I accepted myself—unconditionally

Early in Al-Anon, one of the feelings I struggled with was anger. So many times in my childhood home, I felt angry but acted happy or pleased because the unwritten rule for the children of the family was, “Do not show anger.” For the drinking parents, anger was permissible to express loudly, and on occasion with the help of a brush or belt.

Finding my way to Al-Anon is a blessing for which I am ever grateful. Working the Steps with a Sponsor was the beginning of a healthier living pattern for me and the people I love. A significant area of growth has been in “feeling” my feelings, expressing them, and learning to let my anger go.

This began to happen in the Fourth and Fifth Steps, as I inventoried my life with my Sponsor as honestly as I could. At one point in this process, I was relating an incident that brought up so much anger. I was pounding on the table between us as I expressed my anger, yelling about the injustice I perceived. 

Immediately, I was overcome by shame for my behavior, and felt like a child waiting for a reprimand. I said to my Sponsor, “Now that you have seen how I really am, you probably don’t want to have anything to do with me. I’ll understand if you walk away.” Her words surprised me, “I am sorry to disappoint you, my dear, but I am not going anywhere.”

I burst out crying. I cried to depths I had never felt before, with my Sponsor patting my hand. It was then that I was able to let go of an old resentment against parents who couldn’t offer any more than they had, and forgive them. I accepted myself, unconditionally, just as my Sponsor had accepted me. For me, she modeled the love of a Higher Power. 

All through my life, there were people who had offered me unconditional love, but I was not able to accept it while I held that resentment. My Sponsor’s unconditional love and positive regard for me opened the door to a lifetime of letting go of old resentments, old ideas, and old fears.

Today, I am able, by the grace of God, to offer unconditional love to others, just as my dear Sponsor did with me. Thank you, God, and thank you, Al-Anon.

 

By Anonymous
The Forum, May 2015