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I'm a 'fixer', but sometimes this is good, and sometimes it feels wrong. I sponsor guys in A.A. who ask me to sponsor them and I take them through A.A.'s 12 Step program. I'm confident with it because I have a good sponsor who I learnt much from, from when he took me through the 12 Step program.
I'm not an authoritarian, I just stick with sharing my experience and we work from the Big Book (our basic text) and follow the directions from there. I have a good understanding of human nature, how self centredness is the root of all our problems, and how the 12 Step program knocks the rough edges off that self centredness and allows us alkies to live with some degree of comfort without needing to drink. I don't think I do anything clever - apart from give my time and some energy - and I find the whole sponsoring thing extremely rewarding. I'm not saying I fix these lads, they fix themselves - they do the tough stuff - but I'm part of the process.
But I am a fixer; I try to 'fix' Mrs Tosh, my daughter, anyone really. I mean today, Mrs Tosh went for a nurses appointment to give some blood for tests to find out why she has high blood pressure (not my fault honest), and during our conversation with the nurse, the nurse said, "Well, if you're a worrier, there's not a lot you can do about that!", and I had to 'fix' the nurse's misinformation; I even explained how cortisol levels can be lowered by meditation, and for several hours after, and there were quite a few things we can do about our worries.
Is this just an evangelising stage that I'll grow out from with further spiritual practise? Or is it some benefit? Maybe I ought to just shut up and stop being so darned clever? Any experience of this anyone?
I had an experience when I assisted an elderly stranger who had collapsed in the street. This was in Italy, the gentleman was British, so I not only acted as interpreter when the medics arrived, but administered first aid assistance while we waited.... Luckily, I had only recently finished a first-aid course, so I knew what questions to ask, and how to help him recover... The medics were amazed that such courses existed in the UK and thought it a good idea for them to be available to the public.... somehow we also got onto the subject of Qi Gong (Don't ask me how, I don't remember...all I know was that I was promoting it as good practice for both patients and doctors alike...) but I kind of held back advocating the practice - until the duty doctor and her nurses all stood up and asked what stance to adopt!
Had they been 'resistant' and maybe against such alternative practices, i would have read the situation differently and handled it accordingly. But while they seemed obviously willing, I didn't feel intrusive..
I got a call a few days later, from this same medic, asking if I ran classes....!
In my mind, there is a filing cabinet marked "god complex." Lawyers, doctors, cops, shrinks, and priests among others live there. What these professions have in common is that others seek them out and say, in essence, "be my god." Those making the request cannot do what the professionals sometimes can ... fix things. So ... over and over again, someone hears the petition, "be my god" and it is hard not to slip into the notion that because people ask and because the professional may in fact have helped to fix things, that therefore the professional is, or feels him- or herself to be god... a distinct and wise and elevated being who is in control where others are not. None of this is a criticism ... I am just pointing out a danger that I am sure lawyers, doctors, cops, shrink and priests may notice in themselves ... especially when the self-assessment becomes painful or otherwise goes awry.
But being in control is not just a function of professionals. I also think it is a function within ... as for example, using Buddhism to explain what may be a difficult problem: Having an "answer" is a great way of not addressing the problem honestly. Gotta problem? -- Just rub on a little Buddhism ointment you may have in the in-control medicine chest and, voila ... everything's better. Only of course an in-control answer is not always the same as finding a real answer: It may talk the talk, but does it walk the walk?
I see nothing wrong with wanting to fix things. I do see a problem with imagining you could fix anything. And that's one of the nice things about a meditation practice ... the need to fix and reap the fixer's reward ebbs. Being god is not quite so important. Being in control is not quite so important. Of course, anyone might lend a hand where a hand was needed ... doing the best to ease difficulty and not just nourish more difficulty.
