In my recovery, problems with self-righteousness are often what go on in my head, and not what comes out of my mouth. I have been doing this long enough to avoid saying the wrong things. But a shortcoming for me are the words not said, like the things left undone.
I know well enough to let folks run their own program, but that does not stop the self-righteousness in my head from running full steam. And where I may not verbalize the “You should . . . ” the sentiment often plays out in my head. So I am thinking if my mental “You should . . .” is kept in my head, so are the affirmations of “progress not perfection” that I should vocalize.
I had this come back to me this weekend. One of our daughter’s who has come through her own adversity, but still does not completely align with my prescription for daily living was up for a holiday visit, along with her daughter and nephew. I commented to my wife how well the nephew, someone I have difficulty relating to, seems to be coming along with her mentorship. Our daughter says things to him like “we are just taking it one day at a time.” I realize that my frustration with the nephew is that he is too much like looking into a mirror from over 40 years ago, and that reflection is not interested in my solutions to his problems. Our daughter, in her own less than ideal existence, has the patience and wisdom that I have not.
So I wrote her note this morning thanking her for her working with the nephew, where in all of my recovery grandiosity, I have not. I wonder if she will receive those words in the same way as when in early recovery, when everyone wanted to take my inventory, and tell me about my character defects and shortcomings, the manager at the food co-op where I belonged complimented me on how I always showed up for my shifts and worked hard. Now, I still remember over 25 years later how that simple comment in an otherwise existence of adversity brought tears to my eyes.
I must remember to not let the positive words remain unsaid or the acts undone.