My Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings end with members stating an Affirmation. We began by using the list on page 329 of the Big Red Book. Those affirmations all begin with “It is okay.” Some examples are “It is okay to know another way to live.” “It is okay to say no without feeling guilty,” and “It is okay to say ‘I don’t know.’” Many of these affirmations mirror the statements that different meetings have developed into a Bill of Rights. Examples are “I have a right to say no.” “I have a right to take healthy risks,” or I have the right to expect honesty from others.”
These affirmations are helpful, but they do not go to the heart of claiming who I am as a person in recovery. They do not include statements such as “I am lovable just as I am,” “I am vulnerable in relationships,” or “I am worthy of recovery.” In other words, because of couching the affirmations in language such as “it is okay” or “I have a right,” I sell myself short on claiming my True Self as an affirmation.
At the ACA world convention in Malmo, Sweden, I heard another approach to affirmations that touched me deeply. At the end of a workshop, the leader handed out a sheet with adjectives in three columns. The adjectives were all positive attribute such as “passionate, kind, lovable, considerate.”
We were each asked to say out loud one quality from each column, such as “I am passionate, I am curious. I am kind”(The columns seemed to be just a format to get each person to choose three qualities.) Then the leader looked the speaker in the eye and said “Yes You Are!
Each person in the room had a turn. Each time he or she was affirmed with “Yes You Are” a feeling rippled through the room. The leader had stepped into the shoes of Inner Loving Parent! That’s when I saw that affirmations are a two-way street. I claim my affirmation. But my Inner Loving Parent acknowledges and affirms it.
We have tried using this approach in our meetings. Now, instead of one person saying “Yes You Are,” the entire room says it at once. Try it. It is powerful!