Thursday, May 5, 2011

Controlling - Or Not.

"Go to meetings, and work the Steps." A friend recounted a conversation in which he was offering variations on that sentence repeatedly, and not being heard. He asked what should he do then? I replied, "Stop issuing directives."

I was thinking about that this morning, and as always seems to be the way, found that very topic being addressed in a blog post by Syd today. (For newcomers: seems like whatever is on your mind as a matter of some urgency, or whatever you've been thinking about a lot that week, will be the topic of a meeting you attend, or a daily reading - it happens often enough to feel eerie at first, but then you will get used to it, laugh, and realise you can feel your Higher Power working in this synchronicity.)

When we know what to do, and choose not to do it, that is our business. It's not up to anyone else to show us the error of our ways, or us to them. When we detach in love, we can feel for the struggle, and not get caught up in trying to fix.

When I detach, I can keep respect for the person, even when I'm impatient with the behavior.  It's not my job to tell anyone how to run their life, and when I get too involved, and begin to feel annoyed because this person isn't taking the advice I'm offering, I am no longer offering "experience strength and hope," I am interfering.

I've learned to step far enough back to be out of the maelstrom, while being close enough to be a comfort, merely for my willingness to give some of my time, to sit with someone while they fight their own fight. I know there is no perfect sentence to enlighten, so I don't worry about saying the right thing. I pray to be a conduit for their Higher Power to use to get across whatever message is required, and I let the rest go.

If I feel impatience rising in my chest, I stop to consider if perhaps what's happening is that I've had enough for now, and I need to get off the phone, or make my exit. I used to think that I had to sit with someone for as long as they wanted me to, until I heard a long-time member say that she gave what she could, and then she explained that her tank was empty, and she needed to go fill up now, and did they have their phone list handy?

I cringed - that sounded so cold and hard. But I've learned that this will be transmitted either in words, or non-verbally, this message of having had "enough for now" and that I'm being more loving to acknowledge and state the fact. We all know how that feels, and can relate.

For me, direct is best. I give what I can, and then I say that I need to go now, and they can call me again soon, if they like. It's not up to me to "save" anyone, and I couldn't if I tried. I don't know the best choice for them, I can't say what they need,
all I have to offer is a little of my time, and the wisdom of this wonderful program.


  1. I do think you can decide for yourself when you have heard enough. I remember my sponsor saying to me are you still on the pity pot. Tough but correct. It made me acknowlege that I was stuck in a loop of denial and self pity and she was tired of listening to it. Taking care of herself which was good for both of us.

  2. I needed to hear someone share how that worked. Being available for a fellow traveler, as long as we are able, and then Letting Go and Letting God. Thanks for that!

  3. I know I get pissed when someone issues directives at me, so I can understand why your friend was not being heard. I really need to decide for myself what steps I work and when and, what meetings I go to when. I have to take what I like and leave the rest. If I listened to every bit of advice I ever got from everyone in the world, in meetings or out, I would be like a basketball bouncing around with no focus and direction, really, and pobably doing more than I can handle - even of the healthy stuff.

  4. Yes, we were on the same track with our thoughts. It is not coincidence for sure. I am glad to not be anyone's savior today.