Keep your goal top of your priorities
I am an Archers fan, though not a compulsive listener. I think the programme (like many soaps) covers relevant topics in very thoughtful and moving ways.
They’ve covered alcohol addiction relatively recently and the character at the centre of that story – Alice – is very much a part of the Archers community. I was very struck by one episode (Friday 17th Feb 2023) that featured a very poignant message, and it has relevance for all of us – myself included!
For those of you who don’t listen to the Archers, Alice is the youngest daughter of a well-to-do family that are very much part of the Archers cast/community. She hid her alcohol addiction for a long time – until it could be hidden no more and then ‘all hell’ broke loose. Her addiction led to the failing of her marriage, her ending up in rehab and all sorts of terrible ramifications happening to all those around her – including her baby daughter. Now this article is not about alcohol addiction just in case you were about to stop reading.
Alice has been ‘dry’ (not touched a drink) for 18 months and then her mother dies suddenly. It’s a terrible time for all the family – and each member of the family reacts in different and often difficult and destructive ways. It seems like Alice is the sanest of the lot of them and is holding her family together. But it’s taking its toll on her and she’s heading towards having a drink (or probably more like a whole bottle of vodka). So she calls her ‘mentor’ Lisa – the person she was given to support her as she came out of rehab, and the person who is there to keep her on the ‘straight and narrow’. As Alice pours out her woes to Lisa, it’s reasonable to expect that Lisa will be very understanding of the difficulties that life is throwing at Alice and the hardship she’s going through.
But Lisa is tough on Alice. Stating she is not her friend but is there to keep her sober when times are tough, she asks Alice if she’d been attending the weekly AA meetings and continuing to write her ‘gratitude’ journal. These are two things which are essential to helping Alice stay sober and not get pulled back into the dark evil clutches of the addition of alcohol – which she explains is always ‘waiting outside’ to pull her down into ‘hell’ once again. At first Alice is upset that Lisa is so unsympathetic, but Lisa is brilliant at describing that her role is to keep Alice focused on the absolutely most important thing – her No. 1 priority in life – i.e., to stay sober.
So, when Alice tries to make out to Lisa that life had got too busy to attend the weekly AA meeting – and too tiring, or too stressful or whatever, Lisa comes back quickly with the clear reality that Yes life was clearly difficult right now for Alice, but everything she’d said as to why she hadn’t been attending the weekly meetings was just nothing but EXCUSES! It’s a tough message but one Alice (and we all) needed to hear.
If you have a priority in life, and you stop doing the things you know you need to do to make that priority happen (in Alice’s case attending the weekly AA meeting and writing in her gratitude diary every day), then you are going to let life take over that priority and it’s going to fall out of your life – with, in Alice’s case, very dire circumstances.
Lisa was tough but ever so right and Alice finally ‘gets’ it.
The message here is that if you’ve made an agreement with yourself that something is a priority, then you have to fight with all you’ve got to keep it that way, and not let 101 other things con you into believing that they, or circumstances, or demands on your time, are more important. No. Stick to your number one priority and stick to whatever you need to do to keep that Number One priority, a Number One priority in your life.
The wonderful thing about the Archers episode was that because Alice’s alcoholism was so very, very destructive, and because keeping sober absolutely is her Number One priority, the message comes over so very loud and clear about the way we all can make excuses to not do the things we need to do.
I know this is 100% true in my life – though thankfully I don’t suffer from alcohol addiction. It’s so easy to let my Number One priority slip using excellent excuses for why it has slipped.
Is finding a partner your Number One priority? If so, are you doing the things you need to do to find them, regularly, consistently and without fail?
Or are you making excuses?
It’s as clear as that. It’s one or the other. There is no in between.
And again, that’s why the Archers episode was so brilliant because it made it so very clear. All Alice’s reasons for having not gone to the AA meeting were really genuine. Her mum had just died – it doesn’t get much worse than that. And lots of other difficult stuff was happening. But using any or all of that as a reason not to attend her all critical AA meetings was just an Excuse. It’s tough to hear but it’s true.
We hear Excuses here in the friends1st office all the time. We can be kind and not say they are excuses – or we can say it as it is. We can call these things out as Excuses that are stopping you reach your goal – your priority of finding the relationship you want. And it’s not an easy message to say – or to hear. But then like Lisa – we are not your friends – we’re here to do a job for you – to accompany you along the way – to help you do whatever it takes to enable you to find your soulmate. We know what our priority here is and that’s why we give the advice we do.