When we share, do we want to understand, solve a problem,
self-justify, elicit sympathy or just hear ourselves talk?
~ Joe C. Beyond Belief 7/2
I have a friend, a great guy, easy to like, warm, friendly — the kind of guy you’d like to kick back, eat pizza and watch a ballgame with, or go for a walk and just talk.
He drives me nuts!
This guy (we’ll call him Bob) makes meetings in my area. He’s on the fringes of recovery, but clearly unable to dip his foot in the river. Bob shares. Oh, how he shares: eloquently, in detail, and (usually) not too long. He shares about his problems and his hope and his anguish, but he never seems to share about or seek solutions.
It’s always the same old stuff: how he was done wrong; how he done wrong; how he’s doing okay; how hard it is to be Bob — but he’s usually upbeat about it even though it’s the same old, same old, time after time. He’s been singing this tune for a couple of years now.
It’s not that his sharing is boring — although it is — that drives me and some of his other friends nuts, it’s that he is continually living in the problem instead of the solution. There are ways around his anguish. Well, through it, really. But he doesn’t take advantage of them. As far as we know he doesn’t have a sponsor, isn’t working the steps, isn’t seeing a therapist. Friendly suggestions are met with “I know,” and a reason why he’s not able to do that “right now.”
This guy is SO spinning his wheels! He’s been part of the particular fellowship for years, and just doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Personally I think — and I’ve told him this — that he uses the rooms to discharge the pressure so that he can manage to go on without looking directly at and solving the real problem, which is himself (as it is with all of us).
He keeps coming back. We all hope that eventually something will sink in. We don’t come down too hard on him because we don’t want to give him a reason to feel rejected and use it as an excuse to act out, but you just want to grab him and shake him!
I’ve seen this sort of thing before. Sometimes folks get it eventually, sometimes they act out. But many times they just go on and on in their self-selected misery, unable to let go of the self-pity crutch and too frightened to use the tools they need to slay the head monsters that are dragging them around by their thoughts.
I feel qualified to comment, because I’ve been there and done that: giving lip service to being in recovery while still behaving in unskillful ways. My friend Bob is a helpful reminder of that. Maybe that’s why he’s in my life. Do you have anyone like that in your life?
Is it you?
Re “Own worst enemy.”
Perhaps “unskillful friend” would be more appropriate.
Eventually, we all hope.
I used to think it was me. Because it was. This whole staying sober thing is hard, but I learned I was my own worst enemy. So, I took that and ran with it. No being a “Bob” anymore. Maybe, just maybe, he will get that, too.