March 22, 2011

Step Seven, Humor and Shortcomings

I don’t need to “tear my hair out” in order to do Step Seven, and truth be told, I need not be on my knees either.   It came to me from March 13th’s CTC that the step might be “taken with joy--and even humor.”

Next time I see myself wanting to be rid of a troubling aspect of my personality, let me consider the power of humor to give me perspective.   If I can see humor in the ways I fall short of my expectations, “I get out of the way and give my Higher Power room to work.”

Desperation and pain may have brought me to my knees, and thank God they brought me to this program.  But, with a lightness to my step, I am cultivating a new willingness to follow my Higher Power's guidance. Not all the lessons my HP has in store for me, will hurt.

Whenever a shortcoming gets my attention and a chuckle bubbles up from my belly,  “my Higher Power has lessened the impact of another shortcoming. “ Real change can announce itself in just this way.

This brings me to take a fresh look March 14th’s reading which last year I entitled “Pigeon People.”

It is the story of a man who sits down on a beautiful day, not realizing that in the tree above him are dozens of pigeons.  Before too long, nature calls, and the pigeons answer nature’s bidding.  To the man this is a most unlucky event. He gets angry, shouting at the pigeons and eventually stomping off. 

There are many lessons that the man learns this day. One is to look up before sitting down under a tree, and check for pigeons.

But even more, perhaps the man learned something about his emotional wherewithal. In EA parlance, he was definitely powerless over his emotions and the unmanageability of his life due to a certain choice he made.

I applied this lesson to my personality disordered parent, who, like an alcoholic, has many annoying behaviors.  I used to think she did them because of me. But I have finally accepted that, just like a pigeon, my family member must behave as she does.  I cannot change her choices, not by getting angry, not by begging, or even by distracting her. 

Today  I see how unmanageable my life had become--from trying to stop Pigeon People, like my mom,  from being  who they are. I can make better choices, when I admit that I am powerless over the dis-ease they trigger in me. 

I don’t want to continue to struggle with the behavior of Pigeon people and lose.  Better that I let go and let them have their tree, and let God deal with their mess.  I am powerless over Pigeons of all kinds. Let me surrender the character shortcoming in me that wants to fight behaviors that bother me. I can laugh at the pigeons in my life. If I can’t stay out of their range, I can focus on recovering from their effects.

I was so grateful when an Al-anon friend made me tune into the power of this reading.  Just like anyone else in Al-anon, I did not cause my parent’s disorder, and I cannot control it.  Forget about curing it!


  1. I like the analogy. I realize that others have their defects just as I do.

  2. I like the smile that came from thinking about Pigeons!


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~