Over the years during which I have been sober, I have begun to realise that, for a long time, I had an almost inherent sense of being a victim. It was always 'me against the world'. Rightly or wrongly, I always found myself in combat with people around me, feeling that I had to fight my corner against some imagined form of oppression. My attitude of 'victim' was set - and nothing ever seemed to go my way - or so I thought. My job didn't pay me enough, my partner wasn't loving enough, my family didn't understand me, my friends weren't loyal enough. It was always something.
What I have discovered, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, is that in order for that paradigm to work - in order for me to be a victim - something had to be the perpetrator. Some person or entity had to be the abuser. This revelation allowed me to see, with absolute clarity, that constantly throughout my life, I was seeking out notions to oppose me, simply so that I could maintain my belief that I was the victim. It allowed me to feel justified in my self-pity and self-obsession.
It was never justified. Constructing a dishonest life, in order to fool myself into believing that I deserve more, is one of the great delusions of my drinking.I find, however, that I can slip back into this way of thinking very easily. I find that a few speed bumps, as I trudge the road of Happy Destiny, often leave me wondering, "what is the point in bothering at all?!" I find that, in these moments, it is useful to take stock of the situation and have a look at what is really going on. I ask myself, in all earnestness, "Is there really a conspiracy against me?"
The majority of the time, the overwhelming answer is, 'No.' Not only is the answer 'no' but moreover, I am, in fact, deliberately exaggerating the hurdles that I face, often in order to make them seem more insurmountable than they are.
When I look at the situation, that I face, with honesty and clarity, often I find that things are not against me, but that, in fact, I am living life on life's terms and with that comes challenges. Challenges can be hard to face, challenges can be difficult to overcome, challenges may, at times, seem unfair, but I feel safe in the knowledge that the Spirit of the Universe isn't out to get me. Realising this means that I can let go of my preoccupation with the outcome and start focusing on the action.
What is the next right thing I must do? How can I keep moving forward? Where is the best opportunity for me to be useful to others?
When I re-frame my struggles in that context, suddenly it doesn't seem like I'm scaling Everest, surrounded by my friends and family, heckling me from the summit. When I re-frame my struggles with the notion of following God's will, they become an opportunity to learn and to grow.
Now, whenever the opportunity arises and I have a fellow looking to me for advice, I can review my past and say, "Well, here are the actions that I took." Maybe - just maybe - that will help someone.