"How often we hear it said at meetings that the alcoholic is a past master in the art of conniving and manipulating us to get his own way.........do we realize that we ourselves have often been guilty of the same fault? Haven't we tried all sorts of tricks to outwit him - to make him stop drinking, to make him join AA, to make him go to more meetings, or go to fewer meetings? Am I being perfectly honest and fair when I meddle and manipulate our situation?......am I still trying to be the boss?"
"Al-Anon principles set a pattern before me: to work on myself and to stop interfering with others. The words for this procedure are "hands off!""
From "One Day at a Time", March 23, p. 83.
I have to love this same message that comes wrapped in so many different ways.
Here comes another dose of REPETITION:
There are two kinds of business - my business and none of my business.
If I have an imaginary hula hoop around me, everything inside that hula hoop is my business and everything outside of it is none of my business
AND - now there is "HANDS OFF"
Even an obsessive mind that has been tamed by many years of healthier thinking in Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon can still revert to the old pattern of shifting my focus from myself to someone else. Are the alcoholics in my life going to too many meetings or too few? Is that any of my affair? Absolutely not. I need to keep my attention on my own life, my own number of meetings, my own spiritual condition, my own growth.
I can't remember my family ever telling me I was overly or under involved in AA. When I came home from treatment my husband finally left that alone and my parents knew very little about alcoholism and didn't live where I did so they had no opinion. For better or worse, even my sponsor did not monitor the number of meetings I attended.
I have sponsored a lot of women and many have been in relationships where their spouses weren't real happy about the pattern of partying being interrupted. They would often say, "You're going to too many meetings." Then there are families full of fear constantly suggesting the alcoholic is not going to enough meetings. To me these behaviors are all understandable. People act out of fear and don't like change. However, these reactions can be very destructive.
This is why I love Al-Anon so much. I love the freedom I have to explore my own journey with God while I allow others the same right to choose how they will walk their journey. God has had a way of correcting me when I strayed too near the edge of the right path. The best I can do for other family members and friends is allow them the same courtesy. God is in charge, not me. I can always pray for them.
At this moment I am in the right place in my mind and grateful for it. Today I am in "HANDS OFF" mode. :)
(Photo credit: Hands Off by email@example.com)