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“I had a habit of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. After discussing the matter with a friend, I was given an exercise to practice. When someone says something to me and I have a strong reaction—wanting to cry, wanting to rage, thinking I am inferior—I stop and visualize two doors. One is marked “Same old, same old,” or “My will.” The  other is marked “New and different,” or “God’s will.” On seeing these two doors, I imagine opening mine and viewing what I would normally say or do in this situation. Then I close my door and open God’s. By the time I’ve done this, I’ve given myself several moments between the initial comment and my impulsive reaction. This gives me time to practice the slogan T.H.I.N.K. and to choose a healthier response. I’ve not had a single regret-filled incident since I began to practice this self-restraint. Ironically, most times what’s behind God’s door is absolutely nothing. What a message! Could this possibly mean that other people’s behavior belongs to them and I don’t have to make it mine by reacting to it?”

Before I went into recovery and learned how to view myself and my world differently, I was on automatic pilot. And the worst example of that was my extreme reactiveness to just about anything. Something like a look from another person could really get me going! But to make myself vulnerable to other people’s thoughts or opinions about me put me at a terrible disadvantage. I continually got lost, too often dependent in other people’s ideas and behaviors. Twelve-step recovery has taught me how to sort out who I am as I interface with the rest of the world. Acting with more integrity than before, I can react less and be more proactive.

Which is a long way of saying that I’m grateful not to be on automatic pilot anymore. Grateful to recognize that I have choices now. And I try to make good ones.

Here’s a good book to consider buying: Discovering Choices, Al-Anon Family Group

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