12 Steps, feeling powerless, taking action, parent, families, caregivers Program

Parent Caregivers – 12 Step Program – Step 1

This series Parent Caregivers 12 Step Program is adapting the “Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” to caregiving. This is the first in the series related to the 12 steps.

The fact that there is a book written about a 12 Step Program for caregivers leads one to consider the difficulty that caregiving can be.  As a parent of a special needs child, some days I don’t feel like a caregiver at all.  Some days I get lucky and get to be a parent.  Yet, other days I don’t even feel like a parent at all.  After cleaning up the children’s messes and dealing with a major meltdown, I feel like I am more of a servant that anything.

The writer’s of Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach have adapted the “Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous” to caregiving.

The authors suggest using a journal to write down your thoughts, feelings, and observations as you move through the steps. 

This is the first of a series of posts all related to the 12 steps.

Feeling Powerless

“We admitted we were powerless over the people we are taking care of – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The first step can feel so scary to all of us.  At least it was to me.  I didn’t want to feel like I was powerless to help my daughter in the way I thought I could.  I mean she is a little girl and I was supposed to raise her to be a doctor or a lawyer.  Some days, which I hate to admit, I am often wondering if she will ever be able to live independently.  All the things I thought I could control, I couldn’t.  Yet, I think maybe the problem for me was that I kept trying to force it anyway.

Taking Action

So for me, the moment came that I felt totally out of control and lost.  I was overwhelmed and scared and didn’t have any idea what to do.  Yet, the moment that I gave myself permission to not have total control, I was able to have a clearer focus.  While I didn’t have the ability to do the things the way I wanted, I had the ability to control other things.  Honestly it was also a little bit of a relief to know that I have no way to do it all, to be in charge of it all.

Result

The first step can be freedom.  For me it was.  I was able to accept what was happening and to being to live in the experience fully.  If you read my other blogs you will see how I found ways to find joy in the little things.

Exercise

“We admitted we were powerless over the people we are taking care of – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Consider this statement.  In a journal or on a piece of paper draw a rock for each of the things you are trying to control in your life.  Draw larger rocks for the people you are trying to control.  Then create more rocks for all the things you are trying to manage in your life, big and small.  If you run out of paper, add another one.  Now add a rock for all of the things you are in charge of in your life.

Now visualize putting all of these into a bag and carrying it around with you everyday.  Imagine your entire day.  Carry the bag to the office or to the kitchen or to the grocery store.  How heavy is it?  Now consider you carry this bag for the entire time you are caregiving.

Now, what if you could just put the bag down when it got too heavy?  If the load became too heavy, you could leave it there.  That is what step 1 is like.  Let go of the load.

Thoughts

What do you think of this first step? 

What did you write down in your journal or on the paper? 

What reservations do you have? 

Come to our Facebook / Twitter and start a conversation and Pin it for later.

 

*Feeling Powerless*
*"We admitted we were powerless over the people we are taking care of - that our lives had become unmanageable."*

*So for me, the moment came that I felt totally out of control and lost....*

Parents, family caregivers. 12 steps, "We admitted we were powerless over the people we are taking care of - that our lives had become unmanageable."*

Source:  Loosely Adapted from “Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach” by Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen