Friday, September 26, 2008

Taking Responsibility

Responsibility - Al-Anon, Life, Work.

We have the right to choose to do anything we want to do. The key word is "anything" and I would add - "we want." This seems liberating when we read it. But how many of us - want someone to decide for us? We wait to hear what others want to do. We want others to tell us what they think first, so we can see which way the "wind is blowing."

Because, God forbid we are wrong in telling others what we want to do or worse - we make a decision, others are unhappy with!

But here are the facts. You have a life. I have a life. We need to be clear on what we want. Why are we not clear sometimes? I believe - because we have been told that our ideas and choice are not important, stupid, bad, wrong, selfish - you name it.

But guess what? What they think does not matter. But we have made it matter. And therefore we wait and we decide our choices are of little value to us.

We are allowed to make mistakes! Yes, some of our decisions have been - well - wrong. And some of our decisions have been - well - RIGHT!

Let's take responsibility back. We may have given away our "right" to decide and choose what is right for us. Let's take it back by sharing with people what we want to do. Now I am not saying sharing with people are intimate secrets - people with whom we don't know or cannot trust. What I am saying is our choices and wants matter.

But it is up to us to take responsibility and choose what we want to do - in all situations. ALL situations.

To become better and smarter about what it is we wish to do, we need to open ourselves up and learn to trust our judgement. We need to listen to that "still small voice within." We need to "trust our gut." We need to learn to be quiet and calm ourselves. Get out of the chaos - if there is chaos around us.

A great way to start listening to ourselves is to take that notebook and write out and describe the situation at hand. And list out what the outcome we want, the fears we are facing - and worst possible outcome.

I actually wrote - "I will die" - when I wrote about a big situation I was facing. But it was after about 6 major "if this happens, then this will occur." When I looked at it, I uncovered fears and unfounded fears, I was harboring unconsciously.

But I digress. The point is, the notebook, the uncovering, "If I do this, what will happen good?" and ". . . what will happen, bad?" is a powerful little free tool that you can put into use today. Problem is - it is free and no one will remind us to use it in a time of crisis. So write it in your notebook in the back - where you could/should have an index called "tools."

I am still digressing - and I know it!

I learned this from Robert Anthony. Here it is;

Keep in mind nothing is "good" or "bad" or "right" or "wrong." It is only "wise" or "unwise." He points out in his Total Self Confidence book, "as you move from 'unwise' to 'wise' actions, the importance of this terminology will become increasingly evident."

Here are some questions he suggests that you ask;

Is this a wise or unwise act?
Will it contribute to my basic needs?
Will it harm me or someone else?
Is it in harmony with the Laws of the Universe as I understand them?
What is the total price I must pay?
Am I willing and able to pay this price and accept the consequences?

PS - I am sorry I have not blogged in a while. I have been redoing my work life . . . Which has become a significant point of change. Some day I reveal what was at one point, I would have called a crisis, that turned into a blessing and I believe a gift from my Higher Power. It actually allowed me to SEE myself and force me to take a good look at why I was working so hard.

PPS - There are times when my ego says "I am recovered." This is the ego trying to trick me into a false hope. The truth is; I am in recovery. The trip and journey are miles and miles, and without a road map. I slip - a lot.

Good luck today and this weekend.


Anonymous said...


The last question in your blog this morning is and continues to be the key element in my recovery.

I can tell you that in the MOMENT I thought I could say "yes" to both, however, I am finding that by "stepping back", I could no longer say "yes" to the price and consequences.

It has saved me from making the same severe mistake(s)in my forward motions of recovery.

When in doubt, take a step back, if it's right, it shall prove itself to be, if not, sometimes ya just have to "let it go".

Peace this Friday, everyone have a great weekend!


mermaidgirl said...

I have many questions as I am still a newbie to the al-anon community and spouse of a current dry drunk. The status of newbie is also evidenced by my somewhat duplicate post the other day without knowing or realizing it.

I have seen many buzzwords on this site such as "detach" and other themes for example yours Joe, regarding the al-anon as being in "recovery". So-are the alcoholics' significant others considered to be in recovery as well?

And my biggest question: How do you detach from your spouse whom you are supposed to share your life with?

Like I many questions and I'm in the midst of lots of chaos and "noise" and no matter how much I try, I cannot make sense of all of this.

I am so thankful for this site-it is becoming part of my morning and evening habit-


nona said...


We are told at our first meeting that we are not here for the alcoholic - this is our program, this is our recovery from the effects of living with the disease of alcholism. For me, living with alcoholism made me crazy! I was often irritable and unreasonable without knowing it. Our preamble states that "changed attitudes can aid in recovery." I used to think that if I changed my attitude about alcoholism and addiction it would aid my husbands recovery. That kept me going. Five years later I finally realized it was aiding my own recovery. Taking care of myself and making myself a priority was a tough adjustment for me to make.

We learn to recover from these effects by using the "tools" of the program such as "detach" and then there is "detach with love." For me this means to NOT react in ways that cause more problems. I can apply the "responsibility" Joe so eloquently speaks of to detachment. I can use other tools such as the slogans or HALT to help me make a "wise" choice as to whether or not I react or respond to the symptoms of this disease.

Thanks for letting me share

mermaidgirl said...

Thank you for sharing Nona.

I just received Courage to Change in the mail today-and will start tonight.

I am hopeful this will help with the sense of feeling overwhelmed by this person and this disease.

Thanks again-