Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday, 5/18/09 - "CONTROL"

(I'll say it again and again till you hear me!)


"Stating my opinion once is appropriate, any more than that is an attempt at governing those around me."
(From "Hope For Today, p. 133)

When I was young, I remember my mother leaving newspaper and magazine articles next to my brother's breakfast plate many mornings. (This was a looooong time ago.) Several years ago my brother told me he never read a one - they went directly into the "circular file". My mother was trying in her own way to change my brother. It didn't work. In Al-Anon, I have learned that this kind of behavior is called "controlling behavior".

I think about how often I have tried to get someone to "hear me". I can repeat things over and over. Oh, I dress each attempt up in different words, say it with a different intensity, use different examples, but it's still saying the same thing. I now realize this is " attempt at governing those around me."

Maybe 26 years ago when I was still working in a nursing home and arriving at my alcoholic bottom, a nurse where I worked came in and closed the door and began to talk to me about alcoholism. She saw my hands shaking and many other signs. She knew I was in deep trouble. I didn't. Me - - I was in total denial. Inside my mind, I put up a wall of steel to prevent myself from hearing her words. I thought they went in one ear and I pushed them out the other ear.
This woman was an alcoholic herself - in recovery at the time - and she explained what was happening to me.

She never repeated her words again. I thought I didn't hear her, but I did. Her words had made it into my mind and found a hiding place in there. When the time was right, they surfaced and I have never forgotten her or her words.
When I got sober I thanked her several times for her kindness. I now know I kept those words in my mind because they resonated with me - one alcoholic talking to another alcoholic. She spoke "my language". She "knew" me when I didn't know myself.

I have found a tool I can use for myself. If I find myself repeating something over and over to another - trying to get them to see things 'my way' - then I am controlling. This controlling sets up more and more resistance to what I am trying to convey and produces the exact opposite of what I desire.

It is much better to go to God in prayer, ask for guidance about what I need to say, and then:

"Say what I mean."
"Mean what I say."

"Don't say it mean."

And I will add - - - - AND SAY IT ONCE!

Thank God for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon.

Prayer Girl

(Photo credit: Afternoon Squabble by Florida Fan)


Shadow said...

i'm glad things have worked out so well for you, but girl, i still haven't mastered the art of letting go of control. and when i do, i do so with resentment and that obviously also backfires. maybe one day i'll get there...

Lou said...

Good post. I'm a "repeater." I'm working on it.

Gin said...

Thank you for this. I really needed this today. I am going through a few things this morning with my husband and you just reminded me to stop trying to control. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Just Be Real said...

Amen.....going to God in prayer is the ultimate. It is wonderful that you were able to retain what the nurse said to you and brought it to mind when it was the right time. Love those flamingos!!

Steve E. said...

Hey, PG! You've heard it many times: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Also, when the teacher is ready, the student will appear.

When God says, "Ready!", it will all fall into place...probably not before!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I am a repeater and still working each day to move out old inventory so God can move in more and more new...

I know I'm growing, but sometimes I don't like to feel the achyness. I said something yesterday that I'm still meditating on. I said I hate it when I feel like someone isn't following direction I've given... Not because they aren't taking the direction specifically but much more deeply that it affects my ability to see myself as useful.

I affirm that I am useful to God anytime I reach out a helping hand, pray, follow directions myself, when I'm seeking to do good work at my work-a-day job, when I show up at meetings, when I help to set-up/clean-up.... well that's quite a list already, so I guess there's nothing to hate or complain about after all.

Findon said...

It is so important that we carry the message. That lady thought more about your life, she was willing to offend you, have you hate her, to be diliked, rather than see you kill yourself with alcohol. Now that is a real 12 step call.

Carol said...

Saying it more that once is nagging--one of the most important things that I've gotten from Alanon. I think that it makes me easier to be around. Who wants to feel pushed all the time?

Syd said...

I sometimes just talk to fill the void. It's not a good thing for me or the other person.