Saturday, April 21, 2007

Love and service

I put Dr. Bob's last message below because it seems appropriate for me at the moment. I'll keep the details to a minimum. I found out last night that someone that I've been helping in the program has lied to me. The lie was about his going to a meeting when he didn't. Not an earth shattering lie by any means or one that impacts my life. Yet, I must have had some expectations about the truth because I realized as soon as I found out about the lie that I felt resentment. I trusted that this individual was being straight with me. It's not about what the lie was because whether he goes to a meeting is up to him. I'm not the meeting police or his sponsor. However, I did feel angry that he had lied to me.

Maybe this isn't a big deal, and I'm making too much of it but what feels right to me is that I need to distance myself from this person. I find lying to be unacceptable. I feel as if I've been manipulated. I was trusting and wanted to give a hand to someone who seemed to want it. I know that I still want to help but am having a hard time with trust at the moment. I know that I have a choice to be with those who are healthy to be around and those who will drain me if I let them.

When I read the words that Dr.Bob spoke, I am confused. His words embody what I think these programs are about. Yet, I now see the danger for me in being too trusting. I also can see that I wanted to believe that I could help someone. So, it's back to Steps One and Four for me and in doing my inventory I found that my altruism was self-seeking because by helping someone else I could feel better about myself. Actually, today I feel glad that I did that inventory last night and immediately saw where I was wrong. I realize once again that I need to take care of myself and take my own inventory when things don't feel right. At this point I will quit the analysis and just yield to those of you who have more experience than I in these issues.

"Our 12 Steps, when simmered down to the last, resolve themselves into the words love and service. We understand what love is and we understand what service is. So let's bear those two things in mind.

Let us also remember to guard that erring member - the tongue, and if we must use it, let's use it with kindness and consideration and tolerance.

And one more thing; none of us would be here today if somebody hadn't taken time to explain things to us, to give us a little pat on the back, to take us to a meeting or two, to have done numerous little kind and thoughtful acts in our behalf. So let us never get the degree of smug complacency so that we're not willing to extend or attempt to, that help which has been so beneficial to us, to our less fortunate brothers."
Dr. Bob, delivered at the first international conference of Alcoholics Anonymous at Cleveland, Ohio in 1950


  1. Hey Syd, that is a tough call about the lying thing! I have told some whoppers in my time, that's for sure. I am glad that there were people around me who could just look past the lies and love me anyway, I think they knew the truth, but I had to figure it out for me!
    Taking care of Syd sounds like a good place to start!

  2. It's very tough for me also to know when to just back off and let somebody go through what they have to go through.
    I'm human (and I assume you are too) and when I am lied to, I lose trust. Simple as that.

  3. I also hate being lied to. I am going through that with a sponsee and TRYING to be patient, knowing she is sick... however, I still don't like it and I don't think recovering people should be able to get away with it.

  4. the other day I heard that I cannot trust all-- but I can trust a drinker to drink, I can trust a druggie to drug and looks like I can trust a liar to lie--until they don't anymore.

    Have you heard about the 2 week prayer?

  5. Its a program of "attraction, not promotion" ....sometimes all I can do is demonstrate honesty myself and hope the "liar" observes that it is safe to tell the truth even when it is uncomfortable.

  6. I have issues with people being dishonest with me, and I try to do what you did - try to figure out why the heck it bothers me so much, especially when it seems like it shouldn't be such a big deal. In your case, it hurt the liar more to not go to the meeting, and they lied to you probably out of fear for letting you down when the reality is they already let themselves down more.

    When I'm in that situation, I always am left wondering why I am all bent out of shape, and I have to spend some time with myself examining what happened to set me off. It usually has to do with other underlying issues I have to work on, so I guess the whole process is worth it, even if it isn't fun. So for me, the answer isn't to quit trusting people, it's to figure out what's the matter with me. Again. Yuck.

    Great post, except that it reminds me that I ought to be doing more service, lazy slug that I am.


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