98: Expectations – Getting Real About Unrealistic Expectations (Sort Of)

We are guided in recovery to avoid unrealistic expectations, but what makes an expectation unrealistic? Are we supposed to walk around in our lives and not expect anything? Are realistic expectations healthy? Can we still be let down when our realistic expectations aren’t met? Is there really a way to get rid of our expectations? Or even alter our expectations? Is tempering expectations an actual thing we are capable of, or do we just stuff them down and still get hurt by the outcomes? Are we giving up time that we could have been feeling hopeful by lessening our expectations? Is there a spiritual principle that can be applied to tempering our expectations? We have on Caraline to help us explore the world of expectations in recovery, what they are, if they are overt or covert, how to examine them, and hopefully, how to find more freedom from feeling let down when our expectations aren’t met. Join the conversation by leaving a message, emailing us at RecoverySortOf@gmail.com, or find us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or find us on our website at www.recoverysortof.com.

Mom episode

Clean episode

Grief episode

Recommended by god:

173: Survivors of Suicide Loss (Sort Of)

FacebookTweetPin We are exploring the difficult topic of what it’s like to be a survivor…

Ten Year Soberversary

FacebookTweetPin It’s been ten years since my last drink. It’s my soberversary! Ten years without…

221: Breaking Free from Family Triggers – The Power of Reparenting (Sort Of) Pt 2

FacebookTweetPin In our discussion, we explored the complexities of parenting, boundaries, and the journey of…


recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hey welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy that’s expecting to stay clean for another week i hope if we know what the [ _ ] clean is as we learned last week and i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and i am caroline i am also a person in long-term recovery it’s funny i try to be honest i’m like yeah it’s jason and he’s like yeah and i’m billy and i was like i’m caroline how are you uh so we’re we’re going to talk about expectations today which uh this is an interesting topic and i don’t i got some expectations about how it’s going to go but i it will probably not meet them um but before we get into that i did i need to offer a public apology we talked in our last episode about what being clean is and i thought it’d be really neat to have jenny on because she’s in recovery dharma and she’s really into buddhism and i was like well this would be a different perspective besides me and billy just arguing about if technically n a says that suboxone is clean or not and if it should and uh and i found that what happened and i felt bad during the episode but i felt even worse when i was editing it uh was that i would like ask jenny like oh what do you think about this and then about four words into it i would be like oh my god but no you don’t understand and i cut her off i was so into the the debate it was fun um and it was kind of exciting so i feel i’m sorry johnny uh i hope you’d forgive me that was awful uh we also got a really cool comment from ally may about the moms and recovery episode and she you know thought she appreciated the topic and you know she thanked us for at least being able to acknowledge that you know it does benefit us to not really address it like it benefits me that i can get a shower and not have to worry about my wife’s shower and take on extra stuff she did say because remember the the mommy wine culture got brought up and we were like oh there’s no mommy heroin culture and and her point was that um what she has seen is maybe not mommy heroin culture but there’s a lot of women on pills and that is kind of overlooked because it’s harder like you can’t take a mom out of a house for three to six months to get detoxed and well right like the father goes away it’s like okay you know house still functions dinner still gets made kids still get taken care of but when you try to take mom out of the house for three months like that doesn’t necessarily happen and so her experience because we were saying we didn’t really know anything about that her experience was that she has seen a lot of that and when she said that it made me think of when i was helping people get into treatment and how much more difficult it was for women who had children it’s like well do you have child care for 28 days right like or if you don’t and you have to take your kid to treatment with you which kind of blew my mind anyway because i had never even thought of that it’s like oh well all right there’s these two facilities and they’re always booked because there’s only limited space for them so yeah it’s it’s much tougher i think and we didn’t go into much of the before recovery stance of trying to get here but i i that’s also a very very good point of like it’s just tougher for for the moms i think it’s very very difficult to get into treatment to get into recovery and then once you’re here even to find the ways to do what you did before you were a mom or to make the meetings or any of that so thank you ally may and uh i guess we’ll get into expectations and caroline this was kind of your your baby and i know you can i jump in for one second yeah that’s okay um two things first i have some expectations i uh and by the time this comes out it’ll be passed but august 23rd i celebrate 21 years clean so yeah pretty awesome that’s next week and i expect to have a [ _ ] ton of people at my meeting so 21. that means you can drink yeah there we go so that’s next thursday billy well this is coming celebrating thursday the second because we’ll be on vacation okay so yeah anyway um let me drive to cecil county but also yeah uh fair hill uh also we got some information that uh some of our recovery sort of fun that we donate to people in uh looking for access to treatment different things is getting used to help people actually get things that they need in recovery um i was told that it’s helped some folks it was a couple they’re trying to get some housing because they had been homeless uh they needed some clothes and things to go on some interviews and stuff and some of the money went to that to help them get some clothes and they got through the interview okay and they’re going to be in a house so it’s nice to feel like we contributed to some of that some money went to a mom in recovery to get into the mommy and me house with her kid it’s a mom with some kids that paid for her like admission fee or whatever they have and a first week’s rent for her to get into a recovery house and then some other recovery funding uh went to get someone into recovery housing so the money’s being used up that’s great nice oh yeah well pat myself on the back yeah this was jason’s idea to start this fun with you know donations and things that we got so that’s pretty awesome it was inspired by billy yeah all right yeah i forgot about that part so caroline yeah tell us about why expectations yeah so i guess i um i feel conflicted about this topic a little bit now when i suggested it it was because i’ve heard so many people in the rooms over the years um saying that you should never have expectations uh this i guess was just really in meetings in in people sharing or um you know talking about different topics saying that expectations are never good you should you should try to never have expectations and that has always felt so um unrealistic and counter-intuitive to me so but in preparation for this for this uh podcast i i did a little bit of research and it turns out that those people who are saying that um maybe are a little misinformed our literature definitely doesn’t say that you should never have expectations so um we’re going forward with this topic it’s gonna work but i feel like my argument is a little a little lighter now than it was because i wanted to argue with the text that’s always my my funnest thing to do

