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A Pair of Ducks in Recovery: How Not To Kick Your Own Butt


Last night’s topic at our local meeting (in person) was fantastic and something, in all of my years, I’d rarely talked about since my first years; the notion that assuming everything that happens to us is our fault is not only counterproductive and counterintuitive, it can be classified as arrogant. This is the so-called ass kicking machine most new to recovery are so familiar with. I learned how to shut that down in my first couple of years and I never looked back so imagine my surprise when I read, “Where other people were concerned, we had to drop the word “blame” from our speech and thought”… then, …”I begin to realize that blaming myself for all the trouble in my life can be an ego trip back into hopelessness. Asking for help and listening deeply to the messages inherent in the Steps and Traditions of the program make it possible to change those attitudes which delay my recovery.”

The meeting that sprung from the Daily Reflections was one of the most dynamic and impressive I’ve ever been a part of. First, with just 28-years in recovery, I was one of the middle-agers. There were a couple of newer guys there, but for the most part there was some heavy hitting recovery in the room. I talked about my experience with the incorrect thinking that everything was my fault (there’s a very big difference between looking at our part in something and everything being the result of our mistakes) and the so-called ass kicking machine and how surprising the reading was to me because I always try to look at my specific part in something while leaving others to do their own inventory (it’s not easy and I tend to make missteps when I get into HALT situations – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). Here’s a passage that says we can take this too far, a point I hadn’t thought about in decades….

The others shared their experience and their difficulty with grappling with the subject because looking at our own part in any given situation, AKA keeping our side of the street clean, is what all of the winners in recovery do. We’re not used to looking at how that rule is abused.

If you knew what to look for, each and every person in the meeting with more than two years worked the third through eleventh at what the passage meant to them. It was something to behold – you don’t see that too often, where everyone in a meeting contributes real experience in literally walking through how they work the Steps in their daily lives, naturally when something confounds them, in a meeting.

For the guy I sponsor, I didn’t expect him to see it for the miracle it was as he’s too new, so I unfolded the origami for him.

Anyway, I hope I did what happened some justice (without breaking any Traditions). I can tell you, there’s nothing better than being able to really get into the nuts and bolts of recovery with a diverse bunch of friends.


5 Comments

  1. jeffw5382 says:

    The serenity prayer comes to mind )

  2. unironedman says:

    I love the serenity prayer indeed. And as a corollary to your great post, Jim, I might gently suggest that sometimes we also need to take the credit when it’s due for the good work we do. Granted, it’s always nicer when someone else points that out for us ;-), but, there are times when it’s us who have put in the hard work, and it’s positive to acknowledge that.

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