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),
Restored To Sanity? Second Step (Part Two)
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