AROUND THE TABLES, passing years and the sweet rewards of not taking the first drink have aided my development of a new habit, namely, patience. I can listen to an AA telling the same story for the hundredth time and still say, “Don’t worry. Call any time you need help,” At a business meeting of my group, I can say, “Okay, I’ll be happy to serve as coffee maker for another six months.” I’ve acquired infinite tolerance for anyone who is working the program, even when it’s not being worked my way.
Sneaking into my house of virtue, however, is my dear old pal, pride. I recognize it when I look at myself relative to those future AAs who are out on the byways of alcoholism. Just how much patience, tolerance, understanding, compassion, and yes, love, am I giving them? Well, it turns out with the daily Tenth Step, damn little. I confess that I try to be a good example not pressure those potential AAs, but am I really treating them properly?
Consider my reaction toward lies. After my own past career, why should I be resentful, angry, or surprised at the constant stream of lies from active alcoholics? My experience tells me that I should put zero reliance on their word, and yet I do rely on it–and then get mad when these drunks don’t live up to my standards.
Once again, I come back to seeing in others a fault that is clearly mine–not being honest. So I return to the Steps, take a new inventory, and work on me, not on those others. In this way, I think I’ll be able to develop some degree of patience with the future AAs. Strange, isn’t it, what working Steps Four and Ten do to one’s ego?