yeah i did two minutes of research after you pointed that out and looked in two of our main pieces of literature about expectations and no it doesn’t say don’t have expectations but it frequently says that we have you know we should examine our expectations are they realistic are they unrealistic uh we have too high expectations we have unrealistic expectations about these certain uh events that it talks about and i think i take exception to that honestly what the [ _ ] is unrealistic expectations like how do you decide if they’re realistic or unrealistic or too high or too like i don’t know what in the hell that even means or how you personally would say oh i’m feeling inside like my expectation is at a level 84 but i really want it to be at a level 60 like how the [ _ ] do you like no you feel and expect what you feel and expect and what do you how do you counteract that like i so i still take exception with the expectation problem i have no idea and i was thinking of the idea so i think there’s a spiritual aspect to this idea of not having expectations um if you think of like a there’s the old christian saying like jesus if someone hits you in the face you turn the other cheek kind of thing you don’t say oh you’re not supposed to hit me in the face you’re an [ _ ] you turn the other cheek like you can’t ex i guess that’s an expectation thing to me um or like what i’ve researched for like so don’t don’t not expect people to hit you in the face just expect expect the unexpected expect and then it’s good but then if you’re turning the other cheek you still have the expectation they won’t do it again no i think you’re expecting them to do it well that’s right or you don’t have an expectation that they are or aren’t that’s that’s the point it’s not about i feel like turning the other cheek though is forgiveness is the the principle it’s trying to explain they’re not expectations well i don’t think it’s necessarily trying to explain expectations but there’s the thing that you know when we have these expectations it’s spiritual to i guess it’s more spiritual to not have expectations that people aren’t going to do things that way when they do them you’ll have the right principle there to apply in place of that if i have an expectation then my reaction is going to be to be angry hurt upset whatever because i had an expectation that you weren’t going to do something so now i’m hurt and that’s gonna limit me from my ability to react spiritually to a situation of all the places i expected this conversation to go turn the other cheek was not one of them well i think there’s some of that and not just in christianity because it’s in like a lot of buddhist philosophies too like you just go through life and kind of roll with what happens you don’t walk down you know the buddhist path with all these expectations that this person’s gonna do that and that person’s going to do this it’s more about your reaction to things and how you deal with the troubles and traumas and hardships that come up and if i walk around with a bunch of expectations again whether they’re justified or not isn’t what’s most important obviously yeah i have realistic expectations that i think are not you know they’re not unrealistic of me to expect my wife isn’t gonna cheat on me that she’s not gonna spend all the money in our bank account that she’s not gonna burn our house down like those are realistic things to expect but if she does any of those things my first reaction is probably not going to be like forgiveness love compassion empathy my first reaction is probably going to be what the [ _ ] why did you do this you know what i mean like you’re a [ _ ] [ _ ] like so those expectations set me up to not be able to react in a spiritual way so if you’re if you expect your wife not to cheat on you and that’s a realistic expectation right i think it is to start at least when does it become unrealistic like if she’s done it four times already ten times is that the rule so i don’t know that each individual situation has an unrealistic expectation i think it would be an unrealistic expectation of me to say well my wife should never get mad at me or she should never think about leaving our relationship or she should never think about another man in a sexual way like that’s pretty unrealistic i think people just do that that’s in our nature it’s un it’s realistic of me to expect her not to like act out and go do those things but to expect her not to ever have the thought or idea cross her mind is i mean i’ve probably thought about burning my house down at times [ _ ] this house and [ _ ] these kids [ _ ] all this stuff i guess from from a personal place of like really making this to a non painful area for me something that came up right was when people tell me a movie is great they’re like dude you have to go watch this movie it’s incredible it it maybe it changed my life it just blew my mind i thought about it for a week there is without fail when i watch that movie i am let down and disappointed right every [ _ ] time when i go in and my kids want to watch a movie that i’m like oh my god this is going to be so [ _ ] stupid right i’m usually if not always pleasantly surprised that it’s like well it really wasn’t that bad it had some cool points to it and so i know expectations affect my appreciation or experience of whatever happens next i know they do but i don’t know how to change the expectation even if you tell me that information that hey your experience would be way more enjoyable if you expected less every time well that’s great i agree i don’t know how to change the expectation it doesn’t change the fact that i’m going to feel highly expectant of some things and you know poorly expected of others i don’t know how to like so even if i know that and even if you’re saying well it affects our outcome and i believe that what do i do with it do i just say oh this person told me this movie was great but i know better like that doesn’t fix it i still expect something great well but do you from experience yeah so that actually came up for me you were telling me that your vacation recently didn’t meet expectations because it rained a lot um it sounded like your mom had an injury so when you when you said that to me i thought about the vacation i went on in july and i did go into it with not a ton of expectations because experience has told me that when it rains a lot on vacation that kind of sucks um and and i’ve had those vacations before where i’ve been disappointed because the weather has not gone in my favor so um you know this recent vacation i went on was a road trip with my dog so we were we were like massively dependent on the weather if it was raining there was literally nothing we could do because anything i can do with her is outdoors um so i did in that sense i did go into that vacation with kind of not a ton of expectations we were just gonna do it and see how it went and part of that was also i’ve never gone on a road trip with my dog so being i was able to go into that vacation with with a lack of expectations or realistic expectations that it could kind of go any which way and it was what it was and at least we were getting away so i think there is an ability to to shift your expectations i don’t know and and i kind of talk about this or at least something similar with people in therapy a lot they’ll they’ll come to me and they say my son is working on getting sober and you know i’m just trying to keep my my temperament down i’m trying to stay even about it i don’t want to get too excited right because i will be let down and i kind of believe and i don’t even know if this is really true you know i tell people to it in a professional standpoint but i kind of believe that’s [ _ ] i think that hope really we’re taking that hopeful uh high expectation place and we’re just kind of stuffing it away and i don’t really think it hurts less when we don’t get the outcome we were hoping for i think it hurts the same amount in fact what i tell them is i think you actually rob yourself of a couple days or weeks or months of happiness that you could have had with these high expectations of hope right and you still end up with the same pain anyway so what you really did was tamped out the good part leading up to it and still hurt just as much when it didn’t go right so i don’t i don’t know that we actually get rid of expectations or we just try to talk ourselves out of them i don’t think that really gets rid of them i will hope for the best expect the worst or i mean i try to get shot right now i try to go into situations and look more uh instead of sort of having expectations and predictions and some of this i think just comes from like my own ego of thinking i know what’s right or best like so we’ll talk frequently us the kids and family will sit down and talk about vacations and we’ll laugh and have good now good memories of bad experiences that we’ve had on vacations it’s fun with the kids that sit and we’ll laugh about you know this terrible horseback riding trip we took which in the moment sucked it sucked the lady was mean the [ _ ] kids didn’t have a good time the whole thing was terrible but we just talked about this the other night and uh you know we kind of laughed and we chuckled and that’s a memory like now that’s a fond memory that i have of that experience so what that teaches me is i try to just go into these situations in life without thinking oh it’s got to be this way it’s got to be that way i’m just going into it as an experience we’re having a vacation i don’t know we’re going to the beach next week might [ _ ] rain the whole time we might be stuck in the room so what are we going to do you know what how do we deal with that versus going into it with well i’m going to the beach so it better [ _ ] be sunny and all the stuff i better not start with these [ _ ] masks again like if i start going down that road and putting all these expectations on that vacation i’m an addict so i tend to have unrealistic expectations like i’m at the beach so it’s not supposed to rain all [ _ ] week or the whole state’s supposed to coordinate its mass policies based on whatever i’m doing and whatever i have going on in my life at the moment so that’s where these unrealistic expectations come in if i just go in open-minded and be like you know what i’m going to the beach i don’t know what the [ _ ] going to happen they could have a hurricane while i’m down there and we could be stuck in a hotel or we could turn around have to leave right away because some family emergency you know i don’t know what’s going to happen yeah and that’s where i think it gets tricky right and maybe there is an answer in what you were just saying i guess for me i was thinking i didn’t actively at any point in time think oh we’re going to the beach we’re going to be with my mom and spend some time with her and the grandkids get time with her and it’s going to be sunny beach weather like none of that actively happened i didn’t even think about the vacation at all honestly the only thing i thought about the vacation was i’m working from like early as [ _ ] tuesday morning until late as [ _ ] and then when i get off work we have to drive 12 hours to georgia that was the only thing i thought about leading up to the vacation i’m gonna rebut that because i feel like when you told me about the vacation one of the things you told me that was going to be great was that you were going down there with your mom and going to be able to spend some time with her i don’t even remember telling you about it but okay so i just i guess none of it was active thinking none of it was conscious level thinking of like this is what my vacation is supposed to be it’s going to be like this and it’s going to look like this none of it like it felt like a i guess either a subconscious level thinking or just a feeling of hey vacations what do i know about them well i’m all for work that’s nice i get to sit back and relax beach vacations involve the beach with the sun out and me in the water like that’s just kind of what i know about beach vacations right none of that was an active thing and i don’t know how to combat that but what i’m wondering about what billy was saying is maybe i do need to actively think about ways it could suck to counter act like people or just taking ownership of our expectations you know i mean like you said like you know oh man i’m gonna be in the car all this time well guess what i’m gonna be in the car all this time so what can we do to make this better like yeah i already think it’s going to suck but maybe there are some things i can do to not for me so this is me i don’t know about you but for me when i’m in those situations like all right we’re getting ready to take this eight hour trip up to massachusetts we’re gonna be in the car for eight hours what can i do to just not be a [ _ ] [ _ ] to jen and the kids when they want to stop seven times and there’s traffic and we go through new york and the [ _ ] tolls like how do i just not because we’ve done that like i’ve had the experience to know i’m already going to be annoyed and agitated by all of those things you know what i mean i don’t know if that’s an expectation i guess it’s an expectation but i just own it like that’s me that’s what i do i expect the trip to go flawless and there not to be any traffic and the [ _ ] tolls to not be blocked at night

