Not long after the mailbox incident I posted about yesterday, I came home from work and there were two dogs sleeping in our front yard. They were reasonably well fed but had no collars. Clearly, someone had gotten tired of the dogs and dumped them on our street. My wife wanted to do “something” for them. I immediately went into my “we already have three rescue dogs . . .” The larger of the two abandoned dogs was panting from lack of water. The little one incessantly barked at me. The larger would walk in front of the barking dog trying to quiet him basically saying “hey we are lost, these people are at least paying attention to us, I am thirsty, give it a rest.” Fresh from the mailbox incident, I was able to process through my selfishness a bit quicker this time. Our dogs were barking like crazy on the inside of the house. I got the strays a bucket of water that they drank up quickly. An hour later they were still laying in our front yard. My wife sent out an email to the neighborhood asking if anyone was missing the dogs. It was going to rain. I went to get a couple of kennels from our back yard to set in the front so the dogs could at least stay out of the rain. By the time I got to the front, the dogs had followed someone else down the street. They did not come back.
Here is my point in telling these stories. I am forever grateful to Alcoholics Anonymous for giving me the tools to at least process through my behaviors. I thoroughly enjoy and am excited by the fact that I can continue to make progress well into recovery, never achieving perfection. During my active alcoholism, I would never even questioned my motives and behaviors. I always started from the premise that I was right and it was the world that was wrong. I realize today, the “I am right” attitude often is still my starting point, but through the experience, strength, and hope of recovery, I am able to move beyond my own self-serving behaviors and think about others as well. That gift is what keeps me coming back. Two of my favorite sayings are “process, not an event” and “progress, rather than perfection.” To me, that is where the action of recovery lies.