Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Are My Motives?

As "families and friends of alcoholics" we learn to become adept manipulators. We undertake to plan for all eventualities in the hopes of heading them off; we scheme and strive for control. Sneakily. Since most of us, on some inner level, realise that this manipulation is not an honest or forthright way to deal with other people, we drape it in long, involved rationalisations. We explain that we have only the alcoholic's best interests at heart, we are pure as the driven snow in that regard, and it simply makes sense for this to be this way, it isn't because we want it for ourselves, heavens no, we are selfless as a saint. We justifiy our own behavior with reasons multitudinous and inventive.

Most of us have become so hardened in these defensive positions, we are able to spout this chicanery, while wearing an expression of injured innocence. Rarely have I seen anyone leap to admit their own character defects - for most of us, it's a slow dawning, and we fight it every step of the way, whining in protest, and searching frantically for some other way out of the pit we have dug for ourselves.

When we do decide to face this reality, of our own controlling natures, it can be almost impossible to catch ourselves at it, because we've gotten so good at the rationalisations. How do we know when we are trying to control? I have two questions I ask of myself:

- What are my motives?
- What do I hope to accomplish by saying this?

Am I speaking in an attempt to exchange information, clarify my position, or state my feelings?

Or is this the first step in a circular maneuver, where I'm starting out at one side, and slowly working my way around to the other, pretending I'm only out for a casual stroll, all the while with a fixed destination in mind?

Examining my motives has become easier over the years, as I've seen the positive results of working my program this way. Newcomers may have to take this one on faith for a time, because human nature seems to be such, that we are far more skilled at self-deception, than honest self-examination.

That is why we are encouraged to get a sponsor, and to "reason things out with someone else." It's always easier to see where the other person is kidding themselves - our own rationalisations are things of beauty to our ears.

1 comment:

  1. Very true and good post. I was so used to manipulating that I always had other motives. Ulterior ones. Now I truly examine what my motives are, take an inventory and determine whether what I'm doing is true.