He does X … I do Z

He does X—I do Z.red sign

He does X—I do Z.

Wait… I’m sober now. I don’t want to do Z anymore.

“Stop doing X so I can stop doing Z.” I tell him.

“WHAT are you talking about?” he retorts.

Sure pretends like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I can’t stop until he stops. He started it. I’m the one trying to get healthy here. Can’t he see how hard this is? Why can’t he just stop doing X? Why? And he wonders why I drank.

“How about you do Q when he does X?” my mentor suggests.

“What?” I blurt, as if she is speaking in tongues.

What could that possible mean? Is she actually suggesting I stop first?

She utters one quintessential question, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

 “I have to make a choice? What kind of nonsense is this? I am right and I am happy,” I exclaim.

 Only SILENCE can be heard and then no SILENCE. No silence at all … only the incessant noise in my head.

 “Are you?” she says. “This is you being happy? You demanding that he changes.”

 “Yes, no, yes, no—wait, no … I don’t know. I don’t even know, that I know, what happiness is,” I mutter.

 I hate when she’s dead-on. AND. I love when she’s dead-on. Mostly I have discovered I just don’t like finding out I am incorrect.

“No one ever taught me to do Q. I only know Z,” I mumble.

“So how long are you going to use that excuse?” she says.

“Apparently, not any longer,” I state begrudgingly.

“By the way, drinking was your escape. If you no longer want to drink, you will want to find a new way to function, lest you return to escaping,” she says.

Being right and being happy are not necessarily inclusive. As a matter of fact, I learn that when I demand they come together, they are a hindrance to my growth. I have positioned being right as the priority. I have put minimal effort toward choosing happiness.

Why have I never learned to make myself happy to choose happiness? Answer: I figured that was someone else’s job. Why was that someone else’s job? I wonder who taught me that. Then I realize it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I unlearn it. I’m not so sure I like this notion. It suggests that I have a choice. Choices scare me because then I cannot blame another. I am used to blaming.

It suggests that failure is now mine—to own. It also suggests that success is mine—to own.

Happiness is my job. Happiness is a choice. It takes some clean time, some personal development for me to learn this. It’s not another person’s responsiblity.

My first goal: He does X—I do Q.

My ultimate goal: He does X—I don’t notice. I’m busy enjoying life.

My discovery: It is not his job to stop pushing my buttons. It is my job to diffuse them.

Diffusing my buttons, now I am in recovery mode.

No Responses to “He does X … I do Z

  • At the risk of sounding stupid…..I’ll take the risk because I have to get this right. You talking about your mentor brought a question I have to mind. Is having a sponsor crucial to working the program well? I’m going to 1 meeting a week and have got some phone numbers. I just don’t know if I’m really doing anything that differently. Thoughts?

    • Not a stupid question at all. A sponsor’s purpose in a 12-step program is taking another (newer) participant through the 12-steps. As a member of a 12-step program I both have a sponsor and sponsor other women. The dialogue, however, is focused solely around the 12-steps and the 12-step literature. Since I was a high-maintenance alcoholic (needed/wanted lots of attention and answers) 🙂 I felt I needed more then a sponsor to help me redirect my thinking. I have personally worked with psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, and coaches. A “mentor” by definition of this post is a trusted source. They are your go to person who has no agenda for the outcome. Their primary function, in your life, is helping you find your truth, your happiness … whatever that may be. I, personally, feel it is paramount to success to learn the value of trust. It is top on my list for those new in sobriety. If we cannot eventually learn to trust self we don’t stay sober. We have to be taught how to trust (either again or for the first time). We can’t fix our unhealthy thinking with our unhealthy thinking. If we have a source we trust we eventually learn the tools for redirecting our thoughts and thus our outcomes.

      Can we make it without one? Yes. It’s all a preference, a choice.
      Some questions to ask yourself:
      How much pain are you in? if any? What do you want to be different?
      What is your purpose for meetings? Are you achieving what you set out to achieve (at one per week)?

      Those in 12-step programs make STRONG suggestions because they see the devastation that is caused when individuals drink again. (Despite what many think/say they are truly interested in a person getting better and 12-step is certainly no cult.) That being said, 12-step is one way. It’s a great way. It’s not for everyone. If you want sobriety and a happy life. Keep looking until you find something that works. Or something in addition to what you currently have. Your life can be fun and purposeful. Sobriety should not be a drag. Hope this helps.

  • “My discovery: It is not his job to stop pushing my buttons. It is my job to diffuse them.”

    Beautifully put, Lisa. We can try to influence what others do, but in the end, the only behavior we have any real control over is our own.

    • Always so good to see your thoughts. I feel at times that I learn something in the morning and forget it by afternoon. I have found so much growth in my friendships with other bloggers. Much learning. I am so glad to journey with you. You have a special spot in my heart.

  • Love this. I have always been a fan of the “happy/right” question, because like you, it forces me to observe my inner dialogue and motivation in what I do and say and think. I am I *truly* happy with not being right? Does ego want to supersede my serenity? Of course it does. Ego NEEDS to be right at all times. It will literally kill me to be right. That I know.

    A lot of this for me is letting go. And it’s hard for us alcoholics to just let go sometimes. We are so used to clutching and squeezing onto things that aren’t ours to take on in the first place, then wonder why we pick up that drink, or complain, or lash out or get passive-aggressive. Attachments to these things hold us under water and we can’t breath. I love the semi-cloistered examples you give to bring home the point of happiness. It shows that we deal with real life things all the times, and applying spiritual principles to them is not always easy, especially in the heat of things. Lovely ending couplet there…so perfectly said.

    Thanks again for a striking and wonderful post.


    • “clutching and squeezing” I love that description. So spot on. Yes, “EGO, right all the time.” I just mentioned to Susan that often I forget an hour later what I learned that morning. The EGO is so strong. It’s wonderful to have principles as my guidelines. Keeps the ego quieter. And…. Paul, thank you for always commenting. I’m really enjoying getting to know you. I see you on a lot of blogs too. Nice, very very nice. You always have solid, sound input. I appreciate your wisdom.

  • Oh man… if I had a quarter for doing Z every time he did X, I would be a wealthy woman. My favorite part of the whole post, and something to which I aspire daily, is the ultimate goal: “He does X, and I don’t notice.” Will that be a happy day!!!

    • You so get me. I always love when we connect. I feel like we are working on the same sober stuff most of the time. xox

  • wow… i love this! This is totally me on a lot of days… placing my happiness on the shoulders of others… damn them if they fail! Love your blog… glad you stopped by mine because now I found yours..

    • What a joy to see you over here. Thank you for your kind words. I am always glad when people relate to the words. Lots of love, Lisa

  • it’s hard to take the responsibility for my own happiness. so much easier to blame others. thanks for making me think.

    • Wow, what a wonderful surprise. Thank you for reading and commenting. The best part of my recovery is to close the gap between who I say I am and how I actually behave. It’s empowering to take responsibility, humbling, but nonetheless powerful.Lots of love, Lisa

  • Reblogged this on Luxul simplitatii and commented:
    Inspiratia zilei 🙂

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