Confessions of an Albatross
I find I often think of the club in Iowa where I first attended AA meetings. Symbolically, it’s located between a fast food corner and a quick fix repair shop. Nourishment and fixing. Yup. I mentally roam the upstairs halls, hanging out in the corner room, nostalgic for my home group.
Just yesterday I paused in the hall at the corner coffee pot in my mental exploration. There’s a room straight ahead that is used for Al-Anon at the same time as my 9 o’clock meeting for AA. Should my room haunts include some of the Al-Anon wisdom, as well?
I don’t own any Al-Anon books, but I realized yesterday that I’m ready to start letting God work on my ‘care-taking’ tendencies, of which I thought I had zero! Worse than not identifying with caretakers, I’ve been proud not to be in that group. Gradually, I’m seeing that I may have Al-Anon issues.
Those start in my toddler-hood, a time of life that I’ve revisited lately. I’m the eldest, with my brother being 2 years my junior. Mom constantly told me I was the responsible one, with Randy being the baby. I willingly hovered, sharing my ways, hanging over his head, ‘taking care’ of his needs. I became his teacher/guiding light… yup. His tattletale, his shadow, his albatross… (Albatross symbolizing a psychological burden that feels like a curse — not what I wanted to grow up being.)
Sparing you the whole novella here and forwarding to the summary paragraph. Randy’s relationship is a great joy to me while also reminding me of that older sister mindset. It isn’t, however, the motivation for getting help. For the past year I’ve struggled unsuccessfully to remove myself from my typical responsibility/teaching role in key relationships. It has become apparent to all in my immediate circle that I have the habit of teaching instead of being a friend when someone is in crisis. I’m supremely comfortable being a mentor and grossly uncomfortable stepping out of that status into friendship. (Echoes here: What about my lesson plans?)
This drive to be the mentor can be an avenue to enabling, right? The more I hang my ‘albatross wisdom’ from their necks…the more they feel inadequate…the more they ‘need’ me…! Hang on. I’m diving off this merry-go-round!
I need to let God fix this dysfunctional heart of mine. I’m not capable of fixing anyone. No, I’m not. Truly.
I didn’t see this coming, but I am facing it. I’m ready now to retire from that teaching position in people’s lives when they are in crisis. Thus, the glance down the hall…
I would guess the next move is to simply start over with the 12 Steps in Al-Anon and supplement my recovery work with wisdom from there.
I feel so awkward about all this, which I suppose is typical, but I sure don’t want to stay in this spot! Plenty of earnestness here and willingness to be honest (if one can even be a personal judge of that). Sounds like Step One to me:
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction or dysfunction – that our lives had become unmanageable
PS: So, there you have it! I’ve browsed Amazon for books but I decided to ask for suggestions from my Goodlife Group first.