Julie joins us to tell her story.
She grew up with an alcoholic father and an “untreated Al-Anon” mother. As a child, from the age of 10, she thought it was her job to mediate between her parents, and especially to try to help “settle” the arguments they had. Now, she recognizes that it never worked, but she kept on trying, anyway.
In her relationships, her thinking was something like “if I make sure they are ok, then they will know that I love them, and they will love me, and everything will be ok.” This, also, didn't always work. She was looking for something to fill a “hole” inside her, and when people didn't do the job, she started “medicating” with food.
One day, she told herself, “Julie, you have a choice. You are killing yourself slowly. If you are not OK with continuing on this path, you have to do something.” She decided she wanted to live. So she found a therapist. This was her first example of her higher power doing for her what she couldn't do for herself.
After some time (years) in therapy, her therapist gave her “homework.” Clever therapist—she knew how to motivate Julie. Her homework was to go to Al-Anon. At her first meeting, she started hearing her story in others' voices. After another year, she was given new homework—get a sponsor. So she did.
A drastic change in her life came unexpectedly, just after she had finished working Steps 1-3. Her program, her sponsor, and her friends helped her through it. She says “the right people showed up at the right time.” Even in this upheaval, she started her Step 4 inventory, to build a “map” of herself, so she could see where she was, where she wanted to be, and how to get there. She told me “What I don’t have, I can’t give anyone else, what I don’t practice, I can’t expect from anyone else.”
In Steps 8 and 9, she came to forgiveness for her parents. She says “I don't forgive because what they did is okay. Even though they did the very best they could, what they did is not okay. I forgive now because I'm okay now.”
Now, she says “My life has changed beyond words, beyond my wildest imagination. I am living my best life. I can truly say that life is beautiful. I've connected with my higher power who has let me know that I have a purpose to be here. I'm made from God and God is in me. And in you, in all Al-Anons, in every human being in this world and in everything.”
Readings and Links
Julie read from her Al-Anon district newsletter, and the “gifts of Al-Anon” from the book From Survival to Recovery, pp 267-268.
Gina sent us a butterfly video (see below). She let us know that we can get ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) daily meditations when we sign up for the ACA newsletter, and that the CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous) daily reader is part of the CODA app (Android, apparently not on iPhone).
Recordings of the Al-Anon without Borders events. and many other speakers, are available for free listening or download at AMOT Audio.
Our topic for next week is “in all our affairs”. How do you use your recovery tools and principles in your daily life? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email email@example.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
Music from the Show
Gina said of this video,
It reminded me of how Nature can be a Higher Power – there is a wisdom and guidance in Nature which I may not understand, but if I trust in Nature, the right thing will happen. If I get in the way of nature, I could prevent what was “meant” to happen naturally even though I couldn't see or understand the “plan”…like a butterfly transitioning out.