Thursday, June 25, 2009

Taking Other People's Inventory.

This can be an enjoyable pastime for those not in recovery - one can feel superior in many ways, while castigating the other person for their human frailties.

The wisdom of generations suggests that we not judge others, rather, that we look within, since we are always mid-reno ourselves.

We cannot know the stresses and strains under which other people are struggling along; a smooth, unruffled exterior can hide any number of anxieties, and any amount of pain. Rather than decide that I know how someone else should act, I can instead shift my focus to my own sphere, and work to be more compassionate. My first sponsor, whenever I'd start to complain about the alcoholic, would ask with dangerous sweetness, "All finished working on yourself, then?" and smile brilliantly.

After the first few times, I'd always laugh when she posed this question. I've now been in Al-Anon for quite some time, and although I can see how far I've come, I still seem to faced with the same number of self-improvement projects, they are just of a different sort than they were at the start. It's more detailed work at this stage of recovery. In the beginning, I was, in effect, hosing the room down with a power washer to remove major surface grime. Nowadays, I'm down on my hands and knees, scrubbing grout with a toothbrush.

There is always personal work waiting for me. It's not up to me to be looking elsewhere, and deciding that someone else should be cleaning their household. That's their business; I need to allow them the dignity of making their own choices in the matter.

I would not want to be harshly judged for my past, present, and future mistakes. I pray to be filled with empathy and compassion, for the suffering of my fellow human beings.


  1. Good post and good to be reminded. Thanks, Cheryl

  2. This post brought to mind the following:
    It is always important for me to remember not to judge my insides by someone else's outsides.

    No matter how good someone looks on the outside that may cause jealousy or envy, I have no idea what is on their insides.

    I decided a long time ago I didn't want your problems, I would stick with working on my own.


  3. I love what your sponsor said to you....even though it's much easier to look at others!!

    Personal work waiting for me.....Always!

  4. Thanks for the reminder of having compassion for others. It seems that I am filled with so much compassion.

  5. great reminder. Thank you