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.