I realize how incredibly selfish I can be. I am good at casually, but intentionally, including in my shares and stories things like “during the two years I drove Meals on Wheels 5 days a week” or “during one of my recent medical mission trips to Panama” and so forth. But I also realize that those are acts done on my terms, when I choose to do them. I am less prone to share the times when I come up short.
Consider a Sunday morning experience not too terribly long ago. I was going to mail a letter on my way to church. I pulled into the P.O. lot to the mailbox. Another car in front of me in the line. They were fumbling with something inside their car and I was in a hurry. I congratulated myself that in the past I would have blown my horn to alert them to their being in my way. Instead, as I was running late, I got out of my car, walked beside the other car to the mailbox and put in my letter. As I walked back to my car, from the other car, came a voice “Can you do that for me too?” I pretended not to hear. As I drove away, I saw the elderly person in the car extend their hand toward the mail slot but drop their two letters on the ground. Their car door opened and they started to try and pick up the letters. I drove off. I was a half block away when the full impact of my arrogance hit me. I was a block away before I thought I should go back, but was too embarrassed to do so. I was two blocks away when I ran through all of the rationalizations on why it was really the other person’s problem and not mine – they should have pulled up closer to the box, and so forth. I was a couple more blocks away when the absolute arrogance, stupidity, and just plain inhumanity of my behavior hit me like a ton of bricks. This was probably the most knowingly inhuman act I committed in a while. My insensitivity had all of the characteristics of that “self-will run riot” of alcoholic behavior. I know that type of behavior is what will lead me to relapse. Bottom line, I did not go back, rightly or wrongly, figuring the issue was resolved by the time I processed this all through. I also became convinced that I needed and absolutely must have a complete change in attitude. Another lesson learned after some 20 odd years of sobriety. I am grateful recovery is a continuous process and not a singular event.