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Post Info TOPIC: Boundaries


~*Service Worker*~

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Boundaries


I got this from the Facebook page of Harriet Lerner, who writes about relationships, and I thought it summed up what I've experienced in Al-Anon:

"SETTING BOUNDARIES takes so much courage, whether it's with a partner, parent or close friend.

Why is it so scary?

As we become clearer about what is acceptable and tolerable to us, the other person will also become clearer about where he or she stands and what he or she will and will not do.

When we move from non-productive complaining to assertive claiming, we will begin to see both our self and the other person in a sharper light.

While this clarity is what makes for solid self worth and a good relationship, it's also pretty darn scary."

Scary but enlightening!



-- Edited by Mattie on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 02:20:05 AM

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Veteran Member

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I think this is why it was so hard for me to set boundaries. I was more worried about how the other person would react to them. Not to take away from your post, but I once heard someone say 'if someone gets mad at you for setting boundaries, it's a good indicator that you need those boundaries."

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~*Service Worker*~

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Good Morning Mattie,  I loved the following statement in your posting
"When we move from non-productive complaining to assertive claiming" aww I do believe that is what program is all about .  We are asked to "Walk the walk and not simply "talk" the talk.
 I do agree drawing  boundaries can be frightful because we "reveal" who we are and what we need  to others as it opens the door for them to do likewise.    No more hiding under denial and pretend. It is  a big step and one that  took time for me to embrace. Today establishing boundaries is a given .

 

Thanks for this thought provoking share 


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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud
2XW


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Absolutely. Boundaries are not a one way street. The other person gets to set their boundaries as well. In order for any relationship to work both parties will need to agree to live within any reasonable boundary set by the other. In that respect, setting boundaries often requires negotiation and compromise. 



-- Edited by 2XW on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 08:01:56 AM



-- Edited by 2XW on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 08:09:00 AM



-- Edited by 2XW on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 08:09:56 AM

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2HP


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Great topic, thank you for bringing that here.

It is my experience, setting boundaries does indeed take courage (to change the things I can) and one way to change my situation is to set strong healthy boundaries.

Al-anon has helped me develop the desire to protect myself (mind, body, spirit.) I do not find boundaries to be about negotiation or compromise, rather they are strictly about personal limits and self-care within a relationship.

they create uncomfortable shifts in relationships for sure... no surprise really, we humans resist change. With some relationships, we've been able to work through it. and with others, the boundary ended the relationship, like my marriage, he simply moved out. Addiction is one-sided, it wants what it wants... along with protection from consequences....

and so I've fallen into fear over whether or not I'm doing the "right" thing. I've doubted my right to take care of myself. and sometimes I've caved on my own boundary, it felt too risky.

I "keep coming back" because Al-anon helps me determine my true needs and set boundaries I can maintain.... getting comfortable taking care of myself without guilt.... and being okay with myself when others are mad at me. Or if they (gulp)

leave me.



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2XW


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Some boundaries will be not negotiable and others might be more flexible. If create a boundary that in order to live under my roof my son needs to be home each night at 9pm. He might inform me that his work or another commitment makes it hard to get home at that time and ask for the curfew to be 10pm. I might be able to accept what in my opinion is a reasonable compromise. If I feel the compromise is unreasonable, he will have to find another place to live.

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Good morning Mattie and thank you and those before me for shares. Boundaries are an ongoing process for me because even after all these years I fear alienating people. Setting boundaries begins with me; is it realistic, is it fair and is it flexible? Do I say what I mean and then mean what I say because if I demonstrate that I can follow my own boundaries others will not question my sincerity. I want to establish boundaries that allow me to be myself and be safe without building a wall.

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HES

2HP


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@ 2XW, I found al-anon after my 2 kids left home. I suppose it could be called "boundaries" although I considered them "House rules" intended to protect my underage children. I considered it my job to protect them as well as teach them to be responsible adults.

"Boundaries" in al-anon are a bit different, imo, meant to protect me. Often, I dont need to tell anyone about my boundary, I'm the one responsible for my serenity and the one developing awareness of what my personal limits are so that I can protect my serenity. I hold boundaries at work too, protecting myself from being taken advantage of... but thats another story.

