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The idea that an individual, who is finally quitting substances, must continue being selfish is a tough pill to swallow.
Family members often feel like they've tolerated enough.
Think of how quickly we lambaste those in religious or political authority who fall short. Having such an unrealistic expectation pushes the newcomer to pose the question: "If they're sober, why are they still jerks? Here is another fact: Many recovering addicts do not actually practice the program as they claim to.
This is true for many who claim religious propriety (remember that guy with the religious bumper sticker driving selfishly or flashing a nasty gesture).
The newly recovering family member says: "I know, but I can't (help around the house, take Bobby to practice, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom) because I have to make my AA meeting. Sometimes, consider how your behavior has affected others.
I don't want to slip and I have to be selfish about my recovery." As with most problems, the solution is as difficult or simple as we make it. Or maybe those crotchety old timers like to complain about life. Indeed, most people who are jerks are not sober alcoholics and they are acting out on their "anger issues.." It is ridiculous to suggest that, unlike the general population, sober alcoholics should be emotionally perfect.
She believed that, even after decades of recovery, some people were "still messed up and acting out their issues." Similarly, a reader who commented on my post, "What Recovering Alcoholics Can Teach Us About Happiness," discussed her negative experience in AA.Many newcomers wonder how long-time members can make these claims when sober members are still acting out. One such expectation: Sobriety will resolve all the issues that addiction has caused.Initially, newcomers see hope in what long-time members offer.Or the newcomer has unrealistic expectations and judges others unfairly. Acceptance of one another and each individual's right to walk her own path is the solution. Many sober alcoholics had horrendous childhoods, often brought up by active alcoholics.It is hardly surprising thatfolks with such backgrounds have difficulty coping.
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We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.