Driving Myself Crazy… quite literally


Today started out much like many other days: Get up, shower, dress, drop kids at day care, drive to work. But as I was merging onto the interstate, I had a decision to make: Slow down a bit, allow the semi tractor-trailer to continue on his way and merge in behind him or floor it (in the rain) and expect my car to burst forth and get onto the road first at 70 mph.

Guess what? I entertained the latter idea until it was almost too late. I fell into the road-raging, I’m-entitled-to-be-on the-road-you- better-let-me-in-so-I-can-merge-out-of-control-jack-ass driver. As I saw his bumper over my shoulder and the road was running out, I braked. Hard.

What in the hell was I thinking? You know me.This is perfect for Fourth Step recovery work. I am resentful when people don’t do what I want so I challenge them, try to get them to think like me, feel sorry for me, and/or pity me. Manipulation is not below me. My driving was an exact replica of alcoholic behavior. Move over; I am right, I have to be first because I have something to prove…not sure what it is but it’s coming from ME so it has to be important. Ah. My EGO talking again.

Just as I was trying my best to shove myself in front of a semi to be first, I have “shoved” my opinions, beliefs, thoughts whatever on others so I feel in control. Once I get there, the last thing I feel is control. I’m empty. Resentful. Angry. Shamed. Why? Because I made life a competition, a race, one that I had to win at all costs. And I did all of that with reckless abandon -just like driving 70 mph in order to beat out a semi. Had I got in front of the semi, what was the prize? Being first? Ticking off a fellow driver? Getting to work perhaps one minute early? What was the point?

Being aware of my actions no matter what I am doing is really eye-opening. I was told early on in my sobriety that quitting drinking is the “easy ” part. It’s the awareness of the behavior that ensues and the modification of that behavior where the real work begins. I didn’t quite understand what that meant at the time, but it sure ringing loudly and clearly now.

So, albeit a bit late, I did the next right thing. I slowed down (took mental note of my sick behavior), I merged (allowed others to have a voice while being quiet and attentive), and I allowed the truck driver the right-of-way (accepted I am wrong and that there IS another opinion or way of doing things that isn’t mine.) I gained a huge dose of reality as I drove to work today. For that, among many other blessings, I am grateful.

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