As ACA becomes a safe place for you, you will find freedom to express all the hurts and fears you have kept inside and to free yourself from the shame and blame that are carryovers from the past. You will become an adult who is imprisoned no longer by childhood reactions. You will recover the child within you, learning to accept and love yourself.
The healing begins when we risk moving out of isolation. Feelings and buried memories will return. By gradually releasing the burden of unexpressed grief, we slowly move out of the past. We learn to re-parent ourselves with gentleness, humor, love and respect.
This process allows us to see our biological parents as the instruments of our existence. Our actual parent is a Higher Power whom some of us choose to call God. Although we had alcoholic or dysfunctional parents, our Higher Power gave us the Twelve Steps of Recovery.
This is the action and work that heals us: we use the Steps; we use the meetings; we use the telephone. We share our experience, strength, and hope with each other. We learn to restructure our sick thinking one day at a time. When we release our parents from responsibility for our actions today, we become free to make healthful decisions as actors, not reactors. We progress from hurting, to healing, to helping. We awaken to a sense of wholeness we never knew was possible.
By attending these meetings on a regular basis, you will come to see parental alcoholism or family dysfunction for what it is: a disease that infected you as a child and continues to affect you as an adult. You will learn to keep the focus on yourself in the here and now. You will take responsibility for your own life and supply your own parenting.
You will not do this alone. Look around you and you will see others who know how you feel. We will love and encourage you no matter what. We ask you to accept us just as we accept you.
This is a spiritual program based on action coming from love. We are sure that as the love grows inside you, you will see beautiful changes in all your relationships, especially with God, yourself, and your parents.
Listen to your Inner Child not with fear but with openness.
Love this child for all she or he has had to defend against.
Know that feelings are to be listened to; they are cues and signals that indicate where you are and what you need.
Mistakes are a sign of growing; remember, be gentle with yourself.
Success is not relative to others. It is a feeling of love and accomplishment for yourself.
Recovery is accepting yourself for who you are, no longer waiting for others to define you or approve of you.
It is safe to take time to play today. Play fuels your creativity, tickles your Inner Child, and nurtures your soul.
May you respond with the vulnerability of your child, but with the strength of your adult.
Surround yourself with people who respect and treat you well.
In faith one finds the strength to survive times of great fear and sadness.
see page xxiv-xxv Big Red Book
"With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors."
Fourth Step Prayer:
Divine Creator. Help me to be rigorously honest and to care for myself during this Fourth Step process. Let me practice gentleness and not abandon myself on this spiritual journey. Help me remember that I have attributes, and that I can ask for forgiveness. I am not alone. I can ask for help. Amen.
Step 4 Gentleness Breaks
The ACA Fourth Step involves a balanced look at our family of origin and our own behavior and thoughts. The emotions, events, and self-blame stirred by this Step can seem overwhelming for some. As you work Step Four, we urge you to be rigorously honest, holding nothing back, but we also remind you to be gentle with yourself. Remember you are not alone, and you have not done or thought anything that someone else has not done or thought. You have character assets and abilities that help balance disturbing aspects of your life.
In Step Four, we ask you to balance any shameful or fearful memories that might arise with the knowledge that you have honesty and courage in your life. ACA is not an easy program to work, but your courageis apparent and show in working this Step and tegh Twelve Steps of ACA. Adult children have an inner strength that has always been there. dThat inner strength, which some choose to call a Higher Power or Divine Spirit, is with you now as you face this liberating inventory of your life. We suggest that you remain focused during this process, but take gentleness breaks and stay in contact with your sponsor or counselor. During this break read the Eleventh Promise of the ACA promises out loud. Also read the ACA Fourth Step Prayer. (You will find the ACA promises at the front of the Workbook).
Promise Eleven: "With help from our ACA support group, we will slowly release our dysfunctional behaviors."
Fourth Step Prayer:
Divine Creator. Help me to be rigorously honest and to care for myself during this Fourth Step process. Let me practice gentleness and not abandon myself on this spiritual journey. Help me remember that I have attributes, and that I can ask for forgiveness. I am not alone. I can ask for hlep. Amen.
Step Four Gentleness Break
During this gentleness break, read the Twelve Promises of ACA listed at the front of the workbook.
Affirmation: The promises of ACA are for me, and they are being fulfilled in my life. I am discovering my real identity. I am facing shame and uncomfortable feelings without running or acting-out. I have positive attributes that I am discovering. God, as I understand God, hears my prayers. I can ask for help.