I came to the 12-steps about a decade ago, as I helped an addicted loved one enter a year-long rehab program. His addiction had been going on for several years, and (as I later learned), my co-dependence preceded the addiction by years before that.
What I thought was a plan to “support” my loved one in recovery because a journey of discovery for myself. I came to understand that I had my own issues to confront. In that first year, my addicted loved one and I walked on similar, but very different, paths. We both worked the steps. I even attended family sessions at his rehab facility. But each of us had unique burdens we carried, unique weaknesses to have removed, unique amends to make as the time came.
I started at Step One, recognizing that I was powerless over addiction. Simple enough, I thought at the time. But over the course of several months I came to understand that my powerlessness was deeper than I realized, mostly because my own problems were far deeper than I realize. My co-dependence led me to try to control everything around me, and to respond with anger when I could not. (And, as Step 1 taught me, of course I could not control everything around me!)
A decade later, both my addicted loved one and I live in recovery. And we both recognize that we do so one day at a time, grateful for where we are today. I have come to rely on regular step work to keep me on the path of recovery from my addiction to control and the destruction that addiction caused in my family. I’m amazed at the grace of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice that allows my life to be better today than it was a decade ago.
As I worked the first three steps, summarized simply and well by a friend: “I can’t; He can; I think I’ll let Him,” I came to trust the Lord in ways I never knew I could. I learned to pray to understand His will rather than to dictate my own. I learned to “let go and let God” in matters I knew I could not (or should not) control.
I began as an ARP group leader just over 8 years ago, and I have found a wonderful home in my ARP group, where I can continue to learn to live according to the principles of the 12 Steps, and enjoy the continuing blessings which the Savior offers through His atoning sacrifice.