This is my friend’s puppy, over a year ago. A random brownish mutt dumped with her littermates at an animal shelter. In the US, there are far too many dogs and not enough homes. There are terrible situations, and so many don’t make it at all. I wonder how many end up with a decent shot at a decent life. Not many.
This anonymous smidgeon of a dog had no way to know she was going to be among the most blessed on earth. I don’t think dogs actually hope. It’s part of my story and my current situation that I have to get around to writing about. I’m learning a lot with and through dogs lately. One of the best, most basic lessons is that dogs live just about completely in the “now.” They may think about things and people that aren’t right here right now a bit, but they won’t do it for long. They adjust to their current situation and don’t worry much about the future. I can extend this to see how worry really is wasted energy. Had this puppy “worried” about her odds at having a decent life, it would have been in vain. Her life is beyond decent. And she really didn’t have anything to do with it. She was lucky.
Hope is one of those paradoxical concepts in AA. It is necessary to lose all hope in order to begin and thrive in the program. I believe that as long as a person harbors some small hope that he will be able to drink normally again, he is in danger of drinking and not being able to stop. When a person gives up that hope, then she can apply herself to the program and begin to heal. It is written that most people will not truly work at the program of AA until they are beaten down badly. The loss of all hope opens us up to trying things we otherwise disparage.
For me, that initial loss of hope happened a long long time ago. Through the years I’ve developed a different relationship with hope. I have to say that because it has worked so beautifully for me, and because I’m lucky to have enough material possessions, good health, good education, things like that, my view may be more positive and hopeful than that of people who struggle with these things. I feel like I always need to disclaim, because I am aware that people have it much worse than I do.
But for me, I do have an over riding hope about just about every situation. I’ve learned to hope for several things. I hope things will get better. I hope bad things will end. I hope I’ll learn how to deal with difficulties. I hope for periods of happiness and serenity for everyone I care about.
I hope that even the government will learn from mistakes. I hope that society continues to evolve in a more inclusive way. I hope new technologies will solve old problems.
As for specifics, I hope I will learn to live with my job situation, or that I will change it, or change jobs. I hope that I will actually live in a more healthy manner, rather than just mostly think about it. I hope I will get over my fear of walking my dog and be able to go bravely and happily to do it. I hope that if the election doesn’t turn out well, I will have the courage to go on.
I hope that as new character defects make themselves known to me, I’ll be able to ask God to remove them. I hope that I will let him remove them.
All of these hopes are made possible for me by AA. I was truly hopeless. I’ve been transformed and I’ve seen so many others be tranformed. Because of the tools of AA, and the help of the people, none of these hopes are unrealistic. In fact I will say they are very realistic. I think that to some degree, they will all come to pass.