One definition for insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I first learned this definition in Alanon, which is a self-help support group for those who are effected by the alcoholism of a family member, loved one or friend.
What exactly does this mean? It means for example, that when a person drinks, gets drunk and continues to do it over and over again, with disastrous results, that the behavior is insane. Another example is if a wife or mother screams like a banshee at a person for drinking or drugging behavior and it doesn’t change, that their behavior is insane. These are just a couple of examples of insane behavior.
How did I find sanity? First I don’t know that I ever knew what sanity was when I first came into the Alanon, and then later into AA. It was frightening to read that step 2 in both programs state that, “We came to believe in a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity.” That was quite intimidating to me because I was raised in insanity. How could I be restored to sanity when I never was sane?
Fortunately you don’t have to have been raised in a sane household to become sane. By attending 12-step support groups, whether it be AA or Alanon or any number of other 12-support groups, reading literature, talking to other recovering people, praying, and becoming teachable, you can become sane, or at least find sanity for yourself.
We live in a pretty insane world. Our world is addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, addictions by the hundreds. How can we not be insane? I do not pretend to have all of the answers. I do believe that I am a lot saner than I was many years ago when I was first introduced to the programs of AA and Alanon. I have seen it work for hundreds of people, just in my community and our numbers add up to thousands all over the world.
Many churches have adapted the 12-steps of AA for church members who are addicted, who are not comfortable without having a God of their understanding being named anything but Jesus. These meetings are called Celebrate Recovery.
I just know that I found sanity with the 12-steps of AA and Alanon and Adult Children of Alcoholics. If you are suffering, or know someone else who is suffering and is trying to find sanity in their lives, they can find it there.
Many of us need more than just 12-step support groups to find sanity and recovery. It is necessary for many to have medication and or therapy. I have heard hardcore AA members’ say that all you have to do is work the steps and attend meetings, etc. They seem to forget that in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it even says that there are those of us who may need to seek out professional help.
I know that I have felt saner than I ever have in my life with the help of these programs. I don’t have to worry about drinking too much or getting drunk, because I do not drink at all anymore. I have just celebrated my 30th year of continual sobriety, and if I can do it, anyone can. I also believe that it is important to pay it forward. Anytime I reach out to help another suffering alcoholic, drug addict, or just another suffering person, I feel better. I know I am fulfilling God’s purpose in my life.