Monday, April 20, 2009

Can't I Just...

A friend used to love the show "Murphy Brown." I was at this friend's house once when it was on, and heard a line that has stayed with me ever since. One of the characters was trying to encourage Murphy to attend a work function with him, and she, dreading the very idea of it, asked plaintively:
"Can't I just stay home and pound my thumb with a hammer?"

I was fairly new to Al-Anon at the time, but that line seemed to sum up what I'd spent an awful lot of my life doing - refusing to go out somewhere because I might not enjoy myself (for whatever reason, just generally anticipating discomfort or misery) and instead, staying home to a misery with which I was intimately comfortable - worrying about how much the alcoholic was drinking, worrying about finances, worrying about whatever that day's obsession happened to be. Driving myself quietly insane with my own self-abuse. Pounding my thumb with a hammer, until I was shrieking from the pain of it, but never stopping to consider if perhaps I had a choice of doing something else instead?

That line has become a joke in my home group, as it fits with the concept of 12-step "tools," and is such a perfect description of the way we as co-dependents, are the architects of much of our own suffering. The alcholic isn't the one wielding the hammer, we have it in our sweaty grasp. If we find ourselves rummaging around looking for the hammer, we can stop and call an Al-Anon friend, and deal with our difficulties that way. We can reason things out with someone else, we can read some literature, we can pray.

We have a choice, and we can sometimes choose to fall back into our old ways, and give our thumb a few good whacks, before deciding that we had forgotten just how painful that method of dealing with life is, putting the hammer down, and sighing with relief.

Al-Anon is a program of self-love. No hammers required.

1 comment:

  1. I'm dealing with a sponsee who is stuck in insanity right now. He is hammering his thumb and all the fingers. I hope that he will see the craziness soon.