At my first Al‑Anon meeting, I was introduced to Step One: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” As much as was possible in the beginning, I understood I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was unmanageable. My Sponsor helped me to see that I was also powerless over other people, places, and things. In time, I realized I was powerless over my feelings and thoughts. Obsessive thinking was making my life unmanageable. My imagined fears stole my serenity, fueled enabling behavior, and damaged my relationships. I knew I needed to practice detachment, but I didn’t know how to begin.
Thankfully, our Conference Approved Literature offered me a solution. In Courage to Change (B-16), in the May 20 and November 1 readings, I found the steps to take charge of my obsessive thinking. I can stop, make a better choice, ask my Higher Power for help, call a program friend, breathe deeply, ground myself by taking a short walk, or repeat an Al‑Anon slogan or the Serenity Prayer. I must do whatever I can to “put some distance between myself and my obsessive thinking.” My obsessive thoughts are as powerful and destructive to me as alcohol is to the alcoholic. These readings remind me to “pay attention to my thinking” and recognize when my thoughts are putting my serenity and relationships at risk.
A member of my home group addressed the power of obsessive thinking. When faced with the pull of fear-based thinking, his suggestion was, “Do nothing.” Doing nothing means I consciously choose to take no action right now. I emotionally and mentally step back from the situation and give my heart and mind time to reset. Choosing to do nothing is really doing something. Sometimes doing nothing is the best choice of action!
Once I’ve found calm, I can take a loving action: I visualize a prayer for my loved one. I close my eyes and see him standing happily in a shower of golden light and love. I can step into that shower of love too. The Twelve Steps grow deeper in meaning for me with every reading. I will “Keep Coming Back”!
By Romney N., Oklahoma
The Forum, May 2023
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.