(from Essay December 2019)
I am ready in Step 7 to ask God to remove another shortcoming and in Step 9 make amends to someone I hurt. I was ready with resentment and anger when my spouse opposed me or came to me with a complaint. In truth, it was never the content of her words but the temperature of my lust fever that determined my response because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Upon hearing her complaint (large or small) I retaliated with silence, sulking and isolation. I nursed resentments with dark self talk, isolated from God and anyone who could help.
Yesterday, she shared a complaint which I received with attention and compassion. I saw what I did and the impact it had. I wanted to know more and asked questions. I apologized. My spouse admitted she was afraid to share this complaint because I have move away from her, punishing her with cold-hearted sulking and silence. By God’s empowering gift of sobriety I am more open to hear and respond to opposition in all my relationships in a healthy way.
Alcoholics Anonymous p. 62 says, “Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity? Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows …”
In Step 7 I ask God to remove my shortcoming of punishing and moving away and isolating from opposition or complaint. The Step 9 amends is to build assurance through consistent and repeated actions so my spouse can stand on a safe and secure foundation, able to share complaints or voice opposition honestly without fear of my retailiation. I pray to receive her words patiently with an open mind, ready to listen well; to see where lust, resentment, self-delusion, self-seeking and pride are at work; and to respond with healthy attitude of truth and love.
I can never be sufficiently grateful for finding a spiritual connection to God through SA and the 12 Steps. God has given me the willingness to take the action of asking Him to remove my character defects and He is both willing and able.
This article in February 2019 Essay, p. E15, hit home: “If I am not sober, it is impossible that there can be peace in my relationships, it is impossible to contact the real in me and the real in another. If my sobriety is negative, the most likely result is that others suffer the consequences and are victims of my lack of control … That is the power of this disease (and my irresponsibility) that distorts everything to the point of not being able to see clearly in myself, and only reacting to those consequences without realizing what is happening to me.”
Bruce A., Maryland, USA