M(3), 2/22/16: In Your Own Head? Next Time, Bring an Adult with You!



Today’s larger-than-average meeting (We had 15 today!) focused on the book Forming True Partnerships:  How AA members use the program to improve relationships.  We read the first story from the chapter “On the Job.”

Since I have not worked outside the home for a number of years, I was uncertain how I might relate to any story in this chapter.  As always, 12-step literature has come through, and I found a number of points within the chapter that relates not only to work, but to family relationships, friendships, and even some auxiliary relationships.  For example…

We have been dealing with a minor family drama involving my son and what he considered unfair treatment by his coach.  Ultimately, in the practices and games that followed, my husband and I have come to agree with our son’s assessment that he has been singled out, and no explanation has been given.

This sounds like a relatively minor situation, and of course in many ways that is exactly what it is, but the ripple effects are noteworthy:  our son’s anxiety/angst/anger affects the entire family dynamic, my husband and I spend entirely too much mental energy trying to “figure things out,” which often leads to points of contention between us.  Further, there are all sorts of corollary decisions that need to be made:  talk to the coach or don’t talk to the coach?  Support the team or stand up for your own rights?  Use aggressive techniques, passive techniques, or my old standby, passive-aggressive techniques to make a point with the coach?

Here’s the bottom line:  it is a serenity thief, and the quicker it is handled, the better off we are.

Back to today’s reading, the point to which I related the most was the author’s assertion that she behave out in the world the same way she behaves within her 12-step fellowship.  And the first tradition of the fellowship is that group welfare comes before self.  In other words:  consider what is good for the group before you consider what is good for you.

That notion gave me pause in terms of how to handle the situation with the basketball team.  I can look back over my decisions and actions over the past few days and see where I might have made different decisions, had I kept in mind the greater good of the team, rather than the greater good of my son.  I will have to file that away under “lessons learned,” and try to do the next right thing, I suppose.


Another gentleman shared a hilarious work story where he had been the boss, and therefore was used to being treated deferentially.  Years went by, and he returned to school to receive his degree; an assignment was given to reach out to past co-workers for an anonymous assessment of what it was like to work with him.  Needless to say, the results of the survey were eye-opening!  It’s been a few years since that assignment, but he holds on to it as a reminder to be mindful of how you come across to others.

His share was also the inspiration for the title of this post.  He went on to talk about his gratitude for our fellowship, in particular because he recognizes the ongoing need for feedback.  Left to his own devices, his brain will lead him in some crazy directions, so he needs the objective guidance of other sober individuals to keep him on track.


Another woman shared how much the reading will help her with a few irritating work experiences.  As a nurse with the most seniority on her staff, she periodically has a generational disconnect with some of the newer members of her profession:  the training is different, priorities are different, work ethic is different.  It would be easy to insist the her way is the right way, and refuse to change or compromise.  But in reading the story, and considering the notion of what is good for the group versus what is good for her, she can see a whole new side of things.

She also spoke of the idea of bringing troubles to the group and getting advice on how to best handle them.  She said her inclination is to fix problems from the outside in, whereas the 12-step solution is almost always to fix things from the inside out.  She needs to keep coming back as a reminder on how to best solve life’s problems.


There were many other great shares, with a whole range of issues, from very early sobriety to those with decades of sobriety, but this post would run way too long if I wrote down every pearl of wisdom!  One last thing that one of my favorite attendees shared what I’ve come to recognize as a theme.  The entire notion described in the story, putting the group before the self, is really just another way of describing self-transcendence:  getting out of your own head to help another.  Every time we do this, without fail, we are bettering ourselves as human beings.

And you most certainly don’t have to be an alcoholic to reap these benefits!

Today’s Miracle:

Although chilly, the sun is so bright in my part of the world that I just get the sense that Spring is around the corner.  The lightness that brings to my day, in typically dreary February… well, that has to count for some kind of miracle!


Posted on February 22, 2016, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Ah yes, the stirrings of spring fever. I can feel it too.

    I must comment. Lol
    Asking you son to put the good of the team above his good is ok, if it makes sense.
    It sounds like he feels like he is being treated unfairly. Not that he wants his way over the teams.

    Perhaps this is a time when open and honest communication is required. Your son has two choice. Be honest (and brave) and talk to the coach and ask him what is wrong and what he can do/say/change to resolve the situation if he is actually at fault.

    Or he accepts the status quo and stops complaining about it. Acceptance of what is, even if it isn’t perfect.

    I supposed he could also quit the team. That seems dire.

    My husband is a hockey coach. Sometimes things do go on that he is unaware of. He has great respect for young kids who talk to him personally.

    If you son is over 10, it seems he has an opportunity to voice is personal experience to the coach and ask for feedback. It might be a huge learning opportunity.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this comment, Anne, it really made me feel better about letting Danny take the lead on this one. And we agree with your husband, my husband was a basketball coach for 6 years, and has the greatest respect for kids who have to courage to ask questions… we expect that is the norm for our kids with their coaches. This situation leans more towards acceptance of what is, unfortunately; the silver lining is the season is over, and we are not tied to this particular coach any further. On to the track season 🙂

      As always, I so appreciate the feedback!


    • Also… LOVE your Gravatar. You are beautiful 🙂


  2. Great post.
    Just wanted to add how shocked I was to get sober and have people tell me that just because I think it DOES NOT make it true!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark, I’ve got to tell you, even 4 years in, I still get a little shock when that happens… wait a minute, I thought something to be true and it isn’t! Nowadays it’s a happy shock, but in early sobriety, it was SHOCK shock!

