Step 1 in Alanon

12500224_sThis blog post was written by Amy Margolis, MA, Registered MSW.

My blog last week was about Step 1 in Overeaters Anonymous. The purpose of that blog was to inform you of all the food/body related issues that are addressed in that 12 Step program. This got me thinking about the title Alanon. Immediately, you would think you have to be living with an active alcoholic to benefit from this program. This is a shame, because this program is so far reaching in who it can help. Not only does this Alanon help people who have active addicts in their lives, it helps people, who grew up in an Alcoholic/Addicted family system and no longer live with active people. It helps people who grew up with parents, who were abusive, neglectful, absent and/or mentally ill. It helps people, who feel addicted to other people and their problems and have no idea why. And I could go on and on.

My rule of thumb with alanon is if I think a client could benefit, I send them to a meeting. When listening to Step 1 which states “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives had become unmanageable.” I ask clients to replace the word “alcoholism” with “people, place and things” and see if they resonate with what they hear. I notice a lot of addicts; once they become sober/abstinent, find at their core they struggle with alanon issues. I personally feel Alanon can benefit anyone who struggles with relationships. At its spiritual core, the program teaches “you do not need any one else to change for you to be happy.” and to focus on yourself.

If you are wondering if you could benefit from attending Alanon Meetings, consider the following questions…

1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?

2. Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?

3. Do you fear criticism?

4. Do you overextend yourself?

5. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?

6. Do you have a need for perfection?

7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?

8. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?

9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the problem drinker in your life?

10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care for yourself?

11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?

12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?

13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking advantage of you?

14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?

15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem drinker?

16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to the compulsive and/or abusive?

17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being alone?

18. Do you often mistrust your own feeling and the feelings expressed by others?

19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?

20. Do you think someone’s driving may have affected you?

If you have answered yes to any of the above questions and feel powerless on your own to change, you may be ready to take Step 1 in Alanon.

Elana Clark-Faler
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