Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who is next?

I've been able to keep one class going after I had returned to work. An evening class about sociology. One of the topics that keeps rambling through my head is about the deserving and the undeserving. Who makes the choice about who has access to social services or financial support? I guess the concept is about how different schools of thought (conservative, liberal, or socialist are some of such schools) influence social welfare programs and who is allowed access to those programs.

So I think about, (who else?), me. When I did step three, I turned my will and life over to the care of a power greater than myself. I allowed myself to take direction from a greater power and as I did I started to get sober. The obsession to drink, to porn, to continuously numb myself was lifted from me. It is a gift beyond measure, a gift called life. The steps move on towards emotional sobriety as well. For me, that means a healthy measure of self-acceptance. I am who I am and nor can I force myself to be anyone different. That acceptance is not permission to stop moving and growing but it is permission to stop beating on myself. I grow and change as I continue on this journey of sobriety.

One of the things I have assumed is God's will for my life is that it would be helpful to love the person that is right in front of me. When I think of the deserving and the undeserving, I end up seeing my own prejudices and how they cause me to view others. Unconsciously, I make decisions about who is worthy of my time, who do I want to be with, who do I want to help? Does that person need to be talked to during the smoke break? Should I offer to sponsor another? Did they speak the right words when they shared? My fears give me direction as well. Self-pity gives me some other direction. (No wonder I feel lost every once in a while.)

Earlier this summer, I was at a meeting and listened to someone share who was really struggling in their fourth year of sobriety. His share resonated with me, his struggles so similar to mine, his pain was my pain. I was asked to share next, and spoke of how I was experiencing the same sort of things in my fourth year. Then I shared of what tools I was using to stay sober, of how important "one day at a time" and "this shall pass" was, how valuable the telephone was, how working with others was so powerful. The fellow who shared after me was angry. He spoke on the fallacy of struggling in the fourth year, how if we worked our program right we wouldn't be reacting to our circumstances the way we were. No suggestions as to how to improve, we were just labelled as "bad."

I use that as an example of how our own values and beliefs create our view of the world. How difficult it is to break through and see differently. I like the metaphor of seeing the world through God's eyes. My Higher Power has the attributes of compassion, patience, kindness, and love. Can I see all others through those eyes? I hope to.

Photo credit: chrismar


Syd said...

It sounds like a good way to see to me. I like the attributes of compassion, patience, kindness and love. Those are much better for my serenity than judgment, impatience, anger and hatred.

Steve E. said...

Tolerance is an "action" word I am finding. It makes sense, yes?

Anonymous said...

I think you are going to like your sociology class, I did. Thanks for sharing tonight!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

hurt people hurt people

there will always be unskilful members of aa who perhaps mean well but have not yet overcome their resentment enough to really help others.
our challenge is to show them the tolerance and compassion when they are incapable of offering the same. easier said than done! but no harm in trying :)

Kilauea Poetry said...

Wow..this was open, honest and no smoke screen- refreshing!

thailandchani said...

I really like this post! You make some very good points, points I would make if I was nearly articulate enough. :)

It's much better, I agree, to develop compassion for all people without trying to determine one "value" over another.


The Turning Point said...

An old saying around the AA halls is "it takes at least five years to get your head out of hock." If we are honest and don't avoid facing our shortcomings,"issues" and other co-occurring addictions and compulsions it generally takes us the five followed by a lifetime of keeping them between the lines. flinch some of us.
P.S. My sponsor took me to a psychiatrist at four years sober. Although I was going to a meeting almost every day and praying my butt off it was suggested that I was doing neither.
Have faith you're in the solution.
Like your sharing
JF sober 4yrs + 43.