Today an old friend celebrated 23 years without a drink. A lot has happened in the last couple of years for him. He was out of work for about three years but now has a steady job. He also seldom goes to AA meetings anymore. Most likely, he will go to one to pick up his medallion. I remember when he would go to 3-4 meetings a week. And now he probably hasn't been to one is over six months.
I know that he suffers from ADHD. And he still has a lot of the "isms" in spite of all those years of sobriety. But what he does with his recovery isn't any of my business. I am glad that he has celebrated another year of sobriety. I can't help but wonder what he would be like if he were attending meetings and had a sponsor. But I keep my mouth shut and wonder at the power of alcoholism that manages to have a hold on someone even after so many years without a drink.
Self-centered fear is described as being "the chief activator of our defects" in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fear stems from thinking "that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded. Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration." I see my friend as having a lot of fear and frustration.
Being a victim of circumstances in life and exuding negative energy makes a person difficult to be around. I see how the self-centered alcoholic thinking narrows the universe down to just what is in their sphere. I used to wonder how alcoholics could only be concerned about themselves. Now I see that being a victim, whether alcoholic or not, tends to make a person think mostly about what their problems are. People who are victims seldom seem interested in what others are doing because all the focus is on their own situation.
What if a person decided to stop being a victim and focus outside of themselves, broadening the world to include others and inquire after their happiness? I think that is where a real difference can be made towards having a life that is full and rewarding versus one that is confined and negative. But it takes a real change in attitude and behavior.
I don't know if my friend has victim mentality. I know that I did for a long time. I blamed the alcoholic for most of my unhappiness, until I began to wonder who had erected the prison that I was living in. No one was forcing me to stick around for emotional abuse. I did that willingly. When I came face to face with my own victim mentality, I began to see that the walls of isolation and self-pity were erected by me.
Moving away from being a victim and accepting my part was key to having healthy relationships with others. I have no one to blame but myself if I stick around for abuse. I am glad to have stopped wondering who is doing what to me and why. I can look at what I am doing which has made a huge difference in my life.