My Mind Says No, But My Mouth Says Yes
I have a very limited ability to set, or, more accurately, to enforce personal boundaries. I can imagine all the different, healthy boundaries that I could set, but the reality is that I don’t currently possess the chutzpah to vocalize them to another human being.
Here is a real life example: I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions (read: every Monday morning), I started and run an AA meeting. The meeting takes place in a new clubhouse, less than a year old, where the goal is “to provide a clean, safe environment for recovery, spirituality and fellowship.”
I entered the picture about 6 months into this project. They had a building, and they were looking for people to start meetings, and so I said yes when I was asked. And I have never looked back; I am proud of the decision, proud of the way the meeting has grown, and deeply grateful for the personal growth the meeting has provided me.
Other than my meeting, however, I spend little time at the clubhouse, mainly because I don’t have a lot of time to give. I frequent others’ meetings there as often as I can, and I support events by providing food as they need it. But as a wife and a mother of 2 (relatively) small children, I have a full life outside of AA, and I got sober so that I could appreciate that life, so I will always opt for supporting my family over supporting a social AA function (please note that I am making a distinction between social AA events and AA meetings themselves, my recovery comes before everything else).
So imagine my surprise when, about a week ago, the clubhouse board members approached me and asked me to help them with their leadership. I was surprised but flattered, and of course I said I would do whatever I could to help them out. Then they said they would like me to serve as… drum roll please… the Director of the Clubhouse.
If I could provide an audio right now, it would be of car brakes screeching… WHAT THE WHAT?!?
This request makes sense to me on ZERO levels… I am not part of the original group, I am not even technically a charter member, I don’t attend business meetings, all I do is run one AA meeting a week… how exactly does that qualify me to be a Director? And of course there are my own personal reasons, such as the time commitment and the fact that I have NO EXPERIENCE with this type of position… I don’t even know what the heck a director does!
So I say to them, “I am happy to help, I will attend the next business meeting, but I do not wish to be a director, I just want to help out where I can.”
My words, apparently, fell on deaf ears. I have seen one of the board members twice this week. Each time he jokingly referred to me as the “head drunk of the clubhouse.” At the business meeting, which I attended last night, they asked me why I wasn’t sitting behind the desk. I calmly say, “because I am not the director, I am just here to help out.” There were several other mini-references, which I largely just ignored.
I left that meeting feeling like a failure. Why did I not just take the bull by the horns and address the issue as I saw it: I do not want to be a director, I stated that fact, and my statement has been ignored. Instead, I joked back with the guy, ignored the other references, and never let them know that I was entirely uncomfortable. Basically, I skirted around the issue as much as I could, which, in the end, gets me no closer to solving the problem.
Why is it so hard to tell someone No? I have been talked through this issue numerous times in my life (because this is far from my first experience with not communicating my feelings), and the process I have been given goes something like this: if you tell someone honestly how you are feeling, imagine the worst case scenario. Usually the worst case scenario is not so bad, thus prompting me to communicate in a healthy way.
So what worst case scenario can I imagine if I had just spoke up: “I am uncomfortable with how hard you are pushing me to take this position, and I am unwilling to contribute more than I have already offered?” I imagine unease, awkward silence, and subsequent internal discomfort. Now, I don’t know for sure what would have happened in terms of the first two points I just mentioned, but guess what? That internal discomfort was felt by me anyway, and that was WITHOUT me voicing my concerns!
Here’s the good news: I will have ample opportunities to correct my behavior in the days to come, I will keep you posted. All advice is gratefully welcomed!
Getting ready to enjoy a quiet, stress-free family night, and I cannot wait!
Posted on May 8, 2013, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholic Anonymous, Board of directors, Health, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, self-development, setting boundaries, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.