We Have An Overdeveloped Sense Of Responsibility And It Is Easier For Us To Be Concerned With Others Rather Than Ourselves.  This Enables Us Not To Look Too Closely At Our Own Faults.

When I take responsibility for others, I take the focus off myself.  When I feel a compelling sense of responsibility for another, I’m no longer concentrating on feeling my own feelings.  This behavior enables me to feel needed, wanted, essential and important.  I now have a special worth or value.  And when I feel needed or wanted, I feel full.  As someone once remarked at a meeting, “Somehow I managed to serve everyone well except myself.” 

 Since many ACoAs are driven by external approval, taking responsibility for another is an attractive way to gain approval and respect.  The problem with this is one of energy depletion.  Each of us has just so much energy to tackle life’s problems and resolve them.  When we use much of our energy to assist others, we are consistently robbing ourselves of opportunities to further our own well-being and self-esteem. 

Most likely no one will be particularly attentive and praise each of our little but important personal victories; helping another, however, can generate lots of attention, praise and gratitude.   

This is not to say we shouldn’t be of assistance and support on occasion.  But we should keep clearly in mind that growth and change can only come from working on our own issues.  This needs to become a primary task.  To continually rush off to help others is to rob ourselves of a measured and perhaps accelerated recovery.

Excerpt from Chapter 4 – The Recovery Process in The Laundry List by Tony A. and Dan F.

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