I didn't realize that what I was dealing with was alcoholism. I was so focused on the alcoholic's behavior and all that it was doing to the family, I thought the drinking was just a side issue. I thought the alcoholic was using the alcohol to gain "courage" to do behave they really wanted to in the first place. I did not realize that in the alcoholic's mind drinking WAS the point!
I didn't realize that I was dealing with an alcoholic, someone who had a "disease" that compelled them to drink and was powerless to stop drinking, at least not for long periods at a time.
Someone Who Was SickSo 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 gave ME something that I hadn't had before. It allowed me to see that alcoholic as someone who was sick and needed understanding and encouragement every bit as much as I needed it to begin my own recovery.
It helped me to begin to focus on myself and my own spiritual growth rather than focus on the alcoholic or anyone else's behavior, but my own. 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.
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