….we needed to change ourselves…(Step 4 continued)

The sponsors of those who feel they need no inventory are confronted with quite another problem. This is because people who are driven by pride of self unconsciously blind themselves to their liabilities. These newcomers scarcely need comforting. The problem is to help them discover a chink in the walls their ego has built, through which the light of reason can shine.

First off, they can be told that the majority of A.A. members have suffered severely from self-justification during their drinking days. For most of us, self-justification was the maker of excuses: excuses, of course, for drinking, and for all kinds of crazy and damaging conduct. We had made the invention of alibis a fine art. We had to drink because times were hard or times were good. We had to drink because at home we were smothered with love or got none at all. We had to drink because at work we were great successes or dismal failures.. We had to drink because our nation had won a war or lost a peace. And so it went, ad infinitum.

We thought “conditions” drove us to drink, and when we tried to correct those conditions and found that we couldn’t to our entire satisfaction, our drinking went out of hand and we became alcoholics. It never occurred to us that we needed to change ourselves to meet conditions, whatever they were.

It’s the last sentence that I want to focus on as drinking is far behind me, but conditions still abound, and change, and demand that I change myself. And changing myself is still a struggle.

My body is giving my difficulty in a long list of ways. I could do my usual gratitude list around this, and that list is extensive, but I’m going to skip it. My list of conditions I need to meet, however: ears ringing, hearing going, headache, neck ache, chest ache, hips and back ache, knees shot, feet arthritic, high blood pressure, irregular EKG? Overweight. Changing myself: losing weight (actually doing it, must continue), going to doctors, going to PT, starting yoga, monitoring my blood pressure, refraining from monitoring my blood pressure, exercising (a bit), agreeing to talk to a therapist.

I have work stress I won’t get into as it involves other people, some of whom are innocent. Let’s say serving adults who have intellectual and development disabilities, with staff who make $11 an hour, in a pandemic, is a condition I must change myself to meet.

As this is Step Four, which is a personal inventory, let me list a character defect or two that is hindering my personal change to meet conditions. For one, I’m lazy. I DON’T WANT TO MEDITATE. Confessions of an old timer. I have never been good at this. I say I’ll try and I don’t. It’s somehow easier for me to submit to yoga than to meditation. And my old friend fear. All of these conditions are shot through with it, the corroding thread (that’s somewhere in the Big Book).

So, onward. The direction is clear. The instructions are there. Writing this post at 730 in the morning, before work, is a feeble effort on my part to move forward in a more constructive manner. I would have otherwise spent the time engaging my fear around my body and my work.

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