Over the last week or so I’ve been helping try and sort someone else’s mess out.  Essentially they had got themselves into a mess about some finances that had led to them been asked to a meeting with their bank.  I went along with one set of assumptions as the person told me one side of things.  It got more confusing at the bank, one thing was resolved but another bigger issue was presented by the bank.  The person involved denied knowledge of this transaction.   The bank were about to launch an investigation but I asked for some extra time to go through the persons papers to see if I could figure it out.  I just grabbed all the paperwork this person had later that day and in a few mins had figured out how this had happened.  Crisis averted.

But then I talk to the person about how to fix the position they are in.  Firstly they don’t see it as an issue.  I try to explain why it is an issue.  I then say “So you can’t leave it like this.  What do you want to do?”  Nothing – a shrug and a “I don’t know”.  So I outline the need for this person to take responsibility and to at least make a decision.  Nothing.

So I feel so frustrated.  I appreciate some of this is a bit complicated but the person just wants to absolve themselves of responsibility and get someone else to shoulder that.  I realise that that debunking of personal responsibility is the thing that is really irking me.  I don’t care what they do or don’t do really but I feel they need to be responsible for the decision even if execution is left to others.

Why’s this frustrate me so much?  Well, whilst this person is not an alcoholic or addict, I see my own old bad behaviours being reflected in that absolution response.  In step 12 of the AA programme it says “… practice these principles in all our affairs“.  Took me a while to even hear that, let alone realise the massive connotations that had for me and much longer still to begin to weave my new responsible sober mindset into how I conducted myself in all situations (well most anyway!).   Often my way of avoiding was simple – drink and it will disappear – it never did…. or avoid and someone else will fix it …. sometimes they did, most normally they didn’t.

Somewhere in one of the popular stories in the AA big book there is this passage.

“When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Boom there it is…  I need to concentrate on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.  Hmm….  as ever work in bloody progress!

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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16 Responses to Frustrated

  1. Sherry says:

    If this isn’t the key to peace of mind I don’t know what is!!! As I move further and further into this brave new world of mine, I realize more and more that when I am frustrated it’s 99.9% of the time about me…not them. Especially when, as is this case, THEY DON’T EVEN CARE! If they don’t…then why do I?

    Because, for some reason this issue (whatever it may be) has struck a nerve and I’m left to ponder, “Why in the world does this bother me so much…” which is usually followed by, “Ahhhhh…yes.”

    I swear the first time I did this exercise I was gobsmacked. I just could not believe that I’d been so blind for so long. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

    Great post Furtherton.


  2. C says:

    I’d just like to reassure you that, whilst I completely appreciate the particular resonance it has to you, and it’s so true about not being able to change situations only your attitude to them, I also believe (from the perspective of someone who has no personal experience of addiction) situations like this would frustrate the hell out of most people!

    • furtheron says:

      I acknowledge that life affects everyone, and we all have the same frustrations and annoyances. What for me as an alcoholic is the issue is that to deal with those frustrations and annoyances I don’t so down a route that leads to the use of alcohol (or any other mind altering substance frankly) to quell them.

  3. I’m dealing with some frustration with the volunteer coaching client I am working with. From a coaching perspective, I have big concerns over how she’s done her training and I’m having trouble understanding why she signed up for a marathon if she was going to half-ass her workouts. But I had to step back and question my own level of frustration and remember that I cannot control what she does, I can only hope to motivate her. It’s been a valuable experience for me, to learn about myself in this situation — for it surely out be the last time a client doesn’t follow a training plan. I’ve had to remember it is her responsibility to train and that I need to let go when she chooses to do otherwise.

  4. Sounds like someone who still needs a mommy. We have one in our lives. Leaves the decisions for other people to make and always needs to be bailed out. You want to be charitable and understanding and kind, but it can grind you down. You’re a good man.

    To say we’re a work in progress implies there’s a completion date. We will forever be a work in progress. There’s only one completion date and I’m in no hurry to meet it.

  5. Suburbia says:

    Love that passage.
    Really good of you to help them, however you can lead a horse to water….

  6. Lisa Neumann says:

    Making me smile. ♥

  7. Untipsyteacher says:

    I was so responsible when I was teaching!
    I worked so hard!
    But I have not been so responsible at home, and now I am working on cleaning the house and getting the laundry all done, as my husband is still working.
    When I step up to my responsibilities, I am happier.

  8. daisyfae says:

    You are a good person for helping sort out the problem, and identifying potential paths for resolution – but you cannot walk that path. You have brought the horse to the water – perhaps several troughs. You know the rest…

    This is a hard lesson, though, and i appreciate your frustration. That was me with members of my family for most of my adult life – until i finally just stopped jumping in to solve their problems. For decades, they’d say “I don’t know what I’m going to do! Oh, no! Horrors!” and i’d sit down, do forensics on the situation with them, and make recommendations. My recommendations were ALWAYS ignored. Months, sometimes only weeks, later, i’d hear “I don’t know what I’m going to do! It’s gotten worse! Oh, no! So many horrors!”

    In effect, i was being drawn in to solve a worsened problem because they didn’t follow my recommendation. So i just quit letting myself get sucked in. When i hear “I don’t know what I’m going to do! Oh, no! Horrors!” i simply say “Wow. That’s really rough. Hope that all works out…” and go about my business…

    My stress levels have gone WAAAAAY down as a result…

  9. looby says:

    I recognise that sort of behaviour in myself all the time. I postpone things I know will be difficult — thereby making them worse. I don’t mind myself being affected by my failings in this area — but the trouble is when it starts affecting others, then it really is time to give myself a hard slap and get on with the task. Hey-ho, one day I’ll learn. 51 and still making the same mistakes!

  10. liz says:

    Tell me about it. If I can offload difficult stuff I will. You are a good man to help others. Remember that when you get frustrated.

  11. “A work in bloody progress”
    Aren’t we all 🙂

  12. Hi Graham,

    Why in the world I am not following your blog I will never understand. I swore I hit follow at some point! I will correct this problem immediately.

    This is a timely post for me, as you well know. I do find that AA tends to work in cyclical themes, so it makes sense that AA bloggers would do the same. Anyway, I have a comment about the specifics of acceptance in a particular issue; I wanted to chew on it before I responded so I kept reading. Only to find you comment, to take me to this post, and you are more or less saying exactly what I considering saying to this commenter! I love it!

    I would add to your specific issue: I think for me in this scenario, assuming it’s a person with whom I am close, I might feel compelled to tell him or her my discomfort with the resolution. For me that would represent what needed change within me.

    For example, many times I am frustrated with my husband’s dealings with one of his family members. I practice acceptance by voicing to him what I believe is the compassionate treatment of the individual, but I then acknowledge that it is not my place to dictate; I tell him and move on. Does this make any sense? Probably not 🙂

    Either way, so glad to have read this, and I look forward to reading more!

    • furtheron says:

      The progress is without a doubt that in this situation I voiced my frustration – with the person and how they are reacting to it. Their progress has been to ask me again about it. Others about me are now saying “You can’t help them as they don’t want your help.” But again my progress is to lay my judgements to one side, patiently explain again and still though, ultimately, ensure that they make a decision and take responsibility.

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