Monday, January 11, 2010

Try This at Home

After my daughter went home, my sponsor and I talked briefly about what had happened on the way home from the airport.

It was like holding up a mirror, she said. It allowed you to see your part.

Which was true. There's no denying that my daughter's behavior changed, once mine did.

Our conversation reminded me of a tool my sponsor shared at a meeting once.

She said to take a piece of paper and fold it in half. On one side, write down something the alcoholic did that caused you to react in some way.

On the other side of the paper, write what you did in response.

Keep going with the chain of events, listing what the alcoholic did on the left and what you did because of it on the right.

When you're all done, tear the sheet in half and throw away the left side.

Everything on the right side of the page is what you're left with. That's your part.

Another way I like to think of it is that everything on the right side of the paper is "my side of the street." I want to do my best to keep it clean. If I've got a bunch of stuff on my side, I need to clean up my mess. I've got some amends to make.


  1. I like that paper analogy. I have to remember to keep my eyes focused on the right side of the paper. It's a freer way to live.

  2. Karen,
    I like that analogy.....Can I hire a street sweeper? Just kidding. Sometimes I don't want to look at my part either. :(

  3. The thing about the tools of AlAnon, my initial response might be wrong, or reflexive..but I can catch myself and change direction. With my son back in contact, I'm so glad I worked the program hard while he was gone. I was ready for him this time...LOL.

    Really, I have noticed when I react calmly (not my natural reaction!), he responds calmly. If I get all frustrated and angry, he responds in kind. Sounds weird, but I never realized that before AlAnon.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Kathy, great analogy there! Brings things into perspective. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

  6. Wow, I do like that. That was a bit like taking a hammer to my head, that, haha. I have started with the writing on the right side, but it always comes back to the left side. How come that I am a strong independent woman, who has raised kids on my own, run my own business etc, becomes this weak, dependent, pushover thing when the alcoholic calls? How come he runs my life? Where is my will? What is wrong with me?

    Anyway, your blog made me finally take the step and contact Al-Alnon. I'm going there on thursday : )

  7. TheUndertaker: Wow. My blog inspired you to do that? That's awesome. I'm so glad. But I have to give the credit to the big guy. Have a GREAT meeting! And keep coming back!

  8. Kathy,

    Love the paper exercise...I may use that myself with a couple of my newbie sponsees !

    We're surely blessed to have these 12 Step programs to help us get along, aren't we?

    have a beautiful week!


  9. Yes, when reading your blog (and the title really spoke to me, which is why I popped over from someone else's blog) it finally hit home that I needed to start my recovery, and because you were so honest about your feelings and needing Al-alnon, it kinda hammered it home! : )