Wanting What I Get

"Life is a sh*t sandwich and it's always lunchtime." This was my favorite expression during the last few years of my drinking. I said it to get a laugh from the lower companions I met at the bar every afternoon for "happy" hour, but part of me believed it totally. It beautifully summed up my attitude about life. I was negative, cynical and sarcastic, but I couldn’t figure out why my life was swirling down the toilet. In my mind I was a pretty nice guy just going through a bad patch.

Gratefully, in the midst of this insanity, I was graced with a moment of clarity. I was led to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous where I learned I have a disease called alcoholism. You said I needed to undergo a complete change of attitude or I would drink again. You went on to say the only way to change my attitude is to change my behavior. I had to act my way into better thinking.

I watched the old timers and the other regulars at the meetings. They seemed to move through life effortlessly. I wanted what they had so I began to do what they did. I went to a bunch of meetings, put my hand out to newcomers, made coffee and helped to put away the chairs. Slowly my attitude began to change. I began to see the glass half full rather than half empty. My drive for money, power and prestige gave way to my desire for a peaceful life. Today I see life as an exciting adventure not a painful endurance contest.

I used to gag when someone would say something like, "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade." But today I know that every experience holds a gift designed for my growth if I am willing to look for it. The secret to a happy life is wanting what I get, not getting what I want.