I have a friend in recovery, her 20+ year-old addict daughter was still living at home, unable to hold a job, unwilling to go to school or plan a future of any kind. All she wanted to do was sleep all day and go out with her friends at night. Some nights, she'd come home well after midnight along with her friends and raid the fridge, start smoking pot, etc. My friend was losing a lot of sleep...and serenity over all this commotion and noise. She herself had to get up for work in the morning.

She told her daughter it had to stop but it became a constant argument, her words were powerless to make a change in the situation. My friend was conditioned to being pushed down and controlled and manipulated, so it continued for a long long while and she had to phone the police to get help.

Finally, her daughter flipped out and moved out, going from one friends couch to another. My friend felt like a "horrible mother" and still let her daughter come back home sometimes... and all the problems came right along with that decision. she simply could not live with an addict in the house.

Today she has given herself permission to hold a firm boundary for her own sanity. Last I heard, her daughter is homeless.

so as Matties post states, boundaries can be very scary.  pushed and pushed to own our power... and have faith in a power GREATER.



-- Edited by 2HP on Wednesday 19th of April 2017 01:08:57 PM

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Bo


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I think boundaries, in the alanon context, are often misunderstood -- sometimes they become ultimatums, demands, control techniques, punitive, and so on.

That said, when I've set boundaries, my focus has always been on me. I take for granted, expect, know, that the other person will not like them, will not react well, will lash out, will blame...should I keep going? LOL. While I take it for granted, I say that in a prepared mode, not an expectation mode whereas it will change my behavior. I think boundaries could be a bit more of an "advanced" topic or tool, and I think the objectivity of another person (a sponsor for example) is often the key to success.

Boundaries are not there to control another person, or to get another person to change, or get them to stop doing something. Not at all. Boundaries are established, implemented, and exist...to protect me. I don't set boundaries for the other person to honor them or stand by them...I set boundaries for me to honor them and stand by them.

When someone is worried about the other person getting angry, how they will react, being upset, etc., or even further, we are trying to not disappoint them, or please them...that can be an element of co-dependency. The term co-dependency can mean many different things to many different people, and it certainly can creep into this type of situation/discussion. Being worried about what the other person will think, trying to satisfy them, avoiding them being upset, angry, etc. -- that aspect is that "outward thinking in" concept -- and it's part of our sickness. If this is an issue, the boundary can become secondary, and can also be ineffective. The very first time I set a boundary -- I was so "worried" about the other person, what they would think, do, be angry, etc. -- the boundary was moot. It was ineffective, was not implemented properly, ended up morphing into something else, and I had displaced/insincere motives. I ended up not being honest in and around the entire situation.

I found that I was so "worried" about the other person -- the boundary became a secondary issue. The primary issue, the real problem -- was the being "worried" about the other person.

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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Nice topic and so important. I also believed boundaries were about 'if you do this one more time then i will do .....' threats ultimatums etc and I never had success at these with anyone including my kids after a while. These arent boundaries, these are demands and designed to change others, its a pretty negative destructive way of trying to control. I really like your definition Bo, clear and simple

'Boundaries are not there to control another person, or to get another person to change, or get them to stop doing something. Not at all. Boundaries are established, implemented, and exist...to protect me. I don't set boundaries for the other person to honor them or stand by them...I set boundaries for me to honor them and stand by them.'

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Member

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what a great topic.  thank you all for your wisdom.  i am struggling with this.  i was actually going to post and ask for help.  it was nice to see the topic already started.  i do not drink.  i am an adult child of an alcoholic.  many 'qualifiers' through out my life.  a family member and their family are now living with us.  we 'talked' before they moved in, about expectations, knowing there would be an adjustment for all of us.  one thing i did say was, 'i really like the fact my home is alcohol free.'  they said they did not drink much and implied they were on the same page as me......... i know..........  first there was beer and wine.  i have noticed harder liquor over the past 1 1/2 months.  i never see them drunk.  their drinking bothers me.    please help me.  prayers,  i do not know what, if anything, to do and how to do it.  



