What’s in it For Me??
Having attended several meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous over the last 18 days, I can confidently state that drunkards and drug addicts are the most selfish people on God’s favorite little planet.
To those of you who have to deal with us on a daily or even semi-regular basis, that is probably the most “duh” statement you’ve ever read.
And not that we haven’t heard if from you many times previously – but when you are cosseted and coddled in the impermeable womb of the Id, or the all-inclusive and permanent vacation destination of the “me”, noises from the outside are by design muffled and extraneous.
I mean what could they portend other than commotion and discomfort?
Of course it’s ironic that I would be discussing John Nampion and people like him when there are all sorts of other subjects that are of much more import (really?), but hey, I just can’t help myself.
I remember my Mom telling me all through my childhood, teen years, and now adulthood to “stop thinking about John”. After all, there are “lots of other people out there, and you have no idea what they are going through, so why don’t you just think a little bit about your fellow man instead of your next meal or nap?”
(Or beer, or sh*t, or whatever. Basic functions – don’t make it too complicated.)
And then she would slap my hand away from the meatloaf or roust me from the couch and ask me to help my Dad mow the lawn (he had only been out there for an hour), or assist my Brother-In-Law in moving a dresser from the basement to the upstairs. (Was that me he’d been calling?)
From the Big Book, page 62:
“Selfishness – self-centeredness! 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. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
“So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.”
You have to be in a pretty bad place to admit you can’t do anything about your pathetic (here it comes again) self. All those promises to quit drinking (pouring the vodka down the sink with your daughter watching you), to blog every day because people you respect say you have talent, to be fair and decent to the poor unfortunates who are forced to be in your company for hours a day, to start a new life: Early to rise, healthy, vibrant, appreciative of all the good things you have – nothing but flimsy matchsticks that never amalgamate into any sort of creation.
Hey, presto! Forget it…how about tomorrow?
I am floating in my cocoon…over the earth…I can now see out of it somewhat fuzzily, and hear bits and snatches too…. It is scary down there…lots going on…but if I just close my eyes and believe…that I can become part of it, and develop some interest in those who travel through it and live on it, well…God will let me join in. It will be chaotic and messy and have the occasional waft of decay and despair, but I have heard tell of such a thing as joy, too. I can’t bear to think of the next steps: Listing my wrongs on paper and sharing them with another person, and even worse, making amends to those I have harmed…please God, can I just worry about that another time? Right now the sensation is light and I am trying to muster the courage to go down there…or, I should say, to allow you to take away my burdens and bring me there yourself. We shall see….