I’m trying to change. I really am…

He said softly, “How did I get here?” I was not sure if he was speaking to me or if it was just a sigh that had turned into a question, but I didn’t respond. His head lifted and then he looked me straight in the eye. This time his voice was clear and the words were said with intensity. “Why do I keep repeating the same mistakes? Shouldn’t I be farther along in this process? I’ve done the meetings, said the prayers, took commitments and even followed your stupid directions. What’s wrong with me?”

Before I could reassure him that he was not as bad off as he believed, he followed with more of his self-loathing. “Look at me! I’m maladjusted to life; a full flight from reality at times! Come on, drinking or not, and although I am a full grown adult, no matter how hard I try, I remain childish, grandiose and basically emotionally immature.” “Why do you say that?” I replied.

“It’s the anxiety I feel right now, or maybe it’s the depression when thinking too much, the fear…the…and that intense desire for excitement. Always! Throw on top of all that an obsessive, compulsive, impulsive, excessive need for attention and acceptance! You are supposed to help me, what’s wrong with me?” It didn’t seem appropriate to give him an answer yet. No, this was far too important to just hand him an answer. He wanted once again an immediate gratification. It wouldn’t help him anymore than handing a bottle over to him.

“Tell me, is your thought life controlled by fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self pity?”

“Haven’t you been listening?”

“Slow down! Think about this before answering me. What are your motives?”



“Yes, but not always…sometimes.”

“Your motives, if they’re left unattended, do they seem to arouse in you a need to engage in what may be considered as dangerous behavior?”

“Sometimes? What are you now, some kind of shrink?”

“No, you are just like I used to be. Pride, anger, envy, greed, sloth, gluttony, I really wanted it all. When I got that way, it made me really emotionally sensitive. Raw. All this means is typically we both have a really strong tendency towards taking everything we see or hear personally if left unattended.”

“Really? You feel like that too?”

“Yep, but not all the time any more. In fact rarely any more. I used to be that way all the time. When I came to this program I was a spiritually bankrupt idealist and a brooding perfectionist. Because of this I was constantly defensive and guarded. To cope, I would rationalize, minimize, justify and deny all of my actions while casting blame upon others. To make this even worse, I got a distinct delight and a twisted pleasure out of judging and criticizing everybody I met.

“Wow, no wonder why you drank so much. It must of been hell living like that. What did you do?”

“For the longest time, I did just the same thing that you’ve been doing and feeling. I was just as helpless, hopeless. I felt like I didn’t fit in, I knew that I didn’t belong- I just knew that I must be different than all the rest. The only thing in the past that satisfied my restless, irritable and dissatisfied nature was drugs and alcohol; lots too. You know how that, even that way to find some comfort, eventually stopped working. So I was finally ready to surrender. The pain was finally greater than the fear of change. I hope you don’t have to wallow in the pain as long as I did before you do something about it”

“I am trying to change; I really am.”

“I know. I can see that you are trying. I know you are because we are the same except for one thing; I have worked through the fear and got into action. What has been suggested by this program really is a sufficient substitute to the drugs and frankly vastly more than that.”

“So you know it all, don’t you! You think you have it all figured out.”

“No, far from it. I realize I know only a little but God does disclose more to me and he will for you too, if you will let him. Remember that God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, but he won’t do for us what we can do for ourselves. You need to fearlessly make an introspective look at the causes and conditions that have brought you to this point in your life. When you do, you will be amazed with what you see. Then that new found awareness will be amplified when you share what you’ve found with another person who can bring it all into a better focus. Just like what’s happening right now.”

A Attitude of Gratitude New Found Awareness

Step 12: New Found Awareness

(Below is a vision that I wrote out years ago. It’s being shared because it has come true for me and I believe that some of these changes can happen for you too.)

And Then One Day: You realize that it’s time to stop hoping, dreaming and waiting for something to change. You realize that you, and only you, are responsible for the quality of your life. You come to terms with the fact that there are no guarantees and seemly without provocation, a sense of serenity is born out of this acceptance.

You become aware to the basic fact that you are not perfect (because no one is) and you learn to admit when you are wrong. You understand that it’s not important that everyone adore, appreciate or even approve of who or what you are. It’s not needed because you know in both head and heart that everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions.

This new found awareness reveals itself typically when you notice that there is no need for blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can ever really expect is the unexpected. And you are not just ok with this uncertainty, you welcome it because it is living with a Divine Expectation. This way of living is evidence of The Holy Spirit’s guidance and you allowing for it. It’s a cooperation with God for no other reason than an agreement with him.

You accept that people only do what is important to them and will never do anything they don’t really want to do. And if something offensive happens, it’s not always about you. You stop judging and look more at similarities than differences. You begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their character defects.

You realize that much of the way you viewed yourself, and the world around you, is the result of false beliefs that have been deeply imbedded into your subconscious. You begin to sort through how you have been taught how you should act, how you should look, and what you owe your family and friends. These illusions fall away and your self worth is no longer dependent on what others think. What people think of you is really none of your business; what God thinks about you is now your only business.

You open up to different points of view and you value what others think, even when its a different view point. Now, you don’t have to agree with someone to appreciate them.

As time passes, you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn that you don’t have to know everything, that it’s not your job to save the world or anyone in it. This does not mean you don’t care; just the opposite. You just now have a detached compassion for others. Through personal experience, you learn about unconditional love and when to leave well enough alone. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be.

You stop trying to control people and outcomes. You also learn that no one can do life alone. You give and receive help without any strings attached. It’s no longer about results, about what happens, but how you conduct yourself. Grace under pressure describes your responses to unforeseen events. But when you pause and realize that God has been present throughout the trial, helping and guiding, you are grateful and await to recognize this prescience again. It is glorious, refreshing, reassuring, and you want more. This is Divine Expectation!

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things do happen to good people. You learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening as it does for everyone. You can live life on life’s terms and be happy when things don’t go your way. Selfishness and self-centeredness have slipped away.

You make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your personal bliss because that is just another way of speaking of God Consciousness. With courage, wisdom, strength and self-discipline you begin to experience the life you want to live, as best you can, one day at a time.

You look forward and are hopeful. You look back and you are grateful. You look around and do your best to be useful. You are now closer to being the person you were created to be than ever before.

This is what I call my Gift.