Do you find yourself becoming irritable and unreasonable. Maybe without knowing it? How does your program of recovery help you out of that?
Eric, Spencer, and several of you share our experience, strength, and hope around these questions and many others.
The suggested Al-Anon/Alateen opening says
Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it.How Al-Anon Works, Chapter 2
- We often start with definitions
- Irritability is the excitatory ability that living organisms have to respond to changes in their environment. (Wikipedia)
- What's that mean? Let's try, “It is commonly defined as the tendency to react to stimuli with the experience of negative … states (especially anger) and temper outbursts.”
- Unreasonable: “not defined by or based on good sense”
- We spent a little time walking through an article “7 Quick Ways to Stop Being Irritable” from Psychology Today.
- Figure out the source – what is really going on here? (Step 4: Inventory).
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol – For me, I need a certain base level of caffeine, or so it might seem, anyway.
- It's often the little things – a bunch of little stuff piles up and becomes a big thing. (“The straw that broke the camel's back.”)
- Get in touch with your compassion – Bernice shared an incident where having a little compassion totally changed her mood. (Episode 169, Feelings. Also, the “self hug” from episode 335, Isolation, to feel compassion for yourself!)
- Gain perspective – changing my point of view can change my mood, for sure. (Episode 258, Perspective)
- Rid yourself of nervous energy – “Move a muscle, change a thought” (Episode 292, Sayings)
- Get quiet or alone time – “5 minutes without words”, meditation (Episode 151, Meditation)
- We also looked at a blog post “Traits of unreasonable people“, with particular focus on how we ourselves have exhibited these traits. The post suggests that unreasonable may lack these traits
- Humility – Example: “I'm right, you're wrong, end of discussion.” (Episode 208, Humility)
- Awareness – “I see where I'm right, I see where you're wrong.” (Episode 43, 3 A's; episode 292, Sayings, Quotes and Parables.)
- Responsibility – “If I'm wrong, so what? So are you!” (Episode 120, Authority and Responsibility; episode 298, Saying No)
- Empathy – “I'm bothered when you hurt me; when I hurt you, you're too sensitive.” (Episode 309, Gratitude; episode 33, Compassion)
- Reliability – “I'm not going to change, because I'm not wrong.” (Episode 281, How do you trust? Episode 228, Trust and Trustworthy.)
Listeners shared how they become irritable and unreasonable; how they recognize that this is happening; and what tools help move out of that state. Some feel irritability and unreasonableness in their body as a tightness or other sensation. A common tool for recognition is HALT (am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?), which leads to solutions of addressing whichever of those factors is aggrivating us – eat, rest, or talk to a friend, for example.
We also recognized that working a program of recovery tended to reduce our stress levels and how quickly we could become “activated” by a situation into irritability and unreasonableness.
Readings and Links
Eric referred to many of our previous episodes, which are linked in the text above.
A topic proposed by a listener: How can I reconcile and combine recovery and activism? How can recovery, the serenity prayer, and the traditions of Al Anon guide us during these times?
Eric has suggested the topic of self-blame and self-criticism, with the possible show title of “It's not your fault?” Do you find it much easier to list your faults than your strengths? Are you always ready to take the blame? Do you feel like a fraud?
Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.