In my drinking days, I always handled all “situations” that arose my way. Yelling. Throwing things. Swearing. Storming off. Coming back. Yelling some more. Nothing got resolved; just amped up. I was never the cooler head that prevailed.
Very rarely was my first response to calm things down and talk them out. And even if I was in the right, which was always, somehow I still ended up apologizing in the end.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Ironically, almost all situations that I attempted to handle weren’t black or white, cut and dried. It normally had to do with something upsetting my equilibrium, or my ability to get something accomplished without aggravation. In public, I would just explode and walk out, leaving bewildered patrons in my wake.
My alcoholism was always on the lookout for people breaking the social rules of interaction or proper etiquette. I was like Miss Manners with a bullhorn.
Today, I know better. When public situations arise that used to have me screaming and running for the exits, now I’m able to take a breath and wait. The situation normally resolves itself within two or three minutes, without any input from me.
That’s what this program has given me: the ability to wait patiently. Or, if not patiently, at least quietly. Instead of getting riled up over whatever, I can even sometimes find the humor in it and sit back with a smile and wait for things to clear up.
Today I know: I don’t need to handle things, especially stuff that has nothing to do with me. Let go and let God. A couple of minutes of quiet breathing and repeating the Serenity Prayer to myself goes a long way.
A-MEN! Patience is so much easier. Having been significantly ill for quite some time, while looking perfectly fine on the outside, has really taught me to cut people some slack. Turns out, people don’t get up every morning planning to ruin my day, they just have their own crap to deal with. And like me, they’re just trying to get thru their day.
Yeah – empathy – what a concept!