Self-care and unmanageable life

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 1 of the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon

I found a nugget of truth that hit hard tonight – from “Paths to Recovery” page 13 –

“I finally realized my life had become unmanageable because I was so busy taking care of others that I had no time to take care of me.”

How many times have I done this in my relationship with the church over my lifetime? Hmmm …

  • eating unhealthy meals at fellowship dinners to avoid “the look” from a church cook
  • staying up too late with youth instead of building a solid team of youth sponsors to share the work
  • taking on clerical tasks because I just want to get it done
  • trying to smooth over conflicts that were not mine to engage
  • getting over involved in teaching/leading to avoid my “stuff”
  • going for absolute perfection on whatever I did, instead of trusting “good enough”
  • letting myself get caught up in someone’s grief, anger, apathy, struggle because I *knew* I could figure out how to fix it

Many of these are from years ago – but I would be lying if I refused to own their lure. Especially when you are raised to operate from a “others first” mentality. Cause it’s right there in the Bible (esp Phillipians 2:5-8 where teachers and ministers taught me I was to imitate Jesus as he humbled himself). Socially acceptable lure + embedded expectation = difficult to transform behavior.

But. “Love one another AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF” is one of the two greatest commandments, according to Mark 12:30-31. So. It’s not others or me. It’s us, and self-care is crucial to us existing well … if I don’t even know how to love myself, how the hell can I love you?

Over the years, I have discovered multiple reasons why I used to choose to care for others/the church instead of me, leading to my life being unmanageable. More on that as I go through the steps. And, I am sure I will discover more.

Tonight, I recognize that I am in need of self-care, I have power to set healthy boundaries for self-care, and I am worth being cared for.

Disclaimer: The links to Al-anon resources anywhere on this site are just that … resources. There is no affiliate program for Al-Anon. You can find Al-Anon meetings here.

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