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Working the steps in ACA helped me understand the adaptive behaviors I learned from the dysfunction in my family. I was raised in what looked like a pleasant upstanding home, but the covert atmosphere (no rage or physical abuse) left me wondering why I was not happy and couldn’t connect with others in healthy relationships. Through my alcoholic father and controlling mother, I became a codependent, people-pleasing, approval-seeker with many fears.

My Fifth Step, and all the work leading up to it, has helped heal my soul and spirit. I am no longer looking to rescue someone or to be rescued as a means of finding happiness.

One of the most important parts of my Fifth Step was developing a loving understanding of my higher power which began in step three. Now I can call on God, as I understand God, as a source of comfort, strength, and trust. God, my Higher Power is ‘Goodness’ seen as love, forgiveness, kindness, humility, joy, laughter, camaraderie, trust, nurturing, compassionate, encouraging, etc. Unconditional love is ‘Goodness’ or my HP. I am willing and ready to let my ‘Goodness’/HP flow from me and overcome the distrust, blame and shame, and approval-seeking that I learned as a child. I am becoming humble and healthy. When making life's decisions, I have a choice. I can choose ‘Goodness’ or the opposite. God/HP is so much deeper and complex than my simple words. It is the best I can do right now. I am enjoying my spiritual journey and growth.

When seeing an inspirational movie, the dialog reinforced how I am changing my thinking and strengthening my faith. When I trust in “Goodness’/HP I am learning a new way of thinking, of seeing and doing things. There is no shame for being inquisitive or making mistakes. I am treated kindly if I falter. My loving parent’s voice is becoming more like my HP/‘Goodness’ in the kind words, feelings, and actions that I hear and feel about myself. I can relax and receive all the ‘goodness.’ Sometimes I do not know what to think about this, but I do not have to think and analyze anymore because I have faith and trust that God/HP is with me and believes in me. This higher power of ‘Goodness’ is strengthening the loving parent and how I treat myself. I feel secure.

I read in a poem, to take the leap of Faith (doing something fearful) is when you believe God/HP will plant you on solid ground or give you wings to fly. Now, I can take that leap and face my fears. My fear of authority is being replaced with compassion, forgiveness, and encouragement. I can get over shaming myself because I am enough, and I choose joy, camaraderie, and acceptance. I choose the ‘Goodness’ that is in and around me. To nurture my spirituality, I need to communicate with God/HP to keep Faith and Goodness flowing. I do this by being alone, quiet and praying/meditating.

In my Fifth Step, I gave away issues and feelings that did not serve me anymore.
I confessed my wrongs. I looked around the house and was able to get rid of extra things I did not need. I put things away that reminded me of the past. I am getting healthier. This is a wonderful process!

Nancy A

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