Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Can Al-Anon Help Me With Anxiety?"

I've added "anxiety" to the list of topics, and attached it to several posts, because anxiety seems to be a common denominator in Al-Anon. From today's reading in Courage to Change, page 306:

"Likewise, when my thoughts race out of control, I need to stop. I may do this by breathing deeply and looking at my surroundings. It can help to repleace the obsessive thoughts with something positive, such as an Al-Anon slogan, the Serenity Prayer, or another comforting topic that has nothing to do with my problem."

I learned how to head off panic attacks with the help of a kindly intern at a hospital, years before Al-Anon, but it wasn't until I got into program that I learned how to quiet the mental turmoil. A popular AA speaker in the States uses the phrase "ravaged by thought." An excellent description of what we do to ourselves. If I don't want to be ravaged by thought, I must be willing to let go of my worries, and not be chewing them over like a cow with its cud, all the while running like a madwoman on the gerbil wheel inside my head.

I need Awareness of what's going on in my internal dialogue, Acceptance of what it is that I can and cannot do, and then I must take Action by using the program tools I've been taught. It's up to me, in the end, because nobody can surrender or let go for me, I must be willing to do it myself.


  1. Sometimes I think we can go through the whole alphabet and find a common denominator... starting with anxiety for "A".

    What should "B" stand for?

  2. Learning to detach and count my breath in meditation has tremendously helped me through anxiety attacks. Thanks for this post.

  3. "ravaged by thought". yep. Far too often.

  4. I also loved this post and could relate to learning how to slow down and get out of my own head. @Have Myelin? I like Balance for "B" :0)

  5. Anxiety is something that propels all kinds of irrational actions. I went to therapy to dispel some of it but Al-Anon has helped me the most. Just letting go of outcomes for others is an enormous relief.