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Boil away everything presented in the program and you’re left with this truth at its core:  one drunk talking to another.

And if that’s not parsed enough, I’ll do you one simpler:  it’s the healing that comes from two people talking.

Step Twelve:  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.

Truth be told, it’s often not even two people talking.  It can be one person talking, one person listening.  Or one person unburdening, one person understanding.  Or one person wondering, one person reassuring.  All of these variations work well.  It just so happens that it works especially well with alcoholics.

In my past (that’s before I drank, while I drank, and after I drank), I was a one man show.  Me talking, me listening.  Me questioning, me answering.  Me spewing crazy, unfounded, paranoid thoughts, me rationalizing and justifying them.

Whether I was driving the car, washing the dishes, or walking the dog, I was always monologuing.  Reliving recent slights or picking at ancient scars, it hardly mattered.  As long as I could set straight all the wrongs in my life through a impassioned diatribe, it was all good.  I was always right; always vindicated.  And that rush of righteousness would last for as long as I remained alone and didn’t run out of oxygen.

I was forever creating brand-new angers:  a fresh set of custom-made resentments, especially designed to reduce whomever into a pile of quivering apologetic rubble.  Call it hate couture.

But here was the ironic upshot:  by the time I was ready to unleash my hellish spiel, it no longer mattered if I said it out loud:  the thoughts had already made their move from my head to my heart.

Now that I’ve got some time in the program under my belt, it’s become more and more clear that I can be my own worst enemy.  Who said my brain was on my side, anyway?  I just took that for granted and ran with it until it was running with me.  Because my brain is almost always looking for the softer, easier way.  And if softer and easier meant I needed to sacrifice my overall well-being, so be it.

The solution today?  Stop listening to myself.  Rarely is it my conscience speaking.  Quit believing my hype.  Get with someone who also knows the pain of a mind divided, and hear what they have to say.

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