It’s probably been 35 years now since my first AA meeting (though I haven’t been sober that long). And it was right at the beginning that I understood what the AA folks were telling me about my attitude, and how I needed to change it, and what it needed to be. It’s my favorite example that someone told me back then, “Say ‘Thank God’ instead of ‘God dammit.'” I was able to apply that in a practical way right after being told when someone cut me off in traffic. I said, “Thank God I didn’t meet him,” and I meant it. There is so much gratitude to be found in a near-miss in traffic.
Thinking about it today, I really have spent the past 35 years almost completely devoid of road rage, and if that’s all AA ever gave me, that might be enough. Through the years I’ve added the thoughts, depending on the situation, that
- the person could be ill, or upset, maybe having just gotten very bad news
- I too have once every year or so made a mistake in traffic myself (and it’s really funny how, when I try to apologize, I usually get the finger rather than forgiveness)
- having raised two kids from when they were pups I also remember that the person behind the wheel in the other car may be learning (and I did, from time to time shout, when some wonderful motorist was being impatient that “We’re learning!” and comment to the other learner that I guess the other driver was born a perfect, experienced driver)
Bottom line is that I haven’t had a car accident, ever, and so all the terrible drivers around me have not caused me to be in an accident and that this, more than their poor driving, is the most important point to dwell on and feed. Over 35 years of driving I’d say that this attitude has given me several whole days of gratitude and serenity.
In thinking about “attitude” now, I searched for it through the big book and through this blog. There’s a lot, so I thought I’d write about several times. For me it’s a basic concept because my attitude was something that had to change so that I could remain sober. The attitude I had before and while I was drinking isn’t compatible with sobriety.
To be continued.