Let’s start with this…”Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks to change himself.” Tolstoy said that. So what are the parts of myself I can think to change( in fact, must change to be a truer, happier, less conflicted me/individual) ? My anger and resentment over expectations unmet. Ah the character defect rears its ugly head. That little voice that creeps into my mind and repeats ,”you should, he should, she should, they should, it should, …” No it’s not a little voice, it practically beats my head in with its incessant suggesting. Please go and bother someone else. I’m exhausted of you. You rob me of my joy that is due to me. Fucking right. Joy.
It’s possible and some lucky people have found it, on a daily. They usually have mastered their own character defects or perhaps don’t have any. The joy-filled contented ones walk around life looking at glasses half full, not half empty; or as in my field of vision, a glass is usually not only empty, but shattered on the ground. Or in the past it was full. Full of booze. Yet I digress. Joy to the world. This holiday season, I want some of it. I demand to have some on my plate and in my stocking and under my tree. My anger, resentments, disappointment in others (which will undoubtedly lead to my other character defect of “self-loathing”) holds me back from taking what is rightfully mine.
Oh ubiquitous joy. It’s everywhere this time of year. Stores try to sell it to us. But I don’t need things. Things are nice to have. And if I could have a month free of financial stressing, well that would certainly add to my joy. But it isn’t necessary to have a balanced checking account to experience joy. This I know. Clarity in sobriety. I have my joy-killers though.
This is a list of the usual suspects that prohibit me from relishing in the joyful season:
1. Mother in law (for many reasons, but mostly being a woman of leisure and the total opposite of everything I was ever raised to believe about women and grow up to be).
2. Money (not having enough of it)
3. Crazies (this can be co-workers, family of origin, friends, pets)
4. Spawn (my own, a joy to behold but a test of my sanity)
5. Significant other (husband who disagrees with me politically, and after this election at least we can look at each other without rolling our eyes…but who will NEVER understand what it means to be an alcoholic or even child of an alcoholic).
6. Self-mutilation (that is the sacrificing daily of my time, energy, mind, body and soul to others).
Now the parts of changing myself that AA requires a “serenity to accept, a willingness to change . .oh and the wisdom to know the difference between acceptance and moving forward”. I know my list is made from my own expectation I have for the ones on it. And that part about hurting myself. Well, that’s the pollyanna, people-pleaser syndrome that needs to be put to bed. Once and for all. If there’s only one person I can make happy, it will be me. Platitudes put into action. Action is quite critical to remaining sober. Let’s say we fake it until we make it. Joy you will be mine. Expectation and its child resentment will not destroy my joy. This list will be reworked in the following days, as I complete my 4th step.