Thursday, May 5, 2011

I am not the Director

I have a good friend who is about as alcoholic as one can be even though he has been without a drink for over two decades.  I listen to him as he has all kinds of dreams and goals, none of which he really wants to work to achieve.  He hasn't had a job in over a year and lives off whatever happens to come his way occasionally.  I listen to him talk about getting his captain's license and wonder how he will pass the exam when his study habits are so poor.  He has much fear and anxiety, yet seems immobilized to take action.

I bite my tongue a lot.  I want to speak up and say, "Hey D., you are going about all of this the wrong way."  I have a lot of solutions for him: Get a job which will end the fear about finances; quit bitching about what is wrong with AA meetings and go to one; do something for others instead of thinking of yourself first; call your aging parents and reach out to them, and so on. 

I think that I have the answers on how to direct his life. It is so tempting to be the director of another.  But I have enough Al-Anon to know that he would resent my suggestions, that I cannot change him to be a mini-me,  and that he has to figure out his life without my interference. 

I know that my thinking that I have the answers goes back a long way.  Was I born this way?  I sincerely doubt it.  But growing up in a dysfunctional home gave me a lot of lessons on seeing what others were doing "wrong".  And those old lessons still present themselves to me every day in which I think that I have a better way. 

This will be a life long process for me of keeping my mouth shut and not trying to run the show.  I know that I must let others fall flat and experience the consequences of their actions.  I am not the Director of their life.  My movie of their life would be a flop.  But each of us has a Higher Power of our understanding.  I take solace in knowing that the burdens of others don't sit squarely on my shoulders.  The load seems lighter just for having written that. 


  1. I have a hard time remaining friends with anyone that I feel like I want to "direct". When I hear the same old story over and over it gets frustrating. Usually they wind up out of my life over time, and when they are gone I realize the friendship isn't missed.

  2. Great post! Learning not to "be the Director" for others is hard...especially when we're talking your minor child...still learning ;)


    If only people would do what I know is best for them......

  4. It is difficult to step back and just take stock of what others complain about. Often times, more than not, it is not the immediate fix WE see which THEY need. Sometimes it the journey they bitch about that leads them to the resolution WE think THEY need. It's very difficult practicing not being judgemental. Very hard. Sometimes the best thing is either to stand, let them vent while you remain quiet or walk away and say "heard this one before man" and move on. Great post syd.

  5. i think i repeat several times a day the mantra that i can not control (or direct) the lives of others and the decisions they make...i always have to remind myself...

  6. Like you said ... it is a great relief to realze that I can only direct my own life and must leave others to theirs.
    I love this version of the Serenity Prayer:
    Grant me the serenity to accept all people, places and things... the courage to know that the only person I can change is me ... and the wisdom to know that that is the difference.

  7. I have a friend that likes to talk about how bad things are and how bad business is. This is hard for me since we are in the same business. He actually has a really great life. It is a habit and when things were good he still complained. Because I am commited to staying positive I have been avoiding his phone calls. I stopped by his house for a visit this week and asked for divine intervention. Amazingly only one negative comment and I said I don't want to get into the negative and that was all I needed to say in 3 hours. It was my truth and I needed to ask for what I wanted. It was a great visit.

  8. One of my dear friends lives with an active alcoholic. I want to offer suggestions and sometimes do on how she needs to live her life. I know best. This is where I
    get to practice my program. Turning it over to HP and trusting the universe has a plan for us all. Lately also I practice prayer for this person I have problems with.
    My controlling behavior over others sets up a spiral for me...It can cause pain for me.
    Sometimes I try Tonglen meditation.
    Glad I have a program

  9. "This will be a life long process for me of keeping my mouth shut and not trying to run the show. "

    The Southern Baptist inside of me (that I was never aware existed) wants to stand up and shout 'Amen!' because I can really relate to that.

    And all the sudden, I am tearing up because for a long time I was expected to run the show, even though I was just a child. I guess I got used to that role. Now I need to find my true place in the world.

  10. I hear you and I say AMEN. Why is it, though, that it is so OBVIOUS to me? It's a heavy cross we bear, my friend.

  11. Great post! This is what my meeting yesterday was about, from the May 3 Courage to Change page. ..."Allowing my loved ones the privilege and opportunity of being themselves". Beautiful picture too, as always. :)

  12. I don't have the patience to listen to negativity on an ongoing basis; it saps my energy. When I'm wanting to issue directives, I know I've lost my focus.

  13. I also find it hard to not say something when I can clearly see what someone is doing wrong. I have done so before and it's backfired, so I have learnt to keep my mouth shut. Great post by the way :)

  14. Your last paragraph is awesome! Esp. this part:
    This will be a life long process for me of keeping my mouth shut and not trying to run the show. I know that I must let others fall flat and experience the consequences of their actions. I am not the Director of their life. My movie of their life would be a flop.
    Thank you SO much...I ought to print that out and place it in a prominent place.

  15. The other day I was watching Owen figure something out. I did not reach over and "show" him how to do it, which I often do. I admit it. I just let him work through the process. And you know what? He did figure it out and now he really knows how to do that particular thing.
    I think this is a good metaphor for what you are saying.
    And it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut too. It really is. But I am learning.

  16. I struggle with this as well.......

  17. Hi Syd~ Thanks for the reminder. I struggle with keeping my mouth closed. I'm SURE he hasn't thought of MY idea, :-) Hence, today, I'm learning, just smile nod and let them figure it out. In the mean time, what am I doing to keep my serenity. We each have our own Higher Power...and it's not ME!

    Peace, Dee

  18. My load feels lighter, just having read that.

    Hi Syd ;)

    Thanks for the reminders. Today I'm working on handing things over to my higher power.

  19. New to blogging - not new to Al Anon - great thread

  20. What a peaceful photo. You are taking some great pictures lately.

    I have a friend who could be your friend's brother. As I was doing the work in CoDA, and then with the therapist along with CoDA, I started seeing that we weren't even talking about the same things anymore. We are still friends, don't live near each other anymore, have been close friends for about thirteen years, but it isn't my job to work on another person because I see the inconsistencies. We are all doing what we can for where we are right now. I like how you can write about your own recovery and mention other people without putting them down.

  21. You are wise, Syd.

    Have a great weekend.



  22. Between friends I want to hear opinions or advice sometimes.You
    should never be afraid to talk to your friend about this stuff.I guess
    maybe at least not more than once or twice,but yes,after awhile we need to let our friends and family figure that stuff out - without out us saying much more than we already have.Strong share,I appreciate it.xo

    Hi btw ;)

  23. Spot on, Syd! I am trying very hard to work on this. I have a long way to go.

  24. Boy sometimes this is harder than others to remember the closer you are to them the harder it seems to be, emotional effects of being close to someone full of fear or anxious about their future, or plainly in malaise and fine with just talking about it.


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