Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Assumptions Keep Our Viewpoint Narrow.

A sponsee called last night to ask how I was doing, and we talked for a while. I had reached and passed the level of fatigue at which my brain goes on "standby" (if asked a direct question, I can reply, but I'm unable to generate new topics, or a new element of the existing one) so the conversation was sort of limping along. She was very surprised by my answer to one of her questions, and said so; she'd "assumed it was the opposite." I was too tired to take it up with her, but it crossed my mind this morning as a good topic for our next meeting, because these sorts of assumptions keep our viewpoint narrowned down so that we only see what we expect to see. We have our assumptions, and we can operate from that starting point for a great deal of life, never realising that there is so much more than is visible through our narrowed viewpoint.

If I limit my life to "this is only possible with that prerequisite" I am closing off great sweeps of possibility. There's so much more to life than what I am capable of imagining.

A long-timer in Al-Anon jokes that this is one of the reasons that meetings are set up so that we don't interrupt or crosstalk, because we need to be forced to sit quietly and listen to a viewpoint differing from ours. I think for some of us, myself included, I could have gone on sitting in meetings and listening, without having much of a change in my thinking - I needed to work the Steps with a sponsor who gave me very little wiggle-room. My assumptions were all about keeping me safe in the world, so the roots ran deep in my character, and needed concerted, sustained time and effort to dig up, haul out into the light of day, examine closely, and eventually, realise that I could let them go. I needed that shared time, talking and laughter to be able to discard my outmoded notions.


  1. Our assumptions can hold us back. The no crosstalk is helpful to me, so that instead of thinking about what I"m going to say, I'm just listening. It is a process that sometimes feels like two steps forward and one step back.

  2. I think that it's important to listen to what others have to say and not be thinking about what I want to say. That is such a different thing from scientific meetings where we would talk over and interrupt others. I'm glad that I have learned a different way.