Saturday, May 5, 2012

Keeping my opinion to myself

One of many things I love about Recovery is that it has taught me that I do not always need to express my opinion—something that before Recovery I did all too often. I now practice exercising control over my speech muscles. This may sound simple, but for nervous people this is not always easy.

For example, I recently had dinner with friends at a chain restaurant. My companions said their food was delicious, but I found mine to be wanting. Yet instead of complaining, I chose to talk about something else, thereby not ruining my friends’ experience or making them feel guilty about selecting the restaurant.

Before Recovery I would have felt compelled to share my opinion of the meal. Although there would be nothing wrong with doing so, I decided that I would find it difficult to critique the restaurant without temper. Thus, I was group minded by letting my friends enjoy dinner without my temperamental expression.

That, admittedly, is a fairly simple example, but I have found other situations in which exercising control over my speech muscles was very valuable, such as:

• When my boss says something I disagree with
• When I’m anxious about something and want to talk it up with others
• When someone expresses a political opinion with which I am very opposed to

In each situation I’ve decided that the temperamental outburst would not only not be in the group’s interest, but also would lead to a temperamental reaction I’d later regret. If I allowed myself to express temper in any of these scenarios, I would later worry that I said something I shouldn’t have, that I made someone angry at me, that I am burdening someone with my problems, and so on. However, my Recovery training has taught me the value of controlling my speech muscles. Now I let the temperamental flare quickly rise and fall, avoiding the compulsion to say what is on my mind. And my mental health is better off because of this self-control.


Jane said...

I was reading about being group minded recently in dr lows wonderful book , It is something we people with nervous symptoms frequently overlook,and his explaination is as always clear and direct

Endorse for being group minded!

Gabriele said...

I have found that the LINDEN method is very effective in reducing anxiety and panick attacks.
Have a look at the web page:

Helan said...

Thank you for sharing this! I also suffer from anxiety. I have found a lot of help from It offers a lot of ways to manage your anxiety.

Bob Coleman said...

I used to think, "I have to be honest about this." Now I realize that I can control my speech muscles about this and be honest about something else

Doug said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Being group minded and controlling our speech muscles is very important for people in Recovery.

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