Dif­fer­ences in think­ing cre­ates rift

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

I have a gray prob­lem — and not with my hair.

I am sur­rounded by black-and­white-minded friends and fam­ily. They have in­flex­i­ble opin­ions on ev­ery sub­ject. And they all call my gray­ness fence-sit­ting. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this dilemma.

What’s a per­son to do when he or she can see both sides of de­bates on most top­ics? I tend to get so frus­trated. Some­one will state his firm opin­ion on an is­sue, and when I say some­thing more mod­er­ate, he’ll get de­fen­sive and tell me it’s all or noth­ing — in essence, that ev­ery­thing is ei­ther black or white.

Am I cursed by too much gray mat­ter?

Your open mind is a bless­ing, not a curse. And the at­ti­tude of your friends and fam­ily to­ward your “fence-sit­ting” says much more about them than it does about you. If they were re­ally so sure of them­selves, why would they have to con­vince some­one else?

Keep do­ing what you’re do­ing. Ques­tion ev­ery­thing and con­sider all sides of an is­sue. It re­quires more men­tal en­ergy, but it will keep you ac­tively en­gaged with the world around you and will lend greater em­pa­thy and un­der­stand­ing.

When I read your col­umn, I note that you of­fer Al-Anon and Nar-Anon as sup­port groups for fam­i­lies and loved ones of those with ad­dic­tion prob­lems or re­lated be­hav­ioral prob­lems. I’d like to of­fer an­other 12-step sup­port group as an ad­di­tional re­source. It is Fam­i­lies Anony­mous, with meet­ings all over the world.

For nearly 30 years, I have been a grate­ful mem­ber and con­tact per­son for Fam­i­lies Anony­mous.

The pur­pose of our meet­ings is to of­fer sup­port to those adults who are con­cerned about the al­co­hol, drug or be­hav­ioral prob­lems of a loved one, a friend or maybe a co-worker. When peo­ple come to these meet­ings, they dis­cover that they are no longer alone but rather “among friends who have ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar prob­lems.” Our mem­bers do not judge or give ad­vice; we sim­ply lis­ten and share our own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences.

In ways that have to be ex­pe­ri­enced rather than ex­plained, we be­come able to take the em­pha­sis off the per­son we are con­cerned about and put the fo­cus back on our­selves and what we call our own re­cov­ery. In time, when we work the pro­gram, we be­come much less con­fused and able to think clearly, to deal with prob­lems of liv­ing.

The prob­lems of some­one you care about can take over your life and leave you un­able to live the life you de­serve.

Won’t you join us? There is no pre-reg­is­tra­tion; there are no dues or fees. We ask you to sim­ply come.

Thank you for shar­ing this valu­able re­source. Sup­port groups of­fer a space of love and sol­i­dar­ity. I en­cour­age any read­ers who are strug­gling be­cause of a loved one’s be­hav­ior to visit http:// www.fam­i­liesanony­mous.org for more in­for­ma­tion to­day.

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