Thursday, March 24, 2016

some program related reflections on giving unsolicited advice to friends

This is what I’ve taken from program about giving unsolicited advice to friends.  The term "program" here is to be taken loosely to mean any of the several 12 step programs I've encountered.

With sponsees, the idea is to help them learn to solve problems on a spiritual basis.

When sponsees in program tell me about complex problems.  I tell them to write a letter to God, explaining the problem and asking for answers, then put the letter in their "God box."  A "God box," is a plain cardboard box, tho some prefer to use a can because "God can," -- pun.  Then the next day, you wait for the first intuition you receive on the topic, and take that to be from God.

Quite often the answer is not to do anything, to wait.  Prior to program, I thought all problems were emergencies that needed to be solved immediately. Now I think I do better distinguishing true emergencies.

How I respond to people outside of program varies.  Generally, though, they are really looking for someone to listen to them, and are not looking to be told what to do.  I personally tend to get annoyed when others tell me what to do and I assume others feel the same way.  It's really a gift to just listen to someone.  It gives them a chance to organize their thoughts.  It's nice to say things like "That sounds hard." or "I'm sorry to hear you're having to deal with this," or just make sounds of concern.  I find very seldom do people actually ask me what they should do.

I love the laundry list of ACA -- Adult Children of Alcoholics and Other Dysfunctional Families

This group broke off from Al-anon with a desire to focus on family of origin issues.  They then broadened their scope to all dysfunctional families, because they found that all such children shared certain issues. Item 6 is particularly relevant here. 

The desire to rescue others can be an addictive issue itself.  This is one thing that people focus on in Al-anon.  Many Al-anon members are addicted to trying to "fix" the alcoholic in their family -- often to the point where they have alienated the entire family from themselves.

Advice on complex emotional matters is often harmful.  It’s quite different from advice about what type of cleaning product to use.

I can't say whether any particular instance of giving advice is harmful or not.  Still there is this very famous quote, which I'm sure you’ll recognize about removing the log from one's own eye before removing the mote from the eye of one's neighbor.

One idea of program is that if we manage to solve our own problems we will attract others to our solution.  They will see we are better and want to know how we did it.

No comments:

Post a Comment