"That we think is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.
So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They rise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so."
I've heard these sentences hundreds of times over the last year, and nodded my head in seeming acknowledgement...but sat in denial regarding several aspects of my own selfishness and self-centeredness. I've carried one specific and destructive denial for many months and kept it to myself or shrouded it in argument that, in the end, made absolutely no sense. My drinking, my behavior while drinking, my fear, my self-delusion hung on tight through pathetic self-righteousness. It would not shake loose because I wouldn't let it go. I had myself completely convinced of my position. I blamed, I railed, I threw temper tantrums when called on my shit by a non-alcoholic. So today, finally, tired of the blaming, tired of the self-pity, tired, of self-delusion, I took it to the meeting. I let other alcoholics help me through my character defects regarding this matter. And I digested their feedback. It cleared my head, helped me see myself through not so rose-colored glasses, and helped me finally understand those sentences above. My troubles have been of my own making. No one else had any part in the destruction I created, no one else was responsible for my insanity. That is a very hard pill to swallow, but I finally did it, and the relief is tremendous. I alone am responsible for my behavior, drunk or sober.
There is nothing but truth in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. As I related my struggle with this issue, they listened. Then they related their experience, strength and hope about a similar issue that they faced, and I listened. In my mind, there is no one who has the ability to tell the truth to an alcoholic except another alcoholic, simply because we have shared so many similar experiences. I am so grateful I have found this group and am willing to uncover, discover and discard, and am in a safe place to do so. It is a very simple program, but it is never easy to let go of my short-comings. I'm so grateful I keep going back, that I listen, and eventually I learn.