'I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.'
The above is an excerpt form 'the Invitation' by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
(I have posted it on this blog under the label heading 'favorites' and 'insightful writing' as I find it a very useful frame of reference for where I am TRYING to head to.
This excerpt is all about having a SPINE and having the integrity to risk disapproval and confrontation IN ORDER TO DO THE RIGHT THING.
It is EXTREMELY RARE for someone to come into aa with assertiveness skills, so don't give yourself a hard time about it!! We ALL have to learn this stuff! There are dozens!! Of books on assertiveness, classes. You name it. So there is no excuse for not to be able to learn this..
For those of you that live in fear of confrontation I say..
'Keep on the firing line of life with these MOTIVES and God WILL, (not might) keep you unharmed' (p102)
So there's your 'shield'!
I always tell Sponsees ITS PERFECTLY OK TO CHANGE YOUR MIND. About ANYTHING. Most people (women especially) are a bit door-matty and UNASSERTIVE when they are new. And as a result often get AMBUSHED into things. Usually by bossy MANIPULATIVE people!!, to do things they don't really want to do. I have a PARTICULAR DISLIKE for manipulative sorts, so I take GREAT PLEASURE in advising them to POLITELY tell their friend that they have changed their mind.
You could say something like this.
"Hi Mary, you know, now that I've had a chance to mull it over, I have to say, I WON'T be doing that thing for you. I'm afraid it just doesn't sit very well with me, and so I'm afraid you'll have to find someone else to help you out. I realize in retrospect that I SHOULD have said I would think about it rather than agree on the spot. That was my error. But the truth is, that I actually feel VERY uncomfortable about doing that, and, I'm afraid to say I also feel a little manipulated. In future I intend to think things through MUCH more carefully before I agree to them, but for the time being, I'm afraid, on this occasion, I will HAVE to let you down. You're an intelligent resourceful woman, so I'm SURE you will find someone else to help you out instead."
See? It's not that difficult is it?
- An Irish Friend of Bill
- I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Changing your mind. Integrity: Can you disappoint another to be true to yourself?
Posted by An Irish Friend of Bill
Labels: Assertiveness, Authenticity, Honesty, Relationships
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I knicked it from your sidebar!
Like what you have to say about sponsors(ing). I must get my self a new sponsor pdq.
Thanks, that's helpful. I'm not a newcomer and I still suffer from being a doormat from time to time!
Cool. yeah I saw your blog. Looks pretty interesting I have to say! I'll have to pay you a visit more often. The dog stuff is AMAZING. Especially the 'hug' pic.
Regarding the doormat type tendencies. I don't think you can ever be PERFECTLY free of it, but I think sponsoring has beaten 97% of my doormat stuff out of me. I'm pretty sure that my life would be nigh on unbearable if I capitulated to their every bleating whim! Plus I would be less helpful as I would get drained by their demands and as a direct result have less energy to go around. I HONESTLY believe that WHATS GOOD FOR ME IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE ELSE, so I just don't experience any sort of ethical dilemma, when I refuse an unrealistic or unreasonable demand. Actually I feel I am doing them a favor, by pointing out their 'overstepping the mark'. But that's me. I know for a fact that the only reason I have been able to help as many people as I have done, to stay sober, is because I REFUSE to be mucked about by any of them! I had a conversation with one the other day that has drawn the SAME conclusion with one of her Sponsees. It seems weird at first, but when you see people getting well as a result, the results speak for themselves.
It took time for me to arrive at this point though! I was 'bludgeoned into humility by pain and unremitting suffering' by some VERY difficult and demanding Sponsees that I parted ways with in the end. But that's what I like about AA. Its rough justice! Grass roots Spirituality! We are BEATEN into shape by the disciplines of the programme! But in truth, I think I first learned how to be assertive talking to newcomers. That's where I learn EVERYTHING first. With newcomers! That's why I love them! -Then it sort of 'spreads out' to 'all my affairs'.
Exploring this wonderful blog of yours. I am farely new in my sobriety, 15 months. I am truly blessed for having desperation, for it has led me into the arms of true mentors -- I do embrace the brilliant guidence of those who have walked the path before me.
Cool. Nice to see you Sober chick'. 15months. You are a baby! Youth is on your side! I have found that my sponsees suck up information and progress at a much faster rate than I ever did. It always seems that the 'junior ranks' make much faster progress than the older generation of AA. Don't know if that's true or if that's just my perception. But that's how it looks to me. So I'm always very optimistic about the newer people in recovery. Well the ones that make the most of the vast pools of wisdom in aa.
One of my favorite 'gadgets' for newish people is the 'taoist arch'. (in a previous post labeled under 'dealing with difficult emotions') Its VERY weird, but it works like a charm. Try it next time you are feeling weepy and see what happens! Its like a cool party trick!
I will come by your blog more often! Nice to meet you, young lady!
Haahaha. Now I sound like an old bag! I assure you I am not! In age yes, but I think I might have a gruesome picture in the attic much like Dorian grey of a wizened repulsive alter ego. As recovery has been very kind to my ageing process. Vanity is a GREAT motivator to stay sober! Got to go to the gym now!
Yep, I was able to grow a spine in recovery. Some days it is not much of a spine but, it is a spine.
hhaaaa trudge! Spines have their uses! i say to sponsees they need to get in touch with their inner 'Alexis Carrington'. Actually, they'd never get that because they were probably all seven when dynasty was on the telly! so I say 'inner Amazon' or 'Inner B****h' instead! It's very important! Life is rather merciless to doomatty types..
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