      Thanks for the comment!


  3. Getting out of my head, and seeing other people’s point of view is super important for me.
    It’s not all about me should be my mantra!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is so much to love about this post, starting with the title! It’s perfect!
    As for your son, I feel you. It’s just a tough situation all the way around. Feels like a rock and a hard place actually. That said, you’re brilliant, you do everything with the best of intentions, and I know it’ll turn out. I have faith that it will.
    As always, I learn so much from you, Josie. Thank you!!xoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • The progress for me in this situation is that I DID take an adult with me on this journey… my husband. Twice he stopped me from taking action against this coach, and now, a few days later, I am grateful for him stopping me. Yes, I have the best of intentions, but that does not always mean they will be interpreted as such!

      Thanks for the kind words Michelle, I hope you are well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. yes, that is so true, that we don’t have to be an alcoholic to reap the benefits of their program. I am married to a recovering alcoholic (31 years sober in AA) and I must say I am greatful for the exposure I got on his recovery one day at a time.Three years ago we lost our 21 years old son to drunk driving and felt so devastated that we never had the chance to share with him the program his Dad have. The disease of alcoholism is cunning , baffling and tyrant. When my son was still living, I never realized how alcohol was deceiving me and him.I wish I knew then what I knew now about this disease.But life must go on. I pray that we all find better ways of dealing with this affliction among our loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 31 years is a true inspiration for someone like me. My husband shares your view that he too benefits from the lessons of my 12-step recovery, and is in fact that person that encourages me to keep writing, so everyone can see the benefits!

      I would imagine that sobriety was sorely tested three years ago, and I hope it’s okay with you that I say a few prayers for you and your family. What a horrible, horrible tragedy, I want to express my sorrow, but words fail me in the face of this event.

      My kids are a bit younger (15 and 13), and while I teach them the basics of the program, and they know I am in recovery, I don’t specifically share this is what I learned from my recovery program. If that makes any sense at all! Your story has me considering a slight shift in perspective, and maybe let them know how and where I’ve come to learn the various pearls of wisdom I drop on them, pretty much every single day 😉

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and for the courage in sharing your story. It helps to keep me sober for another day!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, 3 years ago,after we laid our son to rest there comes a point that my husband keep pouring and drinking glass of water continously like he was drinking a bottle of beer!And thanks God he was able to pass that stage and really take his program religiously one day at a time.Thank you for the prayers. Our family is very active now in our mission of sharing the message about the disease of alcoholism and finding hope.We still have four kids with us who are all potentially at risk on catching the disease. It runs in our family, I lost my Dad also when I was ten on drunk driving.I really would like to give you a copy of my book. I just don’t know how to send it to you. I am very new blogging and connecting thru the net. Thank you also!I’l keep in touch

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Serenity thief – I love that little phrase I’ll reuse that!
    I’ve seen these things over and over as my kids grew up. My son was basketball obsessed at about 10 years old. We got him a hoop and he practised a lot. However he has certain traits that are not atypical of a geeky nerd, somewhere on the autistic/dyslexic/dyspaxic scale. Despite all his efforts he was overlooked by the school team coach, despite the fact he was one of the very few who always turned up for practice etc. By 11 he’d stopped practising by 12 the hoop was taken down and that was that. My daughter went to drama club for years, again every week and she practised learnt lines etc. Overlooked repeatedly. She finally one day just walked out explaining politely that she was never coming back as she could put her efforts elsewhere. She turned to swimming – now whilst a good swimmer she’s never going to be in the Olympics – her being only 5ft doesn’t help her! But there the coach spotted someone who put effort in, who always could be relied on to turn up and behave well for the club. He appointed her the youngest ever club capt – the club has been running over 100 years…. she is also the longest ever serving club capt since WWII. She rarely won or even medalled in a race but at last a coach who appreciated more than just a win at all costs mentality.
    Leave the decision to your son. If my experience is anything to go by if the child feels discriminated against repeatedly they’ll just stop attending

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely love the story about your daughter and swimming. I wish every kid in the world would have at least one experience like that! And it puts things into perspective for me, too… Danny’s primary sport is track, not basketball, and he has had way more than one experience like your daughter’s in swimming. So thank you so much for sharing these stories, and giving me a new perspective on the big picture.

      As it turned out, we did leave the decision to our son, and thanks to beautiful comments like this one, I feel wonderful about that decision.

      Thanks so much Graham!


  7. I’m chuckling on the passive-aggressive approach, my personal favorite. And with all due respect to the coach and team, our kids are ours to look after and help them learn how to get their needs met. I think it’s pretty easy for me to “take one for the team”, but as a parent it gets more complicated. But this post serves as an important reminder to keep others in mind at work, at home, everywhere really. Your meetings sound so awesome. One of these days I’d love to come to one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you are chuckling, because that was the source of my angst on the night in question. I wanted so badly to take what I was calling the “assertive” approach (which undoubtedly would have morphed into aggressive), and my husband held me back. Thank God for taking the adult with me on that one, because the ripple effect could have been impressive, as we plan to spend the next 4 or 5 years with this organization!

      If you come to the meeting, not only will I lay out the red carpet, I will take you to lunch after, AND I will let you select the restaurant. I wonder if I will have a well thought out opinion on the various options 😉


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