Monday, May 21, 2007

What I've Learned From Step 1

Step 1- "We admitted we were powerless over the effects of alcoholism or other family dysfunction, that our lives had become unmanageable."

Letting Go

How nice it is to not worry about things that are not my problem. I do still have the tendency to get overly concerned with things that are not my responsibility. But I am getting better at realizing when my codependency kicks in and NOT acting on those feelings. And then feeling good about my ability to not to act out of some misguided sense of duty.

Hard as I try, I can't control everything. At times, I can control almost nothing. And being OK with that is the most liberating feeling!

Like it says in "The Problem"; "We had come to feel isolated, uneasy with other people, and especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process."

To me, this is the root of my urge to overcommit my time, energy and effort to a given person or project. It used to be an automatic, fear based reaction for me. The thinking goes something like...If I offer something of value to you and make you dependent on me, you can't hate me.

Now I stop and think about it... What's best for me? Is that something I really want to do? Do I really have the time needed or will I be sacrificing completing some other important matter? How much will I resent putting my own needs on the back burner for this?

Or when I really get stressed I ask myself, "Is the earth going to stop spinning if I don't jump in here?"

These questions bring me clarity and I can then make a decision with confidence and no regrets. And sometimes, because I'm focusing on taking care of ME, the answer has to be "no". Reasonable people usually understand. My great fear of being castigated by someone because of my decision never materializes. And I know that if someone tries to use guilt or pressure me unduly, THEY are being dysfunctional. And that's never a good enough reason for me to do anything.

It sure feels good when I treat myself this way. I then have more of "me" to give and share with others.


Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Can You Change Your Future?

Reprinted from The Daily Encounter

Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

It is true that our lives are significantly shaped during our early formative years and many of our character issues formed then are with us for the rest of our lives.

What if we grew up in a home that was less than wholesome or where we may have been emotionally abused if not physically abused? It's interesting to note that where I live physical and sexual abuse of a child is justifiably considered a crime and is punishable by law with the likelihood of being sentenced to time in jail.

Furthermore, if the abuse is by a parent, the child is often removed from his or her custody. Tragically, emotional abuse is not even considered a crime and, depending on the intensity, can be just as, or even more, psychologically damaging as physical or sexual abuse.

As an adult, overcoming the effects of childhood abuse and love deprivation is possible but it can be very challenging. Speaking personally, I grew up in a very dysfunctional family and because I felt unloved and rejected, especially by my father, for many years I felt extremely insecure and felt that I was ugly and unlovable. True, I was not responsible for my upbringing, but as an adult I realized that I was responsible for overcoming my less than wholesome background.

Besides having a lot of therapy, one of many significant things I did to resolve the effects of my impaired relationship with my father was to go to his gravesite and in my imagination I "talked to him" as if he were there with me. I said, "Dad, if you were still alive today what advice would you have for me?" The answer that came to my mind was, "Don't let your past control your future."

Good advice. True, I may have been a victim in the past but if I chose to remain a victim I would have become a willing volunteer.

For healthy living and loving relationships it is imperative that we resolve all our past impaired relationships and forgive all who have ever hurt us. We don't have to remain a victim but with God's help, and that of others where necessary, we can overcome a hurtful past and become all that God envisioned for us to be.

The choice is ours. So, whatever you do don't let your past control your future.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Camp Recovery 2007

Fellow ACA-er, Randy, tells of his experience at Camp Recovery the weekend of April 27, 2007.

This past weekend I attended "Camp Recovery" located in the San Bernardino mountains at Camp De-Benneville and I wanted to share this experience with other ACA-ers. First I have to tell you that I would never have had the courage to go if it were not for the help I have received from attending the weekly meetings. The anticipation and anxiety that preceded my arrival was at times very difficult but once I arrived I found the camp to be the single, greatest event towards my recovery since I started ACA one year ago.

The people, organizers, and camp staff were the best. I have never fit into a group so quickly or felt so welcomed as I did at camp. This was a weekend full of discovery, hard work, interventions, peace, tranquility, love, faith, hope, growth, and time away from the busy world. The 12 step meetings, workshops, meditation, and the friendships that I made were so rewarding and really filled me with so much hope and joy.

Oh, did I mention the food was really, really good! I can't remember feeling so good about myself in a really long time. My fears subsided, I discovered new issues to work, and the best part is that I had so many others with the same issues where we would talk for hours. The most difficult part of camp is when we all had to say good by and return home.

I continue to use the tools that I have learned at camp as I work on my recovery. I have a renewed appreciation for myself, my family, and my friends. I highly recommend this camp and would love to see you all of you next time.

Your ACA Family Member, Randy

Thank you Randy, for sharing your thoughts with us!

Upcoming ACA/12 Step events:

Mingus Mountain Retreat

A 12 step gathering for anyone in recovery or who would like to find out about recovery.

May 18th, 19th and 20th

ACA Comedy Night

June 22, 2007 8:30 pm

Martini Blues
Huntington Beach

21st Annual International ACA Convention

November 2 - 4, 2007

Lake San Marcos Resort (formerly known as the Quails Inn)
Lake San Marcos, CA (just north of San Diego, CA)

The theme for 2007 will be "The Magic of Recovery". All in recovery welcome. A wonderful week-end of fellowship and recovery featuring speakers, workshops, and meetings in the relaxing environment of the Lake San Marco's Resort. This year's theme is "The Magic of Recovery".

For more info visit the Convention website at or contact

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children