Spencer was invited to give an “open talk” recently, and he elected to use this traditional format.
It starts with “what happened?” With that moment when the reality of his powerlessness and the unmanageability of his life crashed down on him. When he heard that “You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it.” And when those words lifted a weight from his shoulders that he hadn’t realized he was carrying. That he had been trying to accomplish the impossible: to make his loved one stop drinking.
He came to see that his journey to Al-Anon has really started much earlier. He believed that it was his job, his task in life, to “rescue” others. And so, maybe it is no surprise that he fell in love with and married an alcoholic. Because, who needs “fixing” or “rescuing” more than an alcoholic. Not that he recognized that at the time!
He came to his first Al-Anon meeting almost unwillingly. After all, he was not the one with the “problem.” But nothing was working, and his life was miserable, so maybe, just maybe, this Al-Anon thing would help.
His recovery story includes coming to understand what “working the steps” means, and learning to trust others with the reality of his life. It includes finding freedom from anger, fear, despair, and rage. It includes experiencing serenity, even when his life was still in the midst of chaos.
And, it includes finding an answer to what seemed an unanswerable question: “I can’t live this way, but I can’t leave either. What can I do!?” The answer turns out to be “I can live.”
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