|Al Anon meeting|
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
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Serenity with Good and Bad Advice
At one time, I attended Al Anon for a number of years. My partner drank and when he drank, he was abusive. I went to Al Anon to learn how to cope.
At Al Anon, we sat in a circle and took turns telling of our troubles. Then, others would respond, telling how it was with them. We were instructed not to give advice, but instead, to say how we coped ourselves with similar problems, or, how we'd seen someone else cope. In a way, it was a form of advice, but a gentle form.
And we shared hugs, and smiles.
They had a saying, a slogan, at Al Anon,
"Take what you like and leave the rest."
Generally, that was pretty easy to do. Occasionally, I felt pressured to do what someone obviously wanted me to do. When that happened, I often “had a resentment.”
In daily life, many people offer advice. Most of it rolls off me like water off a ducks back. I drink in what I need, what seems helpful, and ignore the rest.
Sometimes, I ask for advice, when someone knows how to do something and I don't. I rarely ask for advice in matters of the heart, because who knows love? Who really understands?
But some people are strident and insistent in their advice-giving, or manage to push my buttons. Worst of all is when someone gives really bad advice, such as suggesting that I lie, steal, cheat or do some other action that I feel is wrong, or their advice is totally wrong because they truly don't understand the situation.
Insistent, strident BAD advice causes the most difficulty for me.
Of course, what is bad may be in the ear of the listener. But if someone advises me to lie, or tells me to perform an action on the computer that I know, from long experience, will harm an important file, and then INSISTS on it as being the correct action to take, that is when I get upset, angry, sad.
And then I feel shame for anger. :-(
I am not as patient, cheery and imperturbable as I would like to be. This is my issue, something I need to work on.
If someone I love, care about, and trust advises me to lie or do something foolish, I am an adult and can say no. I wish I could remember that when the heat of the moment overtakes me.