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~*Service Worker*~

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Hi Runi, Boundaries are important.  You have already established the "House" rules and they agreed to them.    This is your home and if you are uncomfortable ,it might be a good idea to ask for time to discuss a few issues that have surfaced. You do not have to justify your "no drinking requirement" simply restate it. They can drink outside the home if they like, just like people are now smoking outside.
Positive thoughts and prayers on the way.



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Betty

THE HIGHEST FORM OF WISDOM IS KINDNESS

Talmud
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Hi Runi, I relate to this because I am an adult child and I was one who moved in with a family member...

we had made certain agreements up front too. Unfortunately, adult children have been affected by insanity since childhood and have trouble in relationships. even though we all had the best of intentions, certain skills were not in practice to make it work.... enter all kinds of dysfunction... silent treatments... belief that we should be able to read one another's mind... martyrdom... all kinds of crazy conditioned behaviors learned during childhood... that still do not work.

Because you are developing a resentment (as I would too) you must develop the courage to do your part and have an open discussion, revisiting the boundary (I know, right?!!! not so easy.)

but you can do it. you can calmly say, remember when we talked about this? I still feel the way I feel. I know you feel THAT way... but I feel THIS way...

If they are alcoholics, they will be unable to "cut back."

Keep in mind (i never knew I could do this....) you have the option to change your mind about the decision to live together. For us, it was not a good idea. we needed the "boundary" of separate living spaces to keep ourselves "protected."

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The topic of boundaries is so essential to my life and a practice I am still trying to learn. I mistakenly joined AA for a short while but allowed myself to indulge in helping others whilst avoiding helping myself. From this experience I am trying to learn in the Al Anon world how to clearly and in a timely way set my boundaries again. Timeliness being the central key as I am into "helping" before I know it! My profession as a teacher had not assisted my situation. I am now doing a Master in Communication!

Yes, it is uncomfortable to set limits but like other people I have  also  had to face the consequences of my "mistakes". Thank you for being there everyone as I am living out bush at the moment and its great to have an on-line community with which to discuss these issues. Unfortunately, I have left my big red book at my usual home address but springtime I will get reading again and al anon meetings. 

It sounds weird but I feel guilty looking after myself! I always looked after my mother in her violent relationship so even though she's no longer alive - I now feel compelled to protect the world! How does one stop feeling guilty?

 



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karen deane


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Welcome to MIP Karen - glad you found us and glad you joined right in...keep coming back!!

Before Al-Anon, I did not understand what boundaries were. Most of my 'rules' had good intentions but were more punitive instead of protective. In Al-Anon, we learn to put ourselves first, and to set boundaries that are for protection. When I am working a good program with a sponsor, boundaries are much easier to design and define. When I am still insane from the disease and it's affects or when I am cherry-picking what parts of the program to 'follow', boundaries are not as effective.

My experience in recovery is practicing all the principles works best. Most importantly, I need to remember that my best thinking got me here. My ego kept me on the crazy train as a part of me still wanted to direct, control and change others. I need to remember this applies to others too. I am grateful that there are well members working recovery hard and those are who I try to align with.

I no longer want to be right - I'd rather be happy. It's a process and I'm grateful for progress today. Taking care of me can be a full time job and that's OK - I am worth it!

