One of the best things I’ve ever heard at an Al-Anon meeting came from an old-timer: “Figuring it out is not a step.”
A common trait that Al-Anons share before entering the program (and that we tend to struggle with while we are STILL in program) is our racing brains: obsession. We worry, create possible scenarios, spend lots of time being fearful of said scenarios. We create more difficulties for ourselves based on things that may never happen. Our brains constantly are running a marathon with our emotions at the helm, trying to understand, trying to control, trying to direct fear away from our lives.
If we follow our program, which uses the same steps as Alcoholics Anonymous, we practice letting go of what we have no power over. This means relying on something greater than ourselves to take care of what we cannot. We stop focusing on the actions of others and obsessing about their behavior; instead, we take inventory of our own selves and learn what role we’ve played in our own miseries. We ask for help to focus on bettering ourselves. Our alcoholics and their actions are beyond our scope of control.
“Figuring it out is not a step” is a reminder to stop my useless worrying. I can’t anticipate if one of my children will have the gene. I can’t try to understand why my husband has said numerous times that he needs a sponsor but continues to put off getting one. I can’t keep worrying about my friend’s alcoholism worsening if she has no plan to take action for herself.
These are things I CAN do, and every Al-Anon member’s list is different: I can continue writing 3 things in my Gratitude notebook every night to remember the good in my life before I go to sleep. I can keep an Al-Anon daily reader in my bag for easy access when I feel myself start stressing or worrying. I can make time to work outside in our yard, one of the best healing activities I know works for me. I can contact my sponsor when I feel weak, and enjoy her strength and support. All of these actions ensure that *I* have what I need to find peace in my own head.
As always, One Day at a Time.