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.

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