Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reasoning Things Out With Someone Else.

This phrase, from our suggested closing to an Al-Anon meeting, was not an accurate description of how I dealt with life when I was a newcomer to 12-Step. I was not a reasoner when I entered program - that had fallen overboard eons past. I had one of two ways to deal with stress - ranting and raving, or shutting off my anger like the flicking of a switch. (I had a little phrase I used for this, almost like a mantra, repeating, "It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter"! I'd go numb.) Since the only emotion I could feel by that point was anger, this worked for me. Let me rephrase that - I suffered from the illusion this worked for me. What it truly did, was make it possible for me to endure an unacceptable situation for many years.

I didn't like the idea of reasoning things out with someone else; my ego was sorely offended at the mere hint of my own reasoning powers being unreliable. No matter that my own reasoning had led me into a marriage with an alcoholic, who was the male version of the adult who had battered me so severely in my childhood. My ex battered with words rather than his fists, but he kept me in the same state of reduction.

My first sponsor once said, (kindly but with a hint of something else beneath) "If you can stop being offended long enough to see clearly, you might be able to change your behavior, and steer around this obstacle in future."

Stop being offended? How dare she suggest I was offended? Why, I found that thoroughly offensive of her!


I recall looking at her rather sheepishly, and she looking back at me with such affectionate humour in her gaze, it brought the sting of tears to my eyes.

In this way did I slowly learn to listen to what another member had to offer me. I don't have to substitute their judgement for my own, but if I don't utilise the collected wisdom of my group and of Al-Anon, by reaching out when I am stymied, I shortchange my recovery. I almost guarantee my continued misery.

I was anxious all day yesterday, and finally called a program friend, who offered me ways to see my problem that had escaped me in my own obsessive pondering.

What a gift this program is, so freely and generously given.


  1. Today's Courage to Change reading speaks of unconditional love. It's something we all crave; love and acceptance of who we are. When we receive that wonderful gift from someone else, it opens up just enough space in our minds to see ourselves objectively and change.

  2. I find that obsessive thinking is something that is hard to overcome unless I'm willing to Let Go and give whatever I'm obsessing over to God. That helps me, along with realizing that I'm powerless over others.