Looking at the faces of some people, they appear to have a perennial scowl on their faces. When you question them, they immediately launch into a barrage of complaints about their current situation. Listening to them, you would think they are candidates for martyrdom. They are repeatedly doing things that they don’t want to do and then are miserable about it. Yet they feel as though they must do these things. Sometimes it’s an overactive sense of duty. They will say things like, “as a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter it’s my responsibility to do it”. When you suggest that they “let go” of some of their many duties they look at you in disbelief. Yes, they are miserable but how could they abandon their responsibilities.
In recovery we recognize that their are obligations that need to be honored. However, we need to differentiate between what is truly necessary and required vs. an excessive sense of duty. When we let go of some of those unnecessary responsibilities, we find that we feel better and the people who we thought needed us so desperately do quite well thank you without us. As far as service that must be done, we can work on our attitude about it. After all, our attitude is a choice.
Personal Reflection: Do I have an excessive sense of responsibility?