I don’t believe in experts. In fact, I sort of detest them. Now people who are knowledgeable in things I have no idea about, I can respect. But self-appointed chuckleheads who know more about everything than you do make me nuts. As usual, it’s because my own know-it-all tendencies drive me bananas. If you give me just a glimmer that you need me to tell you what to listen to or how to dress or what to think, I’ll take it and run with it like some sort of soul-sucking makeover show from Hell. There’s an extremely controlling part of me that wants to pull the puppet strings behind everything and everyone and God help us if it all doesn’t go my way. So it’s a good practice for me when, like today, someone actually asks for my advice.
More than experts, I hate unsolicited advice. So it’s a unique sort of hell that I’ve found myself smack dab in the middle of the never-ending fountain of unwanted advice coming from the mouths of all-knowing experts: a 12 step program. Everyone in meetings has some idea how you should stay sober, how long everyone’s share is supposed to be, where the chairs should be placed but my ideas about those things are just naturally better. I kid and over time I’ve learned how to take advice, how to listen to other’s valuable experience and how/when to simply nod, smile and scream-pray in my mind for the grace to listen to some whackadoodle’s opinion about how I should look for a job. Seriously, people in the rooms have saved my life so I try to be open for suggestions.
But back to today’s stint as Dear Abby. So a friend from the program asked me for advice about how to deal with a soul-sucking person who demanded too much of her attention. How she thought I know anything about that topic, I have noooo idea but I “dug deep” and drew upon my own experiences as soul-sucker who demands too much attention. We had a great chat, a few laughs and I felt inspired when we left. I have no idea if I helped her but I felt better just spending time with someone who needed somebody to talk to. I was able to tell her stand up for herself and not to worry about it too much because this crazy person probably thrives on drama and conflict (again I have no idea about what that’s like whatsoever) so by not engaging the problem would take care of itself. What was remarkable about this whole exchange was I cared about what she was growing through and it wasn’t just me spouting off controlling advice that she didn’t ask for. I realize non-soul-suckers without addiction and alcoholism are probably capable of giving heartfelt heeded advice all the time. What can I say? I’m just special.
So let’s hear from you what the best advice you’ve gotten in recovery or in life? I’ve already shared one here and now it’s your turn!