But in AA we slowly learned (Step Four continued)

But in A.A. we slowly learned that something had to be done about our vengeful resentments, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. We had to see that every time we played the big shot, we turned people against us. We had to see that when we harbored grudges and planned revenge for such defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others. We learned that if we were seriously disturbed, our first need was to quiet that disturbance, regardless of who or what we thought caused it.

I find this to be a bit old-fashioned and male. I hope I don’t play the big shot, it’s really not my style. I also don’t think I turn people against me on anything like a regular basis. Turn them off, maybe. It all sounds to me like what business men do when business men do business.

I do know something, however, about resentment, self-pity, and unwarranted pride. And unfortunately I am at times seriously disturbed. The step goes on to talk about erratic emotions. These excesses of negative emotion that we hear about again in Step 10 are a signal to me to think about my character defects. What in me can’t stay calm no matter what’s going on? Why do I revisit, again and again, fear, worry, anxiety – especially why, when nothing is actually terribly wrong?

I’ve learned to quiet the disturbance sufficiently to stay sober and also sufficiently to live calmly and happily most of the time. I give more mental time and space to things than I want to, though. I’m grateful today that the road map of the steps points me toward a solution that may really work. It tells me to get better.

July 10, 2021 (this day)

I was having a bit of writer’s block, so I looked back to the first image I had posted here, 13 years ago, in 2008. I took this picture through my windshield after an ice storm. I still think it represents how I felt before I got sober. Thirteen years ago I started telling my story here, my drinking story. The sober story is less dramatic and at times I feel like “this day” holds no interest to me or to others. I took the title “this day” from the Lord’s Prayer, intending to chronicle in a way the sober day of a long-sober person.

So this actual day. I work Monday through Friday so I have this day off. It’s cool here, in a place that can often be hot this time of year, so my wife and I walked on a river trail for two miles. That’s about all I can stand on this day. I have knee problems, foot problems, endurance problems. But I’m healthy. Tonight we’ll go to our in person meeting and not, I hope, hold hands. The virus is low in my area.

My AA friends and I made it through the pandemic this far. New people have joined us and I feel it now more than ever, how the presence of new people gives life to the meetings, the program, my sobriety. My wife and I have gone to a few other in person meetings. We sit less than six feet apart for more than 15 minutes and it makes me nervous. But it’s really good to hear different people say different things. We became rather insular this past year, and we made it through.

My health concerns continue and in a week and half, I’ll be getting hearing aids. My hearing loss is mild but my tinnitus is awful. I’m hopeful the aids will help it, but I don’t want to be too disappointed if they don’t.

Every morning before week, we listen to “Writing the Big Book.” It’s long and little boring and a little sacrilegious. “Worshipping the book” has always worried me, and Big Book thumping turns me off. At the same time the pending revisions of the Big Book worry me and I’m grateful my relationship with the books has been so long. Living in sobriety through multiple additions is an extreme blessing.