Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On page 62 in the literature that says "selfishness and self-centeredness we believe is the root of our problem."

But what exactly does this mean? Does this mean that if we stop being selfish we will stay sober? Does this mean that if someone starts being selfish when we're young someone could have pointed out and we wouldn't have become alcoholics?

Of course like many things in the book, these kinds of statements are subject to interpretation. If you ask 10 people at a meeting what something means, each will get on a podium to explain. There are as many opinions in 12-step meetings as there are people in the meeting.

And I myself have an opinion. My opinion is that the first thing we think about, as addicts and alcoholics is ourselves. We think about how we feel. We think about our pain. Our ego comes into play. We're always taking our emotional temperature. It's always about me, me, and me. And then when things don't work our way, and we don't get what we want, we have to figure out somehow a way to feel better. The way we feel better is to cover up our pain and misery with some kind of substance, either alcohol or drugs.

And when we think about the wisdom of those who wrote the literature notice what it says in the 12 step. "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we continued to carry the message..." If a person does what it suggests in step 12 the result is the total opposite of being selfish and self-centered. Carrying the message to others takes time. Helping others into recovery means we give of ourselves. There is nothing selfish or self-centered about carrying the message, unless we consider that we are the ones who ultimately benefit when we carry out this mandate.

The idea that anyone has the perfect interpretation of what it says in the Book, is ludicrous. However, the idea that we are trying to understand the book may mean that we are being positively selfish and self-centered and a benefit to the world.