Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Never miss an opportunity

I was listening to a speaker last night describe how hard it is to keep the focus on himself. He has two adult sons who are addicts. He said that it's hard for him to keep quiet around them because he wants them to get a sponsor, work the steps and read literature, and do all the other things in order to keep them from relapsing. In short, he said that he has a hard time just keeping quiet. He wants so badly for them to stay in AA and do everything possible to stay clean.

It was an interesting discussion because I've done what he has done: made suggestions to my SO about working the steps or going to more meetings. It came across really badly every time that I tried to make suggestions, largely because I was trying to work her program for her. Finally, after I was met with less than happy comments back, I decided that how someone works their program isn't any of my business. I can only work mine and work on me.

Knowing that I'm powerless over what someone else does helps me keep the focus on myself. I've also felt the resentment boiling in the other person when I've made "helpful" (read controlling) suggestions. Resentment is a dangerous thing and can lead to any number of problems in a relationship and with recovery. One of the best take home messages that I came away with from the meeting was the following: "Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut".

8 comments:

  1. what brillaint advice!

    ~kel

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  2. amazing how it works...when I surrender I win.

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  3. That Powerlessness factor is key but sometimes it can haunt us in certain situations. What relief comes after once the powerlessness is accepted. :)

    And what a messge to keep close to you after leaving a meeting.

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  4. I can so relate to this post. I was talking to my therapist today about how badly I want to advise my sister on how to fix her life. She sees everything good in my life as "luck" and that everything poor in hers as people out to get her and bad luck. She's not an alcoholic but man could she use CoDA. I stopped myself once from emailing her a whole mess of links to CoDA info, including meeting times in her area.

    I've got my restraints on, however much they chafe at times. It really is much better for me in the long run, even if it is very painful to watch someone I love hurt themselves when I know there is a better way.

    ~Judith

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  5. OMG...this was so me years ago.
    I still struggle with that powerless stuff sometimes but I know damn well I what can't change..just wish I could sometimes.(one day at a time right?)Thanks for sharing Syd~

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  6. That's all good stuff to remember.
    When I start thinking that way about someone else's program, I try (keyword=try) to remind myself about Step 3. I ain't practicing it.

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  7. I am practicing keeping my mouth shut every single day with my daughter. It is hard!

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