I have a tendency to get hooked onto a certain AA speaker for a while, and to ride their message until I have practically absorbed it into my pores and I am saturated. Joe and Charlie, Don P, Chris R, Myers R, Don C, etc. are all legends to me. And that’s just a tiny segment of the tapes I have. But Sandy B has been in heavy rotation in my mp3 player and I am really digging what he is saying.
It’s interesting that I find that the speakers I gravitate towards are saying the thing that I am ready to take on at that moment. Sandy B was a speaker that I wasn’t really ready for earlier on in my sobriety. But I have been latching onto some of the talks he has had.
The one thing he talks about is how our story – you know, THE STORY of our life that we have shaped and polished and breathed life into to explain just how screwed up we are and wouldn’t you drink if these things happened to you? – well, that’s just something we made up. Huh? What do you mean? I mean, I was really bullied a lot in my life, and no one understood me and so on and so forth. You mean all that was a lie? But wait, guys did things to me – verbally and physically. How is that a lie? If there were video back then, it would clearly show that it happened!
But what Sandy B is talking about is not the facts, but our perception of what happened. There is what really happened, and my version of what really happened. They aren’t the same. My whole life I played the victim card, and when I started on the steps I started to lose that whole victim thing. I saw that I had a large part to play in it. I can’t use that card any more, because not only has the card disappeared, the whole deck has changed. I have been dealt a new hand in life. So that story that I like to freshen up, to revisit untreated resentments and fears and to present in a new light…is all a lie. It’s the story I created myself and believed. That’s called delusion.
So for me to live in a story that I created is part of the insanity of my unmanageable life. No wonder I drank! To step out of that story, to rewrite whole sections, to delete others, to edit and cast into new light the parts I thought were etched in stone…well, that takes a lot of work. And willingness, open-mindedness and honesty. And hearing Sandy B talk about it, I have been searching in my story and wondering what needs weeding? Or does the whole thing need to be turfed? I know it’s the latter. It’s called old thinking and old habits – that is when I start to believe the old story again.
And it’s hard to do. I’ve held on to that story for 40 years.
So here I am, taking an eraser to the board and slowly going over parts that clearly didn’t happen. I do that through forgiveness, working more inventory, learning new and positive habits, searching myself, praying, meditating, helping others…and being aware of myself and my motives. It’s work, but this time, I am really looking forward to the new story…and how it ends.