Let go and Let God
Thursday, June 11, 2015
This is one of the most important slogans of the Al-Anon program, or for mitigating any stressful relationship, but it is important to not abuse it by turning it into a mandate for displaying utter apathy toward the others need for compassion and understanding. Instead the slogan is meant to help us release the stress of trying to solve problems by admitting that we have no control over the other individual and instead focusing on self improvement and the wisdom of a higher power for guiding our relationships. We learn in Al-Anon that when the problems of alcohol come to a head, that is the moment not for attempting to teach the alcoholic a lesson or to display a lack of respect, but is instead the moment for inaction, and calm loving compassion, to let go and let God. The storm caused by alcoholism or other conflicts, does not present us with any responsibility of controlling the actions of the alcoholic, such as controlling the amount of alcohol drunk by the addict, telling the alcoholic that he, or she, is drunk, making excuses for the alcoholic, etc. except to make sure that the alcoholic does not attempt to drive a car or operate critical machinery while drunk.
Indeed, it is human nature to resist the attempts of others to interfere with our lives or to control us in any way and it is impossible to reason with an individual who is drunk. Letting the alcoholic face the natural consequences of his addiction rather that imposing consequences of our own creation, except to insure the safety and well being of the alcoholic and others, puts the responsibility for sobriety on the alcoholic which creates less stressful situations.
It really has help me, not only with an alcoholic daughter, but with coping with disagreements with my spouse with how to handle the problem of alcoholism. I tried to teach my spouse that she displayed only apathy and not love for her daughter by avoiding contacting the daughter (who lives 4 hours away by car), but it was only when I stopped trying to mediate between my wife and daughter, that they were able to settle their differences. Both are much happier now and Al-Anon helped the situation.
I put a lot of thought into writing this topic, more than on the other slogans, but I am only a lay person who is untrained in human behavior. I would love for those reading this to offer their own understanding of this slogan, or the other slogans, and how they have help them cope with the problems of having a loved one who is an alcoholic.