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Restored To Sanity? Second Step (Part Two)

(We) came tp believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.  (Step two of the twelve steps of AA and Al Anon.)

When i came into Al Anon in 1985, i had no trouble accepting the idea that i was insane.  I never thought to ask for a diagnosis or even a formal definition of insanity.  Intellectually i had, and still have, problems with the concept of insanity* but life had knocked me off my intellectual perch and i could see that my behavior was crazy, producing no results other than alienation and the prospect of a downward slide into desair.  My attempts to pretend that my son did not exist, that i could control my daughter's behavior, and that Dianne's infinite love, patience, and acceptance would keep her with me no matter how badly i behaved were so clearly inept that it would seem  fair to conclude that i had no idea about what was going on or who or what i was.

Fast forward thirty years and i no longer feel that i am acting or thinking like a crazy person.^  I know that  if existence is an illusion, i am so far unable to move beyond that illusion and that is fine for now.  My son does exist within that illusion and he is doing very well considering that he suffers from a disease that affects the mind.  But he is compassionate and mentally alert, for which  i express gratitude every day.  My younger daughter is now a middle aged woman, adept at living in  this world, a successful mother and  lover.  I think Dianne died believing that i  love her, and that i had done the best i could for our relationship, and that she went confidently and happily toward whatever "happens" beyond the illusion of existence.

But now, here i am, starting to "work" the second stept again with no idea how to do that.

One thing that  i  know now that i did not understand thirty years ago is that this must be "heart" work rathen than mind work.   My "unmanageability" however it may manifest itself is not an intellectual problem.  I cannot solve it  by thinking about.  One of the AA slogans i remember from thirty years ago was this:

i tried to  think myself to a new way of  living;
but i finally had to live myself to a new way of thinking.

This means a lot more now than it did then.
Maybe that has to be good enough for a start.

* words like insane and crazy are terms of isolation, and replacing them with medical  terminology only distguises the fact that their main function  is to separate people.  Like all "deviance" what is "sane" in one time, place, culture, society, situation or social class may well be "insane" in another (and vice versa),

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Oct. 1st, 2016 09:00 pm (UTC)
1 - thank you for that slogan, I don't remember it but willl happily add it to my treasure chest of Al Anon slogans. And will copy it to my journal now to help it bind to my mind. I think you have given it to me just when I need it.

2 - having been certifiably and certifiedly mentally ill myself, I will tell you the definition I find both useful and non-stigmatizing: not merely "deviance", but a deviance that causes real difficulties, whether it's emotional, cognitive, interpersonal, whatever. If I have an imaginary friend who tells me I'm lovable, that the world is essentially benign, and that everything will work out for the best (some might consider my God that imaginary friend), that is not "crazy". If I have an imaginary friend, even if I call him God, who tells me to fire-bomb the post office, that is "crazy". Feeling down, even without an evident cause, isn't crazy. Feeling hopeless, despairing, suicidal, paralyzed by grief, even if my life is objectively in the toilet, is a problem. Being an introvert in a crowd is uncomfortable. Agoraphobia is insanity.

There are other definitions that might conflict with mine, but this one works for me.

Oct. 1st, 2016 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think that definition will work for me also.
I guess i could use a little more sanity.



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