Listen and Learn

Attending meetings offers a wonderful opportunity for me to listen to and learn from the experiences of others, and to decide if these experiences can be helpful to me. At a speaker meeting recently, I have become reacquainted with the slogan “Listen and Learn.”

A sharing that resonated with me included the phrase “hurt people hurt people.” This made me realize why I so often lash out at others—co-workers, family members, my partner, the dog, etc. By allowing the chaos in my life to take hold of my thoughts and feelings, and not accepting my powerlessness over the situation, I hurt others. It is not a justification for hurting people; rather, it explains the reason and offers an opportunity for me to make changes in my life.

I had another opportunity to “Listen and Learn” when a member shared at a meeting that he had been in the program for two years and his son had just celebrated one year of sobriety. My first reaction was happiness for the family, but that soon gave way to envy and jealousy. After all, I had been in the program four and a half years with no sobriety in sight for my partner. I started feeling sad and sorry for myself “Why me?” and “By now, I should have three and a half years of sobriety to celebrate.” Then I blamed myself, “It must be my fault for enabling.”

After several hours of this pity party, I reminded myself of what I had learned in the program—to accept that I am powerless over people, places, and things and that my partner’s sobriety is not my responsibility. The only thing I am required to do is to work my program to the best of my ability, with the help of my Higher Power, and to “Listen and Learn.”

By Janet W., Ontario
The Forum, February 2013