Letting Go of Old Ideas

Will C. greeted me at my first meeting and was instrumental in my early recovery. Like his life, Will kept his sharing very simple. He would often say one or two sentences then close with "I came from my drinking, but I stayed for my thinking." This slogan has taken on increasingly more meaning for me as the years pass by.

I didn't become a drunk because I loved the taste of scotch (although it didn't hurt). As Bill says "bottles were only a symbol." I drank because alcohol gave me a sense of ease and comfort--a temporary escape from the anxiety that gnawed constantly at my well-being. I know today that anxiety is a product of believing fearful, guilty and resentful thoughts. Like the Cajuns on the bayou who marry their cousins, my thoughts mate and a whole slew of mutated ideas result. Here's a short list of the false beliefs, my moldy oldies, that have surfaced so far:

People should treat me with respect; I can control how others feel --about me; Life should be fair. I am not good enough; People should keep their promises; more money will make me happy; I need to be in control; I am right about mostly everything; I know what’s best for me.

The insidious thing about these beliefs is that I don't even know I have them -- until somebody pushes one of my buttons that is. Then watch out. I will not only freely give away my peace of mind, but I'm likely to take yours hostage too! Going to meetings alone may keep me sober, but meetings alone will not restore me to sanity. I must be changed at depth. The steps, especially four through seven, open the door to truth by bringing these false thoughts into my conscious awareness. Only after seeing my stinking thinking up close and personal, can I finally be willing to be changed. As Bill said, "we learned we had to get rid of our old ideas absolutely." That word -- absolutely -- doesn't leave much wiggle room.