Saturday, March 01, 2008

How to Rescue other People

"... you can never really live anyone else's life, not even your own child's. The influence you exert is through your own life and what you become yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was about six months into recovery, I desperately wanted to save all the people I loved. I knew I had finally found the answers I had been searching for my whole life, and at last had found relief from fear, crisis, and disaster. I knew they needed what I had found. I knew they must want to be relieved of their own misery. Well, guess what? They didn't. They looked at me like I had two heads and had gone completely crazy and was in the grip of a cult. One of them said I had been "brainwashed." I remember thinking that I probably had been brainwashed - my brain needed it!

So, in my despair at not being able to save my dear ones, I called my sponsor who said that this was how recovery worked. Of course, you want to pass on the wonderful gift you've received to the ones you love. The thing is, they won't accept it from this person they've known for years as a screw up and a general crack pot. The only way to help them is to get well and happy yourself over a period of time, and then they might want what you have. Of course, they will not ask you for help. They'll ask someone else. Most of the people you can directly help will be people you don't have a relationship with.

Hmmm. I could see the logic in that. So, I quit trying to save them and worked on myself. As far as I know, none of the people I was desperately trying to save have ever availed themselves of recovery. The reason I don't know for sure is that they got bored with me and left my life! But I've gotten quite well and happy.

Now my problem is that the people around me think that I'm some kind of paragon since I seem to be able to handle a lot of crap in my life without crashing and burning. That's because they didn't know me before, of course. When they tell me how wonderful I am, I respond by explaining that it's not me, it's my recovery program. Then they think I'm being excessively modest. But no, they are missing the point! The same power to handle life is available to them too. Phooey. I still haven't been able to figure out how to handle this. Maybe it's the same thing as before: Let them think what they want and go on working on me.

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