Emotional Sobriety

I listed the name "Danny" near the top of my  resentment list on my first fourth step. Until a few years earlier, he had been a life-long friend. He even served as best man at my wedding. In the second column I wrote "He's a jerk, he snubbed me." Under "How it affected me", I wrote: self esteem, fear, insecurity. I simply could not see I had any part so I left the fourth column blank. During my fifth step my sponsor asked for details on what Danny had actually done to me. I said, "He became a very successful lawyer and made a ton of money." My sponsor looked at me kind of funny and asked how Danny's success had harmed me. "It made me jealous", I said.  "How is making you jealous harming you?" I didn't have an answer so I reluctantly scratched Danny off my resentment list.

I was taught to refer to column three as the "Three Esses" - sex, society and security. Security has two components: physical security and emotional security. I didn't really understand the importance of emotional security until I read Bill Wilson's essay, Emotional Sobriety, a few years later. This paragraph jumped out at me:

"Suddenly I realized what the matter was.  My basic flaw had always been dependence - almost absolute dependence - on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security and the like.  Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I had fought for them, and when defeat came, so did my depression."

Part of me still wants you to love me the way I think you should - to make me feel all warm and fuzzy. But a larger part of me understands that serenity comes not from dependence on others but from independence of spirit. I gain this independence by allowing the other people in my life to be exactly who they are. This is a daily challenge for me because there is so very much I could do to fix them (Smiling).

Emotional security means I no longer depend on anyone or anything for my happiness and well being. Instead I grow to trust my Higher Power with every detail of my life. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm closer than ever.