In the first step, we admitted our powerlessness over the effects of family dysfunction. That powerlessness includes the development of our survival traits that blocked us from a meaningful relationship with God. The traits also caused us to recreate our family of origin in adult relationships. We focused outwardly on others, trying to control or fix our families through them. We developed an overpowering obsession or compulsion for another person. This obsession brought us to “hitting bottom” and asking for help in ACA. P. 219, ACA book.
How many times have we tried to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking ship? In other words, as ACoA’s working from the survival traits or the Laundry List traits, we have sought desperately to control our environment, to bring order, sanity and purpose to our lives through arranging, re-arranging and ordering our external lives. It’s only normal, because we have sailed out onto the great sea of life with a compromised vessel, trauma has done its work on us and we have had to incorporate our survival traits just to keep ourselves from sinking. With the soul wound of trauma, we have often felt as if we are facing life with holes in the very container of our being, the soul itself.
We may have become quite successful in our careers but still feel chaotic on the inside. We feel like a sinking ship in the very core of our being where the inner child longs to be expressed. Before recovery, it seemed that no matter what we tried, we often sank further down.
When the inner child feels as if she/he is not being heard, it can often feel like chaos within, like there are holes in your soul, taking on the weight of the world, making you feel heavy and hopeless. A sinking feeling. It can feel overwhelming at first. Truly, recovery saves us as, over time, the soul mends and we begin to develop a solid hull that will hold us as we make our soul’s journey across life’s sea. Sometimes calm, sometimes raging, we become able to live a consistent life regardless of the conditions. This is recovery.
Before recovery, we acted out of our survival traits and tried every tactic we could to order our external world. We were just trying to fix our family of origin through whatever structures came our way. We were surviving. Be it a job, a relationship, a family, a hobby, we were trying desperately to make a connection with our true being within but we could not. We became easily confused. We lacked the tools to bring order because dysfunctional behavior made our lives unmanageable and brought the opposite of sanity. Simply, we had difficulty finding a way to connect with our inner being, our ability to trust ourselves was truly compromised. We tried to make this connection through other people and also failed. Whatever good and positive attempts we made, the results just seemed to leak out the other side.
As we work the steps, go to meetings and become involved in service to others, we begin to understand what it means to make a true connection to our inner child, our true self. We develop wholeness, our soul mends as our Higher Power orders our world. We learn, perhaps for the first time, what it feels like to love, to be loved, to trust and be trusted. We learn this from our ACA community as our relationships grow into friendships. We take risks to be known and to get to know others, and as we do, we see our survival traits letting go, we feel less compelled to order our external lives, we let God bring us to sanity, we give ourselves over to our Higher Power each day, one step at a time.
One day, we wake up and realize that we are less lonely, less confused, we feel a sense of purpose and meaning, we are beginning to inhabit the promises of ACA. Our old behaviors don’t seem to have the power they once had and when we try to use them, we more quickly recognize the disorder. One day we wake up and realize we are not sinking anymore, our soul is mending, the holes are being repaired, we are learning how to sail our ship and we are less and less afraid of the storms. We are also able to enjoy the peaceful times.
Prayer: I will trust that my Higher Power will order my life today, as I become powerless over dysfunctional behavior and give my will and my life to my Higher Power. I will trust my Higher Power to lift the weight of my survival traits and the character defects. I will risk trusting these things today.