had a good friend and long time reader of this blog emailed me today and ask for resources on 12 steps groups and recovery for adult children of alcoholics - i don't have many specific to ACA and i have never gone to alanon - but from my experience within recovery circles an honest commitment to walk any path through the 12 steps will take you where you need to go.
support is crucial to my recovery - i could not do this alone. there are sublime moments in recovery where i have felt like everything has clicked and i have the keys to life and just as quickly i can be face down in the depths of despair - so it's as important for me to keep going to meetings when i'm up as it is when i'm down. i'm actually less prone to going when i'm up - and that very quickly can push me into a downward motion.
i love the anonymous programs as they are never trying to sell me anything, promote themselves, answer me as an expert or convince me of anything more basic than the steps. i have found great healing from some other sources too. a gentle path through the 12 steps by patrick carnes has changed my life. i worked through it with a therapist who had some training from him. i did celebrate recovery and it made me itch because of it's fundamental approach to having all of the answers tied up in a nice little box - and everyone needed and got the same box - one size fits all. many find great healing there though and i don't want to stop someone from going if it works for them, it just didn't work for me at the time and place i was when it was available to me.
hazeldon is another amazing facility, everything i have read or encountered from them is top notch.
i found that therapy and support groups hand in hand helped me out of many deep holes in my life. what i appreciate about therapy, at least the therapy i have received - even though they have not been superstars in the field - they gave me a different perspective on my life and problems - and breathed fresh air into my world. i am convinced that if i am open to healing, and they are opened to be used by god then he can use anyone or anything to accomplish my healing.
the truth is crucial - and i have to be willing to face it and own it - god cannot heal a lie.
one thing i learned about aca's is that it does not matter if your family was full blown alcoholic, if they were raised by alcoholics the behaviour patterns are passed down - and repeated - it's like a virus - and so stopping the spread in your own family is worth it. i know that our kids will have some "infection" but it will be far less because of the hard work liam and i have done in recovery and therapy.
co-dependency and co-addiction are also important branches to begin to understand. i have both tendencies - our marriage is (less now than before) a dance of co-addiction - our velcro sticks together for a reason. his loops, my hooks - very entwined. i also find much of my need met in codependency. caring for the needs of others to have my own needs met is as addictive for me as any drug.
once i began to peel back the tape, band-aids or cellowrap that is/was holding my relationships together i was able to see that this had affected much if not all of them.
it is messy, but the alternative of not looking is even messier. it is so worth the work. we end each of our meetings with our little chant "keep coming back, it works if you work it, and i'm worth it, so i'll work it" silly? childish? simplistic? i don't know, but holding those hands in my own each and every week reminds me that i am not alone and that i am worth the work of keeping my feet on those 12 steps each and every day.