I chaired the meeting for my Al-Anon group last night. It has been over ten years since I chaired a meeting. I took a break from meetings and learned to live what I had learned. I only recently returned to Al-Anon meetings because a friend asked me to accompany her to them.
I couldn't decide what to do the meeting on so I called my friend and asked what she, as a new-comer to Al-Anon, needed the meeting to be about. She said, "Let Go and Let God." This is one of the many slogans that we learn and use in Al-Anon.
I started the meeting with the following reading from Hope for Today, AL-ANON FAMILY GROUPS, 2002, page 320:
"When I heard 'Let Go and Let God' for the first time, it didn't make sense to me. Let go of what? And let God do what? The little I did understand was the futility of my efforts to try to control other people, places, and things. Al-Anon told me I could turn my attention to monitoring myself and my reactions.
I let go of other people and I began to feel some relief. I let go of what others said or didn't say, and what they did or didn't do. I let go of my expectations. I no longer felt a need to be a people-pleaser. As I let go, I found I lived more harmoniously with myself and with others. I began to take more responsibility for myself. I figured if I could accept myself, I could accept other people too.
I let go of outcomes. It was okay if things didn't go the way I envisioned. Sometimes the results were better than I anticipated. It was no longer important that others read from the script that my expectations had written.
As I let go, I learned I could let God. 'Letting God' doesn't mean I abdicate my responsibilities. In fact, I become more accountable for myself. 'Letting God' indicates that I accept my imperfections and grow toward the person I dream I can be. 'Letting go and letting God' means I can enjoy being responsible for what is rightfully mine and leave the rest to God.
Thought for the Day
'Let go' comes before 'let God' for a reason. I can't expect God to do anything if I am still holding onto my problem.
'When we put this slogan to work, we get out of the way.'
How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics, p. 76"
I could not have found a better reading to explain this slogan, "Let Go and Let God". The above reading says it all.
"Let Go and Let God" is not about enabling yourself to continue in the victim mode. When I first heard the word surrender, which is used a lot with Let Go and Let God, I thought to myself, "I will not be a doormat like my mother was to my father. I will not let someone else tell me what to say, do and think like my dad did when I was a child." I was in open rebellion to this idea until I began to understand the concept as expressed in the reading above.
Growing up with incest and a father that was a dictator who controlled everything and everybody in my family, I learned from an expect on being controlling. I was in Al-Anon for a few years before I realized that I had become my dad in trying to control. Notice that I said "trying to control."
Control is an illusion. What I realized was that the more I tried to control everything, the more out of control I became. I could not have imagined the freedom that came when I Let Go and Let God and stopped trying to control my world.
You only see the person that I am today. I hope by giving you glimpses of who I was that maybe you will learn from my experiences and not have to do the same thing in your own life. I know that some of you will make the decision to face the same challenges and have the same lessons to learn from those challenges that I did. Some of you will travel down that very same road. I can't and shouldn't try to stop you from doing just that, no matter how painful I know it will be for you. This is especially hard to do if it is my child that I see traveling down this road.
Well, today, I can Let Go and Let God and Let You. I couldn't always do that. I wanted to fix you and your problems so that I wouldn't have to look at my own. Today, I know it isn't my responsibility to fix anyone else. I am doing an injustice to you if I try. Today, I can say, "Have a glorious day, unless you choose to do otherwise." and mean it. What you do with your life is your choice. Today, I choose to Let Go and Let God. How about you?