The danger of self-pity

My one character defect that daily (usually) sucks the joy out of life is self-pity. I tend to veer straight toward depression, angst, melancholy and a profound self-loathing. It mainly grows from an anxiety and worry that I am not measuring up to my fellow humans. Everyone else seems “together’; being happy, confident, competent and expressing a pervasive sense that life is just dandy. Of course, this isn’t true or even rational. Tragic circumstances are evident everywhere. All I need do is read a newspaper or simply go out my front door. Yet the mood that I am lacking in all things good and right overwhelms my sense of order. I get tense, irritated, defeated. It’s easy to disguise selfishness as self-pity. Especially for an alcoholic like me. I can’t shake that notion that I am a victim to the world’s unfair agenda. Therefore, a talk with my sponsor yesterday helped me ease out of self-pity into gratitude.

She told me a sad tale of one of her former sponsees. This lady was a chronic relapser. She’d put together a month or two of sobriety only to resort back into active alcoholism. She couldn’t cope with daily life and the hardships we all face. Unfortunately, she was also a mom to two young boys. This woman died last week. Overdosed. Her funeral was last weekend. My sponsor told me that watching the loved ones at the service was devastating. She had young children in shock, a mother who looked stunned to be at her daughter’s funeral. My sponsor said the mom had this to say, “At least I know she is no longer in pain.” As a mom myself, I thought, “Sure but what about the pain her boys now feel and will most likely feel the rest of their lives?” But I also know the intense darkness that clouds all hope; a very familiar feeling. Too familiar for my own good. To stay in the ray of sunlight that will always shines through if I look, is my only hope. My sponsor reminded me that self-pity is a lie that will eventually consume me if I’m not careful. She cautions, “Either you’re moving toward that spiritual peace or you’re moving away from it. There is little room for waiting in the in-between for an alcoholic.”

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