The 12 steps of Al-anon begin with the first one: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable. Or as someone once said, admitted we were powerless over people, places, things and situations.
I never realized that what I was dealing with was alcoholism. I had been so focused on my loved ones behavior and all that it was doing to the family, I thought the drinking was just a side issue. I thought that my loved one was using the alcohol as an excuse to do and behave the way he wanted to and trying to get out of the consequences. I did not realize that NOT Drinking wasn’t an option for him. I was dealing with an Alcoholic which I always thought was an excuse for someone that really couldn’t handle their liquor. I had no idea it was an actual disease!
When I came into Al-anon I was introduced to the disease concept that my loved one suffered from. I was told that he has a disease that affects him physically, mentally and spiritually. That once the spiritual part was cleared up he could recover in the other areas. He was unable to stop for any length of time due to the obsession of the mind for alcohol that blocks out all sound reasoning. And once he put the alcohol into his system he was what they called allergic to it and he would be off on another spree. Not by choice this was just what happened to someone that was a REAL Alcoholic.
So when I came into Al-anon and read that first step and listened to what the others were saying, suddenly all the insanity began to make a little sense. It didn't change the situation any, not at all, but it did give ME something that I hadn't had before. It allowed me to see that an alcoholic is someone who is sick and in need of understanding and encouragement every bit as much as I needed it to begin my own recovery.
Learning about the Disease of Alcoholism really helped me to begin to focus on myself and my own spiritual growth rather than focusing on the alcoholic in my life or anyone else's behavior, but my own. Hence my journey into Al-anon and the 12 steps began. The 12 steps taught me that if I do my part to clean up my side of the street, I will gain a measure of serenity, regardless of the chaos around me.