Saturday, September 13, 2008


A comment on my last post was about expectations and that having low expectations seemed like a surprisingly negative way to think. I have learned that an expectation is nothing more than a resentment in the making. What that means is if I expect someone to behave a certain way and they don't, then I become resentful.

The only one I can have expectations of is myself because I am the only one I can control. I can have *hope* of certain things, but I cannot expect. I can hope my alcoholic doesn't drink today, but I can't expect her not to. I had to learn to accept life on life's terms, not on mine. The only way I found to do that was to put my trust in my Higher Power.

"Hope comes in the words of the Second Step. My Higher Power can restore to me what I once believed to be irrevocably lost--my sanity and serenity. I am not promised that my loved ones will find sobriety."
Hope for Today

So to me, this isn't negative thinking but thinking that provides me with peace and comfort, knowing that I can't control outcomes. I hope for the best, but I keep my expectations where they need to be--on me and not on another.

"Expectations can cause havoc in our daily living. We all have a basic right to be treated with dignity and respect, but that doesn't mean life will always go our way. The twists and turns of life often carry us up
rivers of disappointment to shores we never chose to visit.

Facing life as fully involved travelers, without expectations about outcomes, is perhaps the brightest way to travel. Making plans without setting up for certain outcomes makes us flexible people who learn to
go with the flow. It has been said that there is a direct proportion between our level of expectation and the amount of stress we have in our lives. Trusting the results to a larger plan allows us to relax and enjoy the adventure of the journey.

As we grow closer to our Higher Power, we find we can let go. We are more peaceful and confident, less frantic and controlling. Trusting that our Higher Power will protect us, no matter what we encounter on our journey, helps us face the future with a calm and loving heart." Courage to Change

On another note, I've been watching the Houston news station carried on DirecTV during the night and this morning. I'm glad that many people made it through the storm. Dave and Scott are okay. Hopefully, Pam is as well.

I'm off to the boat for the weekend.


  1. i love how you've explained this. you have that gift...

  2. Syd, I think you clarified the expectation/resentment concept very well.

    The point is not that we should necessarily adopt LOW expectations of everything but rather that we should be wary of PROJECTING our own expectations onto people, places, and things. The future tripping causes the resentments. Or something like that...

  3. Well said, Syd. How often have I heard in the rooms..."You can make plans, just don't plan the outcome." Having a teen in trouble has taught me a new level of letting go. I agree with do have a gift of sharing simply and beautifully. thanks.

  4. Hi Syd - - - After following your blog for so long and watching many bloggers' reactions, it's not difficult to determine who's who in recovery land; i.e., Al-Anon, AA, etc., etc. I really did not want to post this in the blog area, but was self-centered enough to want to make the point that we (I really mean 'I') had to learn to be the opposite of what I had observed in living with an alcoholic. I had done the opposite of being self-centered, selfish, ego-driven, possessive, and so on. Once beginning the 12-steps, I learned that I needed to keep the focus on myself, and to mind my own business, which meant that I needed to learn to accept people just as they were, no matter what my opinion of them might be (good, bad, or indifferent); and, of course, my opinion of the alcoholic was just what I described above, which was very harsh. I had made of myself the opposite - a 'goody-two-shoes' that brought much pity and 'poor-little-woman' remarks heaped upon me which I soaked up. This got very old. Today, I have learned that my own self-centeredness is really selflessness, my having no expectations of others is allowing them the dignity of being themselves with no demands from me of becoming a klone to my demands. I know this is wordy, but I really feel the need to respond to the same individual you have responded to by your last remark. Good job, by the way. Yep - - - it brought up the adrenalin a bit. I read some contradiction in the remark, and the Al-Anon is me just HAD to try to clarify it with my own experience, such as it is. Take what you like and leave the rest.

    Love and Hugs, Anonymous #1

  5. j-online (and AS) is OK also, we're SO grateful, hearing one-by-one, that our 'friends', (well, yes-- --FRIENDS!) are OK, there may be loss of power, but hey, beats loss of life or limb.

