Sunday, January 24, 2010

How Badly Do I Want Change? con't.

From the ODAT, page 23:

"Learning the Al-Anon program in all its deep meanings, and applying it to my daily life is not simple matter of going to a meeting now and then. Suppose I had decided to learn another language or study art or a science, I would have to work at it every day and practise the things I learned until they became part of me. A philosopher or an artist studies every day for years to perfect himself. How can I hope to perfect myself in the Al-Anon way of life without daily application?"

A few years ago, a friend asked me to teach her the basics of stained glass. I agreed, and we spent quite a few hours down in her basement, working on the fundamentals of how to cut glass, how to foil correctly, and how to solder. My friend then put the glass aside, and didn't touch it again for about 2 years, at which time she asked me to teach her again, because she'd forgotten it all.

I gently refused, instead giving her the excellent instruction book with which I'd taught myself how to do stained glass. (Setting this boundary was very difficult for me, because I respect, admire, and love my friend, and didn't want to upset or annoy her. I reminded her that we'd discussed before the lessons, the fact that I was making an exception for her, because I don't teach anyone how to do glass, and I've had many requests. I'm not a good teacher, I'm too impatient.)

I had taken the time to show her how to do it, it was then up to her to utilise that knowledge, or not. Program is just the same.I learn how to utilise the wisdom of Twelve Step through attending meetings, talking to other members, reading, and working with a sponsor. Other members can be of enormous help to me, but unless I'm willing to put the program into practise in my own life, I won't get anywhere.

Some lessons come easily, and I use the information almost immediately. Others, for whatever reason: my ego, or stubborness, or my ever-present desire for control, (simmering away on a back burner like a stock pot) are set aside, in full view, and not touched again for months. Or years, when I was newer to program.

Life has given me sufficient painful instruction in the result of my knowing, yet continuing to turn my face away, and refusing to admit a reality, to reduce my obstinacy considerably by this stage of my journey.

I heard at the meeting someone speak of setting boundaries with himself - I like that. Saying to myself: this far, and no further. Do not go there. You know what happens, so suck it up, turn around, and walk the other way, repeating the Serenity Prayer as you go.


  1. Your share today is one of the clearest examples of setting boundaries that I have heard in a long time. I have set up tough boundaries in the past year that involve my family of origin. It has taken me awhile to be comfortable with this since my old behavior wants to please them, take the blame and not rock the boat so we can "all be happy". Not this time. Now I love them, pray for them and am working on me, my defects that still bubble to the top. Yes, boundaries can be a big step.


  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Yes, those boundaries that I set with myself are the ones that are important. I often cave from what I think is compassion but it is actually fear.