and i’m highly pissed when i hit traffic at night i’m [ _ ] angry so just owning that they’re like these are my expectations you know what i mean and what can i do about them how do i just like it sounds like experience plays a heavy lift in helping us set up realistic expectations when i’ve encountered a situation before i can know what to expect right but what are realistic expectations because even even if we could define what’s unrealistic and what’s realistic right there’s times my realistic expectations don’t get met like it was very realistic of me to think going on this vacation with my mom is going to be cool time to spend with my mom and my mom to spend time with the grandkids like there’s no way none of my experience says she’s gonna fall and hurt herself before we even get there and really just be unable to participate so that still happens like it doesn’t really change the fact whether it’s realistic or unrealistic expectations still set me up to be disappointed right and i think it’s also realistic to expect that out of a week vacation you’re going to get at least a couple of days with with no rain and so if it rains the entire week i thought it was realistic to expect that when i took my kids to the water park they would enjoy themselves that’s not true no they were like we wrote all the slides we’re ready to go i’m like [ _ ] ride them again bro like the lions are like five minutes long this is heaven so they’re in to me lies part of the problem so when i think about expectations realistic or unrealistic expectations the for whatever reason the saying that sticks in my mind that i took from the program was something to the effect of res uh expectations rob us of the gifts the program has to offer and by that i don’t know where i got that from or where i’m making it i probably did but i i heard it somewhere or something similar to that that’s the that’s what i take away from what the programs explain to me about expectations and again it doesn’t matter if they’re realistic or unrealistic if we go in the car and we got to take this eight hour car ride and my daughter’s whatever has a toothache and she cries the whole time well obviously it’s a realistic expectation not ex i think your kid’s going to cry in the car for three straight hours but if that happens and that’s my expectation i’m probably not going to be happy about that and i don’t gonna know if i’m gonna do my best version of parenting in that situation i’m probably gonna be like would you shut the [ _ ] up i’m trying to drive in traffic whereas what i wanna do in those situations is have compassion and empathy and love be like man that sucks i’ve had a toothache here’s some tylenol or you know whatever like any expectations i have set me up to not be the best version of myself but how do you not have them i don’t disagree how do you not have them right well and there’s some that like you can’t function without having like i have an expectation that if i show up for my job every day i’m going to get paid for that time if i don’t have that expectation uh this is i’m not doing charity work guys so you know like i’m probably not going to work love my job but i need to get paid so if your company just i mean just the example would be all right so if they get bankrupt and they go out of business and all of a sudden can’t pay you i mean [ _ ] the company what does that do to you and your spirit at the end of that week when you don’t get that paycheck like you’re the one that suffers the consequences of that expectation right but i also suffer the very real consequences of now i don’t have a paycheck so i think even if i didn’t have expectations i would be suffering in that situation uh yeah but your life is in the so spiritually you’re in the same place not having the paycheck is it better to be angry and hurt and resentful that you didn’t get a paycheck and still not have the money or is it better to be like life happens and [ __ ] happens and poor them sorry their business went out and then you have no money like you’re still you still have no money either way but i think you need the expectations to so i think that’s the issue right it’s not that you know yes i might be a slightly happier person if i don’t have the expectation of getting paid but if i don’t have the expectation of getting paid i’m probably not going to work if we go back to the example of like you extreme right having the expectation jen’s not going to burn your house down if you don’t have that expectation you’re going to begin to act in ways that are probably a little crazy to make sure jen doesn’t burn the house on her own camera all day long

