Today’s AA meeting focused on the Daily Reflection which was based in willingness. I thought about my willingness when I first declared and admitted I am an alcoholic. At that point, willingness was not the first word that I would use to define myself. I think desperate covers it better. However, there was a small piece of me that was willing, or I would have never stepped foot into a meeting.
So what have I been willing to do? I have been willing to take a good, hard look at myself and determine that I have some real issues. Obviously, I am an alcoholic. But aside from the glaring pink elephant in the room, I am also working on anger issues, manipulation, playing the victim, and being judgmental.
The anger issue is really not towards anyone in particular. Lie. I have anger issues with my husband. Mainly, he upsets me because he calls me out on my bullshit and knows me better than I know myself. This irritates me and I allow my anger to take over. Some days, I want to point out my character defects and work on them and not have someone else do it for me. Overall, my anger is much better than it was 16 months ago. This is directly related to the point that I do not wake up hungover, scratching my head in wonder of what I did the night before, scrambling through my text messages to see who/what I texted, and also rummaging through the outgoing calls so I know with whom I spoke. I also don’t have to play the game with my husband asking leading questions so I know how bad of a mood he is in based upon the scene I created the night before. I recall the pit in my stomach which quickly transformed into anxiety and eventually anger. I was so angry with myself, but there was no way I was going to actually admit it. Nope. Better to keep on hiding and slam things around blaming a “sinus” headache for my foul mood.
Today, I can wake up relatively guilt-free ( I still have some late-night cookies to feed my sugar cravings), happy, balanced, and without hangover symptoms. I am no longer angry when my feet hit the floor. I now find myself in prayer asking my HP to lead me in the right direction, to be calm, to be patient, to be thoughtful of others and to be sober.
Other than anger, I can be willing to look at how I like to manipulate others. I am grossly aware of my keen ability to do so which makes overcoming this tough. I have mastered the art of this and have spent years buttering people up so they trust me. I can honestly say there have been countless times where I remain silent when asked how I feel about a situation, or particularly if I don’t really care about the conversation, where I agree with what is being said. I think of how the outcome will directly affect me, matter, or make a real difference. More often than not, none of these apply. I also take into consideration if I have any control over the situation or the outcome. Generally, i do not. So rather than insert my two cents worth, I am quiet. It’s quite freeing really. I don’t have to think so hard. I don’t have to try to sound intelligent or witty or compassionate. I can just be. That’s truly liberating.
Playing the victim is a role I am glad to shed. That was exhausting. One of the biggest paradoxes of my life was the fact that I lived as a victim but claimed I was independent and NO ONE was going to tell me what to do. It was perplexing to me how I found myself able to take responsibility for ANY of my actions since I spent a lifetime blaming everyone and everything around me for decades. Playing the victim gave me the out of being an adult, owning my actions, being responsible, being present. You name it. I gave myself an escape route for nearly every aspect of my life.
Today, I don’t want to be a victim. It’s an ugly place to be. It’s hopeless and it’s helpless. I would honestly rather not know an answer and admit it than spend an afternoon making up some garbage about how I couldn’t get something accomplished because no one understood how busy I was. I am willing to own up to my mistakes, to recognize that I am human and am going to continue to make mistakes. The beauty is my past does not define my future.
Finally, I am working on being less judgmental. When I was active in my addiction, I would judge everyone around me to justify my behavior. I didn’t feel as bad about myself if I convinced myself that everybody else was in a worse situation that I was. Sober, I still slip into judgement. It’s hard for me to keep my mind free of this. I am not as bad as I used to be, but I still have some work to do. This generally happens when I am not having a good day or when I haven’t prayed hard enough. I know when I am right with my HP, I have little or no time to let the “little stuff” impede progress.
Because I am willing to step aside and let my HP be my guide, doors are opening that I couldn’t have imagined possible. I have not had anything earth shattering happen as a result of my sobriety, but I feel better inside and out. My spiritual side is growing and my ego is shrinking. My priorities are shifting: My kids are blessings, my job is a gift, my extended family is a good source of support. I am being asked to serve on committees that I would not have been considered for in the past. Through this volunteerism, I am expanding my horizons and having fun doing so. Today, being willing means I get a second chance to live the life I was intended to live.
For that and so much more, I am grateful.