We focused on others’ faults and problems and thought for hours about what they should do to solve their problems, while our own problems went unsolved. ~ AA Wisdom
It is pretty human to be able to see with great clarity the solutions for other people. And, it is human to want to help and care about their well-being. Thank goodness we do care about others. That makes us compassionate and caring beings. Where it can become a problem is that as addicts, we alcoholics like to take it to extremes, obsess nonstop, and get completely enmeshed in other people’s problems. Please tell me I am not the only one that used to toss and turn all night in a frenzy as to ‘what will so and so do about such and such’. What if, what if, and what if until I made myself sick with worry. I guarantee you that I worried more than the person suffering. Too bad I did not get paid for my worries. I would be a millionaire by now.
Here is a simple prayer I found that helped me take a turn on this:
“Fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and nudge me when I have said enough.”
I learned a few things from letting go: Caring is not the same as care taking. My family and friends are intelligent enough to figure things out for themselves. Most folks just want to complain. They are not all that interested in solving the problems. Just because I can do something, does not mean I have to do something. When I interfere or take over, I rob the other person of the chance to learn how to cope. Most stuff is not all that big of a deal. It is just stuff. When I run interference, I take over the role of G.O.D. and possibly distract from the solution that is best for the other person. There is a lot to learn from Step#10. Each day and each situation has a lesson to learn. Enjoy the process of learning.
The more wisdom you attain, and the more conscious you become, the crazier you will appear to others. ~ Buddha
There is wisdom in knowing, but still being open to learning. We must remain teachable. When we are suffering the pains in our own lives, the best cure is to pick up the phone or go visit a friend in program, and ask him/her how life is treating them. When we reach beyond ourselves and empathize with others, we forget for a moment our own issues. Actually, talking with another alcoholic gives us introspection and insight into how our own problems can be solved. You will be amazed how this works.
The most qualified person to help an alcoholic is another alcoholic. We are uniquely qualified to understand how small, innocuous issues can seem like huge mountains to sort through. We are uniquely qualified to understand the obsession of the mind that craves the very things that cause us the greatest level of pain. We are also uniquely qualified to be the voice of recovery that the person in pain needs to hear; and possibly will be the only voice that they can hear in all their confusion. Call someone else today and just ask how life is treating them. Listen. They may just have that message you need to hear. That is how it works.
Before I speak, consider: Is it true? Is it kind? Does it improve upon the silence?
In my drinking days, booze made me more talkative, less filtered, and left me feeling all powerful and all knowing…..immortal! Super woman! I loved telling people what to do and when to do it. I loved giving people my “honest” opinion. I could figure out everyone else’s problems in a big hurry, but then would fall short on insight and problem solving when it came to even the smallest of my problems. What I have learned in AA; is that all of my problems had one common denominator = me. Wherever I went, there I was. Boy, did that irk me! I hate when someone points out the obvious to me.
Today, I can look people in the eye. I am on equal par with all folks It is freeing to let them express their issues and pain without having to tell them what to do about it. The burden of being a know-it-all no longer has to be lifted by me. I do not have to have all the answers all the time.In fact, I do not have to have any answers at all. So, when there is some silent moments in a conversation these days, I am reminded that I do not have to fill the gap. One of my favorite prayers is: “Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and nudge me when I have said enough.” Enough said!
“It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.” At least, that was what I was told umpteen times. I wanted to scream obscenities. How dare they say that to me? Don’t they know how smart I am? Who the heck do they think they are? It’s my life and my body! I can laugh at the little girl within me. She was very angry and scared. It took several weeks for me to calm down and stop fighting everyone in AA that was trying to help me. I had a bee in my bonnet, and nothing set quite right for me. So, I would stomp my feet, slam doors shut, slam my book shut, and sigh heavily when they talk too long and read too much.
And, those in AA would say, “keep coming back.” Or, “we love you”. Or,”we are glad you are here.” This thing called unconditional love and acceptance was scary and foreign to me. I only knew rage, incrimination, and me and the kids against the world. Who would have thought this scared little girl would stay long enough to be one of those pesky old timers who would be saying all those loving things to new people? Who would have thought I would stay long enough to learn anything? I had never stayed anywhere for any length of time be it a job, a house, a relationship, or a town. Thank goodness I listened and learned. I thank AA for that.
Bless them and heal me. ~ anon
I have learned to say this small but powerful prayer when I get angry or hurt at what someone else decides to do. I have to remember that G.O.D. has put them in my path, so that I can learn from them. Most of the time, I do not know what the lesson is until I get further down the road, and then boom: there it is! The light goes on, and I awaken some more. I will give you an example. On the road, I may be miffed or frightened (or both) by some jerk that cuts me off and nearly runs me off the road. I may get a mile or two down the road, and low and behold, I do the same thing to the next innocent schmoe. Whereever I go there I am. Whatever problems I have in my life, I am the common denominator.
Can you relate? How can we expect unconditional love, understanding, and peace; when we do not afford it to other beings? I have to ask myself: how important is it really? Will it be as important in one year as it is now? So much pain, hate and cruelty is born out of fear. The 12 step program offers us a way out of the fear and pain and into the unconditional love and acceptance we all seek on this earth. It starts from within each of us. One by one we can build the peaceful world we all want. In Tradition #8, we are asked to embrace our fellows as equals. Look for the similarities, not the differences. You will surely find the peace you have been seeking.
Anger is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die. ~ Socrates
The key word for Step #8 is unconditional love. Most folks think the opposite of anger/hate is peace/love. Actually, the opposite is apathy and lack of compassion. I have been saying lately that we seem as a society to have lost our moral compass. When I hear people complain that so and so has more than I do, that there is not enough jobs or money to go around, that the guy next door has more possessions than we do…all I hear is fear. We are so afraid that someone is going to get more than we have or have more say so than we have, that we shut off our hearts to the compassion and concern for others that make us uniquely human. The word humane comes from human. It means:
having or showing compassion or benevolence.
“regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals and other human beings.”
||compassionate, kind, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant;
lenient, forbearing, forgiving, merciful, mild, gentle, tender, clement, benign, humanitarian, benevolent, charitable;
warmhearted, tenderhearted, softhearted.
We have lost our humanity along the path to materialism and self-seeking. A spiritual awakening is needed to overcome this soul sickness and social dis – ease. I was watching World TV last night about unsafe boats bringing refuges to the safe shores in Europe. For every human trying to be a humane being, there were numerous ones trying to oust the refuges for fear that “they” would take much needed jobs, resources, and space from the citizens. Thank G.O.D., in AA we are taught that everyone is welcome, all beings are precious, and compassion and unconditional love are the order of our daily lives. What a deal we have been given here in AA.