Friday, January 31, 2014

Taking Things For Granted



“I got a text from Julie at work.  Did you want to read it?” Devin asked.

“No, I appreciate you letting me know you got it though,” I answered.

He looked up from his phone and asked, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.  Unless she said something you think I should see, I’m fine.  I trust you,” I replied.

He grinned and asked, “Yeah, about what, forty percent of the time?”

“Not at all.  It’s more like ninety-seven percent,” I answered.

“Really?” He asked, surprised.

“Really.  It used to be zero percent, then forty, fifty, than seventy-five.  Now, I trust you almost completely.”

“That’s good to know.  I remember when you asked me how you could stay with a man you didn’t trust at all,” he said.

“I remember that too.  We had several conversations like that after disclosure day,” I said.  I gave him a hug then said, “But, that was over three years ago.  A lot has happened since then.” 

It seems like a lifetime ago when I didn’t believe a word that fell out of Devin’s mouth.  I second-guessed everything he said.  It didn’t matter what it was.  It could be anything from, “the store didn’t have what you needed” or “I was stuck in traffic,” I didn’t have enough faith in him at the time to believe him.  I had just been betrayed beyond anything I could imagine.  He didn’t deserve to be trusted back then.

Slowly, I realized I had to stop focusing on the problem of his sex addiction, and start focusing on the solution.  That meant spending time looking at myself while he tended to his own recovery. 

As he worked his program, I noticed a change in him.  When I realized it was because he wasn’t relying on me to fix him, but rather, he was fixing himself, I took note.  I discovered I could allow myself to start trusting him.  His actions were worth my leap of faith. 

The more my trust in him grew, the better I felt about our future together.  My mistake was not letting him know how much hope I had in him.  I figured he must have known.  I was no longer asking him questions about what he was doing to maintain his recovery.  I could see it for myself.  I didn’t have to ask where he was or what he was doing because he kept me informed.  I thought that because I stopped asking all those questions, he knew I had more faith in him. 
Instead, he felt my trust in him was still low because we never talked about it anymore.  He took it for granted I’d never believe in him again as much as I took it for granted he knew he was trusted.

It was a good lesson for me to learn.  Talk about everything.  Especially when you think the person knows how you feel.  They can’t read your thoughts.  You have to share them.

Have you ever taken anything for granted?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Keep Coming Back...

The other day I was cruising along, reading my Facebook posts, when one caught my eye.  It wasn’t the typical, “I hate my alarm clock” post or “delay the Common Core curriculum” I’ve seen a ton of lately.  Instead, it was a link to this video (click "post" if it doesn't pop up):


Post by The Five.


The above man is Bob Beckel.  He’s on a television show called The Five on the Fox News channel.  Beckel is the lonely liberal on a panel of conservatives.  Normally, he takes being the sole democrat with ease but I’ve seen days where it’s been a bit much for him.  He’s dropped the F bomb twice on live television – which I found hysterical.

But, this isn’t about politics or his brash demeanor.  Rather, it’s about what he did during the recent snowstorm.  He made his way home than found out he was needed to help chair an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at LaGuardia airport.  Out into the storm Bob went, to help his fellow AA members.

At the end of the show, one of the other panelists decided to do a, “shout out” for Bob and his good deed.  When I saw the post, my initial reaction was one of appreciation.  Bob is really a teddybear on the inside.  I respected his dedication to his recovery program, and how he helped others work their own recoveries.  I felt the shout out was well deserved.  It takes a special kind of person to volunteer at twelve-step meetings.  I felt he exemplified the slogan, “Keep coming back. It works when you work it.”

Then, I read the comments.  I felt somewhat discouraged.  I found many of them to be just rude and hateful.  But, when you’re in the public eye, I suppose some people just can’t help but be mean.  I ignored those comments and focused instead on the ones that attacked him for not respecting the 11th tradition:

  •          Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. Al-Anon Addition: We need guard with special care the anonymity of all A.A. members.

My S-Anon group uses the same steps and traditions as AA & Al-Anon.  I’d always interpreted the 11th tradition a bit different than what I read in the comments.  I get the whole “attraction rather than promotion” part of the tradition.  It’s best to lead by example, speak from our own experiences rather than tell everyone we meet we’re in a 12-step program.  If a person wants to know how I got where I am today, than I will share about my specific program.

However, I was a bit confused (I suppose I still am) about maintaining personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.  I see no harm in what Bob shared.  He didn’t mention who attended the meeting with him or even where it was specifically held.  If he’s comfortable enough in his own recovery to share that he’s in AA, more power to him, I say.  To me, it sounded more like he was working step 12:

  •         Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How many alcoholics did Bob reach that night in the storm?  How many more did he reach by allowing his journey to be shared on national television without shame?

I understand the possibility of relapse and how those he inspired may see that as failure rather than an opportunity to dust off and start again.  But, I see more potential for him to motivate versus deter.


Thoughts?

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Speaking of meetings, I am attending one today. So, I may be late getting to your blogs, but I'll be there!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone and be well!