It took me a long time to realize that I am not alone with my character defects and mental illness issues. There are others in meetings who suffer as I do, who have problems other just their “addictions” with which to deal. There are those with mental and emotional problems, people with personality disorders, control freaks and co dependents. Some with just one or two of these maladies, some with the full spectrum. Then there are the zealots, those that treat AA or NA like a religion, and the Big Book as though it is The Bible.
I ISOLATED when I got drunk and high. Additionally, I spent most of my life as a selfish/self centered alcoholic, with my head firmly planted way up my digestive tract, where oxygen is in short supply – hence the brain damage – but I digress. I therefore did not have much experience dealing with anyone, let alone these types of folk, on a sober basis, until I started going to AA meetings.
Certainly, this is not to say that I am without defects because of course, I know better than to try and pull that shit. At times I am an obsessive/compulsive, at other times a depressive. My anxiety issues can be off the charts some days, and God help you if you have to be exposed to me after I have experienced a DISAPPOINTMENT, or happen to be ENTHUSIASTIC about some new idea or concept! But I really do try not to inflict my defects on others, at meetings, anyway; at home, all bets are OFF.
At first I didn’t trust anyone at meetings. Even though they said stuff like “let us love you until you can love yourself” and “you are the most important person in the room”. I knew that they only said that stuff because they wanted all the other people in the meeting to like them for “practicing the program”. What a bunch of a-holes, I thought! I was to find out later the term is “people pleaser”. Spot it ya got it, Richard!
Gradually, and with repeated exposure in meetings, concepts that were foreign to me such as “tolerance” seeped through to my new conscious self. Slowly, when my active little “monkey mind” was between obsessions, I began to find people in recovery that had the same “illness” that I had, seemed to have what I wanted, and also could tolerate my special brand of crazy. These people showed me that “true tolerance of others” is achievable for me, even if only occasionally.
I find that my higher power is always present at meetings, and is helping me to find ways to accept, tolerate and actually PRACTICE principles that I would otherwise choose to ignore. “God, Grant Me the Serenity…” is the answer to achieving peace and serenity, as we all “trudge the road of happy destiny” in each of our daily lives.
Even though some days when I leave the house and the sun is shining and the birds are trilling, I just want to shout to them all………….. SHUT THE F… UP!!