because obviously we can’t predict every situation that’s ever going to happen in life i mean it’s reasonable to expect you’re going to get in a car accident in your life but does that mean you never drive a car again like i think it it comes back to trust right like expectations and trust seem to go pretty closely in hand i have to have trust or faith that people are going to act in these ways that seem in line with what society says is going to happen so i’m i have trust that i’m so is it trust or is it an expectation so i don’t put trust or faith necessarily in in people as much as i put it in i guess what what the program likes to call god or like spiritual principles or spiritual living like so my experience in the program is that people are going to let you down my best friends have let me down my sponsors let me down you know close friends have let me down like it’s just happened you put trust in jen though uh you trust her not to cheat on you you trust her not to burn the house down you trust your employer no so if i mean i don’t expect her to do those things but if it happened i wouldn’t be like oh my god my life’s gonna end i could have never seen this coming like that’s just people that’s just life and if it happens there’s a couple of things one am i in position to be able to deal with that stuff you know i do that through other ways but if i’m overwhelmed because i had an expectation that was never going to happen that’s to me is kind of an unrealistic expectation to think that that’s not possible or that that could never happen like any of those things could happen you know this is actually really fun watching somebody else debate with you and not being a part of it i’m enjoying it i don’t feel as bad about jenny anymore she got a good show

this episode has been brought to you in part by voices of hope inc a non-profit recovery organization made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment harm reduction and support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopemaryland.org

