Third A is For Action

07 May 2017 Written by 

Living with, and loving, can be chaotic and difficult at times when there is conflict between loved ones. Living with, loving, and caring for active substance abusers is much more than chaotic. It is confusing, enraging, heartbreaking and terrifying. To name a few emotions those dealing with active addiction feel every day.

Addiction experts call what is happening to those impacted by addiction,"Toxic Stress", which is particularly destructive to babies and children. The keys to finding serenity and peace can be found in the three A's.

The first A is Awareness which is all about clueing yourself in to what is happening around you, and to you. You, or someone you know, is out of control. It's not a phase. It's a fact of life. Being aware of reality, instead of pretending it isn't so, is the first step.

The second A is Acceptance which is more than just acknowledging reality. You can't help yourself or others if you're fighting the truth. Acceptance of reality frees you to take action.

The Third A is Action

But what is action and how do you take action when the facts are against a positive outcome the way you wish it could be? Someone or lots of people around you are not doing well. Maybe behaving badly, hurting you and him/herself and others. There may be danger involved of many kinds. Action does not mean that you must run around fixing everything. Because in many situations when life is going wrong, there are too many things to fix. Action can mean many things. One is to take care of yourself first.

Understanding How The Three A's Work Means Taking Them In Order 

In crisis mode our natural instinct is to:

  • To react quickly to every situation
  • To find solutions no matter what
  • To be the Super Hero and save everyone
  • to make things happen the way we want them to.

Acting Without The First Two A's Can Cause These Results

You sure can make things happen, but not what you intended.

  • You can make people mad
  • You can make the situation worse
  • You definitely can judge and condemn others
  • You can add to the chaos
  • You will become frustrated and angry

Solutions Come Slowly

Working the first two A's means learning how to slow down. You may want to speed up when there's a curve in the road. Bad idea. The beauty of the three A’s is they teach us there is plenty of time to calm down, to reflect, to accept, to process and then to act. How often have any of us wished we hadn’t reacted so quickly to a certain situation? Probably many times.

In Taking Action First Do No Further Harm

It's tough when you think what's happening is wrong and dangerous. But your judgement and forcing a solution doesn't make it better. Check your mood before taking any action that could make things worse. Are you:

Too Hungry

Too Angry

Too Lonely

Too Tired

If you are in a stable frame of mind, your decisions to act are coming from a healthy place.  If you am not sure what to do, check it out with a counselor, a friend in recovery, or a support group. Know that you can always ask for help in deciding what to do. In my case, I always remember I am not Wonder Woman. There is a God, and it isn’t me. I am only responsible for what I have control over. If I don't know, I ask.

Taking Action Can Mean A Wide Range Of Things

In many chaotic but not easily solvable situations you need to consider what action is appropriate. When you've accepted what's happening now, and you're in a stable frame of mind, taking action can take many forms depending on the severity of the situation. If you or a loved one or a child is in danger from another person, calling a hot line, bringing in a counselor, calling a lawyer, an expert, or a person in authority may be the action that needs to be taken. If in danger that is the action to take. If you're a teen, you may have to tell secrets you don't want to tell to an adult you can trust to keep yourself or others safe. Find adults who will hear you out. Taking action means for thousands of people the positive step of joining a support group like AA or Al-Anon or Smart Recovery or many others, and going to a meeting. Not easy for the first time, but 12 step and other recovery programs from which the three A's are taken are life-saving action for millions of people. 

Sometimes Doing Nothing Is The Right Thing For Right Now

Taking action can sometimes mean taking a time out. Getting away from conflict and taking care of yourself. Stepping back to give yourself relief also takes a lot of courage. That is often the hardest action of all to take. I remember when one of my sons was struggling financially and had to live on people's couches. It took so much courage to do absolutely nothing. When the time felt right I helped him find an apartment. My mother's heart wanted to fix him before he was ready to do it himself. For me it took incredible courage on my part to do nothing. Other parents find this step much easier and can detach with less grief. We are all different and that needs to be acknowledged and honored, too. There are no fixed standards on what works for everyone.

The Three A's Can Make You More Effective And Certainly More Serene

Working through the A's can take anywhere from few seconds to a few years to complete. You may not be able to save everyone as you so wish you could, but you can save at least one person from stress and anxiety, you.

Content Originally Published By: Nadine Knapp @ Reach Out Recovery

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Read 1977 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 August 2017 17:45
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Nadine Knapp

I was born into a large Catholic Family of 14 children in Upstate New York. I graduated with my degree in Professional and Technical Writing from University of South Florida. My recovery story began when I witnessed addiction in close  relatives and friends. Unable to change them I began to focus on what I could change, me. Building a support system for myself I now strive daily to keep the focus on me. In my articles I sometimes share stories from my own experience, strength, and hope. It is my hope that others will find courage to see "the elephant in the room" and seek out help for themselves against this cunning,baffling,and powerful disease.
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