August 17, 2013: "learning how to live in the greatest peace, partnership, and brotherhood with all men and women, of whatever description, is a moving and fascinating adventure." From the twelve and twelve, step eight. I am going to make mistakes today, because very often I will not use the evidence of now to make a decision, I will rely on history and automatically make assumptions which do not fit with the reality of now.
When I make assumptions, I am assuming I know something without checking the evidence. So easy to rush to judgement and rely on old ways to solve a problem today. After months of worrying and complaining and making reports to my landlord about the state of my plumbing, my neighbour, who lives downstairs, also complained about the state of their ceilings due to water damage. My water drains were declared safe and secure and working yet again. When I had a look downstairs, the water damage is profound and dangerous. My assumptions were right in this case, and the lack of due diligence by my landlord is causing great suffering to another. My landlord and their agents made assumptions which were wrong. And I was right. And yet there is no satisfaction in knowing I was right. There is still a profound wrong going on. Forgiveness is a key?
If I can make mistakes today and acknowledge it, I can forgive myself. And if I make assumptions and mistakes which involve other people I can forgive myself and apologise to those who were impacted. Even though I apologise, I don't expect forgiveness back. So I know my part in matters, make mistakes and make sure I acknowledge what has happened. It does not mean I will be forgiven by other people. And the same is true when we are making the list of amends and developing the willingness to make them. It is not what other people do, all we can do is try rectify and make good on what we do. It is not for me to comment on the behaviour of other people, I see it and understand it. I do not need to find other people's behaviour acceptable when it is patently wrong, it is up to me to decide my part in matters and usually let go and move on as soon as I am able. Just because I'm right, it does not mean that one or many will follow my example. I as well as them, can make up our own minds what to do next.
I often mention that the steps help me mostly learn how to love people, be loved back by other people and relate well to the rest of the world. I can love people and hate their behaviour. And in recent years I have learned that some people will keep on behaving badly no matter what happens. Why do people behaved badly towards each other? There are millions of reasons for bad behaviour, all I now know is I do not have to behave like them. And for those who continue to behave badly, I do not need have them in my life unless there is a real reason and no possible way around it. I still don't need to behave badly, all I need do is keep to my path and my integrity. I can do this most of the time and yet sometimes we do have to have a very long spoon when we sup with the devil.
Wind up merchants: there are plenty of antagonistic people around the world. And somehow the antagonistic people are very good at picking at our old wounds and vulnerabilities. People who know me well, and don't like me because of their prejudice or because of how I conduct myself can be undermining. Someone who used to get under my skin, and try to wind me up would accuse me of having taken a drink or being drunk when talking to them. The ultimate pick and dig? Of course I hadn't been drinking, and talking to them produced nothing good. At first, and in early recovery I was quite angry. And then later in recovery, I felt sadness and sorrow. And these days it doesn't happen, I simply forgive, and oddly enough it is only professionals in the medical world who keep on asking the question about my sobriety, because they do not believe that alcoholics can stay sober, not just for one day, for many years on end. Professionals can doubt me, because they doubt themselves…
Letters from authoritative sources can be very irritating in recovery. And one of the things which I still find very irritating are standard letters which have veiled threats within them. A recent letter from the medical practice suggested that I needed to have a medical review in order to receive medication for my diabetes. The reason why there is a medical review is because the medical practice issued the wrong prescription and updated it with generic medications, and also prescribed the wrong syringes. Prescribing the wrong syringes might seem like a minor issue, it is not, it means that the syringe would go deep enough to hit a vein or artery and as a result put me in mortal danger. Fortunately I know the consequences of not checking and making sure the medical practice does things right, because they often make mistakes. On this occasion it is not a matter of forgiveness, it is a matter of sorting out the administration, making sure they do their job properly and challenging the status quo. And I will still need to keep on checking what the medical practice does, because they are generally incompetent and defensive and issue letters which suggest it is the patient's fault and not that of the practice. Very naughty!
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