How does Step One change my perspective about the disease of alcoholism?
I realize now that my parents can only be helped when they're good and ready. Their problems are not mine. That juxtaposition of love and hatred I've felt for them for so long is actually natural, it's loving my parents, but not hating their problems of booze and martyrdom. I can love my parents without guilt, because loving them doesn't mean I love their diseases. I can love my mother without fear I'll push her over the edge, because her problems are her own, not mine. I can love my father without fear of retribution, because the demon booze is not my father.
How do I determine I am powerless over someone else's behavior?
Each adult has the right to free will. For good or bad, they have the right to do as they see fit. My mother will continue to do what she does, because it works for her; however harmful it may be. My father will continue to drink, until something stops him. That something can not be me, it must be internal. As much as I may want to turn them from their self destruction, I cannot. I determine my powerlessness over someone else's behavior by determining whether I am trying to impinge on their free will. If I am, I am trying to control them, and controlling others is impossible. Trying to control someone else is like trying to stop water: Eventually, it will make it's way where it wants to go, dam be damned.
In what ways do I continue to struggle with powerlessness?
I still want control. Control means less chaos, to the kid in my head. While I rationally know that to be untrue, and that it is in fact opposite that, control means less chaos to my emotions. If I can't control it, then I'm relying on others, others that could fuck it up or hurt me with it. I've said time and again "I hate people." I now no longer think that's true. I hate not having control over people, because not having control over them allows them to impact my life, causing chaos. I rebel against powerlessness, even unintentionally. Feeling powerless goes back to when I was young. I was powerless against the chaos. I had to either embrace the chaos or try to control things that might make the chaos go away. I chose control. Whether or not that has to do with being the eldest and Mamasita, I don't know. To admit powerlessness would be to admit imperfection. No one would or could love something imperfect. To admit powerlessness and imperfection would drive everyone I love and rely on away. I've been told over and over that isn't true, but my mother and father showed me it was. The people who should have loved me unconditionally made me earn their love with pretty smiles and perfection. I'm sitting here crying because there has been a realization that real love is given freely and maybe, just maybe, people actually mean when they say they're there for me. There's a little will o' the wisp light for me.
How does Step One help me to let go of misplaced blame and undeserved shame?
Oh, what I wouldn't give just to parrot back the "right" answer on this one.
Step One helps me realize that Mom's depression isn't my fault. I am not to blame for her mistakes. I am not to blame for what she does. "If guilt trips actually took you anywhere, my mother would be a travel agent." It is not my fault she was suicidal. I should not be ashamed of her depression. Guilt trips were her perverse way of trying to control her world, of exerting power when she was/ is powerless against all else. After the suicide show on the bridge, I internalized it as all my fault. I had handed her the note, I had somehow failed her in getting her friend to love her, I had failed to keep my sisters happy and calm around her. I now know that it isn't my fault. She would have found some other excuse to try and jump off that bridge if I didn't exist. Her mental imbalance is not my fault.
Step One helps me realize that Dad's drinking isn't my fault. He doesn't drink because of a dirty house or loud kids or even my mother. He drinks because he drinks. He'd drink even in completely different circumstances, and will keep drinking until he finds out how to heal. Step One helps me heal from the shame of never being good enough to keep him from drinking. There should be no shame there. Even if I'd kept things absolutely perfect, and kept Cassie out of trouble, he still would have drank. It helps me heal from the shame of having CPS called on us and having to lie my way out of the interview ("We're just fine, thanks!") and the darker shame of knowing we could have gotten out of that house had I told the truth, but the fear of them breaking the 3 of us apart kept me lying. It helped me heal from the shame of such a fucked up family, because, while the family dynamic was definitely off, it wasn't Mom and Dad fucking it all up. It was Depression and Alcohol.
What benefits have I experienced in applying Step One?
I realize that not everything that goes wrong is my fault, or even has anything to do with me. I was the perfect scapegoat: blame me and I'd probably believe you.
Not every issue requires panic mode. Panic mode stems from trying to exert power over something where I have no power.
I can accept, and in certain cases, even ask for help.
I can identify when I have no power and when I am using old evasion techniques to try to force power or avoid powerlessness. If I notice I am using old evasion techniques, I can use my power to control myself and stop using them.