For many years in Al-Anon I practice detaching from others, and I eventually became fairly good at it. I developed techniques that worked for me, such as excusing myself from a potentially heated argument to read some Al-Anon literature. I learned how to diffuse criticism by replying, "You may be right," and using the slogan "Think" to help me act rather than react.
However, I wasn't so adept at detaching from myself. During a maddening bout of reacting to my own emotions, my sponsor suggested I bring my mind to where my body was by doing something physical and repeating to myself whatever I was doing. I told myself, "I'm washing the dishes," or "I'm walking on the treadmill." I was looking for something more profound, and I dismissed her idea for eight years until I was tired of repeating the same behavior. I tried her suggestion, and it worked.
When something upsetting happens, old memories of previous hurts often come back to haunt me. This makes it difficult to stay in the present and I start living simultaneously in the past and the future. The outcomes of the past get projected onto present and future situations. I become trapped in hopelessness and find it difficult to make healthy decisions.
When I get lost in time, I ask what I need right then to care for myself. If I do something physical -- such as make an Al-Anon phone call, write in my journal, exercise, or work on a project -- I detach from myself. The past and future go back where they belong, and I come back, much calmer, to the present.
Thought for the Day
Have I experienced the power of detachment to keep my mind in the same place as my body?
"Detachment helps families look at their situations realistically and objectively, thereby making intelligent decisions possible."
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota