Thursday, September 11, 2008


You've heard the old adage that "Opinions are like a_holes, everybody has one". But what about those opinions that we form before we have adequate information. I'm talking preconceptions here.

I've done it before--judged a book by its cover, formed an opinion before I knew the facts. And with alcoholism, I've had preconceived notions about what the alcoholic will do or what will happen in a particular situation. It's almost a Pavlovian response. If you experience enough chaos, disappointment, and let downs, then you come to believe that's all you'll ever get.

I suppose it's only natural to think that if 99% of the time you've had a bad experience around the alcoholic, then it's highly probable that bad experience will occur again. But sometimes you are pleasantly surprised.

For me, I've learned not to have high expectations of people in general. It's best if I just let myself be surprised when the 1% shows itself to be good. Fortunately, these days I find life with my alcoholic to be good most of the time. But I still have those preconceptions that nag at me. I have evidence that I could be let down at any time. So I keep my expectations low, mind my own business and generally follow my "gut" when it comes to feelings. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might just be a duck.


  1. I believe we call this ...
    Contempt Prior to Investigation.


  2. I tend to do poorly when it comes to first impressions. I work on holding off on forming an opinion, try not to judge, until I have had at least some opportunity to listen to a person AND observe their actions.

    As in all things, I also ask God to guide me.

  3. Hey there, Syd!
    Wow - - - What a terrific description of keeping the 'focus on myself!' Very thought-provoking post - good reminder to always mind my own business. Thanks bunches. Love, Anonymous #1

  4. Funny you should bring this topic up :-) I still find myself jumping to conclusions when a newcomer attends. It is automatic and I am aware of this response. I don't like this part of myself and was a bit discouraged to see how automatic this judging started in my head. Just a good reminder for me that this program, for me, will be life-long. The old tapes, reactions, and habits are what I am here to uncover and change, with HP's help. My awareness of my judging has motivated me look at my own insecurities--and boy do I have some work to do! Thanks for the reminder.

    Kim A.

  5. i have the same preconceptions you have, from my dad. yet the alcoholic in me is rebelling against what you said. talk about being torn in two...

  6. I think the best expections are no expectations.

  7. I love the line in "Courage to Change" on pg.153 An expectation is a premeditated resentment.

    I too struggle with the history between my spouse and I.

    I needed to hear this thanks.

  8. "opinions that we form before we have adequate information"

    But when DO we have 'adequate information'? Thats the question..
    Amaro quotes something like "whatever the mind perceives it to be, the fact of the matter will always be otherwise" Meaning we can only have a relative perception filtered through our own conditioning. cant remember which talk it was on..
    perception is so limited that I don't expect ever to see things the way they really are. but yes, sometimes i have to make my best guess in order to be of help to a sponsee or other person.

    but yeah. nice post. as usual. one of the HARDEST things for me is to NOT be attached to views and opinions. its VERY hard to abandon attachment to pet theories in the interest of maintaining an open mind.

  9. Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love~"

    Oh yeah, saw this and thought you might like it.. :)

  10. I get what your saying, but I don't see myself ever being this serene. Guess I'm wound too tight, but..sigh..I'll keep trying.

  11. I think we can all work on our preconceived notions, me included. I think this is something I will always be working on. Forever.

  12. Being judgmental before I have the facts and jumping to conclusions are two of my WORST character defects. I am learning through recovery that most character defects are fear based and I would have to agree. I manage to go directly to fear without passing GO when I react rather than "respond".

    My sponsor also told me recently "expectations are just resentments waiting to happen" so I am trying to catch myself when I find myself second-guessing people and situations. Not easy.

  13. I have a problem with judging people on heresay, so by the time I meet the individual I treat them like the character I am told, its wrong I know but its one of my biggest defects.
    Black Holes, a gateway to a new universe where the laws of physics break down.
    You are a scientist arnt you, so u will know there was no chance of any of these mini versions forming, when I was at Uni one of the professors told us that an electron was in effect a mini black hole, weird

  14. I will try to keep my expectations of today and tomorrow as low as possible. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Hey, I've gotten to the place where whatever my opinion...the opposite will likely be true, or be the outcome. In other words, I have a definite low opinion of my opinion, when it comes to judgement of people.

    Now--POLITICS! Me Tarzan, You Jane...Me right, You wrong!

  16. "For me, I've learned not to have high expectations of people in general. It's best if I just let myself be surprised when the 1% shows itself to be good"

    Wow this strikes me as a really negative way to go about life. This post really surprised me.


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