Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Increasing Our Dependence On Others

Dependence, Self-Reliance, Opinions of others, Focusing outside ourselves

In my recovery, looking back, I have seen how I increasingly depended upon others opinions and feelings about issues, and frankly about me. I fell into a trap. I was stuck. I did not know what to do.

Now, here comes my ego. I am - not a dependent person - as I say this (write this) - I wonder if this is really true. In my business life, I have run consulting organizations with 300 and 400 people nationally. BFD! BTW. (translated - it is BIG F Deal, by the way).

I write this only because I see how this disease has tricked me into thinking "I am less than." Hell - f' n - O. Is anyone home? My head went into overdrive, into thinking "I was wrong." My perceptions were right - but because the disease is so strong - I lost confidence to trust myself. So, I sought out the opinions of others - or worse - I worried about what others thought of me. My self-confidence was at an all time low.

Now, I am regaining ground.

With this disease, I want to write about what I read this morning. It comes from Ari Kiev - and it is not about alcoholism and its effects. But it is about dependence and self-reliance.

"The increase population and an apparent scarcity of the jobs, residences and rewards, which creates a vicious cycle of increasing dependence on the opinions of others. Stop accepting the necessity of obtaining the things you feel you must have. Th moment you begin to live below your means or at a level where you can maintain control over your life without economic dependency and insecurity, that moment you gain personal freedom.

Don't discuss your decisions to change with anyone who has an inclination to resist change. He will prove insensitive to our desire. Even listening to the "experts" may weaken your courage to act. This would attest only to your suggestibility; it would not mean that your original decision was invalid. Sounding out others for reassurance does not eliminate anxiety of decision-making. In fact, if you discuss crucial matter with unqualified people, you may create more anxiety and confusion for yourself. You have added their uncertainty to your own."

Interesting thought for me this morning. With alcoholism, I was more uncertain. Well-meaning people gave me advice. They gave me looks too, - that I interpreted as positive or negative and this made me more uncertain.

And now with the economy a little crazy right now, it is easy for us (me) to become more worried and more uncertain.

I need to remember:
Focus on myself
Control what I can control
Let go of what I cannot control
Turn over what I cannot to my Higher Power
Have Faith. Hope for today. Faith for tomorrow.


Syd said...

I know the drill on this well--running around asking others for advice when I was insecure about something. In the process, I made myself more crazy. Ultimately, it's between me and God. Thanks Joe.

Anonymous said...


What a timely message. It all boils down to surrender and seeking help from God. If left to our own devices we self obsess. Thanks for sharing and peace to you and yours. Amy

mermaidgirl said...

I think you have pinpointed one of the most destructive aspects of how this disease affects others. And that is it makes you actually believe you are "less of" in everything you do. Of course we don't actually believe this in our core, but the mind is a tough competitor.

As I read and re-read many of the posts on this blog it seems that many people have not truly found serenity unless they leave their alcoholic. I have yet to see, hear or speak with someone who has stayed with their alcoholic who is active in AA and things are as fruitful as possible. This one issue alone does not give me hope. I do not want to divorce this man-but some day very soon I may have to if I want to find the serenity that Al-Anon preaches. Sorry to get off topic a little there.

Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joe. I am finding this to be very true of late. Who would think that my own mother would resist my leaving my alcoholic boyfriend? I have found I've even had to ignore the well-meaning advice of my best friend, in favor of those friends who have dealt with alcoholism firsthand, or the opinions of professionals.

On the flip side, I am also learning to rely on others. Dependent in a good way, realizing I don't have to tackle this on my own--I can enlist the help of a good counselor, of Al-Anon meetings, of patient and experienced friends.

Mermaidgirl, I think Syd who posts here often and has his own blog, is someone living with a partner in active recovery.

For my part, I am leaving because my qualifier is not in recovery, he does not think there is a problem, and nothing has changed in 6 years of living with him. Well, that's not true. I have changed. I have become exhausted, have outgrown the situation...

Whether my leaving will prompt him to examine the way he's leading his life, I do not know.

Cat said...

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