and consider donating to our calls

one of the things that’s coming up for me totally changing the topic a little bit um it’s easier for me not to have expectations for things that i’ve never done before and i’m trying to think of why that is right i’m thinking about like we we took the family to jamaica earlier this summer and i’d never done that kind of vacation with my family and you know you add in all the the pandemic stuff and all the extra pieces we had to do and getting passports and covet tests before you leave and all this [ _ ] right and i actually thought through a lot of what could go wrong with that and how it could suck and it turned out to mostly go really well and and worked out well and so i i guess i’m coming back to this idea that you said of like maybe i really need to actively think of not all the ways things could go bad and maybe i don’t need to like put [ _ ] on it like oh my god we’re gonna get murdered in the street or something but maybe i do need to think of like take time to say oh okay well yeah i i am kind of thinking the beach days will be sunny maybe some of them will be rainy right maybe my kids won’t like this water park as much as i think that like maybe i need to really put active time into that to have a more varied and equal expectation level right so then like then i don’t have this subconscious oh this is just what it’s going to be because i’m not thinking about it but now i have oh well yeah it could be sunny or it could be rainy right and so i don’t i have less of a it’s going to have to be one way and i’m less shocked when it’s not right i have the ability to say well i kind of thought it might have been rainy some days like that’s okay well you know what they call that trying to think out every possible scenario of a crazy self-centeredness but know that to me the counter to that uh thinking for myself is just trying to be open-minded you know what i mean just going look i don’t know what every possible [ _ ] problem situation outcome is in every situation i just have to be open-minded and trust in the you know the principles that i live my life by and try to live them to the best of my ability and see what happens and my trust and faith is getting back to that comes to living by these principles and believing that practicing them is going to give me the best outcome for my life so i don’t necessarily believe that you know no one’s ever going to be able to hurt me you know because people are going to be able to hurt me what i believe in is that i have principles and things that i’ve learned in recovery to help me get through those situations you know so i don’t have to just suffer in agony for an incredibly long amount of time and i think maybe we’re saying the same thing like i’m thinking that by me taking the time to say oh this doesn’t necessarily have to be all you know roses sunshines and unicorns like there might be some other sides to this maybe that is just me creating that space for an open mind right maybe that’s me saying oh well you know i need to i hate i don’t want to say temper my expectations it’s such a [ _ ] thing we say and i don’t think it’s real but maybe it is just like the opening of there’s more than one outcome to this it’s not only the one that i’m not technically actively thinking of but is there and that’s the open mind to like oh yeah yeah yeah i better like go into this not thinking not expecting i don’t know i don’t know every time i’m spiritual so like even the spiritual principle of open-mindedness i mean we don’t do any of these or i don’t know maybe someone else does i don’t do any of these perfectly you know what i mean sure i [ _ ] have situations in my life where i have expectations sometimes they’re unrealistic sometimes they’re realistic i still get hurt like all those things still happen but it’s just the process of oh if i can just remain open-minded and open to situations you know that’s a better position for me to be in than going into every situation with looking at all right how’s this gonna play out what’s this person gonna do how can i be hurt here or what is my you know what do i think they’re gonna do what do i you know it’s weird like i’m trying to think of the stuff i did enjoy on this last vacation and it wasn’t like i didn’t enjoy most of the days we had one day that was completely washed out and rainy kids sat around played on electronics some guy on twitter had sent me a book that he wanted me to read so i [ _ ] sat around and read it and it was actually pretty decent right and and i’m hoping to get him on here one day but like it wasn’t that that wasn’t enjoyable it wasn’t that some of the other days that we did random stuff i mean one day we ended up taking my mom to like their urgent care whatever it was called and i was like hey all the kids family come on we’ll go eat lunch while she does her urgent care thing right it’s covet we’re not all going in with her so we get there and we sit in the parking lot and you have to call and check in and wait in your cart until the appointment time and that was three hours who the [ _ ] knew right so we all sat in the car for three hours in a hot parking lot um but it really wasn’t bad like we joked we laughed we talked a little my mom was doing like a crossword puzzle on her phone and me and my son were like and my wife were joking about it like it it’s not that any of it was actually that bad but the parts i enjoyed the most were the parts where i didn’t know what to expect right and again i don’t think i had active expectations about the trip but i had like like covert expectations like lying underneath right like they were just there it’s a beach trip you’re with your mom it’s gonna be all right um but like my we went to not everybody not we let me just speak for myself i went to the nude beach one day in florida i [ _ ] took a three and a half hour drive because i wanted to go to a nude beach i’ve never done that before really like in that context and i was like i don’t know what the [ _ ] to expect like i did some research online i tried to look into what to know i’m like apparently it’s not even legal in the county but it’s a federal [ _ ] park and nobody enforces it because the sheriff said you know i got better things to do to lock up naked people i don’t know but i’m like i went into it nervous not knowing what to expect having no clue what to and i thoroughly enjoyed that experience right so they’re all old people because that would be my expectation is a lot of old people but not all there’s some younger people um and it’s nice you get sun on your buns right um but it’s just it’s one of those things it’s like the less i know about a thing and so i’m almost feeling like the you were saying experience helps us with the expectations in a sense of like billy knows who he is when he drives long distances with his family and that helps him lower the bar a little bit or know what to try to counteract ahead of time but i almost feel like the opposite is true too where the less i know about a situation the better i am at not putting myself in this you know underlying expectation box that i’m not even aware of yeah i i’ve been on that while all of this has been going on i’ve come back to the experience versus no experience and how sometimes experience can help me inform realistic expectations but having no experience and i was trying to think of a situation that was totally novel for me in recent history where i could you know have an example i i think the only thing that came to mind was um well two things came to mind i went to dinner a couple weeks ago i did i joined meet up which is like this thing where you oh yeah they have different meetups yeah yeah yeah yeah for sports yeah so i joined that and i um went to a dinner for like a social club in hartford county and obviously had never done a meet-up dinner before but i did have the experience of knowing that walking into situations with a bunch of people i don’t know can be awkward and so i that i don’t think that really and and i did have that expectation and it wasn’t huh you had the expectation it would be awkward that it would be awkward yeah and that it wasn’t as awkward as i thought you expected it to be awkward it wasn’t something i’d want to do again no no but i well not with not with that particular group anyway different group maybe it may be but i think you know the fact that i was kind of going into and going into it with not high expectations definitely made it feel like it wasn’t you know terrible waste of time because at least i learned that you know maybe that subset of people are not necessarily my people um the other thing is i went to a balloon festival recently that was held at a winery like hot air balloons yeah just walking around no air balloons so and i had never been to a hot air balloon festival but again i think my experience is that events held at wineries typically have a lot of drinking so i was going into it very concerned that it was going to be a very alcohol heavy environment so i had that kind of expectation a bunch of drunks flying hot air balloons no no the professionals only get to fly the hockey baby up there but it ended up being lovely but again my expectations were low but again because of prior experience so i don’t know that i have any situations where i don’t have some experience that’s informing my my expectations i think what i’ve always thought about is that like when i look at the the movie thing right and i say oh my low expectations lead to a decent outcome my high expectations lead to a bad outcome right i’ve always countered that thought with it can’t be right to try to set up low expectations for the rest of my life like that sounds [ _ ] terrible and it just sounds so wrong and that’s kind of what i was stuck on when you were talking i don’t think it’s low expectations that i i want to strive for right i think it’s this this place of just accepting like like actively thinking before i walk in i don’t really know what’s going to come of this and let me just be open to whatever it does well i think that is what’s happening though because if my expectations of any situation or event are so low like really low i’m not going to do that right like if i am really super expecting that it’s going to be like so i was just with this meetup thing i was supposed to do cards against humanity um saturday last night and i ended up canceling because i saw the guest list and it ended up being a couple of the people from that dinner and i was like i just i don’t think i’m going to enjoy this i think cards against humanity is one of those games where like if you’re playing with people the opposite gender and you’ve never met them or you don’t feel like it can get a little there’s some people you would not want to play cards against humanity with right like well they’d be the people i’d want to play with it the more awkward the better like you’re like