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



~*Service Worker*~

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I set boundaries NOT to control anyone else or try to change them, it is only to protect me...I state what I will/will not accept and stand to it.....Boundaries are "keeping the focus on me and protecting me"  I don't do it to expect the other person to honor/dishonor them, I set them STRICTLY to take care of me...for me to make them clear and to stand by them....IF I don't think they can abide by what I will accept , not accept, then I just don't have them in my house (referring to that mom with addict daughter in the house)  my rules would be NO alcohol or drugs in my home...NON negotiable.....if they can't accept my terms about what I want/don't want in my own home?? then they make other sleeping/living arrangements because tho lots of things are negotiable, compromises can be made, like yea, maybe a curfew needs to be adjusted, but I want NO alcohol or illegal drugs IN MY HOUSE...That is non negotiable and thus I won't allow my alcoholic brother to visit me from MA because I know he won't be able to abide by my house rules....he even SAID  "well if I get drunk, you can chase me out and put me in my travel trailer"   I told him I did NOT want to "chase" anyone out of my house, drunk and disorderly, I will NOT have that drama in my house to BEGIN with, so lets don't do this visit until hes been in AA a few years and IS and can STAY sober.......some stuff is compromise material...Some stuff is NO compromise...I won't allow drugs or alcohol in my home....Period.....I won't allow smoking in my house because I cannot breathe..Period..it is damaging to my health as I am allergic to smoke..so NO compromise, unless they want to smoke outside, I can do that, but NOT in my house or my SUV....so yea, compromise by putting a cigarette disposer OUTside, but they must keep it outside...I will "compromise" on some stuff, but some stuff is non negotiable...I don't want anything alcoholic or drug related IN MY HOME or really?? around me...Don't want it...Won't allow it....

 

some stuff is common sense and common decency...Some boundaries are "yea, lets compromise and work this out"   some behaviors are so clearly unacceptable, I won't compromise......and its not about a threat or controlling or manipulating....it is ONLY, simply to protect me and my serenity, physical and mental health, property, pets, etc....its sad that so many people cannot just use common decency and consideration for others and I don't have to be setting boundaries all the time on stuff that is clearly not acceptable to anyone with self respect.....Just saying ............I just woke up, hope this made sense



-- Edited by mamalioness on Friday 4th of August 2017 07:57:31 AM

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***

Bo


Senior Member

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Rose, thank you for your post.

My original hesitation with setting quality, healthy boundaries -- ones with meaning, substance, etc. -- in my early days, I was afraid. I found this simply another, very antagonistic, passive aggressive way of saying NO. I viewed this as starting trouble. I felt it was not being there for the alcoholic. I saw this as abandoning the alcoholic. I absolutely, positively, without question, guaranteed that the alcoholic would get angry and that this would "make matters worse"...and this is how distorted my thinking was. Many newcomers will not understand this, but...this is how sick I was.

The turning point for me was the day I began to "do the work" -- so many people said to me, stop, don't do it, say no, stop being taken advantage of, stop accepting unacceptable behavior, stop paying, stop expecting/believing she will change, etc. But that didn't help. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I had to change. I had to want it.

My sponsor said eventually you will stop, make change, etc. He said either you will decide to do it...or you will have no choice and eventually you will be forced into change...Why? Well, he said when the pain of staying, doing the same thing, when the pain of not changing...becomes so great that you just can't go on one minute longer...when that pain becomes so great...it becomes greater than the pain or discomfort or fear of stopping, and of making change...then, and only then will you make change.

But, I started doing the work. And then, my thinking, my behavior, my mindset, my methodology, my perspective, all of that changed. It had to. For me to stop doing what I was doing -- all the unhealthy things -- I had to change.

Thanks to everyone for posting.

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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 

bud


~*Service Worker*~

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Boundaries are a process for me that requires continual pratice. I know when someone crosses the line and still sometimes struggle to speak out. Old habits die hard- I was raised in an unstable environment that promoted people-pleasing and discouraged boundaries. When I struggle to enforce a boundary, I have flashbacks and fear steps in that the entire relationship can be on the line if I speak up. I know I need to be true to myself, even if that happens. I'm a work in progress.

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~*Service Worker*~

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ya know?? I was also raised in a VERY unstable environment that promoted people pleasing...I risked injury, even, by setting boundaries because of the propensity of violence in that awful childhood home....when i got free of it, of course I drug my sick "training" with me, but then the Salvation of Al-anon!!!  when I began practicing boundaries, (after learning HOW to do that)  I LOVED it...I felt free from being used and abused and the resentment factor went waaay down and also bitterness.....IF i got rejected or kicked to the curb for standing up for me, being true to me, I just figure that that person wasn't worth it anyway...anyone who would toss me over an honest need to stand up for me, to care for me, etc...well??? bye bye

 

