By: Marilyn L. Davis
Their Advice and Suggestions Worked for Them
“Rule of life. If you bother to ask someone’s advice, then bother to listen to it.” ― Sophie Kinsella
I was in line at the grocery store the other day, and the woman in front of me was on her phone. Not eavesdropping, but I heard her say, “Well, that worked for them, but it wouldn’t work for me.”
And how many times does a newcomer say the same thing? In my case, I said or thought it a lot 33 years ago when I first got into recovery. What fueled my reluctance even to try a suggestion were fears:
- I don’t know if I understand what they mean – fear of appearing stupid.
- What if I don’t do it properly – fear of failure.
- What if I do it and don’t get the same outcomes – fear of the unknown.
- If I follow this suggestion, will they expect me to follow all others – fear of success.
Stop Arguing When You Haven’t Tried the Suggestion
Repeatedly arguing about whether something has value before you make an effort to follow a suggestion is both arrogant and foolish. If you have never done something, you have no reason for the argument.
You do not know the outcome, as you have never even tried the directions. Would you please try what has worked for countless others before deciding that something won’t work for you or that the suggestion is “stupid” or wrong?
If They Have Time, They Have Experience
“The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.”― Douglas Adams
If you think about this logically, why would anyone give you directions or solutions that did not have a history of working for others? Providers of treatment, families, sponsors and others in meetings all have reputations. Do you think that any of them want the reputation of those who give “stupid assignments” or directions? Furthermore, it serves no purpose to give inaccurate advice.
No One Wants to Look That Bad
It would be a waste of time and ultimately harm their reputations and participants. People in 12 Step and Other Recovery Supportive Meetings are genuinely trying to help you change your life. In general, they will not give directions that will make them look inadequate or offer suggestions that they do not think will help to improve your life.
Therefore, your attitude about what people suggest you do to change your life needs to be as positive as possible. Even if you question whether a suggestion will work, do it anyway and then assess the results. You may be genuinely surprised at the outcomes for you.
Does it make sense to give wrong directions? Not at all. So, trying what someone suggests is probably in your best interest, especially if you don't know how to do something. Click To Tweet
Be Patient When You’re Giving Suggestions
“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”― Oscar Wilde
I know it’s frustrating to give a suggestion that worked to someone hesitant to follow directions. That’s when we have to remember how we were unsure if people were trustworthy in our early recovery, too. There’s not a single one of us who didn’t have fears, anxieties, and concerns when we first entered the rooms about what advice was sound.
If you’ve been in recovery for some time, you have suggestions, directions, and ways to cope that will help the newcomer. I know that, but the newcomer may still be uncertain.
One of the ways I’ve worked around the newcomer’s reluctance to change is to pass on helpful advice and tell them they have 24 hours to develop a better solution. It gives them control over their choices, and they feel less like someone is making them do something.
If they don’t have a better solution in 24 hours, then they can use mine. Yes, it works – so there’s a suggestion for you on working with people in recovery as a sponsor.
Writing and recovery heal the heart.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook. Both are available at Amazon, Books A Million, Indie Books, and Barnes and Noble.
She also offers editing services. For more information, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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