Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Short-Supply Thinking, Chapter 2

When I was very new to sponsorship, and still unsure about where was the defining line between "taking care" and "care-taking," I agreed to sponsor a woman who taught me the difference between the two. (When I stop to think before speaking, to consider my words, so that I do not thoughtlessly cause another person pain,  I'm being sensitive to them, and taking care. When I feel the need to "fix" their unhappiness by any means at my disposal, including twisting myself into pretzel shape, which is hard on the back, and sparks my own resentment, I'm care-taking.)

The first time I saw my new sponsee looking hurt when I greeted another person at a meeting with a bear hug and some silly joking around, I felt a wierd guiltiness. Soon, I found myself engaged in a tiring dance of trying to make sure that my sponsee wasn't feeling that I liked anyone else more than I liked her - toning down my delight to see my friends at meetings, and feeling responsible for my sponsee's looks of hurt. I decided I needed to reason things out with my own sponsor.

That was an interesting conversation, with me endeavoring to give enough information to be able to discuss it, without breaking my sponsee's anonymity. My sponsor listened in patient silence, as she always did, then when I finished, asked me one question: "Why is this your problem?"

I blathered on about being a good sponsor, and various other meanderings, then was shocked into silence by the next question: "Have you stopped to consider that you may be being manipulated?"

Nope, hadn't entered my head. It was as though, once that first uneasy feeling of guilt was stimulated into being, my rational mind went into another room and closed the door, leaving the rest of me engaged in that exhausting dance of people-pleasing.

My sponsor and I discussed ( she spoke, and I listened) the reality that we are most easily manipulated by the methods we, ourselves, use. That was a shocker, and not one I was interested in hearing at the time. I didn't understand how I could go to her thinking I wanted to talk about one thing, and somehow always end up discussing my own character defects - how did that work, exactly? Irritating woman.

I was vulnerable to displays of short-supply thinking, because that was the way I thought, at the time. I didn't quite understand that love is a never-ending spring, and the more widely we open the tap, the more generously does it pour out.

Love isn't a pie, wherein if I have to share my love among 3 people, there's less love to give, than there would be if I was sharing it with only 2 - your piece isn't going to be smaller, because Susie across the table is also getting a piece.

On the contrary, the more loving a human being is, the more loving they become, and the more good feeling there is to go around.

Love is a multiplier of itself - the action of loving, creates more love to give. The harder I work to be a conduit for my Higher Power, and the more I choose love before all other responses, the more love rushes in to fill the space, slopping over the edges, splashing on everyone around me.

Short-supply thinking believes that there isn't enough love to go around, and if you get some, I get less. I've found it to work in exactly the opposite way. If I get some, and looking over to you, decide to give you some of mine, to top up what you got, pretty soon we're both going to be looking for other people with which to share the abundance, because we're going to have so much we cannot carry it alone.

Love is a muliplier of itself.


  1. I especially like your differentiation between taking care & caretaking. These are the kinds of fuzzy concepts it takes me a really long time to be able to grasp, much less articulate.

  2. Yes, love is that. It is good to pass it on. I think that I recognize manipulation now because I was adept at that also. Great post.

  3. I was so alone when I came to the program and everyone was so generous and kind. I felt really special. I think I was just really glad to have someone pay attention to my needs. I think sometimes that our issues of abandonment surface that somehow we will be left again. What I found over time that even when people leave the program is always there. I am still close to my first sponsor but not like then. Our lives have changed but we still connect. I will always be grateful for her wisdom and patients with me.