11 July 2009

14 years in ACOA

In a little over six weeks, God Willing, I will be celebrating my 15th year of sobriety. When I quit drinking, my life changed dramatically. The anger and the rage left, but I still couldn't find the peace I was searching for. Starting my fourth month of sobriety a counselor suggested that since the 12 Steps of AA worked so well for me, that maybe I should use them to deal with my co-dependency issues.

It was the start of a new year and for me I was now working on two 12 Step programs. Things were falling into place and I began to understand why I was doing the things I was doing. But there was still something missing.

During my first attempt at sobriety (which lasted 5 1/2 years), I heard of a 12 Step group that dealt with the issues of being a child of an alcoholic and I just kind of blew it off. I didn't care about those issues... but... this time I was concerned.

And I bought a couple of books about Children of Alcoholics and began studying them. But I didn't originally buy them for me. I read them trying to figure out what kind of damage I had done to three step-children and my daughter. The more I read those books, the more I forgot about the kids and I began seeing myself.

And while AA and Alanon helped me, things didn't totally fall into place until I began working the 12 Steps of ACOA. That was July 1995. That's right this month is my 14th year in the ACA program!

The turning point in my whole recovery process came about when I found forgiveness. Not for the things I had done, but rather for the things that were done to me. This was the hardest part of my recovery. I was justified with my anger towards my folks. But justification didn't bring me peace - true serenity. I've observed over the years that children are the most trusting beings on the face of this planet. Even when it isn't deserved they want to trust. For me to find that child buried deep within me I needed to find that trust again.

That came almost five years after I started this program, when I came to understand and accept that my parents were not the devil's seed - they were just people. Human beings who were broken and lost their battle before they could find peace in this world.

I found trust in my HP and I trusted Him enough that I found the strength to forgive. Sadly, I don't think I'll ever forget - but I have forgave. And that is when my life turned magical. No longer, through my anger and lack of trust, did my parents run my life. With forgiveness, I was finally able to bury them from my mind.

I still have some extremely difficult times, but gratefully, my faith and trust has shown me that everything has worked out exactly as He said it would. And for me, it came when I found "Forgiveness Through Him."

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