Tuesday – Act or Not to Act – The Thin Line Between
Tonight we read from Living Sober and “Avoiding Anger and Resentment.”
Every time I come around to these topics, some of the same thoughts come to mind, the same old pains and hurts and sometimes new thoughts come as well.
When I think of anger, it brings up my delusional self that has a bent towards revenge and vindictiveness. The alter ego of the man I am today, who wields a very large aluminum bat.
Quietly plotting in the back of my mind, onerous things.
Tonight, that thought came, and I realized that I’ve already inflicted pain and suffering right where I wanted it to land. All because I chose to act.
Every action has consequences, either good or bad consequences.
I remember points of anger as they played out and I spoke of them to my friends.
It is always good to have men who are more than twenty five years sober to talk to.
When I got sober the first time, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times.
The location I got sober, was not healthy at all. The location I worked in was very healthy for all the right reasons. So I overlooked the negative.
The first year, when I got to a year, I had won the race. My horse came in first. I stayed sober, even while my fellows were all betting that I would go back out and drink, and made it plainly aware that the bets had been laid down.
As my sponsor gave me my chip, I told them all to go fuck themselves.
Not healthy at all. And that clouded the rest of the time I was still in the rooms. That unhealthy beginning only led to more unhealthy decisions and actions not to mention, unhealthy and not so sober men and women.
The second time I got sober, I followed the local playbook. And I played by the rules and did what ever I was told to do. And I have to say that, over the last 13 years and some months now, I have lost more friends to anger and resentment, in sobriety, than I did growing up.
When I was newly sober, I stayed away from conflict and kept my head down and when shit happened, if it didn’t involve me, I walked away. Said nothing. Did nothing.
As it went, people I loved and respected and adored, usually became casualties of their own shortcomings. It was my loss, but it was their anger and resentment that drove the wedge.
Today, in sobriety, I have a choice. To Act or Not to Act.
In most cases, if it does not directly involve me, I usually avoid the problem.
That has been my personal decision over the years.
The longer I am sober, I grow up, and I change.
When there is injustice or inequality or an inequity within my friends, for the most part, I am invested in the lives of my friends, I will sometimes offer counsel. Only when asked.
I never assume to have all the answers, because it is not all about me.
When my friends come to me for advice, I can do one of two things, One, give a solid answer, or Two, allow them to choose what they want to do, enlightening the subject they have asked about.
My friends trust me because every once in a while they come to talk.
Recently, I have shared a situation that has been on the stove.
The situation does not directly involve me. but when more than one friend comes to talk about the same subject about another friend, I chose to act. That action came full circle and I lost in the end. Not because of me, but because of someone else’s anger.
I spoke to several old timers about this situation, and not one of them had the same answer for me.
I owe and amends, I don’t owe an amends, I did the right thing, I should have stayed out of it altogether.
My sponsor has the last word in the consultation process.
But I see today, how sobriety has affected what I listen to, what I devote my time to, what I chose to act on, and what I choose to ignore and walk away from.
Situations arise. And the fine line is drawn. That fine line of wisdom to know the difference.
I see that today, that although I don’t always think about life in these terms, the serenity prayer always applies to any situation I have on my plate.
In the beginning, the better wisdom was to do nothing and not get involved.
Because, I did not have the ability to be objective and solid. They say that hindsight is our best teacher. And I have that today. The old timers have much more than I do.
Tonight’s revelation came when I realized that fine line that sits between action and inaction and how that applies to my life. And everyone in it.
People are where they are in their lives. And we have to allow them that latitude. Sober people are all over the map, when it comes to people, places and things. I am powerless over my friends, and I surely don’t want to be like some of my friends.
So I keep a safe distance, and I learn what NOT to do, based on the actions my friends choose to make on any situation. I’ve been doing that for almost 14 years now. My friends have been my greatest teachers. A good number of them drank again. And some of them never made it back and are either drunk or dead.
I stayed sober, because I did not follow the trend. I sat back and watched the fireworks.
Knowing when to act or not to act is wisdom in the bank.
“Wisdom to know the difference.”
More to come, stay tuned…