Recently, a woman was qualifying at a meeting. Her drinking had caused her many problems in her life. She had received a number of DWI’s and ended up in the county jail. As a result she became estranged from her family. She lost her job and also faced foreclosure on her house.
When she finally came into the program, she often shared that she had lost almost everything due to her drinking and drugging. In fact, it almost became a mantra for her.
Early in her sobriety an old timer approached her after a meeting had concluded. He told her that he too used to say that he had lost almost everything due to his actions. Then one day, upon closer examination he realized that telling people he had lost everything transferred much of the responsibility away from himself. When we lose something, we are often describing a situation that was beyond our control. On the contrary, what had happened to this fellow was directly related to his actions. From that day forward, instead of saying that “he lost everything”‘ he began to say “that he gave everything away”. For when he took a drink, it was almost like he was giving away his life. Upon hearing the story, the woman who had shared changed her mantra as well. She took responsibility for “giving away” much of her life before she came into the program
Personal Reflection: Do I still give away aspects of my life?
Sit in at any meeting and observe the faces of members. For the most part most of of us are in a fairly positive state. This is often in proportion to how rigorously we work the program. Of course, there will be times where life events challenge us. Like anyone else, we feel the stress of these moments. However, once this rough patch has passed, we in short order return to our usual state.
Then there are those who walk around like they lost their best friend. They rarely crack a smile. When they share, they usually end up complaining about their life situation. Usually, they attribute what is happening in their life to others. They feel they are victims of circumstance. If people only understood them and would comply with their wishes, then their lives would finally take a turn for the better. Of course this rarely happens. Even when on occasion it does, they quickly find something else to complain about. Their speech is peppered with negativity and sarcasm. They are miserable and have no problem letting you know it.
In the program we have learned not to attempt to rescue these people. They need to reach their bottom and come to a realization that they are responsible for how they feel. What we can do is pray for them that they have a spiritual awakening.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to pray for anyone who thinks they are a victim?
In earlier days our sense of perception was distorted. It wasn’t because we had failed to visit the eye doctor recently. Our perception problem actually ran much deeper. It was not a problem that could be solved by a new set of glasses. We just saw, heard and felt everything in a peculiarly perverted way. Wherever we went we would often end up getting into fights over perceived slights. Sometimes we felt our manhood or femininity had been insulted. Perhaps we believed that our honesty was being brought into question. Someone might have said something which we believed questioned our intelligence. Frequently our pride was hurt. At times, although we would not end up in a dispute; we would silently seethe with resentment. After one of these events, it usually ended with our finding comfort in our drug of choice.
In the program we have come to accept that most of the time the hurts we thought we heard or felt were mostly of our own making. We have learned that when our button gets pushed, it’s often a character defect that predates our drug or alcohol usage. It is no longer acceptable to blame our poor behavior solely on that usage. We have a choice on whether or not we will respond to perceived insults. We are not victims of circumstance.
Personal Reflection: Do I need a new set of glasses?