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Worst thing that could happen (in terms of control)

Old 03-23-2013, 01:01 PM
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Worst thing that could happen (in terms of control)

I've been thinking about my powerlessness a lot as I am working in step one lately...

I have had some moments of serenity in times when I would have normally tried to control and get involved in the situation, so that's been nice to see.

The slogan that helps me a lot in those moments is:

IS IT IMPORTANT?

I am finding that so many things are NOT important -- at all.

So in those situations I am just keeping my mouth shut.

Letting things play out without my input.

It's much more relaxing I tell you!

It is not important -- how my husband rearranges the plants after he has watered them.

It is not important -- that he prefers having dirty dishes going on the left side of the sink so the right side can stay open for hand washing and fruit washing etc.

It is not important -- whether he grows his beard or shaves

I do not need to get involved in these situations at all or say anything about them.

And today I can actually say with conviction:

It is not important -- if my husband goes to an AA meeting or not.

It is NOT MY BUSINESS!

Truly. I see that right now.

So what am I talking about in terms of my title for this post: Worst thing that could happen (in terms of control)?

Well...

I'm thinking about how in terms of my recovery...

The worst thing is not that my husband doesn't go to AA meetings.

The worst thing for me and my recovery would be that he DOES go to meetings and I somehow tell myself that it's because of something I've done or said.

As if I'm in control somehow!?

Another example: The worst thing is not that I'd be worrying and then he winds up going on another bender and using....

The worst thing is that I'd be worrying about him going on a bender and then he DOESN"T go on a bender and I somehow believe that my worry prevented it.

In other words...

The worst thing for me in my recovery is that i get the false "proof" that my worrying or my pleading or my efforts prevented the "bad thing" from happening.

The worst thing is that I have opportunities think that I prevented something bad from happening.

Right now, it's actually better for me in some ways that the "bad thing" would continue to happen so that I can continue to see that no matter how much I love him, or worry, or talk to him or whatever....that it DOES NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I need to continue to see that I am powerless.

And if I talk to my husband about things and what I think he should or shouldn't do...and he does what I say...or I worry about something and then it doesn't wind up happening....instead of getting reinforcement for how powerless I am, my mind can twist it into thinking that I am in control!

So if God is gracious on me, He will NOT let me have my way so that I will continue to see that I am powerless.

Each time I get my way, I can so easily be lured into thinking THAT I DID IT!

That capital IIIIIIIII made that happen.

This is very very very bad for me right now! LOL

So I am not praying for my husband to get into recovery.

I am not praying that he will go to meetings.

I am not praying that he will not use again.

I am not praying for anything about how my husband lives his life.

I do not want to be able to tell myself that if he gets into recovery or goes to a meeting or abstains from using that it was in any way connected to me...even as a result of my prayers.

HANDS OFF!

Instead...I am following step 11 and "praying only for the knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out."

And each morning when I get on my knees to make that prayer, I also mentally wrap my husband up in a blanket and I had him over to God.

And then I go about my day looking forward to things not going my way so I can continue to see that I AM POWERLESS OVER ALL NOUNS AND PRONOUNS IN MY LIFE.

It is way worse for me to believe that I am controlling ANYTHING than it is for the things to happen that previously I would have seen as the worst case scenarios.

Never thought I'd be saying things like this...but I am really getting how important it is for me to recognize my powerlessness, to live it in all my affairs, and not be tricked into thinking that I am controlling something...

Right now, getting what I want and having MY WILL play out, is the absolute worst thing that could happen in my recovery.

Thank you GOD for showing me YOUR will and showing me that no matter what YOUR WILL is, I am always okay. xo
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:26 PM
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The worst thing is that I'd be worrying about him going on a bender and then he DOESN"T go on a bender and I somehow believe that my worry prevented it.

In other words...

The worst thing for me in my recovery is that i get the false "proof" that my worrying or my pleading or my efforts prevented the "bad thing" from happening.
Very interesting and well put. I can't tell you how many times I worried that my son would die from his addiction. He was homeless. He was hanging out with very volatile people. And I would worry about it to the extent that I would plan his funeral in my head.....down to what he'd wear and what music to play.

Talk about some really cruel head games! And I was doing it to myself because I had not accepted that I was powerless. It was terrible! I was mourning someone who was still alive and living events in my head that hadn't happened!