your parents like i won’t play cards against humanity without having no i would i don’t give a [ _ ] yeah my sister wanted to play with my mom once i was like no that does not sound pleasant to me yeah yeah uh yeah so but yeah so if they’re so low that it forces me to not take part in the like what happened with cards against me and i’m like this is going to be awful i’m not doing this i bailed i ended up going on a six-hour hike yesterday with my dog it was a good day it was a good choice for me but it’s that like it’s that like they’re low enough that i’m like this could go either way it could go poorly i’m gonna go and find out and see what it is that becomes the open-mindedness i think for me i had a sponsor explain to me something early on and i didn’t get it as much then as i sort of get a better understanding of now it’s it’s putting these judgments on things like good or bad or better or worse like that is where we get screwed up and placing judgments on life experiences so if i can go into every situation not worried about whether it’s going to be good or bad or right or wrong or is this you know what i mean like that’s all the preemptive thinking that goes into the thing whereas i just go into it as this is going to be a new experience that i’m going to have and we’re going to see how it goes and i thought probably the same thing jason was thinking was you know what could have happened it could have been the most amazing thing ever going doing this cards of humanity thing and you just missed out on it because you had expectation or it could have been totally terrible like either of those could be possibilities or it could end up somewhere in the middle where it was totally forgettable you know we don’t i don’t know that it would have been totally cards against humanity is is really never forgetting i’ve played a bunch most of the time it’s been i only played once but it’s so fun it is fun i love that game but i think back to so we had a situation last summer we went on vacation we took a couple of my daughter’s friends with us um one of the kids and again i feel like this is reasonable to expect of people we took this kid it was her roommate a girl we paid for everything the whole trip shouldn’t pay for nothing we paid for all the activities we paid for all the food this is a 19 year old girl by the way this isn’t like a seven-year-old it’s a 19 year old girl who has a job and lives on her own and all this stuff took her on vacation paid for everything took her out to dinner did all the activities she complained about the activities we wanted to do she didn’t like a lot of the things that we had voted on because we did a thing we voted on what we would do each night she didn’t like a lot of those things so she bitched um never said thank you never said oh you know it’s really nice of you to take us and was basically almost an [ _ ] the whole time what happens when i have an expectation that she’s going to be a certain way or say a certain thing or do a certain thing is like this year i’m like i’m not taking any of my [ _ ] kids friends on vacation like that’s the result of me having that expectation on her whether that’s a realistic expectation or not that hurts me and my spirit and the person i want to be what i like to say is well that’s her and she’s an [ _ ] and whatever and i don’t know if she wanted to go again this year yeah i might challenge myself and say i should take her [ _ ] again because the person that i want to be is the person who doesn’t give a [ _ ] about any of that stuff that these expectations that i put on people to be the way i want them to be and do the things i want them to do and life’s supposed to be the way that i want it to go is what turns me into a person that i don’t want to be it’s not the ideal version of myself you know that i want to i want to be a kind generous caring person i have some money to take this kid on vacation she ain’t going to take a [ _ ] vacation on her own do i really need a thank you like is my ego that small that you know i need you to be grateful for what i’m doing for you or do i just do the right thing because it’s the right thing and the spiritual benefits of that are enough is it the right thing though for someone who’s so very ungrateful is it the right thing to it’s the right thing for me i don’t know if it’s the right thing for her or not it could be [ _ ] it could be forgettable for her she might not even give a [ _ ] but that’s not again i i can only worry about me and my spirit and the way you know i’m living and i want to be a generous kind and compassionate person you know we used to do this thing uh my family and my mom would we signed up to be like the delivers apparently i think it’s through the post office or maybe it was through a grocery store or something but you signed up and they had a toy drive and food drive and all that and then on the day of christmas eve you went out and delivered that to the families that needed it and signed up for it and some families it was an incredible like really emotional drop-off and they were like oh my god that’s you know thank you so much and kind of like what you’re talking about and then some were like good i don’t know they just kind of acted like they didn’t give a [ _ ] at all like you were the amazon delivery guy my kid don’t want this toy yeah it was it was interesting right and i mean i don’t think anybody was rude to us or anything but there was definitely like you thought you would get something else out of that like when you put yourself in a situation like what would i be like in this situation i was expecting more of that i guess i i don’t know it was interesting to walk away from and try to manage my internal sense of what that was like right because it’s like i don’t want to be like well we didn’t get the shot we were looking for of hope out of that or whatever but at the same time it was like it didn’t really feel that great you know and i got a and is it that expectation that robbed you of that experience i mean i don’t know what to say you know and this weirdly ties into something that i heard the other day that kind of [ _ ] me up and i’m gonna bring it up anyway um so i was listening to this other like zen in recovery book or something i don’t even know what the hell it was but he was talking about a.a and some of bill’s early experience um and like one of the first things bill realized in trying to help others stay sober was that his success rate was incredibly low but what he realized was that he was staying sober in the process of helping them and i feel like i’ve heard that sentiment many many times right that idea and for the first time in my life i heard it differently and i was like normally i hear that and i’m like yeah that’s right we just keep trying to help people and it’s you know it doesn’t matter if they stay clean or not it’s making me stay clean and when i heard him say it in the book i was like maybe that’s what’s [ _ ] wrong with us right like if our [ _ ] ways and methods aren’t working that well and our success rate is so low like that’s almost like uh [ _ ] it others can must die so that i can live right that’s very much like an ignoring the fact that what we’re doing isn’t working and saying oh well it’s working for me but we’re not really helping that much and i feel like in 12 step culture we put that on the other people it’s like oh well they’re not ready and and they’re not this or they’re not that right this is helping me stay clean but i almost i don’t know when i heard it out loud from this guy saying it in the audio book it was very much like that sounds like bill is using other people to stay clean and not really helping them at all the ego comes in there and it depends on where you place the sentiment so if you’re placing the sentiment on the idea that i am helping other people and in turn i get a spiritual reward it’s similar to you going out and giving the gifts to the family you’ll continue to or i don’t know you could someone’s going to continue to go out and give those gifts to those families whether they’re [ _ ] grateful or not you know what i mean and it still gets done and it’s still the right thing to do in recovery you know if my sentiment is on [ _ ] other people as long as i stay clean you know if if that’s what i’m focused on that’s the wrong place to put that sentiment if it’s i’m gonna help people and if people get it that’s great and if they don’t i’m just gonna keep trying to help you know if my goal is helping and trying to to serve others despite the low success rate that’s different because i think your motivations are different yeah i guess it just came across like okay and and trying to apply it to the the christmas gift thing like maybe they weren’t grateful because that’s not what really would help them right and maybe yeah it’s great that i’m walking around trying to help people get clean or get christmas presents because i’m doing it in the right spirit but maybe with a more open mind i could actually evaluate like oh [ _ ] my success rate with people being you know getting clean or being happy about these presents is really [ __ ] low maybe i need to like include them in the conversation and see what they really need and try to get them that i i don’t know i don’t know so i have a i have a hard time this is just me like i have a hard time saying that kindness or generosity or compassion is ever the wrong thing to do it might not be exactly what they need but i don’t know that it’s the wrong thing to do i think it might be the wrong thing sometimes so when you say that what occur what comes to mind is like enabling the addict so oftentimes that’s coming from a place of kindness and generosity and trying to help um i went somewhere much more grotesque but still but oftentimes that really does a disservice to the person that’s being helped right like it helps them further their disease i don’t know that see i don’t agree with enabling and all that i don’t think that’s a thing anymore no yeah but how twisted can we make that if if whether you want to call people who think in certain ways more sick or not mentally well or whatever you’d like to call them like what about the person who says oh caroline’s been single for a long time she really needs to get laid i’m going to start sending her dirty pictures and inviting her to like don’t do that please please no one do that i’ll give you all her numbers um i’m just saying like that person really believes they’re coming from a place of doing a kind generous thing and that’s not good i said i took it to a twisted place i’m just saying like there’s times where we’re going to think we’re helping where the other person doesn’t want the kind of help we’re offering is is it still a good thing just because we came from a place of kindness and generosity we can’t shove kindness and generosity down the throat of somebody who’s looking for something

