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Al-Anon and Alateen Family Groups in Santa Barbara

'Insanity' Versus 'In Sanity' -- Making Space for Serenity Serenity

I had an enlightening moment when I was taking my morning bath. I was thinking about Steps One and Two, the insanity of my life before the Al-Anon program, and my choice to want to live my life in sanity. Then these two terms popped up clearly in my mind: "insanity" versus "in sanity."

What's the difference in these words? They have the same number of letters-but the difference in emphasis changes the whole meaning...

And then I got it - there's a space between them! For me that space - in relation to living with the effects of alcoholism - signifies the Al-Anon program and my recovery. It means:

  • Taking a step back to give myself space to breathe before deciding what action to take
  • Holding myself back from saying potentially damaging words to my husband when I feel resentful, angry, or hurt about his actions when he's drinking
  • Detaching with love when my husband is actively drinking
  • Giving myself and my husband the space we both need to work our programs, without interfering

I now know that my recovery is all about that small space - that breath or that pause - that allows me to detach. "Insanity" or "in sanity"? I know which way I will be living my life!

By Jan, United Kingdom
The Forum, January 2008

Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.