Learning to let go of those thoughts (could be called a character defect) and asking God to remove those thoughts......accepting that I was powerless.......was critical to my own recovery.

Very very interesting topic. There is so much we don't control.....but living events that haven't occurred yet......we can work toward stopping this thought process. And it feels much better!

Good for you! Great Step One (Two and Three) work!

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 03-23-2013, 08:12 PM
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Yeah - I'm really only hurting myself by not admitting my powerlessness.

This reminds me of a workshop I went to many many years ago.

The presenter took a long stemmed rose out of the vase. It was a bud.

She held it front of herself and spoke to it:

"What's wrong with you? Why don't you open up? You'd be so much prettier if you did. You should open up! C'mon now, do it!"

Then she pauses.

"Oh you never listen to me. Go to your room!"

Everyone laughed as she put it back in the vase.

Then she talks about how LATER...we see the rose again...

And it's blossomed and it's looking beautiful and it's opened up.

And she says to the flower, "Oh, I'm glad you finally agreed to listen to me and take my advice!"

LOL

What a nightmare to think that anything we say, do, or think can impact someone or something else -- especially our addicts.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:15 AM
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What an awesome post! You gave me some interesting things to think about. good for you for the work you are doing!
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:21 AM
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I agree, this is an awesome post. This is quite different from how I did my Step 1, but I think I like your way even better.

I will use your examples in trying to be better at letting go of the illusion of control in many areas of my own life...none of them related to addiction, but all of them related to me thinking I had power over something that I did not.


Instead...I am following step 11 and "praying only for the knowledge of God's will and the power to carry that out."
Amen, Sister.

Thank you for sharing this.

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Old 03-24-2013, 07:11 AM
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I am powerless over all nouns and pronouns in my life -- but I still don't like to be lied to, tricked, or mislead. I don't like to feel like someone is taking advantage of me, pulling the wool over my eyes, getting the best of me. I at least want to know the truth so I can make an informed decision about what I do.

So I can't stop those things from happening to me, but what is it in me that is reacting to the lies, manipulation, trickery, etc? Why do I care if I am lied to, or someone is sneaking around and not telling me the truth? Why do I seem so insistent in wanting honesty? What attachment or character defect is that?

Maybe there is something around that topic that I am still clinging to and thinking I have power/control over? Hmmm.

From ANN: I agree, this is an awesome post. This is quite different from how I did my Step 1, but I think I like your way even better.
THANK YOU, ANN -- Glad you have some new ways of thinking of Step 1. But now you have me curious though...how did you approach Step 1 in a different way? Can you share some of the insights that helped you live the realization of your powerlessness and how your life was unmanageable? I'd love to listen and learn.

And thanks Pianogirl! This whole month of Al Anon immersion has been quite an experience and I just hope I can stay with myself and stay out of other people's business because when I slip on that, that's when my life starts getting REALLY unmanageable. Ayi yi yi!

I feel really lucky to be a part of SR where we can share and learn from each other.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:20 AM
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What a GREAT thread!!!!!!!

Thank you so much.

One of the things I realized was that I can worry about something, use a lot of my energy and just worry, worry, worry. Or I can accept that I have no control and stop my worrying. And you know what??? Whether I worry or not, the situation, problem, etc Is going to end the way it is going to end, rofl with no help at all from me.

I started liking Step 1 more and more as I came to understand the concept of no control over anything or anyone but ME.

Again, thank you for this really GREAT thread!!

Love and hugs,
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:57 AM
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shinebright7: A warm (albeit late) welcome to you. I'd like to thank you for sharing your journey through step 1 and appreciate your thoughts and insight.

Accepting that I am powerless when it comes to my AS is an ongoing process. I slip and have to get back on track (especially this weekend!) and would like to say that what you've shared in your posts has been helpful for me.

"Thank you GOD for showing me YOUR will and showing me that no matter what YOUR WILL is, I am always okay." That is a wonderful prayer and so very comforting!
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:26 AM
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I talked this out more at my Al Anon meeting last night.

The more I think about it, share it, discuss it, the more I "get it"...

After I shared last night, another member during her share commented on mine and brought in the topic of HUMILITY -- that she sees it as a sign of humility to take the perspective that there is nothing we can say or do to cause or not cause our alcoholics/addicts to drink or not drink.

Then I started to think about the opposite of humility: arrogance.

