Why do I get annoyed when someone else is sick, or upset, or having a bad day, or even (gulp) suffering spiritually? Well, first of all, it’s because I’m a selfish piece of shit. But when looking deeper, I find that it’s because it takes me out of my comfort zone. If I’m watching the Red Sox lose another game and my wife is upset about something, it interferes with my comfort. It robs me of my peace and quiet. It distracts me from the safe, numb state I’m in. It bothers me because if she isn’t comfortable than I can’t be comfortable, and I, being an addict, feel as though I have the right to always be comfortable. I think I deserve to never be ripped out of my comfort zone.
So either I’m an infantile moron, or I’m extremely immature, or I have some kind of personality disorder, or I’m just a loser… or bingo, I’m just a drug addict! Yup, that’s it. I’m a drug addict, which usually involve all of the above mentioned character defects. Fortunately, the difference between me as an addict and a truly insane person who has no capacity to be honest with themselves is that I know being this way is wrong and I can change, whereas the insane sociopath has no clue that what they’re doing is hurting others. And sadly, the real crazies usually cannot get better.
This is why we addicts must realize that getting better is so much more important than achieving physical sobriety. That line in the Big Book was the first line that hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s when I realized that this book understood me perfectly, and that its words are indeed prophetic. The line was, “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.19) The Big Book goes on to say, “A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs.” Am I demonstrating any principles whatsoever by caring more about maintaining my little comfort zone than I do my suffering wife? How selfish is that? How unattractive is that? Uh, exactly.
The most important thing an alcoholic or drug addict can do is actually not to get sober. It is to CHANGE. It is to become a good person. It is to stop being a rude, insensitive, sensitive, defensive, obstinate, angry, resentful, fearful, intolerant, abusive, proud, egotistical, self-seeking, selfish, dishonest, immature, grandiose, melodramatic, needy and annoying shithead. Now that would be a worthwhile accomplishment! Am I there yet? Not by miles… but I can assure you that it pounds my head day and night. I loathe the way I used to be when I was using. But I don’t loathe the fact that I was an alcoholic or a heroin addict. In fact, my addiction brought me to GOD and has given me the life I have now, a life filled with miracles. So no, I don’t loathe my addiction. I loathe the person I was. I loathe the loud, egotistical, self-centered jerk.
This is the challenge for us addicts or alcoholics. Our greatest task is to change who we are. Our greatest task is to become a good person, a better person. For sure, our greatest task is to live, breathe and walk the spiritual principles of love, honesty, tolerance, patience, understanding, willingness, strength, courage, selflessness, service, grace, humility, forgiveness, responsibility and accountability. Because, regarding this path instead of the former… why not?
God, please help me to live by Your principles…