Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I heard just what I needed to hear at my home group meeting last night. My sponsor and I met before the regular meeting and talked about having Step One moments. And then the regular meeting was on Control. God planned the program.

I know rationally that alcoholism will rear its head at any time, even with those who are sober. It is frustrating that I can still let its effects hurt me. When I hear the criticism and blame directed at me, I realize that this is a means to avoid responsibility. It is a mechanism of denial for what the real problems are.

I am a good listener and am willing to inventory my part. But there comes a time when I consider feedback that is laced with anger and resentment to be worthless. If I let my guard down and let myself accept what is said as "truth", then I am lost in a mire of self-pity and my own resentment.

I know enough to not believe what I hear. And I know that I'm not powerful enough to cause someone else to drink or make a mess of their life. I don't want to be blamed for someone's behavior. I am not the reason a person drinks, and I'm not the reason that they don't drink. The state of happiness of another is not my job.

But I am to blame if I am miserable. I am to blame if I accept the anger of another and then own it. I am to blame for doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. That's the insanity of my disease.

So to be reminded of how powerless I am over others at the meeting last night helped me to get the focus back on myself. I thought that the following reading was particularly relevant:

"Many of us learn the value of self-expression in Al-Anon. We discover how we feel and benefit from giving voice to those feelings when it seems appropriate. But there's a difference between expressing ourselves and using words to control others.

Sometimes the only way I can determine whether I'm trying to control someone else or whether I'm simply expressing my feelings is by noticing how many times I say the same thing. If I mention something that is on my mind and then let it go no matter what response I get, I am speaking sincerely. If I repeatedly make similar suggestions or ask prodding questions again and again, I am probably trying to control. If I am satisfied only when the other person responds in a way I consider desirable -- agrees with what I've said or takes my advice -- then I know I've lost my focus." from Courage to Change.


  1. I just love to see my (or your) Higher Power can 'show-off' by providing exactly what is needed during a Step 1 moment! Surrender, willingness, and trust all get together and move things along nicely - without my help. I just step back and allow it to happen. This is such a tremendous learning awareness for someone in emotional pain. It is very comforting to have the faith I learned to keep in Al-Anon in order to keep me grounded and focused; also, to allow some of the seemingly 'trite' euphemisms take hold - surrender to powerlessness, and move ahead to the glory of Step #2 - where the power is waiting to restore the sanity.

    This was such an honest sharing, Syd; thank you for your 'bleed.' It's a great comfort to have empathetic people in my corner.

    Anonymous #1

  2. I like that reading, I refer to it often.

  3. I read the Courage to Change daily as a means to remind myself about this topic.Interesting how often so many of us need to be reminded.But then again,it's usually out of pure care and thoughtfulness that we let ourselves think so much about others,no matter how powerless we are.Great post,Syd.My blog is back in community if you feel like visiting,please do anytime.

  4. Oh Syd I SOOOOO needed this today. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for this.....

    When I'm feeling down I read other Al-Anon's wisdom.
    About an hour ago, I was apologizing for being "bitchy and grumpy" when I was sick!!
    Thank you for helping realize this wasn't my problem....My problem is letting stupid statments like these ruin my day!!

  6. That's one of my all-time favourite readings in CTC.

  7. nah. an alky being a moody bast*rd is NOT your fault.

    ignore em. tell em to take their own inventory.
    they never learn, but it keeps em quiet for a while. :)

    just avoid em till the mood passes. they probably need to catch up on some sleep or eat better. gawd knows. but the mood cant last forever. thank god.

    glad you are not buying in to the alkys drama. good for you syd.

  8. Well put...I needed to hear this.

  9. Thanks, this is just what I needed to read this evening.

  10. As always Syd, thank you! Your comments, your blog, it's a real higher power thing indeed, I read the Courage to Change and the Meditations each morning and know that as all things; this too shall pass.

    Many hugs

  11. Untreated alcoholism can often manifest as extreme manipulation based in self centeredness.

  12. "God planned the program."

    I like that. It's happened to me a couple of times.

  13. Thanx so much for sharing this.

    I live with an alcoholic and am pretty much around alcoholics my whole life. Sometimes I forget and my resentment meeter just pegs out before I can surrender my way back to peace and serenity.

    "To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face." bb p. 44

    Blessings and aloha...

  14. You are always just right on the spot. Good read tonight. Thanks.

  15. In regards to your passage at the bottom, isn't it odd that we all have to "discover how we feel?"
    I think there are a lot of normal people out there who know exactly how they feel.
    I wonder why that was so elusive to us AA/ Alanoners.

  16. That last paragraph really drove it home for me. Thank you, Syd.

  17. Syd, as you know I am not an alcoholic nor live with one but have had to learn to deal with a few in my life, I wish I knew you back then, You are truly a comfort. God puts people in our lives for a reason. He found YOU with a great reason.. God Bless YOU

  18. Hey Syd,

    Thanks so much for the reminder from CTC about finding yourself repeating something. It's a great one, and one I needed to hear! :)



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