Boundaries come in all kinds of flavors...I consider it a boundary issue when one repeatedly S**ts on you and you warn them, they are on their last "potty time" and consequences will occur, like MY walking away which is what I did and I did it kind and I did it with my head held up high and my dignity and self respect in tact....NOT a nasty word came from my mouth (it just was not worth it ) I wish her well, but have zero interest in this emotionally abusive and cruel girl..............JUST saying

JUST saying

 

EDITED BY ME............Don't want to post stuff that fosters ongoing resentments on my part.......letting go and moving on is letting go and moving on...........I embrace and keep in my life what is compatible with my walk....and I cut looose that which is INcompatible with my walk....yea, vent once maybe twice about it and then MOVE the HELL ON!!!!!  Which is what I decided to do.........



-- Edited by mamalioness on Saturday 5th of August 2017 03:17:19 PM

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***



Senior Member

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Im in the process of coming up with boundaries. In the past my boundaries haven't been clear, well formulates and easily manipulates. I find that creating clear and reasonable boundaries are quite difficult. For example the boundary of "don't drink" isn't ever going to work unless you are very prepared to follow it though but the boundary of "don't drink in my flat" has been held to. But the boundaries I set in January haven't been met because I"m scared. ANd also boundaries need to have time limits on them. ABF managed to keep to the boundaries for 4 months and then everything went out of the window. It's harder to enforce I find when they managed to hit them for quite a time and then let them go.

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~*Service Worker*~

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Boundaries work better for me when I mean what I say .. say what I mean and don't say it mean.

Sometimes I just have to state the boundary. I am really struggling at the moment with what is a boundary for me and what is control.

I really go back to when it affects my serenity .. it's got to go.

Hugs S :)

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"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay

Bo


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Once I got a complete handle on boundaries and truly understood them, for me, my experience...if my boundary started with "you can't" or "do not" or something of the like, then I made sure to check my motives and check them, discuss them, and look at them with my sponsor. I feel boundaries can be a very effective tool -- but I needed to understand that the boundaries were for me. They were to protect me, they were for me to change -- not to change the alcoholic. I also feel that often boundaries might be a bit more of an "advanced" topic so to speak, in the context of recovery, but, there are no musts in al-anon.

Boundaries can be confusing, hence, misunderstood. Very early on, I rushed to establish boundaries -- and found they were nothing more than an effort to give an ultimatum, control the alcoholic, or get the alcoholic to do what I wanted them to do. I then did a great deal of work around boundaries. I asked countless numbers of people at meetings about their thinking, mindset, their motives, how they did it, what their boundaries were, etc. -- and I learned a great deal, to the point where I got a complete understanding of boundaries. I started sharing about it in face to face meetings. It prompted some excellent conversations and comments.

Separate from that -- early on -- I also struggled with "what will she think" and "what will she do" vis a vis, because I absolutely, positively knew, and it was not projection, that she was going to be angry...very angry. Couple that with, I didn't want to disappoint her. I didn't want her to get angry and have a reason to drink. I wanted her to feel love and also love me. All of this and more. And here is my co-dependency! LOL. Here is MY PROBLEM. This part, right here, was about ME. It was about me wanting to be loved, wanting to be appreciated, wanting to help, and so on and so on. Even the "outward thinking in" concept can be unhealthy in this context. ded up not being honest in and around the entire situation.

In the end, my boundaries were not about the other person's behavior or actions. They were about mine.

Thanks again for all of the insight, experience, and wisdom.

__________________

Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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I used to "employ" my boundaries to control, coerce, or manipulate another....I was clueless about what boundaries really are and who they are really for

now my boundaries never say "you must" or "don't do......" I just state, what I will tolerate..What I won't...What I will do if behavior continues...I keep it really simple...I keep the focus on me...As Serenity said "I say what I mean..mean what I say (my actions match my words) and don't say it mean...my boundaries are all about me and taking care of me....AND I stand to my boundaries..What good is a boundary if I don't back it up with appropriate action?? Growing up , we had no boundaries..We had no rights as children..We were objects to be used and abused and violated......Al-anon has changed all that for me...THANK YOU PROGRAM!!!!!!

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Rose:

*** KEEP IT SIMPLE***

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