As People Loved Me The Hard Edge Wore Off

Before we came into the program we were very defensive people. We had to be. If we were to internalize what you said about us, we would have had to admit to all of our character defects and failings. We had spent a lifetime running away from those defects. Our drinking, drugging or eating had been utilized to bury all of those negative feelings. We were hardly going to acknowledge them just because your assessment was largely correct. As our lives became more complicated by our drug of choice, our wall of defense grew and thickened.
By the time we entered the program, we had created quite an armor of distrust around us. At first, we thought we had to maintain that protective shield at all times. As we gained more time, we saw that your suggestions were not to knock us down or find fault with us, but to help us grow in sobriety. Yes, sometimes you were tough on us. Over time we came to understand that it came from a place of love and not of judgement. As we began to let our guard down, we began to hear the message of the program more clearly. We became hopeful that we could finally begin to break through that wall we had been carrying around for so long.

Personal Reflection: Do I still have walls that need to be broken through?

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Don’t Compare Your Insides To Someone Else’s Outside

12 steppers often suffer from the “less than” syndrome. Years and sometimes decades were spent walking around and comparing ourselves to others. For those of us who suffered from grandiosity, it was everyone else who came up short in our eyes. Far more common was our making comparisons with others and finding ourselves wanting. We would observe someone and say, “They’re so smart”, or “rich”, or “handsome”, or “beautiful”, or “talented”, or “lucky” or “so together”. I’m sure each of us could add to this list. Most of the time we were mixing apples and oranges. The assessment of ourselves was based on deep feelings from within us. The assessment of everyone else was based on the external persona presented by people we met. Although we didn’t know what was really going on in a person’s life, we presumed to know and draw conclusions about them.

One of the gifts of the program is that we really get to know people through attending meetings. People share openly and honestly about their lives. We begin to discover that people’s outsides often don’t reflect what is truly going on within. That “together” person is probably facing the same challenges we are.

Personal Reflection: How can I avoid the “less than” syndrome?