone else will change their behavior. When we stop taking care of the alcoholic, and fixing the messes they get themselves into, they have to learn to take responsibility for their own lives. When we stop getting in battles with them, they can no longer blame us for "making" them go out and drink! "How Important Is It?" is an Alanon slogan that reminds us to stop quarrelling over small issues, such as the color of their hair, or the new spot on their body that they have found to pierce or tattoo. Stick to life or death problems, such as helping them decide who is going to take care of their children when they are high.
One difficulty that many new Alanon members have learned to accept is that they will need to lower their expectations of the drug or alcohol abuser. That beautiful "golden" child you raised, or the intelligent husband you married, may not be able to live up to your expectations. In fact, there is a saying in Alanon that "Expectations are Premeditated Resentments." If you don't want to spend your own life feeling angry and resentful, let go of your expectations. So often we hear at Alanon meetings that "he has so much potential." All alcoholics and drug addicts have unrealized potential. However, we only hurt ourselves when we have higher expectations for other people than they have for themselves.
In Alanon We Learn to Turn Our Own Lives Around
The bottom line for Alanon members is they they will learn a new way of life that is independent and separate from the life being lived by the alcoholic or drug abuser. Find new friends, enjoy new activities, and keep busy. Take care of yourself, instead of the alcoholic. Protect yourself, and your financial resources, if necessary. Don't let a drug or alcohol abuser pull you down with them. They have made their choices. In order to fulfill your destiny, you need to feel free to make the best choices for your own life. I hope that anyone in this situation will attend an Alanon Family Group meeting in your neighborhood as soon as possible.
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