- Samuel Johnson -
I went to a good meeting yesterday. The topic was on being positive which was something that I needed to hear and share about.
I am a positive person but my exuberance for life can be a bit much at times. As one person shared yesterday, "Syd, I hated to be around people like you before I came into the program. I had nothing but negative thoughts and didn't want to be reminded of anything positive."
If I get too optimistic about life, then I start to build those expectations. And expectations lead to disappointment and then resentment. These are things that I know. And by understanding what is going on, there comes enlightenment about the triggers for my behavior.
I know that I would rather be optimistic than negative in outlook. But I also don't ascribe to the Pollyanna effect in which my optimism denies reality. I know I am not blind to bad situations. I don't try to turn the facts around to make things seem happy.
For me, actions speak louder than words. My wife is sober. I'm grateful. She doesn't believe in a Higher Power and has worked Step One and the second half of Step Twelve. I can't do much about that. I accept that she still has the disease of alcoholism.
I have been accused of not trusting her totally. I guess in a "normal" situation, I would be able to trust her. But ours is not a normal situation because one of us is an alcoholic and the other one has been severely affected by alcoholism. I know that her intentions are good. It does no good to build expectations that can't be met. Or to punish each other for unfulfilled promises. I know that we have each punished ourselves enough on our own.
So, as I've written before, the program takes practice. And here is what I keep practicing:
- To say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean.
- Not to stuff my feelings.
- Not to cruelly punish others but to detach from them and yet still love them.
- Not sink their ship but don't try to keep it afloat.
- Allow others the dignity to face their own consequences -- as it is of their own making.
- And most important put the focus back on myself. That is how I will keep a positive attitude going. If I look to other people to make me happy, I am going to be in a perpetual state of disappointment, anger, and frustration, and then look back and wonder where my life went.