Giving Away My Serenity

The first time I heard the voice was on a hot sticky summer evening in 2003. I was nine years sober and working a decent program.

After an argument with my wife, I had retreated to my office at home, slamming the door behind me. Bam! In the font of my anger, slamming the door was my exclamation point. Years before, then with a different wife, I had slammed an expensive dinner plate onto the kitchen floor. It shattered into a million tiny pieces. I learned that door slamming was cheaper and more effective. Sometimes a few pictures fell off the wall, but usually nothing broke. Besides, if I didn’t get the right satisfaction from slamming the door the first time, I could always slam it again, harder. Bam! BAM! You just can’t do that with a broken dinner plate.

My face felt purple as wave after wave of adrenaline surged though me. I panted in short shallow gasps. Had this been a cartoon you would have seen steam shooting out of both of my ears like Popeye just before he finally eats the spinach and clobbers Bluto. Pow!

Then I heard the voice. It said, “You don’t have to live this way anymore if you don’t want to.” It was the first time in my life I realized I had a choice in the way I reacted to the people and events in my life. I realized that every time I react in judgment of others my peace of mind goes out the window. I not only say and do hurtful things, but I give away my serenity. This is just shooting myself in the foot.

That evening I made peace of mind my number one goal. Today, more than seven years later, I’m not perfect, but I’m a lot better.