that’s not the pure motive there i have to believe that spiritual principles are going to be the best practice for me in every situation that’s kind of where that comes from like i have to trust that process but i want to go back to the enabling thing so if if i’m giving a using addict money to use every day because they want money and they’re begging and pleading and i feel bad and i want to help and that’s the only way i know to help well you would use things called discernment and some other ways to help that might not be the best way to help but where where i come from with that like the enabling thing so what i heard i watched you watch that show intervention it’s a terrible show they exploit people and they do interventions and it’s a terrible show but i used to watch it all the time i liked it but there was a mom there and her daughter was a using addict on the street and they did all this they kicked him out of the house we’re not going to support you we’re not going to enable you so her daughter went out was prostituting on the streets and everything else they get a phone call three months later why she was out prostituting some john beat the ever living [ _ ] out of her left her in a coma she was in a coma for months and visit her in the hospital she finally got out of the hospital they brought her home the mom would go out and get her heroine so that her daughter didn’t have to go out on the streets and use as a person that has a daughter at the time who was like seven eight years old i could see that like me being in that situation i’d always said i would be the parent with the tough love and all that [ _ ] and when that happened i think i cried when i watched that show and said i would never [ _ ] do that to my kid i don’t know that i would go out and buy them heroin i don’t know if i would necessarily do that but this old lady was going out and buying her daughter heroin because the outcome you know so that changed my perspective on enabling and that kind of idea because if the if the mom didn’t not buy her daughter heroin you know what i mean she wasn’t gonna stop it’s not like she would go oh mom’s not gonna buy it for me i guess i’ll stop now like that’s just not why people stop i’m just trying to picture this old lady in the in the line waiting for the testers with me it seemed a little odd i was this is totally off topic but i was watching that show new amsterdam said it said it in the hospital do you so i i’m i’m done so there was an addict that came in who became an addict because she was on this is way i’m way behind um so she wasn’t at it she became an addict because she was on chemo and the pain meds that she was being given by the hospital weren’t strong enough so she had started using heroin so she’s in the er for an overdose and she like runs away from the er and the doctor the doctor was like i know where to find her i walked in to the poshest um like abandonmentium or like i’ve never seen a using house that looked like this one like it was it was dark and dreary and there were addicts everywhere but they were like velvet couches and drapes and um i guess that’s the one place to cop in new york city which is how the doctor knew she was going to find her right there that was the cutting point for me but that reminded me like this you know this doctor in a white coat walking into where the drugs are sold in new york city or the doctor cop there with her on sunday so he knew maybe it was a female but yeah maybe yeah i mean i don’t know i i think you’re right spiritual principles are generally a great guide but you know we do talk about the idea of like what does this situation call for right and using the wrong spiritual principle in a situation the wrong one or not the most ideal one can lead to problems and so i don’t think that just blindly going on kindness is you know always the right idea well yeah and and spiritual principles work together like they complement each other it’s not most situations in life don’t just get one application of one principle there are some things you have to that work together sort of yeah i want to be i want to be kind to my friend my daughter’s friend and i want to be kind to these people that are getting presents and yet i also want to be open-minded to say well if they’re not really grateful for what i’m giving them maybe it’s not what they need and maybe i need to reevaluate this and not just walk off on my you know ride off into the sunset of my horse like why do i fix everything that i touch right maybe i didn’t [ _ ] fix it maybe i’m just throwing more [ _ ] [ _ ] on the fire maybe those people didn’t appear grateful though because of shame yeah there’s a whole lot of stuff behind it i mean and you go into that so if we go into those situations open-minded we go maybe you know this idea of me do gooding in this way wasn’t the way that i could best use my skills talents and abilities maybe i realized that oh what these people really need is something a little different and there’s a different charity or a different way or a different outreach program that i can get involved with that’s going to be more useful or i [ _ ] get motivated to start something different or you know go into a different way of helping people that someone else isn’t looking at or thinking of you know one of the things and this is going back for like 20 minutes but you said we were on the same page when caroline talked about not going to the the thing and yet part of me was there but part of me was also like i don’t have that female experience of what it’s like to go or think about before going to a cards against humanity game with some maybe awkwarder guys yeah how that could be weird or how that could feel like as a guy i’ve never experienced that i’ve had something similar i think in the sense of like i don’t know not worried about going into some parties where there were some larger gentlemen like i don’t know how this was gonna turn out for me but uh yeah never never really like on that sexual like oh this could get sexually awkward and i’m gonna feel weird about it like i’m like i hope this gets sexually awkward and i get to feel weird about it right if it’s like sexually awkward with like three or four 50 to 60 year old women that are like totally totally unattractive to you would that be a point where you would be like so you you do make a point right i do remember encountering uh at some point in my life quite a while ago at this point um but running into a version of maybe who i was at one point right like a uh over sexualized typical stereotypical douchebag kind of guy right and running into that version of a homosexual individual that was giving me that treatment and i was like oh [ _ ] no wonder women are so uncomfortable right and it’s not because he was gay like i don’t give a [ _ ] did you think i’m attractive and you’re gay thanks right like that’s great it was unwelcome and it was over the top and it wasn’t like uh you’re not picking up on reading the room buddy like obviously i’ve said thank you i’m not interested like this is pretty evident like stop right and there wasn’t no stop and and so i do i do understand that that exists but it’s not something i generally as a white male who’s got that privilege i don’t have to think about that very often right it’s very unusual for me to find myself in that situation so i don’t worry about it right so it was i think this is why i like to have more voices on here sometimes and again i think that not having expectations comes with some other uh principles in play i don’t walk into a lion’s den and be like oh i have no expectations these lions are gonna [ _ ] eat me like i have to use some sort of common i hate to use the word common sense probably isn’t but you know i know lions and what they do and they eat people and so i don’t just walk into a room full of lions and say oh no expectations is great right you know runs every time yeah and that brings up another good question like what’s an expectation versus protecting your safety so i i hike a lot with my dog um and i’ve been on a very few hikes where i’ve started to think to myself this feels like it could be unsafe here um and so i bought mace for my for my hiking backpack but i still don’t go into my hikes with the expectation someone’s gonna attack me but i’ve acted in a manner that’s going to protect me if it does was every thought i mean does that make it an expectation so we have so my daughter she’s 19 and she goes out on her own all the time i mean she goes on hike she goes on her kayak and we same thing we got her mace we got her a knife like look you can’t just walk out in the world and expect like there’s [ __ ] predators right you know in the world for a 19 year old girl running around by herself um so you can’t expect that there won’t be but should you expect that there will be that you will encounter them don’t walk into a cards against humanity game with strangers and expect not to get eaten the fear becomes if i put too much of an expectation on her that like hey this is dangerous hey you shouldn’t be doing this hey that she will not do it not do it right and that she that’s something she loves she likes birds so she loves to go out in the woods by herself be real quiet you know what i mean like so she can check out the different birds and stuff right i don’t want to rob her of that experience you know because i have these expectations but at the same time i do want her to be safe and educated and informed about the possibilities of life in the world so right so is that the open-mindedness piece then because it doesn’t sound like you have the ex if you had the expectation she was going to be attacked i don’t think you would let her we wouldn’t let her so but you’re being she’s 19

