I think the fact that I treat the subject of happiness as something tangential to the 12 steps is pretty telling in and of itself. I’ve parsed the whys and wherefores of my bad thinking, my shortcomings, my personal defects. In short, the sadness. To me, that’s where the work needs to be concentrated: figuring out what’s broken. Happiness comes with the assumption that I’ve somehow achieved something – I confuse it with pride.

Happiness can be many things, but for me it’s one thing: an end result. A reward. And as my alcoholism reminds me, I do not deserve rewards.

All of this has something to do with humility, I’m sure of it.

Here’s where my head’s been: I think I spend way too much time on one side of the see-saw; i.e., sitting in the dirt, examining the blades of grass. Which, metaphorically enough, leaves the person on the other end up in the air. I’m waiting for happiness to happen. That’s when I’ll be happy. Once… and so on.

See, I’m not using my legs. I’m still hanging back and seeing what happens, how things unfold, tentative, unsure, scared and resentful at being scared. I’m waiting to see how I’ll react. I’ll let the situation dictate my response. Which is totally, one-hundred percent ass-backwards. My disease loves to wait for it – that moment I snap into unhealthy acceptance.

Mission: Eliminate assumptions. Go in with a smile. Be open. Unguarded. Watch how much easier things go.

Alcoholism’s Retort: So you’re going to turn yourself into a clown now? Pie to the face? Do a little song and dance for everyone for a pat on the head and a belly scratch? That’s going to be your bag? Good luck with that. The second you leave yourself out there and get kicked in the crotch, don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’ll never be able to handle that level of rejection. And you’ll drink because of it.

Sounds silly, right? Yes, it does. But that’s how little regard my disease has for me.

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