How has the program helped you distinguish the difference between realistic goals and fantastical thinking?
Please share your experiences by commenting on the topic below. The opinions expressed here are strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you liked and leave the rest. Member sharing on the Member Blog may be used in future Al‑Anon publications.
This month we’re asking you to share on the question, “How has the program helped you distinguish the difference between realistic goals and fantastical thinking?”
Wow, I’m really impressed how everyone kept the focus on their own fantastical thinking!! My first thought was how my loved one comes up with all these ideas for a career but doesn’t carry them out! As I sign up for too many things, and drive myself crazy trying to do them all. Guess I need to get back to more meetings. LOL. Love to all.
I’m not sure what you mean by fantastical, but I figure you mean non-realistic. There again, I suppose you mean by realistic things based upon your present circumstance. I have had unlimited past resources which also means I had more than the average person. However, alcoholism (NOT me) controlled the authorities where I was. Therefore, the realistic goals were filled with destruction and death. That would mean the fantastical thinking would be where these Al-Anon principles are most possible to exist. That means this program is most definitely part of my ‘dream world’ which makes me a wannabe in the… Read more »
When I met my partner, he was already a few years sober…I thought “wow”, non-drinker, non-smoker – the perfect man. I truly imagined a fairy-tale existence, on a perfect “pink cloud” with my “Prince Charming”! That cloud turned grey very quickly when I realised that I could not control this Prince of mine. When the “isms” of the this awful disease surfaced, I believed that I could manipulate and manage the person and the situation in order to make me happy again. I was rudely awakened when I hit my personal rock bottom after years of struggling with control. What… Read more »
Fantastical thinking versus realistic goals- before the program I did not know there was a difference! Steeped in denial I thought all things were possible, preferring to embrace emotions over facts, and not realizing that there is a thin line between faith and foolishness. Taking Step One, “We realized that we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable.” I began the process of documenting behavior, creating boundaries and setting limitations, willing to accept the consequences of my discoveries and my decision to either accept the situation or to have the “courage to change.” The process of eliminating… Read more »
There are some great program tools to help us determine what is fantasy and what is reality in terms of planning and goal setting. I used to believe that I could learn a new skill or way of viewing something and then magically the old way/habit would disappear for good or an opportunity would just come knocking. The tool of looking back at each day, week month or year with the idea of “Progress not Perfection” has saved me from so much unnecessary stress & self doubt. This works looking forward as well so I can break down goals into… Read more »
This topic really piqued my interest. What is the difference between Living Your Dream which sounds great: empowering, self affirming, healthy behaviour… versus Fantasy Thinking: chasing illusions? Realistic goals. Of course! I grew up with an aspirational mother who wanted for me and my siblings everything that she never had. Nothing wrong with that. Except that it was based on her fantasy thinking which was in turn born out of her own impoverished childhood upbringing by an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. I was sent to ballet school even though I was competent but not super talented. It did me… Read more »
Program is helping me to live in the present moment and not to try fixing crisis situation that arise in my life & causes fear and anxiety, fantasizing overnight solution to it. With the help of program tools living one minute, one hour and one day at a time is what helping me to achieve my goal in recovery from the insidious effects of this cunning and baffling disease called alcoholism to find peace n joy in my life. The program is my catalyst.
Fantastical thinking: If I say just the right thing at the right time he’ll stop drinking. That’s what I thought at one time. Setting realistic goals: If I work this program I can be happy, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. Before program, I lived in my head, in that fantasy world where my fairy godmother would wave her magic wand and everything would be wonderful. Now I don’t need that fairy godmother. I have the tools of the program that I can use to face any problem, whether it’s related to alcoholism or not. The tools are… Read more »
This program has helped me realize I cannot create the “perfect family”. I wanted my family to be free of my father’s alcoholic behavior, if I worked hard enough taking care of my kids. Well, one of them is a lot like he was. First, I blamed myself but it is not my fault. I did the best I could with all four of them; now they are adults and I cannot control another person’s life.
The program has taught me about expectations. I have learned that my expectations were unrealistic for me, my family, & anyone else I held to the light of perfectionism. I am learning that my unrealistic expectations were hurtful and damaging to my mental health and my relationships. My fantasy thinking set me up and everyone else up for failure and resentments. I am learning to live one day at a time and look to myself and my thinking. “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today!”
This is a topic that brings me years back, when my ife was a constant drama. I was raised with a punishing God, which brought a lot of doubts, fears and guilt. I created a fantasy world that brought much deception, pain and even anger, when reality came to the surface. This was with me for years, until I came to the program and found some solace with Step Three, that allowed to have a God as I understood Him. This was not a punishing God and to me it was an important landmark in my life and most of… Read more »
There have been plenty of Al-Anon Meetings where the topic is about distorted thinking. I definitely relate to getting stuck onboard a train of thought that becomes fantasy – sometimes a beautiful peaceful fantasy where everyone is doing what I’ve asked them to do and sometimes a horrible, worrisome nightmare where all is in chaos and the whole family is doomed. One of my favorite sayings, heard in a meeting, is “the mind is a dangerous neighborhood – don’t go there alone”. When we shared our experiences about not trying to solve a problem by ourselves, it became so clear… Read more »
I use the 10th step to do a regular inventory of my behavior; I also do Reality Checks with my sponsor!
Al-Anon helped me to have the courage to reach for a Master’s Degree I secured in 2001.
When I stumbled through the doors of my first meeting I didn’t know the difference between realistic goals and fantastical thinking. My thinking was distorted and I didn’t know it. I saw everything in my life out of perspective. My problems were huge and my feelings were overwhelming. The twelve steps, slogans, meetings, sponsorship, and service right-sized everything in my life. I have worked the steps many times with sponsors. Most recently, I wrote through the steps every morning for ninety days. I was amazed at how clear my thinking became after this exercise. Everything in Al-Anon is about learning… Read more »
Before the program I used to think – if only this, that, or the other would happen everything would be perfect. I would make bargains with God. If he would just do this one thing for me I would never ask for anything again. This program has taught me that life will never be perfect but that’s ok. With the tools I’ve acquired in the program and in accepting God’s will for me, perfection is no longer necessary nor is it my goal to achieve it. Life’s difficult times are necessary for me to continue learning how to become a… Read more »
The slogan “Keep It Simple” comes to mind. When I feel pressured to go along with complicated plans, I can use this slogan to (1)- feel at peace and confident in my desire to say, “No”, and (2)- use the phrase to express myself respectfully. In the past I would get whiny and defensive when someone tried to get me to go along with big, complicated plans. Today I’m more likely to calmly say, “I’d rather keep it simple and just do this one activity today.” I experience a lot fewer arguments and better relationships overall when I use this… Read more »
The program has helped me to live in the present and face life’s challenges with faith and hope. Before the program I believed one day all my problems would disappear and everything would be perfect. I held on to this illusion for many years and can fall back into this thinking when times get tough. Life is full of ups and downs and I choose to experience all of this by living in the present. My higher power has my back. The program is my happy ever after.