I charged off to the Big Book in search of this:
If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.
Why did I need to find that? Because some of the psychobabble that goes on at meetings about healthy anger, justifiable anger, anger that is OK for some people some of the time, makes me angry!
It really does. Anger is one of the toughest character defects for me. I don’t think I am, in general or often, an angry person, but I know I feel it probably many times every day. I have not progressed enough with this. Not at all.
Many of the top Google hits about anger reference AA and the literature. The others deal with managing anger, mostly. I’m glad my road is clear. TO LIVE, I have to be free of anger. Free. Not managed, but gone.
So obviously I’m not free from anger and yet I have lived quite a long time. In my opinion only, here’s a place where AA shows me the ideal and gives me many tools for working my way there. I know I’ll never get there. Personally I need to feel like I’m at least inching down that road most of the time making progress or . . . I don’t know. It has to get better, or I’ll drink. Still.
What makes me angry today? My attitudes and outlook. Outside wordly triggers:
- Staffing issues. I’m in charge of thirty of so people who very very often do not do their job to the best of their ability.
- Conditions at work that are man-made (or woman-made, our leader being a woman) that seem, to me, to be wrong or difficult. Our crappy building. Being open in the big snow. Lack of a coherent time-tracking system. I could go on and on.
- Being wronged. Sometimes, often, other people I come into contact with, and so have to cooperate with, do the wrong thing and I get injured somehow.
- Politics. I can feel very, very angry over politics and that includes all politics, even that of my favorites.
Last week at my meeting we talked about forgiveness and acceptance, especially regarding people who have wronged us. My most useful tool for that is the thought that the other people are also sick and often wrong. Like me. Just like me.
From the pages around the first quote:
This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same toler ance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’’
It’s not quite that simple, when I’m at work listening to the voice mail of the people who are telling me that, unlike me, they won’t be coming to work that day. And yet it is quite that simple. I know it is wrong of me to judge them. I know that if skipping work is not a character defect of mine, I have plenty of others, and I’m not in a position to weigh one defect against another and decide that theirs is worse than mine. I have to deal with those people. They have to deal with me. And at least I know that I’m on the road of happy destiny.
(not sure where most of them are going)