I never would have believed that facing life on life’s terms would be easier the more I let go – or that letting go could ever be possible for me at all. Life on life’s terms! Wasn’t that the disappointment, fear, and horror of the life I had in childhood and continued to have as an adult? What were these people thinking? Why would I ever even want to do that? I was always running and hiding and trying to escape from pain – all the while creating more and more of it for myself and the people I loved the most. The miracles of this program in my life today are more than I ever imagined that they could be.
Coming to life – really living and feeling – not suffering and struggling so very hard – was unimaginable. Not too many months after the unexpected death of my daughter, while I was in trauma therapy for incest and ritual abuse memories just starting to surface, I gave up on life, myself, and any relationship with a Higher Power. My reality was that the miracle of recovery was not – and never could be possible for me. Maybe for other people. Yes, definitely for other people, but not for me. I spiralled down into the darkest period of my adult life.
My Higher Power never gave up on me though, and a few short years later brought caring, compassionate fellow travelers who listened to me and shared – actually felt – my deep woundings with true understanding. These people have become my friends and the family that my inner child’s hurting heart so desperately needed. No longer an outsider with her face pressed up to the glass looking in at a happy, laughing people and never fitting in. I’ve been blessed to find ACA and you – whoever you are, here – now – reading this blog post. You are helping me in my recovery this very moment – recovery is happening here and now as I work Step 12 with you helping me by listening to me sharing this message of hope about our ACA program and how it can and does work to change the lives of members everywhere who work it.
Working it – for me – has meant realizing that I am powerless to control the effects that childhood dysfunction has had on my life – every part of my life. I kept trying to fix, manage, and control – not only my own life, but that of nearly every person and situation I ever encountered.
I had no idea how to let go or accept or surrender my will to a power greater than myself. In fact, I repeatedly ask my Higher Power to intervene and do that for me on a regular basis.
You see, deep down inside I have been living my life from my wounded inner child’s perspective – the perspective of a child so terribly afraid and blaming herself for the abuse and dysfunction in her family because seeing and accepting the truth that the adults are too damaged inside from their own abusive childhoods to truly love her and be there for her and instead are hurting her terribly by passing on the only form of “love” they got as kids was abuse and selfish and self-centered in nature.
That she wasn’t safe and couldn’t trust or tell the truth – not even to herself. So instead, she set out to save them, help them, fix them (control) and unwittingly passed on dysfunction everywhere she went (smile).
Through the 12-step program of ACA, I slowly became able to see that my problem was me constantly reliving and believing and acting out the family dysfunction that was passed on to me. That was the problem. The solution is my Higher Power, with who I am able to trust, surrender, believe, let go – all the miraculous things that recovery brings! I began to see that I desperately needed – and still need – to surrender to a loving parent that I can trust – My Higher Power, one day at a time. My experience now is that I am blessed daily, finding more and more of myself underneath the wreckage of my past as I surrender it to my true parent, letting go of suffering and the lies of old patterns, addictions, dysfunction, and self-inflicted pain. Knowing that the power to carry this out comes from a loving, all powerful Higher Power and not from me.
I can relax and let life take care of me. What a relief to finally know and accept that I can no more save the world than I could parent and fix own my parents as a child. I am no longer trying to play God or be the parent to other adults or do things that aren’t my responsibility. I can trust that with my Higher Power’s help, I can live life on life’s terms and accept that I am loved and lovable just because I am me. I don’t have to earn love by giving enough to get it. As a child of my Higher Power, I am love – and I am finally free to accept, express, and LIVE that in my life (not perfectly but progressing more each day). No longer are recovery and working the steps and having a relationship with my Higher Power thoughts in my head – superficial ideas, with no real power or love in them. This is the miracle of recovery that ACA has brought into my life – and continues to bring. I am grateful beyond words. Thank you for listening and being a part of my recovery