In Al‑Anon, I heard, “Take care of yourself. Don’t decide anything about your marriage right now, focus on yourself and your recovery.” The first relationship I mended was with myself, as that relationship needed quite a bit of fixing.
The Steps were offering me the opportunity to develop a relationship with a Higher Power, “God as I understood Him.” I knew deep down I had a Higher Power. I had been searching for God for a long time, but no religion seemed to fit my understanding. The love that my Higher Power gives me is a daily blessing. I try to find ways to improve my conscious contact with God because this relationship is the most important one in my life.
Thanks to this source of unconditional love, I have been able to change my relationships with others. I’ve stopped waiting for other people to give me what only God can. I think I can sum up this process in four words—letting go of ego.
In my relationship with myself, I had become self-absorbed because of my self-loathing. Fear, shame, and guilt had shrunk my heart. There was no room there, either for me or for others. When I finally realized, thanks to Al‑Anon, that I was not different from others, I stopped hating myself so much, and started making room for love in my heart.
Letting go of ego in my relationship with God can be summed up by “I can’t, He can.” I finally accept this simple fact. I don’t want to play God anymore. I happily surrender and I pray for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out.
In letting go of ego in my relationship with others, I had to acknowledge that pride is probably my worst sin. When I am able to let go of my pride, I don’t feel offended if someone tells me a few home truths.
I don’t try to defend myself by attacking the other person like I used to do. I listen, and when I know it is true, I can say, “You’re right.” That doesn’t mean I don’t protect myself. Instead, it means I can choose my boundaries.
I want to listen, learn, and grow. It’s not my business if someone else doesn’t also want that. I feel less threatened by others, because I’m starting to believe in me, to love me for who I am—one of God’s perfectly imperfect children.
The Forum, October 2012