And how it really is so totally arrogant of me to think that I know what is best for another person, place, or thing.

So arrogant of me when I am trying to control or manipulate a situation...

And usually I don't think of myself as manipulative...

But I TOTALLY AM!

Subtle things I do that don't flat out say what I want sometimes, but things I do and allude to as if I am playing chess and am trying to set up some great big move.

Dropping hints, making comments, asking particular questions...

Hoping that the other person will pick up on what should REALLY happen in this situation.

It's so pathetic! LOL

And it's just not the kind of clean, honest living I prefer to engage in.

So that's something I'm really enjoying about this "hands of" approach I'm practicing...

Is that it just feels CLEAN.

Not blurred lines and blurred boundaries.

It's like that is your life. Period.

This is my life. Period.

I am responsible for this life. Period.

You are responsible for your life. Period.

Somehow my list of responsibilities has become a gigantic run on sentence. I need to put the periods back in and take care of just what is mine.

It's becoming clearer and clearer to me and more obvious in terms of how I feel, that when I am in other people's business, that's when my life is unmanageable. I start feeling tense or anxious and it just SUCKS!

I'm grateful I'm learning to feel that as the indication of my life being unmanageable so that I can come back and leave all those people places and things in God's hands...

And then I can focus back on me and really feel the difference when I do that too.

Also went to the indexes of the daily Al Anon readers and read all the pages on the slogan: One Day At a Time as well as the pages on Powerlessness and that has been super helpful for me too.

Thanks again for your comments, sharing, and for reading too. xo
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:32 AM
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Dropping hints, making comments, asking particular questions...

Hoping that the other person will pick up on what should REALLY happen in this situation.


raises hand, GUILTY as charged! funny little story, nothing to do with addiction, but all about trying to subtly motivate said OTHER to do what WE want.

hank can sometimes do INERT really well. and sometimes it bugs me. one day what i really wanted HIM to do was get out there and mow the damn yard, but i also wanted this to happen without actually SAYING that. so i started getting busy, putzing around, first a bunch of house stuff, then doing other yard work etc., hoping to perhaps guilt him into it.

now mind you, i am fully capable of operating a lawn mower. if i REALLY wanted the yard mowed THAT bad, i could have done it myself. but no, i got it into my head that this was HIS job and by golly i wasn't gonna rest until he did it.

so, finally, he throws on the grubby jeans, and boots up, and hauls out the mower. some cussing as it wouldn't fire up right away. i am secretly oh so pleased with myself, cuz see i got him to do what i wanted. HA.

he starts mowing along the one edge of the driveway, it's going well, and then all of the sudden there's this TOINK sound. mower stops. i look over at hank and his jaw is nearly hanging off the driveway. he's staring at my car. i come over and take a look and my back passenger window is shattered. i didn't put two and two together right away - i thought OMG someone came onto our property and busted out my window.

no. the mower ran over a rock and it shot out sideways and busted out the window!!!! yup mow-by shooting incident, hank shot out my car window with the lawn mower!!!!

that wrapped up the mowing for the day and the next hour was spent cleaning up all the broken glass. and put hank in a singularly lousy mood for the next many hours.

go me. got what i wanted right?? just so happened the temp the next morning was right around 30 degrees, and i got to do my hour drive to work with no back passenger window!!! and then drive promptly to the auto glass place for a replacement.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by shinebright7 View Post
I am powerless over all nouns and pronouns in my life -- but I still don't like to be lied to, tricked, or mislead. I don't like to feel like someone is taking advantage of me, pulling the wool over my eyes, getting the best of me. I at least want to know the truth so I can make an informed decision about what I do.

So I can't stop those things from happening to me, but what is it in me that is reacting to the lies, manipulation, trickery, etc? Why do I care if I am lied to, or someone is sneaking around and not telling me the truth? Why do I seem so insistent in wanting honesty? What attachment or character defect is that?

Maybe there is something around that topic that I am still clinging to and thinking I have power/control over? Hmmm.



.
I struggle with this so much too! It has always been a huge trigger for me!

I once posted about it and started thinking maybe I hated it so much because somewhere I knew I was lying to myself???

I don't know!! Bit if you ever figure it out, please share it with me because I am still stuck on ANYONE lying.

Funny story Anvil and a lesson well learned!! (Now please leave poor Hank alone, lol)
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:50 PM
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yup, careful what ya wish for!
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