Knowing What You Can Control, and, More Importantly, What You Can’t
The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust. -Josh Billings
You know, for the life of me, I don’t know if this character defect has anything to do with my being an alcoholic, because it dates back to my earliest memories. It’s probably tied in somewhere, and, at the end of the day, does it really matter? It’s something I have struggled with all my life, and I could probably recount a dozen examples of it in the past year alone, so clearly I am going to struggle with it in recovery.
When something happens in the world around me about which I have strong feelings, then I have an extremely difficult time letting it go (friends and family reading this are either laughing or rolling their eyes at this exact moment). When I strongly feel like I know the better way, the right way, it feels like I am a pressure cooker, and if I don’t convince you of the perfect solution, I am going to blow my top.
Last week, I wrote about the troubles my son is experiencing with his fourth grade teacher. This is just one of several really good examples of this kind of emotion. Every time he comes home with another outrageous story, my blood boils, and I want to go into the school and rip this woman a new one. Important note: I do NOT let my son know this, and I ALWAYS instruct him to look at his own behavior in any given situation. I am not so far gone that I believe his stories are the only version of the truth, and I am quick to speak to him about the choices he makes during the day. But the point of this example is how I am feeling inside, and recognizing it as a pattern in my life.
Last night was my daughter’s basketball game. This post would run on forever if I went into detail, but I will sum it up by saying there were a number of issues about which I would like to express my opinion, and subsequent feelings like the ones I described above. The follow-up discussion my husband and I had this morning did nothing to decrease the pressure in my pressure cooker. Why can’t everyone just think exactly like I do? Wouldn’t the world run so much better?
In case you missed it, that last line was laced in self-deprecating sarcasm.
Here’s what recovery has taught me about this character defect. First, that it is a character defect. That my feelings on any given subject are far from fact, and other people’s opinions are actually as valid as my own, if not more so.
Second, and much more important: when I remind myself what is in my power to control (my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions), and what is not (the rest of the universe), my life becomes a lot more serene, and the balloon in my chest deflates.
So that’s the progress. Next goal: reminding myself of these facts in a speedier time frame!
Helping my son bring to life a really creative Valentine’s gift for his classmates (I will take a picture when I am done and post it, I am really impressed with his ingenuity on this one!
Posted on February 12, 2013, in Parenting and tagged 12 step program, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, My Life, Pressure, Pressure cooking, Recovery, Sobriety, Valentine, Valentines Day. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.