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Al-Anon Forum Magazine Featured Article

What to Do When Coworkers Drive You Crazy
I've been struggling with a situation concerning three coworkers for three weeks. They have been arguing for six months, continually getting under each other's skin and intentionally doing things to anger each other. In my observation, two of them were ganging up on the other.
Sitting at my desk, I wished my coworkers would all just shut up. I thought about requesting a transfer because they were getting to me.
The situation reminded me of how I felt as a child living with my addicted and mentally ill parents. Then I had to make the situation better, take sides, and figure out who was the victim and who was the perpetrator. Of course, I would stand up for the victim.
But in the office situation, I imagined calling my Sponsor to tell her how horribly my coworkers were acting. Then I imagined her response, "What has this got to do with you? They aren't in charge of your serenity -- you are."
That's when I remembered that my problems at work are just that -- my problems. I needed to clean my side of the street.
So, I did. I called my Sponsor to talk about what was going on. She said just what I thought she'd say. After 12 years with the same Sponsor, very few of my problems or solutions are new.
I shared about my work situation in Al-Anon meetings. I made several phone calls to people in the program.
I realized some of the things my coworkers were doing reminded me of behaviors I have or have had in the past. Behaviors I'm ashamed of that I've consciously marginalized. I took responsibility for that.
On thing I know for sure -- I'm only as sane as the program I'm working. If I go to meetings, work the Steps, read program literature, and pray -- I'm sane.
If I skip meetings, forget to pray, don't take time to call people in the program, become too busy to read literature -- I start creeping back into insanity. Focusing on others is my first clue that I'm slowly going insane again.
I'm still in the middle of the process of finding serenity at work. Now I use headphones to tune out my coworkers' bickering. I won't discuss anyone unless they are present. I work my program.
It only took me a couple of days to clear up the part I played in the situation. When I first started in Al-Anon, it would've easily taken three months and many tearful phone calls with my Sponsor.
Does this mean I avoid problems and difficulties in my life if I work the program? Absolutely not! But I'll take the sweet pain of experiencing life fully -- hurts and all -- over the excruciating fear of denying reality and abandoning my responsibilities to myself any day.
By J.S.
Published October, 2006
Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who live with, or have have lived with, this disease as children or adults sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you have answered yes to some of all of the above questions, Al-Anon may be of help to you. You can contact Al-Anon by checking your local telephone directory, or from the Resources page. Phone numbers and Contact Information for the Austin Area are listed on the Contact Page of this website.
These articles were reproduced with permission from 'The Forum', the monthly inspirational newsletter of Al-Anon. Al-Anon World Headquarters, Inc. is located in Virginia Beach, VA. See www.Al-Anon.org for more information.