Monday, February 05, 2007

If you use the program's tools,

you may skin your knuckles. Working the steps, addressing interpersonal problems, taking input from our sponsors, reading the literature, listening in meetings when we don't feel like listening, and working with newcomers are all program tools. Working with these tools requires an essential ingredient -- willingness to walk through our feelings, no matter what these tools uncover.

The tools of the program may be hard to work and occasionally, things that we uncover may be so painful that we feel like we're raw, but use the tools we must.

One of my strongest tools in recovery are my women friends and one of the most important things I learned early in recovery is that those of the same sex will save our tuchases. That's been true in my case.

I received a phone call a few days ago from a woman who had just exited a tumultuous relationship. One of the things she did once she'd met this man was to drop all her women friends, unless, of course, she was having a big fight with him and needed to cry on someone's shoulder, then she expected us to drop everything to comfort her. As things often do, the relationship came to a point that he moved out and she was left alone with a checkbook in the negative, a lonely house and women friends who were a bit resentful that she's dropped them.

When she called, she asked if I'd make time to meet with her before our women's meeting to talk with her, which I did. But first, I had to square away some feelings I had about her behavior during the relationship so I could approach her and not sound harsh or angry.

We met for coffee and talked for awhile. Then I asked her if I could give her some input. She said yes, so I simply pointed out that perhaps she didn't realize it, but that she'd simply dropped her women friends when she got into the relationship and that might not have been such a hot idea. She agreed that she had.

Just because we're in the most wonderful or least wonderful relationship ever, we must work to maintain our same-sex friends, because they're the ones, when the going get roughs as it often does in relationships, who will save our bacon when it's sizzling.

I went to the meeting today and this gal was there with another of our friends so she's taking the right steps to rebuild some small damage done to her friendships. That's a good thing. It's easier, though, to take time to keep those relationships intact than to have to rebuild them later when you really need them. That's what this program is about: Giving unselfishly of ourselves when we have something to offer (even when we feel like we may not have time), not just taking when we feel needy. Today, it's not just all about me. (At least, I hope it isn't!)

On another note, I heard something really wonderful in the meeting today. Someone said when he was Restless he had no peace; when he was Irritable he had no serenity; and when he was Discontent he lacked serenity. For some reason, that hit me because my biggest problem in recovery has often been one of those three feelings. Are they feelings or are they character defects? Hm. Well, I've confounded myself, so that means it's time to go.

Thanks for chiming in lately. I love to hear from old blogger pals and also to hear from new ones, too. Have a great day.


lushgurl said...

I've had few good relationships with women when I was still drinking, we just didn't seem to like each other much ( competition, jealousy?) I don't know.
Today I so value the women I meet, I think we have more in common than not, thanks for posting this :)

Pam said...

hmmm this post makes me want to nourish a few realationships with women that I've been neglecting...thanks

Meg Moran said...

the women in my life are the "gifts"..thats where I get my real understanding and support.

and you're right, using the tools requires willingness that does not always come easy. sometimes the spiritual path is a bitch, but the alternative is worse.