The more defensive I am, the more I keep to myself.  The more my reactions lean toward the knee-jerk variety, the less I’m able to let go.  The greater my irritation, the more clinging I’ve got going on in my heart.

Step 5: admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I’m no longer accepting of things, least of all myself.  I’ve lost the ability to laugh things off.  Everything’s gone back to being deeply personal and therefore, deeply hurtful.  Everything offends me, including my own thoughts.  Who says I need interaction to become resentful and irritated?  I’m doing just fine making myself miserable all alone in my kitchen, thank you very much.

I may have thoroughly cleaned my side of the street in the past, and I may be going out on occasion with a push-broom and tidying things up, but lately I’ve only been sweeping the soft stuff into the gutter.  The heavier, stickier stuff remains and slowly accumulates until I have trouble pushing open the door.  Passers-by are tripping and falling and I’m blaming them for not being more careful.  All objectivity has been lost.

Well, that’s what happens when I leave things up to me.  When everything is internalized, it gets run through my ringer and spit back out onto an unsuspecting public.  No wonder I sometimes come off like a raving lunatic.  No wonder I recoil from other’s reactions.  More isolation and crazy rationalizations follow.  It’s to everyone’s benefit that I quit telling my version of the truth.

This is why Step Five is so crucial.  Without sharing my twisted thoughts and wrong-sized feelings, I’ve got no chance of changing.  And it’s not that I’m necessarily ashamed about the exact nature of my wrongs; more to the point, I’m most often embarrassed at just how banal they are, and how much I’ve overblown them.  To blurt them out loud makes me sound like a petulant five year-old.  How can a full-grown adult have such an infantile brain?

Well, simple:  I’m an alcoholic.  I need to continually talk to my higher power, and my sponsor, and those in the fellowship, about my anxieties and fears, my false beliefs and paranoias.  Sure, they often seem stupid and childish when stated out loud, and that’s the point:  I need to call out these concrete examples of how my diseased brain is working against me.  It’s cunning, baffling and powerful, after all.  And the longer I keep that stuff inside, the more credence I’m giving it, until all sanity is gone and only the filth remains.

Remember:  I don’t need to be tied to the garbageman’s schedule.  I can take my bag of nonsense to the dump whenever I need to, which tends to be much more often than once a week.

2 thoughts on “every day is garbage day.

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