If we were to live, we had to be free of anger
“If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.” – BB, pg. 66
Oh, how badly do I want to be cranky and angry today! I want to run around screaming “I told you so!” and “What is WRONG with you people!?” Ugh. Emotional sobriety is tough. Like, super tough.
“Wait, wait, wait…so now you’re telling me that it’s not enough to not drink or even to stop obsessing over drinking, but now I gotta be all hippie zen, too?” Umm, yeah, pretty much. I would have to say that pages 66-67 are my favorite out of the Big Book… probably because that’s what I need to work on the most. This is where we work out that crazy transition on our 4th step that takes us from why this person is making me angry to what we have done that causes us to be angry regarding this person. It takes us out of a victim mentality and brings us to a place where we can be of service to the very person that has caused us so much grief. Woah. I have seriously devoted quite a bit of time studying the two magical paragraphs that straddle pages 66 & 67. I have to, because otherwise I get my panties in a wad over stupid stuff and next thing I know I want a drink & to drink is to die.
So yeah, emotional sobriety is essential to maintaining sobriety. Just like the urge to drink, we are powerless over our emotions. We can’t stop ourselves from getting angry or sad or joyful or what have you. We CAN keep ourselves from reacting to these emotions, though. (Please note: This is NOT an invitation to go out and harass your alcoholic friend. Though we learn to keep ourselves from reacting, that doesn’t mean we’re very good at it and it’s not my fault if he punches you in the face.) Just because something hurts me doesn’t mean that everyone else has to hurt, too. Common sense to most of the world; major revelation to alcoholics. We have been numbing ourselves for so long that we have no idea how to deal with emotions. We need to stay close to others who can help us walk through our feelings as they come up because they WILL come and they will knock us flat on our backs.
My name is Laurie and I am an alcoholic. I must keep myself at a level of contentment because I will drink if I get too high or too low. Every single day I have to work to maintain my emotional sobriety.