Bit by bit ... act as circumstances dictate. Do what you can to correct matters when (not if) you screw up. And as to what you cannot correct, just shoulder the responsibility... sorry, we're all stuck with this particular farm. If you know more, offer it. If you need to know more, ask for it. If you want merit badges, join the Boy Scouts. If you want applause, find a stage and act.
Meditation teaches bit by bit. The mighty god, whether within or without, well ... it's New Year's Eve ... how about making a resolution to get serious, skip over the in-control kudos, do what you can ... and see how things work out. I have a hunch you may laugh more, but that's just speculation.
Happy New Year!
Honestly, I find that so many medical professionals are handing out so much misinformation these days, that it's important to speak up. This is info that could positively affect people's health and lives, so it's important. But there's a skillfulness aspect to this speaking up; if you know you're dealing with one of the know-it-all type arrogant doctors, then there's no point in speaking up. And of course, how one speaks up also involves skillfulness. Information offered in a confrontational way isn't likely to be well-received. As the Buddha said, the right time, the right motivation, the right manner of interacting, and the truthfulness of our words, are all to be taken into consideration when engaging in "right speech". :thumbsup:
Neither does any decent therapist I know...we learn early on about transference and its dangers. But that of course wont stop anyone parroting the same old cliches.
Tosh...just be yourself.
Its the heart that matters.
Personally, all things considered, I'm of the school that delights in shared information.
I don't have to live with you though.
So compassion is offering the best you have . . . don't you think?
So compassion is offering the best you have . . . don't you think?
1. Does this need to be said at all?
2. Does this need to be said now?
3. Does this need to be said by ME?
Often times I find the answer to one or more of them to be no, and then I don't continue. If I feel I can offer information that may truly be helpful, or to correct information that might be harmful then I usually say something but I often take several minutes to decide how to say it in order to come across as I intend, which ishelpful and not all-knowing. Sometimes I have a hard time finding the right words to avoid sounding like an asshat, so then I just figure it isn't meant for me to say it.
It's led to some interesting discussion too! Thanks.
I answered the question asked. Feel free to ask me to clarify, if it really matters.
I used to attend a 12 Step meeting, which had the focus of studying the steps ( a different step each week ) and this group had the reputation of being attended by dogmatic and opinionated individuals - it was a reputation well earned in many ways - lol.
There will always be a very special place in my heart for the 12 step community.
I stoped going to 12 step meetings as I found the drive to focus on content (stories, dramas) over process (how I relate to my stories, dramas) did not speak to my condition in the end. Also, I found the hunger for specific identification with a group unhelpful.
Having spent the first half of my life running away from my suffering (aversion) and the second half of my life becoming so wrapt up and identified with it (desire) I am pleased to have found in recent years a path and practice that offers a 'middle way'
Saying that, I have been very grateful to the rooms for the space it has offered me. All sponcers are imperfect, but the most helpful ones for me are the ones that have helped me help myself find my way (not my sponcers way) to blossoming.
I guess we delude ourselves that it is even possible to 'fix' others, as this beautiful story from Nikos Kazantzakis conveys.
"A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours.
It struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress.
It appeared as if it had gotton as far as it could and could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings
He continued to watch the butterfly.
He expected that at any moment, the wings would enlarge and the body would contract.
Neither happened. In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It was never able to fly.
The man acted with well-intentioned kindness but he didn’t understand the consequences.
The restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly once it achieved it’s freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life.
If nature allowed us to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us."
I'm taught that help should be offered, even if it's not asked for (for example we wouldn't have A.A. if it wasn't for people giving help (which was often initially unwanted) to people who weren't asking for it).
I'm not sure what you mean about 'specific identification with a group'; do you mean like 'women's meetings' or 'men's meetings' or 'We Agnostics' meetings?
If an old lady needs help on the train with her luggage..help her.
If you think someone needs advice proffer it gently..and as Federica suggests look out for signs that it isnt welcome..and if that is the case withdraw.
Of course there is always the zeal of the convert/newly sober to factor in..
But you will do that with time.
