By Whitney McKendree Moore
I’m Dancing as Fast as I Can
As a child of, a wife of, a niece of, and probably a granddaughter of an alcoholic, I developed my own case of Alcoholism. My bottle did not contain liquor; it contained Worry and an assortment of other poisonous spirits that lured me into a wild-and-crazy way of dancing through my life.
For plenty of logical and practical reasons, I chose to dance as fast I could for as long I could, encouraged by others cheering me on, confident I would win the Dance Marathon.
Unwittingly, I became an expert at crisis management, or so I thought. What I was actually an expert at was doing the Charleston (solo), which went okay until I dropped from exhaustion.
And when I did, I turned to Al-Anon.
A New Dance Step? No, It’s 12 Steps
People had mentioned the Twelve Steps to me before, but I’d spent twenty years denying the problem. Crisis (and the adrenaline that swirls around in it) were my addiction, and I simply could not put that bottle down. To be honest, I didn’t think I had a choice. It took adrenal exhaustion for me to seek the wisdom of people who love alcoholics. Their meetings were like going to Dance Class and learning the Waltz.
Dancing with Alcoholism had nearly dissolved our marriage because I’d didn’t know how to follow my Higher Power’s lead. In the rooms of recovery, I learned that Waltzing with my Partner was exhilarating. I discovered that all the whirling and twirling went beautifully as long as I followed closely, not more than a hair’s breadth behind.
Today, I attend meetings to stay in step. I need to be vigilant because there are many ways I have been affected by someone else’s drinking. I work the Twelve Steps to keep on top of my own shenanigans, and I must confess that it can seem like playing that game called “Whack ‘Em All.” Lately, something called “people-pleasing” just keeps popping up!
Finding the Right Partner
I have faced and named that particular character defect before, but now, after thirty years in recovery, here it is again. Apparently, it is difficult for me to accept that “No, thanks” is a complete sentence. I can’t seem to leave it at that. Perhaps it’s fear of disappointing expectations other people have of me. But that’s going to lure me back into doing the Charleston, all by myself again, without my Partner. So then, the question becomes, “Who is leading?”
If I am ever going to overcome this (expletive deleted) “people-pleasing” defect, it’s going to require more than just taking yet another close, hard look. It’s going to require saying “No, thanks” to all seemingly innocent invitations to do the Charleston. And it’s going to require practice. So, what am I getting? Practice. Lots of practice!
Giving Up the Lead and Following
Meanwhile, I know that my Higher Power is not going to push me or pull me away from “shoulding all over myself.”
That is why I need to persevere with Dance Class, so to speak:
(1) Emptying my bottle of Worry (and all its angry cousins)
(2) Working with my Sponsor to pour every poison down the drain
(3) Most importantly, going where others are sharing their Experience, Strength, and Hope — warts and all.
Their harrowing trials and praise reports are what has increased my ability to Trust in Higher Power. Trust has generated praise reports of my own.
For me, it’s all about Trust. Leaping in Faith is no fun without it. I am glad to share the twirling and the whirling of my dance through life, and I am grateful for others who are doing the same.
What a relief it is to stop with the Charleston, and to Trust my Partner, my Higher Power instead — until the jig is up.
Bio: Whitney McKendree Moore
A turning point for Whitney came in 1989, when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery.
There, people were sharing “dirty laundry” and seeking God’s guidance to overcome. Now her writing is focused on encouraging others that God is still in the miracle-making business.
To Connect with Whitney:
Websites: Recovery in the Bible
For more on how Whitney learned that what is impossible for man is possible with God, her book, Whit’s End: The Biography of a Breakdown, tells us how she learned that with God’s help, there is hope for the hopeless and help for the helpless.
Writing, and recovery heals the heart
When you’re ready to tell your story of addiction, recovery, how your found a Higher Power and hope, consider a guest post. Someone, somewhere needs your words.