This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Larcine’s story: I was sick and tired of being sick and tired so I surrendered to Alanon, Halleluiah; I don’t have to suffer any longer. I got a sponsor right away; began reading their book, worked the steps and started attending meetings. I frequently hear new people in the Alanon program say, “I can’t find a sponsor; I haven’t been able to find anybody like me. “Why in the world would you want somebody like you? The last thing I needed was somebody like me; I was miserable, depressed and angry. The woman who I asked to be my sponsor could not have been more different than me; she was the complete opposite. She was older than my mother, had a thick Dutch accent, was divorced from her alcoholic husband; had never lived with him sober, and she didn’t have children.
I remember the first time I called her. Butch was late for work because he had a dead battery and after we got him another battery, he ran out of gas, I was livid and then he yelled at me. After Butch went to work, I marched into the house; called my sponsor and by golly, I reported his bad behavior to her. When I was all done ranting and raving she said, “I suggest when he comes home tonight you apologize to him for your behavior because it was uncalled for! I was shocked and thought; evidently you don’t know how women do things in America. It was obvious to me that she must have missed something in the translation and so; I started going through my story again.
I was about half way through the second telling when she stopped me and said, “Don’t tell me that story again; I heard you the first time and furthermore, don’t ever call me again and start a conversation with Butch said this, or did that. I don’t care what Butch said, or did, you owe him an apology, so when he comes home tonight make your amends, I’ll see you at tonight’s meeting,” and she hung up. I knew when I saw her at the meeting that night she would ask if I had followed her instructions. I thought about it all day and when Butch came home I said, “I’m sorry I got angry at you because of your crappy attitude and I will try to do better next time.” Now I know that pointing out his part in our argument was not the best way to make an amends, but it was the best I could do and it was the first time that I had ever said, “I’m sorry,” because every argument was his fault.
That day, because of Alanon, I became a tiny bit willing to make an amends and that’s all it takes to make a beginning; a tiny bit of willingness. I frequently see people in Alanon, beating them selves up because they don’t think the program is working, or that it isn’t working fast enough. Forget about fast enough, just become willing to make a beginning, relax and give it time. If Alanon could wave a magic wand and give new members 25 years of emotional and spiritual growth they would, but that’s not how it works, if you want 25 years of growth you must attend meetings for 25 years, it’s one little step at a time; we get a sponsor, work the steps; go to meetings and it’s progress not perfection. It’s a slow process, but it’s well worth it, there are no words available to describe the emotional and spiritual maturity that can occur in our lives if we become willing to do a few simple actions. For me, it all began with making that first amends to Butch even though it wasn’t a very good one; I was willing. Somebody once asked me, “Why don’t you divorce Butch?” I said are you kidding, if I did that, I couldn’t make him miserable.
To be continued.