Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A gift

Well, things are much better today.  The molecules of dog poop that had attached themselves to my nasal lining were cleaned out in the shower.  I no longer think that I am walking in or smelling poop.  The old dog is eating rice for a couple of days to settle her stomach.  I will also pick up some special dog food for stomach issues.  She can scarf down anything when we aren't looking so she might have eaten something on the beach that caused the diarrhea attack.  She is fine though, wagging her tail and being her happy self.  She and I appreciate your concerns.

Last night I went to my home group meeting.  The topic was about powerlessness (Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable).  It is not coincidence that I hear just what I need when I go to a meeting.  I understand what being powerless means.  I have no control over what others say or do.  And 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. If only for a few seconds/minutes,  when I hear criticism and blame directed at me,  I am momentarily stunned.  And then, if I am using what I have learned in Al-Anon, I can choose not to defend myself or get angry.  I can simply realize that what is going on may not be about me at all. 

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 thinking.

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.

Not reacting to another's anger is truly a gift. There are other gifts too.  When I got home from the meeting last night, there was a surprise waiting for me.  It was in a little box and contained this:
It is a magic little box that allows me to listen to music, download movies, view photos, and do other things right on my HD TV.  I love all things Apple.  My wife knows that.  She had seen me admiring this little gadget and got it for me.  Love, powerlessness, Apple, Al-Anon--what gifts these are.  I experienced them all today. 

21 comments:

  1. I was so pleased to read this post after the 'dog poop' one. Thank you for the timely reminded to remember that I am powerless over other peoples' behaviour and reactions. It was just what I needed to hear.

    I was thrilled to hear that you have received such a wonderful gift from C. It is nice to know that you are loved and appreciated. Enjoy tinkering about with your new toy. Best wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That quote from Courage to Change is one of my all-time favourites, because it was the first time it made me stop and think about how I was behaving, when I was new to program.
    I'm glad your old dog is feeling better.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awww, what a lovely post Syd. Many of the things you said hit home for me too..... and I'm glad to hear your dog is feeling better now. :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow. what a gift...both of them...i like the thoughts on powerlessness too...it resonates with me today...

    ReplyDelete
  5. That dog sounds like me.

    Syd I replied to comments from you and 2 others yesterday. I was a little bit "vehement".... please don't be offended, I wasn't being personal really I wasn't. If I did say something really foot-in-mouth please email me and I'll delete the offending words

    hammynutter@lycos.com

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are a gifted man, dear Syd.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Both gifts seem very wonderful, one for enjoyment and one to give you the serenity to enjoy the gifts that we are given...

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  8. awe, i am an apple fan too. i have been wanting one, but first i think an ipad.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Life can surely be a roller coaster ride but you seem to have a good handle on it. I learn a lot from your perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Syd,

    What a great post. It's just what I needed to read tonight. Amazing to me how, as you say, I always hear what I need to hear at a meeting. Sometimes what I need to hear is in a blog. Often, that blog is yours. Thank you.

    Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog today. I always appreciate your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Exactly what I needed tonight. Thanks for being there for me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Not reacting to another's anger is a freedom the program gifted me.
    Thanks for sharing Syd.

    ReplyDelete
  13. thank you syd, you're a shining light!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree that you do not have to own another person's anger. What's theirs is theirs. I applaud you for the step you've taken.

    For me, understanding the biological effects of alcohol on the brain helped me deal with the alcoholic's anger.

    On the other hand, you must remember that anger is a very human emotion that must be expressed. If the issue that is creating your anger is not addressed then the anger festers and grows until it is the size of an Atom Bomb. The trick is expressing the anger sanely before it gets turns into a screaming fit or a police report.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for sharing this Syd, You are a great one to make the best out of a ...well you know...situation. Ha ha. Poor doggy,glad she is feeling better and you too :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. ... molecules of dog shyte attached to the nasal lining...! You sound like Dame Maggie Smith playing Granny in Downton Abbey, the servants and aristos soap that was running on British TV before Xmas. She looked like she had a silver platter full of dog turds under her nose during about every single scene! (That's how you play the upper classes: look like you've a putrd smell under your nose at all times and your acting'll be spot-on!)

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're v perceptive being able to draw a distinction between expressing feelings and inflicting control. A true Controller would never admit that even to themself, let alone on a public internet blog...

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. C. is one great chick, obviously. Good post, Syd.

    Enjoy your gadget.

    Love,

    SB

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry to hear about your doggy's upset GI but glad to hear it's past. Love your little gadget. I picked up a new cell phone over the weekend. Decided to treat myself and to everyone's amazement I even bothered to learn how to use all the cool stuff on it. Control is so powerful. We tend to want it so badly and what for, it's never really ours. I have to tell myself in almost every situation "It's not about you, look at what is really going on, you have no control over this etc.." a hard lesson to learn, but I'm progress, definately not perfection....

    ReplyDelete

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