Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Labels on People is Wrong at Best

Courage To Change – November 19, 2019

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Mental shortcuts. Categorizing, labeling, it’s all a trick our minds use to simplify and expedite life. However, to do so to the people around us is quite frankly, demeaning. Labeling people, assigning them specifications removes their complexity in the whole being human equation. Truthfully it’s about the worst thing you could do to a person, to label them and then forget them.

Quick and Simple Disclaimer: The readings in this post are literally taken wholesale out of the book entitled Courage to Change. You can find it at Amazon, Here. The portion entitled Alleged Insight, well that mess is all me.

If you’re an introvert, go buy the book, if you’re a broke introvert, the text from many good books can be found HERE , if you’re in dire straits however, go find an Al-Anon Meeting, it saved me. *None of these links are affiliate links.

Today’s Reading

Quoted from Page 324 in “Courage to Change

For years I lamented the absence of a label that would identify the soul sickness that brought me to the fellowship. I wanted to say, “I’m a recovering controller, enabler, caretaker, fixer.” Although they identify some of my character defects, these labels miss the mark. I’m not simply seeking recovery from one limitation or problem. The goal I’m striving for in Al-Anon is an overall sense of wellness.

My pursuit of this goal began by seeking recovery from the way a loved one’s alcoholism has affected my life. But today Al-anon offers me even more. As I grow and heal, I find that it is no longer enough to simply survive. The principles and tools that brought me this far can help me to create an increasingly rich and fulfilling life.

Today, when I say I’m a grateful member of Al-Anon, I’m not zeroing in on one particular problem but rather participating in a whole hose of solutions that can lead to emotional, physical, and spiritual health.

Today’s reminder

As I continue on the never ending path of spiritual progress, I will expand my view of recovery.


“In Al-Anon, we believe life is for growth, both mental and spiritual.“

The Twelve Steps and Traditions

Alleged Insight:

Where to start? We all like to fit people into or under a label. Taking out our big metaphorical sharpie markers and scrawling titles and labels across the foreheads of all those around us. A few of our acquaintances will get passed over, if only because we know them too well to be able to label them with one or two simple tags and have them conform to that set of definitions.

The better you know a person, the harder it is going to be to label that person with any labels, let alone any dominant ones. The problem is rather like that of trying to add tags to a blog post. When I’m writing these posts, the obvious tags are ODAT, Al-Anon, Recovery, Step-Programs, that kind of thing. And occasionally some topic or other will poke it’s head out of the morass of words I’ve written which will seem to apply; something like ‘people’ ‘parenting’ ‘stress’ ‘marriage issues’ ‘addiction relapse’ and other such titles.

Hell, going down the list of people I have or will interact with today, the labels are extensive for any one person, so how in all truth can I label them, knowing that any attempt to do so will result in inadequate and ultimately useless labels that may not apply in a few hours/ days/ weeks/ years.

So you ask where I’m going with all this, and the truthful answer is I had no idea when I started typing. But it seems clear to me that a couple things shine true in the wording.

1- Almost all humans seem to want to label and simplify their lives.

2- The more truly and completely you know and understand any complex thing (books, blog posts, people, cities, you name it) the harder it will be to label it with any small number of labels without missing something truly important.

3- We are often in Al-Anon to get to know ourselves better so that we can more fully be true to ourselves and live our life to the best benefit we can individually manage. In becoming more fully human, we shed the labels and become whole people.

Closing thoughts:

So, what that points out to me is this: If you’re looking to identify yourself with a label, like the person in the reading above, then you’d best not pursue growth and healing in Al-Anon. We are all individuals, we are all alike, but we are all, each and every one of us, our own person. Life is not for the faint of heart who take the easy way out, life is to be lived, not filed away in nice little labels.

So, please, leave the labels behind, yours and the one’s you’re hoping to apply to others, and get out there, live your life, love your life. Always remember to be Awesome!

Sincerely, Duke.

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