You know in the days of early A.A., they really did use that phrase 'fixing drunks'. If anyone is interested go to XA Speakers and listen to Clarence Snyder (an early A.A.er and a very funny guy); he uses that phrase frequently - though it's not used today. But these guys went chasing drunks, even dragging them out of bars - they had to - their life depended on it. There's a very poignant moment in the history of A.A. when Bill W (A.A. cult leader) complained to his wife, "These drunks are useless, here I am running all over the place trying to help them, and not ONE of them has stayed sober!"
And Bill's wife said, "Yes, Bill, but you're sober!" That was a light bulb moment for Bill, (and a very Buddhist one at that); practising compassion for other drunks was keeping him sober.
However I think my question was more to do with Mrs Tosh, I see her struggle with a lot of life's issues; she worries, she cleans the house to the point of obsession (she's cleaning right now), she runs to the point of obsession (she'll run after she's finished cleaning). It's probably her I try to 'fix' more than anyone, though I'm learning to just 'shut up' or not react negatively when she goes off on one, 'cos when I try to 'fix' she gets more angry!
We all have coping mechanisms..cleaning is a common one, as is exercise of various kinds..
For others its mantra or offering incense..Sometimes all we can do is accept people as they are.
We are all FHB's
Fallible Human Beings, all in the same boat.
Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but you get the idea; It's not an easy way to live.
I do like living in a clean and tidy house mind, so it's not all bad!
I suppose what I am asking is whether the running and hoovering are the problem or an attempted solution..
Here's an example of a chat we've just had; there's a lady at her running club that's causing her problems; just bitchy type stuff which has exacerbated her normal unstable self.
This lady has 'blanked' Mrs Tosh while we were out shopping - you know pretended not to see her, and then didn't pay her much attention when they made eye-contact - and Mrs Tosh has twisted herself up in knots about it for the past week - maybe longer. I've tried to explain various scenarios from a Buddhist perspective (Maybe the lady had something on her mind?) and Mrs Tosh has imputed a whole scenario onto the situation and is focussing on possible outcomes, including divulging the fact that she knows this lady had an affair earlier this year. It's become a whole massive deal in her head. She's also tetchy, argumentative and worried. It even affects her relationship with our daughter.
The solution? I think it would help if she became less self centred; if she did some meditation, practised some compassion - tried to give some folk the benefit of the doubt, didn't have such great expectations of others, and then get massively annoyed when they're not fulfilled.
But if I try to explain that to her, I'm just an idiot and I don't understand!
When we talk about "fixing" people, it sure sounds as if we have an awfully big ego.
I'm not sure if it's good. My sangha works with NVC but I don't know if this particular website is a good one.
Hope this finds you well
I have been in AlAnon and OCA for over twenty years now and for me the most wisest guides have always been those who can detach with love and yet in that spacious awarenes accompany another to that place where the pain of being stuck self defeating behaviours becomes greater than the fear of change itself........(easier said than practiced)
From an AlAnon perspective this could be like learning the art of getting out the way of the alcoholic reaching/hitting their bottom line.
With respect to the need for identification in the rooms, I find this hard to explain, but I will try my best.......I'm a slow learner
For me identification with others who share a specific struggle, be it OCD or the need to fix the alcoholic (AlAnon) etc was initially of fundamental importance on my journey, but now I hold these things very lightly. I also have aspergers syndrome, and for many years my identity as a man in the spectrum was of such pressing importance.
However, these days I can say, "sure, I have autism, but autism does not have me".........I guess these days I feel rather allergic to saying,
"my name Chris and I am ***********(anything)
I do think that AA is rather unique, and I have not experienced being an alcoholic and working an AA program. I do think that it is possible to work a program and follow the Buddhist path as I am a member of an Insight recovery group and can see how both paths can merge and nourish each other. However, the movement away from holding anything tightly (identification) is a movement to freedom (for me)
This had been my experience.