Saturday, January 12, 2008

Step One

From this mornings daily reflection:

Our very first problem is to accept our present circumstance as they are, ourselves as we are, and the people about us as they are. This is to adopt a realistic humility without which no genuine advance can even begin. Again and again, we shall need to return to that unflattering point of departure. This is an exercise in acceptance that we can profitably practice every day of our lives.

Provided we strenuously avoid turning these realistic surveys of the facts of life into unrealistic alibis for apathy or defeatism, they can be the sure foundation upon which increased emotional health and therefore spiritual progress can be built. As Bill Sees It, p. 44

In the discussion over at sober society on Step 3, several folk shared how important it was to their sobriety that they try not to control anything. Those comments irked me. One of the goals in my life was to prove to a parent that I can do all the right things, that I can control my destiny. To be deemed successful was exactly that. I would be a man if I was self sufficient, a rock who needed to rely on no one while at the same time giving direction to others who do not display that self sufficiency. It was a core belief I thought I was done with but realize it's still alive and well.

Accepting circumstances? Always, in the past, if the circumstances were uncomfortable, they needed to be changed so that all is well. In my life, in my spouse's life, in the lives of my children. No one close to me needed to be uncomfortable. Tada, I could fix it. I need to remember just how much grief this has caused my family! No matter how hard I tried, an easier softer way could not be found, nor would these individuals often choose the route I had set out before them. I also needed to remember the last few years before I entered AA how I changed my circumstances by crawling into a bottle.

Accepting myself? Not a chance. To view myself as a fearful, self-pitying man makes it hard to accept who I am. Most of my life I haven't liked myself. Wanting to be different. Wanting to be someone that everyone would like, the hero, the one with witty banter, the knowledgeable one, greatest lover, most understanding ear, etc etc. These past few months I have seen myself through my character defects, not seeing anything positive. Wanting so much to be rid of the defects, focusing on them, writing about them, pushing them to the front so that I would be rid of them. Nothing changed, in fact, they seemed to get worse. People have told me that I am compassionate and understanding. That I care for others (if I'm not caught up in myself.) The word gentleman was used to describe me while I see myself as a bull in a china shop. Who do I listen to?

Accepting others? It is so hard to let go and let people control their own lives. I have been getting better at it, but that doesn't stop the chatter within my head. If only they would try this, or that, or any of the thousands of ideas I think up for them. I keep them in my head today. Try not to let them burst out. When people ask for opinion, I try hard not to give direction. Even with those most excellent ideas within me. It is getting better. I hope the chatter will lessen over time. I best remind myself that I could never control my own life, that I needed a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity, that how could I imagine I could restore someone else's life if they followed my direction.

Today, I admit I am powerless over alcohol, that my life had become unmanageable. I also admit that I am powerless over just about everything else, and that in trying to control all that is beyond my control has made my life unmanageable. Other people, circumstances, myself, I can't change any of the three. I am an imperfect human being, living with other imperfect beings in an imperfect world. That's just the way it is and always will be.

Now I am off to be in the day. Thanks for letting me share. Thanks for your words of wisdom.


johno said...

Vinegar, whats your experience, Help please.


dAAve said...

Keep at it.

pat said...

You offer a lot of wisdom and insight and because you have so often commented on my blog I know you are in recovery for yourself and that you love someone who should/may be in recovery too. It sounds as though you are on your own road to self discovery.

sojo said...

As they say in meetings, it appears that you're right where you're supposed to be. We can't get better until we recognize the hard facts about ourselves and are willing to change. Seems you're right there! Hang in there, it does get better 1000 over.

(that negative thinking thing is just a product of years of practice. Now we get to practice positive thinking! :)

Anonymous said...

When I can't seem to turn over a problem or person, I write it on a peice of paper and and make a written declaration to God that he officially has the issue(person) in his hands, and to please take it from me. when I was having problems in my marriage, it took me a long time and much pain to figure out that I was powerless over the situation. I heard a woman at a meeting talk about her "God Box". She had a little ceremony like I described above and put her rings in there. I figured hey what the heck, and I tried it. I prayed alot too. A few months later I could not remember what I had done with the rings. By that time things had gotten much better. My God box is full of little pieces of paper, and whenever I go to put a new one in there, I look at the other ones, but I cannot specifically remember what they are. And I never peek or read them!!!! Hope this helped

Chirptweet said...

You say: "Wanting to be someone that everyone would like, the hero, the one with witty banter, the knowledgeable one, greatest lover, most understanding ear, etc etc"

You are someone i love VERY much!! You are my hero for being who you are and changing those characteristics you struggle with. You are very smart. I reach out for your knowledge during my times of struggle. And you are one of the most understand "ear" that listens to what i go through, you share with me, without telling me what i need to do!! You are all that you want to be, and what we need you to be.

indistinct said...

Dearest Chirptweet,

You certainly know how to make someone cry. The love that came through with your words overwhelmed me.

We journey down the same road through different paths and yet our paths are joined. You share bits of hope and strength in your writings and they inspire me. Life doesn't seem to get easier for us with new challenges being thrown our way but we face them together. No longer do I feel alone.

Thank you for your love and support over the last few years.

indistinct said...


What a great idea. a God box, a place to leave our prayers in that symbolize placing the problem in God's hands. Very cool.

Thank you for sharing that.

Chirptweet said...

lol...i wrote that through teary eyes!! I guess i wasn't alone on that! It's rather incredible to have a father like you, one that shares so openly, and it's an honour to follow your experiences through your writings! We definately have our challenges that seem to arise one after another, but like you said, we're not alone. And having that support in place has made it a lot easier to deal with, and let go of my health issues!

love you!