I didn’t walk to the altar with my first husband with intentions of divorce. Unfortunately, the demands and strain of his profession as a physician pushed him to unhealthy means to cope. Alcoholism reared its ugly head. Near the end of our 11-year marriage, I began to attend Al-Anon, a support group for families of alcoholics.
I memorized the AA slogans and used them to help me face everyday challenges.
After I divorced, I realized that AA slogans didn’t have to be confined to problems in alcoholic relationships.
I recognized the value of them in other ways when I married into a stepfamily.
Here are 5 of my favorite AA slogans. Powerful sayings, they can help promote harmony in your stepfamily relationships.
1) Let go and let God
To most of us in stepfamilies, problems are part of life. My stepfamily is not exempt. I recognized I could not fix the problems myself. Oh, I tried! I wasted precious time trying to control the situation or find a solution. Peace came when I let go and let God handle the situations. The key—when I LET GO. Answers to our challenges don’t always come quickly, but waiting on God’s solutions is always better than forcing mine to work.
2) Let it begin with me and Be part of the solution, not the problem
It’s easy to point out how everyone else is contributing to a problem. Instead, I need to step up and be the example for forgiveness, kindness, patience, and goodness toward our stepchildren. Our actions speak louder than our words.
It’s also our responsibility to work toward a solution, not become part of the problem. I’m the first to admit I sometimes talk about a problem instead of look for an answer. We become what we focus on. Will you choose to focus on the problem or a solution?
3) How important is it?
Too often, we make things bigger than they really are. I clearly remember a conflict ten years ago that I created. I insisted that all our children attend my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. My stepdaughter, who had a strained relationship with me at the time, was living with her mom and didn’t want to go. I was angry when my husband didn’t force her to be there. I made a big deal out of it, creating further conflict with my husband.
Fast forward ten years to my parent’s 60th-anniversary celebration. My stepdaughter and I had mended our ways and she wanted to participate in the celebration! I’ve finally learned that many of the battles we choose to fight will resolve themselves over time.
4) One day at a time
“Building trust takes time, change takes time, healing old wounds takes time; there are no immediate ready-made solutions. This day is all I have to work with, and it is all I need. If I am tempted to worry about tomorrow’s concerns, I will gently bring my mind back to today.” (Courage to Change: One Day at a Time in Al-Anon)
Living one day at a time allows us to focus on the problems at hand, let go of the problems of yesterday and trust God with the problems of tomorrow. We can’t change the past OR the future. We can only make a change in today.
5) Keep an open mind
Stepfamily relationships evolve over time. Sometimes they get worse before they get better. If the solution you are trying doesn’t work, keep an open mind. Remain flexible. Try to embrace the change with an eye toward long-term success in your relationships, not ready-made answers. Be open to their thoughts and ideas of your spouse. Try to stay united with your spouse.
Other slogans of AA that can be applied to the stepfamily journey include: Easy does it, first things first, just for today, keep it simple, listen and learn, live and let live, and think.
I love AA slogans and can find ways to apply them every day.
How will you use an AA slogan to create stronger relationships in your stepfamily or have you applied one already? Will you share it with us?
I have a printable to share with you. Click here to download and print Steps for Dealing with Difficult Situations.