from San Diego AA Coordinator, June, 2020
We are all born with a Conscience and an Ego. We all have instincts. We, as human beings are also born with the Use of Practical Reasoning, and that separates us from the animals, who, for the most part, live by their instincts. Most normal people make mistakes in their lives and that is normal since no one is perfect. Most Alcoholics, however, take their life to the brink of destruction before they are desperate enough to surrender and enter the program of Alcoholics Anonymous looking for answers. “Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper function. “(12×12 Step 4)
Most Alcoholics have deeper rooted emotional problems that far exceeds the normal range. Some of these troubles can be rectified simply by acknowledging that they exist and being willing to change our motives and behavioral habits. Unfortunately, A certain percentage of our fellowship have deeper rooted problems that are permanent and cannot be cured simply by practicing A.A. principles alone. They are often masked by the use of alcohol and when a person stops drinking and starts dealing with their behavioral problems, these things rise to the surface in the form of: O.C.D; A.D.D; Bipolar Disorder; P.T.S.D; A.D.H.D. and many others that can only be subdued by the use of medications that, in some cases, dulls the mind of the patient to the extent that they would resist taking the medication and would sooner live with the symptoms.
Not knowing this we sometimes misunderstand the people stricken by these deeper-rooted mental conditions and believe, by their sharing, that they are arrogant or egotistical when displaying behaviors that the average person is not afflicted with. These conditions are not always at the extreme levels and each of us, being Alcoholics, have a degree of behavioral problems that are outside of the normal range else why would we need to attend AA meetings. Let us consider the normal range to be 5 degrees on either side of the center line. The extremes of the abnormal behavioral problems extend out to 50% on either side of the centerline.
Let us take Fear as an example. Some people are so fearful they are afraid to walk out of their house, while others are so fearless that they may walk in front of a bus. These are the extremes, and we all fall somewhere in between.
Those of us who are fortunate enough not to be afflicted by those pre-mentioned medical disorders are fortunate in the sense that, if we practicing the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, can bring us back towards the center line and we can lead a somewhat normal life. For those unfortunate ones afflicted by those conditions, they can stay sober, but the behaviors are still apparent to us and we sometimes misunderstand and think a person is being Arrogant or Egotistical.
Until we replace the habit of judging other people, by their outward behavior, we are still on this extreme, and when we replace the habit of being judgmental with the habits of compassion and empathy we are somewhat closer to the center line. We can change all those alcoholic behaviors when we recognize them, simply by looking deeper into our motives for all the defects pointed out in the A.A, program.
Steps Six and Seven begins this process of recognizing our defects of character, based on our thinking, and changing the shortcomings or actions, as the result of our thinking. “There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” (BB pg. 58)
My question is, do we have the capacity to be accepting when we recognize that some of us have these deeper-rooted problems and that we cannot compare them to ourselves and be judgmental about these cases. Love, Compassion and Empathy are the center line positions in these cases. God does the judging.
~ Rick R.