    Syd, I've gotta say something here: Anna (my wife) is an ALANONer, she's a double-winner. And I'm only a 'singles' player.

    But READING YOUR POSTS for almost 3 months now, I'm learning about your program, and it is VERY interesting, informative, enlightening, and welcome! And I am SO glad (word for "grateful" that you are a member of this Blog Community--which I'm am more certain by the day--to which God brought me. So, THANK YOU!

    BTW, could you suggest to "anonymous #1" (love and hugs?) to get on this blog? He, or she, has some good stuff to offer all of us, I can tell.

  6. Syd, I'm with you. I have always been one to keep my expectations low. Then anything that happens above that is a gift, a pleasant surprise and something to be enjoyed. I have always known that many people feel that is a negative view on life but I don't see it that way at all and never have.

    Having a realistic expectation is a good thing.

  7. I think the difference you've delineated between expectations and hopes is an excellent one. I also think that being where you are in relation to expectations -- that is, not expecting an alcoholic not to drink today -- is not the same as what most people think of as low expectations, which is expecting that the alcoholic will drink today. If that makes sense...

  8. Having become a double-winner about 4 years ago, I've got to say that I agree with you in spades.

    At first I thought it was a little unfair to have to drop my expectations of others, but as I have come to learn how truly powerless I am over them, the more I am willing. It has allowed several things to happen:
    Get out of the way and "Let Go and Let God"
    Saved me from self-destructive resentments and heartache.
    Increased my serenity and peace of mind.
    Seems a very small price to pay for such great benefits.

  9. Letting go of expectations, has allowed me to truly love my son. I thought I loved him unconditionally before, but I had all sorts of expectations. Great post.

  10. Hey Syd, I completely understand your point that by keeping your expectations on yourself you avoid building resentment of others. I too struggle with preconceptions based on past experience with alcoholism in my family. What struck me though, was the comment you made that you are surprised when the 1% shows itself to be good. What is the opposite of that sentence? That 99% of the time people don't/won't show themselves to be good? Isn't that in itself an expectation?

    Anonymous # 1 too had some very valid points. But aren't we all on a journey of learning, some of us changing preconceptions that is programmed in us based on our own experiences? Some of us are at different points along that journey.

    I am learning to see the good in everyone, of dropping the critic that reigned in me for so many years. I don't think I want to go so far though as to be surprised when 1% shows itself to be good. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, as I said at the beginning of this comment, I DO understand your point about not putting expectations on people.

  11. Pam is doing fine. She texted Scott and Mary Catherine.

  12. Expectations are also a matter of peron to person sometimes they can hurt and other times they can please us.
    Either way we learn as we go on that one..Hope you are having a fab weekend boat whisperer.

  13. I've been mulling over your view on expectations for some time now -- not just since this most recent post because you have brought it up before. I guess it doesn't sit well with me because I do feel we should be able to make reasonable expectations of people. When you wrote that you felt you couldn't expect your SO to not drink, my first thought was: "yes you can. And you should. It affects you and your marriage." I certainly think it is reasonable for my husband to expect me to continue sobriety. But maybe that it just my point of view. I also think about my son and about raising kids and about how expectations are important in setting standards.

    I understand your differentiation between hopes and expectations, but I remember reading about many successful individuals that they were glad they had people in their lives who loved them that demanded their best.

    So, what I've come around to is the idea that for me, what I need to do is manage my disappointment when expectations are not met. How do I handle the fallout? Do I become a raving lunatic or do I revise the plan? What happens next when the expectation doesn't get met? Obviously the goal here is to not settle into resentments.

    I always respect your point of view, so it's funny to me that this one got me a little perplexed. Maybe I feel a little shamed because I inadvertently feel put in the alcoholic/low expectation bucket in your eyes, and I don't like it. I realize it is my contrivance not yours, lol, but clearly your opinion seems to matter to me.


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