Thursday, June 9, 2011

If You Don't Swim, You'll Just Float.

Someone asked if I could please elaborate upon my remark yesterday that I seem to be hearing a lot lately from people who don't work the program, and say they "don't get much out of it."

Nobody would go out into their yard, start to dig a bit, clear perhaps a foot or two of sod down to the bare soil, then put down their tools, sit down in despair, and say they don't get anything from gardening. We can all see how silly that would be.
Yet this is what happens with 12-Step. People clear a bit of grass, get down to some dirt, then sit down, give up, and say they "don't get much out of Al-Anon." (Or AA, or any other program.) Or they come into 12-Step from a place of desperation, and do work the program at first, until they start to feel better, and that's where they stop. And rest. That rest can go on for years, until the parts are rusted together, and it takes monumental effort to unseize the brain.

I had one sponsee ask why she was so stuck, when another person who'd come to Al-Anon a month or so after she had, and whom she wasn't aware I sponsored, was moving in leaps and bounds? "Why?" she wailed to me, "I just don't get it!"

Why? Because she had never surrendered, never admitted her powerlessness or insanity - she was determined to be a victim, and any suggestion that she wasn't, or that she work to change herself, met with a fierce resentful resistance: "Why should I? It's not fair!"

Damn right it isn't. Let's move on, shall we?

I need to do regular digging and weeding, or my plot of self can quickly become choked with the buttercup of  resentment strangling my newer, less-established plantings. I need to be going out every day and doing an inventory, or nature will take over - untended gardens revert to the wild.  I don't want to have to start all over from the beginning.

I'm going out to the garden, are you coming? No, you're going to watch from here? Ok, but don't complain when a month from now, you can't tell you'd ever started to dig.

Forgive the analogy, but that's how it is - you don't get the result without the effort. Stop doing the work, or never begin, and you won't get anything but more of what you have now - packets of seeds, and a vague intention.

One place we lived, we had a neighbour who used to walk past our front garden, and stop to sigh, "I wish my garden looked like this." Finally, my husband could bear it no longer, and replied with a smile, "It could, if you put in the time and exertion that my wife does."

1 comment:

  1. Just had a sponsee who decided to blow off the step work. He goes to a meeting a week. I am okay because I see his fear and he has some outside issues. I think that few really want what the program has to offer.