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      -- Concept Four

How Important Is It?

I love the Al-Anon slogans. When I first came to meetings, nothing much would stick in my brain… but the slogans I could grab ahold of and use right away.

One of my favorites is "How important is it?" It's a favorite because it's close to one I had even before I found Al-Anon. My original version was a bit morbid, but it was very effective at halting my behavior once it started sliding into obsession or control. I would ask myself: "If I knew I was going to die in three days, would this be important to me?"

The answer was usually "nope," and I could release the deathgrip I had on the problem and let it go.

Putting It in Perspective

Now I have another version of "How important is it?" that works with the visual part of my brain even better. I heard it as related by an ex-marine, and it goes like this:

"Is this the hill you want to die on?"

Yikes! That vision of foxholes with grenades exploding all around really puts things in perspective. I mean, how important is it that the dishwasher is filled this way or that way? It's certainly not worth all that emotional battle, even if it's only raging inside my head.

I can apply that exaggerated image of making a choice to charge off and possibly fight to the death over the issue or to choose to save myself for another, more appropriate, more "important" battle whenever I need to… and it works! When I use the imagery of "war" and "peace" in making my decision, I'm much more apt to choose peace and not go to war over trifles.


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