Thursday, March 20, 2008

More practice, less analysis

I have to admit that I'm not a slouch in the brains department. But sometime over the past ten years my focus on intellectualism got diverted. It didn't seem important to keep up an intellectual appearance. I think that I became more and more humble as a listlessness pervaded me while dealing with my alcoholic and a marriage that was going no where. Hell, I felt as if I were going no where too. Not growing, not doing anything but putting one foot in front of the other.

Now I have a sponsee who intellectualizes everything. I recognize an earlier version of myself before my ego was crushed. I'm wondering how to reach this 24 year old person and get past the academic facade. He talks, I talk, I listen and he talks some more. But the talk seems to be a parroting of what one would read in a book. In other words, it doesn't seem sincere or ring true.

This is a thinking program no doubt, but I believe that the feeling part of the program is the most powerful aspect. I can read daily readers, I can read How Al-Anon Works but until I am ready to listen and am willing to let my ego stop running things, then I'm just going to be regurgitating words from a book.

An AA friend of mine calls this "analysis paralysis". I think that is an appropriate description. This is a simple program but no one ever said it was an easy program. Just become willing, get honest, and have a dose of humility. It works wonders.


  1. Good morning my blogging pal. Lovely post. You know, I think my biggest spiritual breakthrough came when I realized I couldn't think my way through everything. Does that make sense?

  2. maybe the best way to reach him is to be the example of what you wish for him ? i am told over and over to "stop thinking so much".. it is a hard habit to break and almost impossible to explain to someone who thinks too damn much (like me). I still get aggravated when people who KNOW BETTER tell me to not think so much.. like EASY FOR YOU TO SAY!! hee hee.. you aren't poor pitiful me right? ah yea well - trusting feelings again instead of stuffing and stopping the "trying to figure it all out in my head or by myself" is slowly UNlearned by experience perhaps. With pain (for me) came MUCH WILLINGNESS.

  3. I do not care any longer about appearing intellectual. I just don't care. Thank God.

  4. Maybe you can get him to write a couple of pages about feelings or anything else. I find that writing makes the brain engage whereas it might not otherwise.

  5. I am thinking, he is probably not "getting it" because it is too much too soon. Perhaps? Over-thinking, rationalizing, analyzing are all forms of protective defense mechanisms and have we not all been there? One of things we in "al-anon" have had an issue with in the beginning is our ability to feel because having been hurt so much in the past had made us put up walls as to block the very painful feelings. This is how we survived for so many years. Right now, his heart is surrounded by too many "high" walls. But it will happen one day when he trusts the program enough to begin taking that "all important" chance and start removing one brick at a time. Does this make sense?

  6. Sponsoring is such a good process, it allows us to see ourselves in our many facets. Even if he doesn't "get it," you do.

  7. This is the exact problem I am having with a sponsee right now. It all sounds good (what she's saying) but it's right out of the book, and no feelings behind it.
    I like what MC wrote here.

  8. Hi
    Blimey, did you read my mind or what, I am just like your sponsee, my latest post is total intellectualising, yes I read these books and my head gets full of all sorts of nonsence, just live in one world at a time says my sponsor!
    You hit the nail right on the head for me then, ill be "better" again soon thanks syd!
    Oh that person didnt really do a marathon in that suite its just me morphing his head on the picture, my boss reckons I have too much free time

  9. This is a tough one for me because I can't say I ever stopped really thinking, but then my idea of thinking is not necessarily of what anyone would call linear either. It's sort of a combination of intuition, knowledge and the kitchen sink. It's evolved with my sobriety to include more being quiet, but there's always things filtering, emotions, nuances that I am aware of within me. I think this awareness is extremely important. Maybe if you can get your sponsee to focus less on the words and more on what is meant he'll do a little less white-knuckling of the steering wheel.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.