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!
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 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, fellowship, Group Unity, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.