Things to think about, share about, and explore.

What’s the difference between … ?
consideration
courtesy
compassion
caring
codependence
managing others’ feelings
acceptance
accepting unacceptable behavior
boundaries
controlling others
suggestion
carrying the message
advice
confiding
sharing news
gossiping
letting go
being a doormat
working the steps
step study
thinking about the steps
accepting responsibility for my behavior
accepting responsibility for other people’s feelings
communicating clearly
making someone understand
taking responsibility
controlling outcomes
care giving
caretaking
open meeting
closed meeting
love
pity
empathy
pity
self care
keeping the focus on myself
selfishness
self-will
parenting
helping
being a good relative, friend, neighbor
service
enabling
doing for others what they can do for themselves
control
surrender
submission
resignation
want
need
loving interchange
crosstalk
amends
apologies
Al-Anon
therapy
a spiritual program
a religious program
privacy
secrecy
HP’s will
my will
intuition
stinkin’ thinkin’
detachment
cutting off
estrangement

Can you think of more differences to explore? Please feel free to share!

I had a discussion with my spouse today about being inconsiderate. I did not mention that my spouse does things daily that I would categorize as inconsiderate, except that I know how much inattention and obliviousness are part of the disease, and not something a person would choose to have. I draw a distinction between not knowing and not caring, and that’s helps me keep a neutral perspective.

My spouse has expectations of consideration and gets offended if people fail to show it. Sometimes one of those people is me. I know there’s not much I can do about my spouse’s expectations. I can only affect my attitudes and behavior and make sure they are aligned with my own principles and recovery.

Part of the problem for me is telling where the line is between consideration and codependence. One of my parents and several of my step-parents raised me with a lot of faulty teaching about what consideration is, and I engaged in wildly codependent attitudes and behavior. It’s taken more than one set of 24 hours in program to veer away from that kind of thinking. I don’t want to go back to that kind of misery.

So today I am trying to think of examples and analogies that help me tell the difference between consideration and codependence. I’ve come up with one so far:

  • If I am going to the kitchen to make a sandwich, it’s considerate to ask any others if they’d like something too. 
  • It’s considerate to ask if they’d like a sandwich, or possibly something else while I’m up. 
  • It’s codependent to act on the suggestion that I cook a meal, if I don’t actually want to. 
  • It’s codependent to make them a sandwich (or meal) without asking and become offended if they don’t want it. 
  • It’s codependent to make them a sandwich (or meal) without asking, if I don’t actually want to, whether they wind up wanting it or not.
  • It’s considerate to make a sandwich without asking, if I accept that they might not want it, and I make a back-up plan, like sticking it in the fridge for my lunch later.
  • It’s codependent if they say, “No thank you,” and then I take on guilt because they are hungry. (Or I believe they are hungry but lying to save my feelings, and I feel bad about that.)
  • It does not violate consideration to say no if they ask for something I’m unwilling to do, but it’s more considerate to counter that with something I am willing to do. “No, I won’t cook spaghetti right now, but I’ll make you a ham sandwich too if you like.”
If someone expects me to do a codependent thing and I don’t, the question of consideration isn’t mine and I don’t have to take it on. I can love the person and let the whole thing go. The rest is up to them and their own Higher Power.
Somebody expressed to me one time a concern about a step study meeting. It wasn’t spelled out very clearly that the meeting was for studying the steps, rather than working them. So, what is the difference between doing step study and working the steps? Here are a few:
Step Study
Working the Steps
Involves developing as complete as possible an understanding of how to work the step, why work the step, and what the desired benefits of the step are.
Involves taking action to accomplish the steps. May include study as a component for each step, but study does not replace the need for action.
Can be done:
  • At group meetings
  • With one or more Al-a-Pals
  • With your sponsor
  • Alone
Should be done with your sponsor, with some tasks on your own or with an Al-a-Pal. You work out with your sponsor which tasks these are and when to do them.
Can be done at whatever pace you choose.
Should be done at whatever pace you agree to with your sponsor.
Should be done with Conference Approved Literature (CAL), although what an individual uses for their own benefit is strictly up to the individual and may include other sources. Any Al-Anon activities such as group study need to use CAL exclusively.
Should be done with Conference Approved Literature (CAL), although what an individual uses for their own benefit is strictly up to the individual and may include other sources. You and your sponsor work out which materials to work from.