Monday, January 28, 2008

Being all things to all people

I have been attending a study group that is currently focusing on the traditions.  We finished up Tradition five last week: Al-Anon has but one purpose to help families and friends of alcoholics. It really states our singleness of purpose in the program. But what struck me though was the idea that I can't be all things to all people.

The reading says " My primary concern is and must be my personal recovery. I cannot give to someone else something that I don't have." How true that is and it's something that I have only put into practice since being in the program.

I used to try to do everything that was asked of me. And then I would volunteer for more. If someone had expectations of me, then I tried to fulfill them. Now I know that I was running myself down trying to do what others wanted me to do. I was trying to be all things to all people and neglecting who I was.

Now I decide what I want to do and don't try to cram too much into one day. If I don't accomplish what I need to do in this day, then hopefully with the grace of my HP there will be another day coming. I don't get swamped in guilt to do the bidding of others. I show up for my meetings. I am there when I tell someone that I will be.  And I am here to do what I can to be a member of this household and take care of things in partnership here.

What's important is that what I do now, I do because it feels right. The demands made by others of my free time are not compelling reasons for me to lose my serenity. I can make choices to limit the things that I want to do.  And what a luxury that is these days.  I am finding many ways to spend my time on those things that I have dreamed about for years.  And for the most part, I am enjoying every moment.


  1. what a wonderful post!!!! and i love the bit "i cannot give to someone else something that i don't have."

    p.s. i'm glad to hear you don't wear make-up, heee heee hee

  2. you're a much better man than me, charlie brown

  3. This is great, Syd and just what I needed this morning before I run out the door trying to please everyone.

    Oh by the way, I am also glad you do not wear makeup........

  4. That must have taken so much energy away from your soul. Super Al-Anon now :) holding onto that colorful serenity you have.

  5. I could really identify with this taking on responsibilities and my therapist says it is typical of children of alcoholics. My sobriety is my number one concern right now but I am grateful to learn that some of my behaviour is "typical" and also to realize that I am indeed a child of an alcoholic. Possbily 2 alcoholics. Who knows and does it really matter? The main thing for me is my recovery, NOW.

  6. Hi Syd: I am so very glad I stopped in.. this is a great post and I needed to hear all of it. Boundaries (or lack of them) are huge for me.. so confusing.. I love where you said "I have to show up for the job and my meetings and there are a few other responsibilities that I take care of but demands made by others of my free time are not compelling reasons for me to lose my serenity. I can make choices to limit the things that I want to do."

    That's utterly profound to me as I honestly feel I am totally responsible for others so much of the time. And I seem to lose sight of myself and responsibilities.. anyhoo - thanks for sharing. Did I mention I needed to read this today?!! thanks.


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