Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Consistently Untrustworthy.

I'm trying to learn to "trust my experiences more than the untrustworthy words of others." This has always been a stumbling block for me in program - several times, I've negated my feelings of caution regarding the level of trust I should place in a person I've met through Al-Anon, and then regretted it when my concerns have proven to be accurate.

As MrSponsorpants points out, attending 12-Step meetings for many years does not indicate recovery, any more than sitting in our garage turns us into a car.

When someone consistently stomps my set boundaries, or refuses to respect my heartfelt requests that there be "no gossip or criticism of one another" what are my choices?

I can "say it one more time."  (And just how often is that effective?)

I can fall silent and tolerate unacceptable behavior. This will cause me no end of discomfort,  resentment and unhappiness.

I can avoid them -  treat them with respect and courtesy when I encounter them at an Al-Anon meeting, but sidestep any invitations to get together.

I can take the difficult path of being kindly direct, letting them know exactly why I will not be seeing them socially in the future. With a sponsee new to Al-Anon, I have much more willingness to restate and restate my boundries, remind them that if they want to feel safe, they must behave in a safe fashion towards the other people in (and outside) the meeting. I certainly needed to learn to adopt an attitude of loving acceptance towards my fellow members of Al-Anon, I didn't arrive at the doors of the meetings rooms with it.

I don't want to spend my precious time with those who have attended meetings for many years, but who still do not respect the principles of 12-Step. I can like some aspects of their personalities, and still know that for me, they are not a safe person with whom I can be friends. I don't want to listen to gossip and criticism about the members of my home group, I find it extremely distressing.

Some days, there is no other way for me, but to say "Thanks, but no thanks." That's just life.


  1. The program says you spot it you got it. I find when I am judging another persons behavior that if I am honest with myself I can usually name a time that I have done that very thing. When I am focused on someone else I have already missed the point.

    It is hard to see our own faults and much easier to point a finger. It is a hard habit to break. I still do it when I want to change someone else's behavior, if they would only listen to me.

  2. I do my best to go to meetings where the focus is on recovery and not being stuck in self-pity, anger or pain. At those meetings, the members are seeking a solution. I like having the 3 obstacles to success in Al-Anon read at meetings. It helps to remind people about gossip, religion, and dominance.

  3. I struggle with "toxic" people in the meetings, and outside, and try to use that opportunity to use the tools I've learned. Practicing my boundaries and not subjecting myself to the unacceptable behavior. Sometimes I ask myself, am I looking in the mirror to something that I need to work on? If I'm not successful in putting my healthy boundaries into place with a "toxic" person, I can get physically ill.