Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A selfish programme?

AA is sometimes called a selfish programme, and why this is incorrect is self-evident when one reads the Big Book.

Al-Anon is sometimes called a selfish programme too.

Is it?

Obsession with another's drinking or recovery is the real selfishness, because the concern is not about their welfare; the concern is about their impact on us, and how we blame them for how we feel.

Recovery, even from Al-Anon-ism, is about ditching self-centredness (including self-centredness manifesting as blame of and obsession with others) and fitting ourselves to be of maximum service to God and our fellows.

In Al-Anon that is going to require, first of all, taking care of ourselves (where that has been neglected) and building a life for ourselves (where we have been selfishly and insanely expecting the alcoholic to play a disproportionate role in furthering our welfare). That is not about selfishness (which could be defined as illegitimately putting our needs and wants ahead of others' needs and wants). It's about making the most of what opportunities God has given us and finding ways to operate in the world that actually benefit others as well as ourselves, rather than focusing our energies pointlessly on the alcoholic.

The obsession with the alcoholic often masks neglect of our real duties borne of the potential placed within us by God.

It is not selfish to say 'no' to an unreasonable demand from an alcoholic, because the 'yes' would be prompted by guilt and fear, not a desire to be genuinely useful. In fact, all of the 'putting ourselves first' in Al-Anon actually runs against the screaming desires of self to attempt to manage and manipulate the situations we find ourselves in. We put ourselves first, first of all, in order then to have a life we can share healthily with others.

Language matters, and self-care is not the same as selfishness.

The Al-Anon programme, like the AA programme, is one that involves death, not glorification, of self.

No comments: