The other day at an Al-Anon meeting the topic was humor.
Normally at a meeting, the inside of my head sounds like a garden party, with various members of my "committee" chiming with with their two cents about what I should share. As I find things to relate to in each successive share, the voices multiply so that by the time my turn comes around there's a veritable din in my head.
The other day, the topic was humor. The response from my committee?
I got nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Humor? What did I have to say about humor?
I thought something would surely come to me as I listened to other shares.
Thing is, most of the people in my group seemed as flummoxed as I was. As we went around the room, one thing did occur to me. Nearly everyone, to a person, confessed to being deadly serious.
There were only two exceptions. Interesting, to me, is that both were also members of a different fellowship. (Does anybody but me think AA meetings are just more fun??) One of those two people confessed that she used humor as a shield to deflect from her feelings.
I never thought of myself as being deadly serious. I've been mostly happy in my life. I'm just not what you'd call lighthearted, fun, devil-may-care. I said this to my sponsor during our weekly call time.
"You're way serious," she said.
My sponsor has always told me the truth. I have no reason not to believe her.
So sitting in that room it occurred to me that maybe, like so many things, my serious nature was not hardwired but an affect of this disease. And if that were true, than restoring me to sanity might also mean restoring me to good humor. It's an intriguing thought. I warmed to it.
Before I came into Al-Anon, I thought I knew myself. I didn't know anything.
I've always believed in an examined life. There are so many things about myself I thought were just "who I am." I accepted this. In Al-Anon, I'm finding out that so many of these things are not "who I am" at all. They are traits I share with so many people in this program. All the "isms" of this disease: perfectionism, the need to control, people pleasing.
Now I see that most of these characteristics were self-defense mechanisms that overshot the mark. The good news is that, with a program, I am beginning to unlearn the old behaviors that now stand in my way.
Will my future self include Funny Girl? Probably not. But I'm guessing she'll be a lot lighter. I can hardly wait to meet her.