About al-anon’s “step one”

To get rid of unhealthy habits many people turn to so-called 12-step programs, such as AA, CA, Al-Anon, to name just a few of the more than 50.

Regular meetings in which the participants suffering from the same habits share their personal stories and experience form the basis of these programs.

It is common practice to have a so-called “step 1 meeting” when there are newcomers in the group. I remember my first al-anon meeting vividly (note: al-anon is a 12 step program for people living or having lived with an alcoholic partner, family member, parent , child, friend, colleague, etc.) and it may be worth while to share this experience with you.

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The truth about higher power

In 12-step programs such as AA, Al-anon, CA, XA, SLAA (and there are many more) the basis for recovery is the belief in a “Higher Power as you understand him” or “God”. So what to do with this when you consider yourself to be an atheist or when you are not a Christian.

In many conversations I have had with people suffering from unhealthy habits I commonly hear – or sense –some form of anger or frustration when talking about this notion of a Higher Power. Some people are outright pi..ed off. How can it be, they ask themselves, that there is so much (personal) suffering and misery in their lives and in the world if there is a God. Why does the Higher Power let this happen?  If this is how you think, then this post is for you.

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About boundaries

When dealing with the addiction of a loved one in your life you may experience all kinds of painful emotions and difficulties, and there is only so much you can humanly take. A very effective way of avoiding this is to set boundaries.

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The three C’s

The three C's from al-anon

One of the most common problems when dealing with an addict in your life is that you blame yourself.  You ask yourself: “Why is it that no matter what I do and how hard I try, the addict(s) in my life doesn’t change and the pain and suffering doesn’t stop”. Or “What am I doing wrong, for if I would do it right, he or she would not drink, do drugs, etc.”

In my upcoming book I explain how and why this is.

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Co-dependancy: being addicted to the addict

Co-dependancy

When we are dealing with the chaos and suffering that are the consequence of the addiction of a loved one, friend or colleague, we tend to focus all of our attention on the addict. We solve his or her problems, we want to control the addiction. We fight it. As you may have learned through this blog or through other resources, such as 12 step programs (e.g. al-anon), we obviously cannot.

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Love is blind…

Love is blind...

The hardest part of loving an addict is that it “blocks” awareness. All you want to do is help (or cure…) the addict and very often this becomes your sole purpose in life. In doing so we tend to forget ourselves and our own life’s purpose. Also, helping may turn into a compulsion to control the addict (counting bottles, dumping booze, checking secretly, etc.)  And this, of course, is an impossible quest.

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Should I break up?

Should I break up?

One of the choices I struggled with was whether to break up with my addicted partner or not. With hindsight I realize that the answer to this question had always been present within myself. But I needed or wanted to get the answer from others. If only someone would tell me that I should put an end to the relationship, this would give me the reason, the justification to do so. Obviously this is insane.

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