I just got back from my last Hazelden Women Healing Conference. There are 4 each year and I was honored to be a part of the speaker team in 2010. Each trip has been a mini-vacation for me: a nice hotel, a lot of leisure, a chance to meet and know very interesting women, who are doing really great work for women in recovery. I can't express how fortunate I feel to have been part of this.
This last trip was bittersweet and a bit more difficult. First, it was the last time we would all be together, at least in this way, and perhaps forever. Each of the other retreats, there's always been a "next time." Second, my two sisters came along on this weekend and so I felt very divided about where to spend my time.
Typically I have had dinner with the conference friends, breakfast on my own, lots of alone time during the day and quiet evenings of conversation. This time, there was a lot of sightseeing (quite wonderful) and two groups of people to eat with at each meal. My sisters weren't all that interested in getting to know my conference friends, whom they'd never see again; they were interested in a sisters' weekend. My conference friends wanted as much of our last time to be together as possible. So I found myself caught up in trying to please everybody and me too. More boundary issues and great opportunities to practice.
My sister Kerry is a great role model for me in asking for what she wants. She's really clear and direct and I so appreciate that about her. And it helped me be direct too. So I had dinner with conference friends Thursday and Friday night and spent Saturday day with them, spent Friday day and Saturday night with my sisters. Because I didn't get much alone time, I was glad to have taken an earlier flight home so I've had today to myself.
Of course, I realize it isn't my job to make or keep anybody happy. It's my job to be clear in my communication and ask for what I want. But old Good Girl habits die hard.