Detach with love is perhaps the most difficult spiritual instruction I've encountered during my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous. When I was new I remember an old timer saying, "My job is to love everyone. I don't have to like everyone. I don’t have to hang out with people I don't like.” Twenty plus years later I still have trouble loving people I don’t like, but I’m getting better.
It helps me to realize it’s not them, it’s me. Today I can see that other people are put in my life to help me grow. When I'm awake, I see others are just a mirror for me. They reflect my good qualities and my so-called bad qualities. It's easy to be around people who reflect my good qualities, but it's uncomfortable when I see in others what I don't like about myself.
I had a friend in Shanghai who served as a mirror for me. We had been friends for fifteen years before I moved back to the US. We served together as founding board members of the Shanghai Alano Club. Like me, he has always been crotchety, quick to see what’s wrong, negative. But apparently I changed because a year and a half ago while visiting Shanghai I realized his negativity really bothered me. I told him about it and I haven’t heard from him since.
Yesterday I received a call from a member in Shanghai who told me this man was having a rough go of it. He has very serious health problems, was isolating and not reaching out for help. It immediately came to mind that he had talked about suicide in the past. I wondered what I could do. Then I remembered he had a daughter living in Seattle. I didn't know her first name, but I was able to track her down. My first impulse was to contact her and tell her what's going on with her dad, but my higher self instructed me to wait. I realized I loved this man and felt sad about his circumstance, but I was emotionally detached enough to allow God to work things out in his time and in his way.