April 7, 2015 – Readings in Recovery: Today’s Gift from Hazelden

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Today’s thought from Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is:

I can live for two months on a good compliment.
 — Mark Twain

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At a meeting I shared about a loss I’ve gone through, and the response was amazing. People expressed sympathy and understanding, and a number of them shared experiences of their own that were similar to mine. It surprised me. I’d told the same story at a different meeting, and people there didn’t say a thing to me. I had left feeling like there was something wrong with me. I can’t figure out what I did differently this time, maybe there was something about the way I shared.

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My hunch is that the difference in response to your sharing from different groups of people had to do with things over which you had no control. There are many possible explanations for people’s responses to us; we needn’t assume we’re responsible for what they do or don’t do.

There’s an Al-Anon slogan (nicknamed “The Three C’s”) that says, “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.” For me, it’s a helpful one to remember, especially when people in my life are active in an addiction or are on a “dry drunk.” It’s useful in situations with non-addicts, too. Most human beings behave as they do for reasons that have little to do with us.

We’re entitled to support and response from other human beings. When I find myself in a group where I experience a warm, engaged response from others, I make a point of returning. Support and validation from others quenches one of my deepest thirsts. But we can’t rely on others to give us a sense of self-esteem. That comes from within, it grows as we do the work of recovery.

Today, I go where I find food for my spirit.

You are reading from the book:

If You Want What We Have by Joan Larkin

If You Want What We Have © 1998 by Joan Larkin

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