Thursday, November 01, 2007

Calling a Friend

Welcome to the first day of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo for short). I've got lots and lots of things floating around in my head so I should be able to fill this least for a few days.

Last night I made a huge jump forward in my recovery and called a woman I met in Al-anon. On Tuesday I went to a meeting and mentioned that Jake had been pushing me to get a sponsor but I was unsure how to go about doing this.

Let me just digress here for just a moment for those of you not in the program. In AA you pretty much go to a meeting or two, sit next to someone and ask them to be your sponsor. They are encouraged to get sponsors right away so they have people to call and people to be accountable to. In Al-anon they encourage you to go to several meetings and just meet people. See who you jive with and then call them a few times before you pick a sponsor.

The sponsor is the person with which you will work the 12 steps. They share their experiences with you and they give you advice but under no circumstances do they tell you what you should do. They leave that up to you to make your own choices.

So anyhow, when I asked about the sponsor at my meeting I was jumped after the meeting by two or three women who offered up their phone numbers and told me to just start calling people and seeing who I clicked with and who I didn't.

So yesterday I had an awful day. I was conflicted about my actions in certain circumstances and about the actions of a good friend of mine. I knew that I needed to talk to someone in the program but I was afraid to do so. I'm not sure why it was so frightening to me to call up someone but I just don't like to do it. If given the choice I will send an e-mail or a text message far before I will pick up the phone to call.

The whole way home I went back and forth about was I going to call, was I not... then finally after I put Zack to bed I decided to just call. The conversation went really well. We discussed my actions and my controlling nature and she explained that it is what we learn from living with the addict. She also re-affirmed that when it comes to my son I am not controlling I am being a good mom.

She helped me to work through what to do when I am confronted with conflict. Her suggestion was that I can only worry about myself and my actions. If I feel that I have handled a situation appropriately or reacted appropriately than it is all on the other person and how they choose to handle things.

In the past if Jake and I, or a friend and I, would get in a fight I would stand my ground for all of 2.5 seconds. Then I would fold like a pretzel. Eventually things would get all turned around and I would end up apologizing for something that I was angry about in the first place. This is the quality that allowed Jake to pretty much walk all over me for so long. I just wanted to make everything all better because I couldn't STAND for there to be hard feelings. She helped me to see that I need to believe in myself and the decisions that I make. I can't control others and if they want to be mad at me or not speak to me that is their choice. All I can do is continue to act towards them as I always have and let them choose how they act towards me.

I also talked to her about Jake and about ways to let go but still have him help me around the house. It was a really good conversation and I'm really glad that I called her. Tonight I have another person on the list that I am going to call and I hope that conversation goes just as well.

In the end I'm not sure if any of these women will end up being my sponsor but it is really nice to be able to talk to people on a one on one basis who truly understand what it is like to have lived where I have lived and gone through what I have gone through.

Hopefully this is a good step in a positive direction.


Kbreints said...

I am glad that you are reaching out to a third party. They are going to be able to give you the most objective advice. They are also going to be able to guide you better- as they have been there.

Anonymous said...

I think it is ironic that the reason you didn't want to pick your friend as a sponsor is because of "her need to be right", according to you. Yet, you turn around and call someone from your group, just so they will tell you that No, No, Heather you are right! I don't think its your friends need to be right, its your need not to be wrong, because in the recent past you have been wrong on too many important things. If someone doesn't agree with what you do or say, you turn it around and say well, you wouldn't understand you haven't been there. Haven't been where? With an addict? No, you are right most of us that comment on here haven't, but don't make it as if you are the only person in this Blog that has problems, because everyone has them. No one's problems are worse or better than others, it is just how you choose to deal with them.

L said...

I always learn so much from your posts. I try to avoid conflict with people and over-apologize when not needed also. I'll have to remember the advice from your potential sponsor.

Ouch on the anon comment though. You are lucky to have friends tell it like it is, though sometimes I wonder if they go too far?

FWIW, I agree that it's a good idea to pick a sponsor that isn't a current friend for the reasons you and others have already mentioned. Your friend may be a bit sore that she wasn't chosen(gee, ya think?) but a true friend will recognize that the type of support a friend offers is different than what a sponsor gives. One doesn't preclude the other. The relationship is just different. You wouldn't want your counselor to be your best friend for the same reasons.

Good friends (and parents) recognize that we need to make our own mistakes, sometimes multiple times, to grow and learn. Sometimes a choice that may seem wrong at first may turn out to be a good solution after all. A friend can offer advice but needs to step back and accept without judgement your choices.

Likewise, a good friend will understand that they can't walk in your shoes. They will understand when you seem preoccupied with your own struggles that seem larger than life to you. The "you aren't the only one with problems" comment is a prime example of why a sponsor is needed. We can talk and talk and talk with our friends about our struggles but a neutral third party keeps us from wearing down our friendships.