yeah it’s the open-mindedness but i still struggle so we’re talking about all of these like peripheral experiences and situations i think where i still struggle with the like not having expectations is in the more core pieces of my life like in a relationship i have an expectation they’re not gonna for me as a woman they’re not gonna kill me i have an expectation that they’re not gonna cheat on me hopefully i have that expectation i have an expectation that they’re gonna um you know be a partner in that partnership with my work i have an expectation they’re gonna pay me if i have close friends i have expectations around those close friendships that like they’re not going to abandon me in my time of need that was one that i talked about on on the grief episode being really surprised by that experience so i think where i struggle more with expectations are those things that feel very core to circumstances that are very core to my life so not like a vacation or a movie or a cards against humanity game but like these things that are like like a key piece of my of my day-to-day being i’ve been expecting some [ __ ] out of my wife for like 15 years now i ain’t got it i i don’t have the experience at this point to inform those expectations

and i think i guess as somewhat of a final thought to wrap up a little here like i i think we’ve come to some good information for me at least as this idea that i do need to more actively think and recognize where my expectations are right because that’s where i think a lot of my expectation problem is coming in is the fact that i’m not even realizing they’re there until they’re not met right and so i need to think ahead of time what are my expectations and what else could possibly happen just to create that open-minded space of walking in to even things i’ve done before walking into them kind of fresh with like this well we’ll see how this goes kind of um idea and i think there’s going to be times even in doing that to the best of my ability that some things are going to catch me off guard right my job might be the place that folds because of the economy at some point and i might not get a paycheck like and that’s gonna hurt and there’s no real way to expect or not expect that it’s just one of them surprise life things right i might lose someone tragically close to me that i wasn’t expecting to lose like i don’t think we can plan around all these events to like never be hurt right maybe we i just need to expect that these unexpected things sometimes are going to happen and i’m going to be hurt and and what that’s like a whole nother thing of like well then what do i do when i am hurt by it right it’s not like oh i don’t need to beat myself like oh i had two high expectations that my family would stay alive like no it’s like oh that [ __ ] sucked i definitely didn’t see it coming or maybe there’s some more general expectations to look at like life is gonna hurt at times people are gonna hurt us we don’t know when where whatever but if i have the expectation that i can put all these rules in place i can implement all these things and no one’s ever going to hurt me like that’s where the unrealistic part is yeah for sure any other final thoughts i don’t think so no no well i i would just close and say i don’t know as you mentioned earlier i don’t know that it’s possible to get rid of all expectations and situations but we can definitely control or at least acknowledge them so that we can control our reactions to them and how we choose to deal with them and what we choose to do when they aren’t met maybe instead of looking at them as expectations maybe a better way to say like i have some assumptions in my relationship you know because an expectation implies like an if then type statement whereas if i just make some assumptions like wait we have kind of this agreement and if the agreement you know falls apart am i going to fall apart too yeah this episode did not go as expected but yeah i i think that’s all good stuff so actively think right actively try to point out your expectations i think that’s the best solution we’ve come up with is just aware of what your expectations are will help you to not be so limited limited disappointment let down i don’t know something i don’t know everybody uh expect to have a good week and we’ll see you next week

did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoveryswordup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on facebook twitter instagram reddit youtube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us