“Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven argument. The same goes for sulking or silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. Our first job is to sidestep the traps. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.” — 12&12 p.91-92
This is, for me, perhaps one of the most important passages in the 12&12. Restraint of pen and tongue.
I was attending an AlAnon meeting in Malibu about 15 years ago when this very old woman, a longtime member, said “The best thing I ever learned in AlAnon was to keep my mouth shut. This has saved me from more pain and suffering than you can possibly imagine.”
A few years later I heard someone else in a meeting say “My sponsor told me that whenever my spouse starts saying something that upsets me, or something I disagree with, the best thing for me to say is ‘You may be right’. Saying this will remind me to let go and let God.
The program and members of the fellowship continually show me a new, better way to approach others. A way in which I can escape drama, frustration and hurt feelings. The simple tools I learn aren’t always so easy to remember or employ, but when I do, my life is tremendously more peaceful.
ILML – James