Friday, April 22, 2011

Grieving And Letting Go.

Many of us when new to Al-Anon, are stuck in our anger and frustration with the alcoholic; we aren't in touch with our feelings of grief. When we set out to work the Steps, we begin to realise that we are awash in feelings of grief - for what "might have been," were this person not in the grip of a disease.

We grieve for the hopes and dreams we had at the start; we grieve for the reality being so disparate from our imaginings.  We may have pictured ourselves at a far dissimilar place, by this time in our lives. Perhaps we feel a hot anger, when we  look around to see that we've arrived at a destination, to which we didn't agree to travel.

Grief is normal. Grief is part of the process, and we cannot reach recovery without acknowledging and allowing ourselves to feel our grief. But, and this is a powerful "but" - when I cannot accept, I can't let go. When I can't let go, I can't move forward.

Yes, it isn't right that this has happened, and yes, life sneaks up on us, and gives us a good hard shove between the shoulder blades, so that we land painfully, twisting our ankle, and skinning our hands. We can awaken from years of denial, to find ourselves sitting there, shaky, hurting and furious; our pain and grief may feel unbearable, at first.

We have a right to our feelings. We need to admit to ourselves and others, that this is where we have landed, this is how it feels, and this is not what we wanted. We need to admit that we were completely powerless in the face of that propelling shove.

If I cannot admit that I am powerless, if I'm still trying to find some magic sentence, some way to convince/manipulate/change the alcoholic, I will stay in that place of pain and grief, perhaps for many years.

When I give myself permission to grieve, and then let go, I'm giving myself the opportunity to find serenity, peace and freedom.


  1. Before getting into the program I was in denial.I had invested so much into this bottomless pit.Yea, there were a lot of emotions like anger because he would not stop,hurt because I felt unloved,grief because I knew he would not quit and I could not remain with him.Loss-- both material,$$ and physical.I did not see the part I played; contributing to and enabling the alcholic.I did not see the uselessness of the-- so called help I provided,picking up the pieces.I could not understand --I cannot fix this man.All the talking and trying to reason to someone who only cared about the next beer...that was #1.
    I just got use to being upset all the time.Its a lot too wake up to all at once. It made me sick. I am so glad I am not living that any more and now my time is spent on me.

  2. I think I was brought to my knees by alcoholism. I fully understand how sick the alcoholic is. I no longer try to change another but can keep the focus on what I am doing. Life changing stuff!