When We Had Taken the Opposite Tack (Step Twelve continued)

When we had taken the opposite tack and had insisted, like infants ourselves, that people protect and take care of us or that the world owed us a living, then the result had been equally unfortunate.  This often caused the people we had loved most to push us aside or perhaps desert us entirely.  Our disillusionment had been hard to bear.  We couldn’t imagine people acting that way toward us.  We had failed to see that though adult in years we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody–friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself–into protective parents.  We had refused to learn the very hard lesson that overdependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.

I wont’ go back over it again that I was sort of actually a child when I came to AA, definitely, and when I finally got sober this time, mostly.  I was 16 and 21.  As I’ve already thought and written about, my affair with the married man across the street was plenty wrong, and my overdependence (Firefox doesn’t like that word) was just one of the reasons why.  Briefly, I think I depended on my mother in a few ways she showed herself to be dependable.  I still depend on her, though I know that if life goes according to plan (a big if) the time when I’ll be able to do that draws ever closer to an end.

It’s part of the last sentence of this paragraph that I love, and I’ve kept, and I’ve remembered and tried to learn.  Today, I hope, I have healthy dependencies.  My wife and I depend on each other in our marital partnership.  We depend on each other in the support of and running of the house and the animals.  A long time ago (long), she agreed to parent my children with me, and I’ve depended on her to do that in many ways since then.

People at work depend on my.  Tomorrow my work partner will be off, and our supervisor will be off, and they knowingly depend on me to show up and supervise well.  The other employees, the clients and their families, and the people higher up than our supervisor all depend on me to do that, though they may not know it.

But what if menopause symptoms keep me away?  This is a real fear I have of letting people down.  How real a possibility it is is another question all together.  But at times I depend on people to do the very things I’m proposing to do and the last part of the last sentence reminds me that I might fail, and they might fail.  At some point we will all fail.  They’ll depend on me to take care of that just like I’ll depend on them.

Dependency is a wonderful topic.  My kids get less and less dependent.  One could say my son is pretty much independent.  As they get older I depend less on them, because they’re not here with me anymore, though I know a time could come when I depend on them more.  My mother might get more dependent on me.

Finally, it’s kind of funny for me to think about unreasonable demands for attention.  I think I usually err on the other side of that, and try to avoid attention even though that might not be best for the situation.



2 thoughts on “When We Had Taken the Opposite Tack (Step Twelve continued)

  1. What book is that paragraph from? I am new to AA (19 years into NA and recently defected to AA). I’d like to share that with someone, but I’d like to quote the source. It’s brilliant.

    Also, really enjoy your blog. Thanks!

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