Salt Lake City Utah, USA
It was nerve-racking to show up for my first meeting which was located in the basement of a hospital. I wondered if I would fit in and be accepted. I was afraid to share my story with anyone; what would the others think? I was relieved when there were only three other ladies there and that I felt no judgement for their stories were very similar to mine. We read aloud from a blue book, passed around a donation box, and each shared what we were doing to find peace and serenity.
I went for a few months and then quit when I realized that none of the steps were about how to fix the addict.
Ten years later, when my life (and husband) had become much more unmanageable, I gave up on fixing my husband and I started attending 12-step groups again, to fix myself. I believe that when people hang around sick people for very long, they have a good chance of getting sick themselves and I had become very sick. My fears, resentments and control issues had become my own addictions that I needed to heal from. In the last three years, I’ve attended LDS Family Support Groups, a Healing Through Christ group and SAL Women’s Twelve Step Betrayal Meetings and have found peace and healing from each of them.
As a veteran groupie, I’d like to share a few of the things that I have learned:
- I’ve learned that addicts are ill people, not bad people. This has helped me have more compassion and patience towards them.
- I’ve learned that I can better solve my own problems when I stop hiding and holding secrets, but instead join with others who are working to solve their own similar problems.
- I’ve learned that I cannot control another’s behavior and, also, that I am not responsible for anyone else’s behaviors.
- I’ve learned that turning my troubles over to God helps me find more peace and joy.
- I’ve learned that when I am obsessing about my husband and all the issues that come with loving an addict, then I feel chaotic. 12-step programs help me focus on God and help me keep Him in my center, and more than that, I picture placing myself in God’s center which helps me feel peace, love, and protection.
- I’ve learned that “the power of God can restore me to complete spiritual health” regardless of anyone else’s actions. These words soothe my soul like an emotional spa.