May 30, 2011

My Program, Caught Between Two Worlds

Perhaps it is because of my uncle's death that I find myself sharing too much in these rooms and overusing my online forum in Emotions Anonymous this past weekend. I even got into a side-argument with my Sponsor about my use of quotes in my shares. They quite frankly, make me feel safer sometimes. Give me someone else's experience to lean on.  

I have made my world with the way that I share, marrying my EA recovery with the understandings gleaned from Al-anon.

I usually paraphrase from readings in Al-anon that are universal and will help others, particularly newcomers who don't have meetings to attend. I know that Al-anon meetings are just like our own in EA, and cover many of the same ideas about how to live at peace with unsolved problems, people and emotions. In my tailored shares, I am careful to make sure people don't think the ideas are totally my own.  I come just shy of mentioning the Al-anon literature.

Lately, I've been asked in that forum, to  stop mentioning any outside literature. Yet I know that a major taproot of our EA program comes to us from the guy wires set by the Al-anon program!  I want what I address in EA to reflect those roots too.  It feels more complete to me.  Especially when we are so closely related.  I find in Al-anon each page of the daily readers in ODAT and CTC have cited quote in them for inspiration.  I find this tool incredibly helpful in setting an intention for my daily life in program. 

I've been asked to set a better example on our EA list serve and not use quotes. It is all in good faith, to be sure.  

It is just that I don't take well to having my communication paths curtailed. Just as I did not take well to sending my parent's  mail to a post office box when they have a perfectly good letter box in front of their home.  I continue to send my mail to my folks' home because it just makes sense. The post office box is a half hour drive away and gas is $5.00 a gallon!

 Freedom to speak and direct my speech how and where I want to,   is too important to me.  Perhaps it indicates a homework assignment and a bit of good Al-anon detachment. (Which we did not adopt in our EA program to its detriment! For pointing that out, I know I am showing my perfectionism.)  

I think all of this fussing, is just about my need to able to speak my mind as I see fit,  and credit others when their words speak better for me than my own.

Or maybe it is about my overriding need  think outside the box (be creative).  I feel it is a part of who I am as a writer, and it has enabled me to stay with the particular loop forum for as long as I have.   So it is going to be tough to make myself conform. Believe me, I will do my best. But the day that someone puts a general ban on using  inspiring quotes in members' signatures, I will quit.   

Perhaps by then,  this blog will sustain me. And here I don't have to worry about whether I can use a Slogan that might apply in one program and not the other. I don't have to divide myself between two different masters.

No, I think being told I can't openly credit  my use of Al-anon skills in my EA program is making me feel like I have to lie.  Or that I can only use certain approved techniques.  Or that I must always bat right handed, when I am ambidextrous.


  1. I wanted to say that the daily readings in Al-anon's CTC have particularly inspired me to share quotes on my EA forum. I end with a quote, like the daily readers do, or I start off with one.

    I guess I am too much a conformist to Al-anon literature, actually!

  2. If EA and Al-Anon are two separate fellowships, then I can understand not having non-EA approved literature discussed in EA meetings. In Al-Anon, there are double winners and we have a statement about not sharing about other 12 step programs. The BB of AA is not CAL for Al-Anon, but many of the double winners did not realize that.

  3. Slowly, I am accepting those boundaries. It is because I want for all my EA friends the same benefits of Al-anon, that I keep on trying to share the soothing and empowering words of Al-anon that strengthen my own program walk.

    Which is to span the divide between the family healing model of Al-anon... and the more individual-focused approach of EA....


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~