[Extracted from the monthly ECO NEWS - July 2019]
Confessions of a Martyr
It is from a place of amazement that this story is written ... recalling a time when my thinking moved off the pink cloud and onto a long, dry plateau...then back again…full to the brim with gratitude, for all the miracles in my life.
Today I’m not afraid to share who I was in early sobriety, for the possibility that someone else may be feeling this way as well. A well-worn phrase often heard in and out of meetings is that “we are as sick as the secrets we keep.” In that respect, I offer this experience:
- I’m not aware of when my thinking changed from enjoying service work to be the martyr of service in my home group, but it did happen. My ego was involved. And perhaps a good example of a bad example was in full operation. I somehow believed that AA wouldn’t be able to function without me – only unless I opened the meeting room, made the coffee and chaired the meetings, week after week. I knew meetings were keeping me sober, but I wanted more…. I wanted a thank you from others and a deeper appreciation for ‘what I was doing for everyone else’.
Strange but true.
Today I recognize these were the thoughts of a born and bred people pleaser. There was no inner work happening; I had stopped working on me …instead keeping the focus on others – for outside recognition - and to my detriment. Slowly, over a few years, it dawned on me ... I was no one’s saviour, not even my own.
I’d come home from a meeting where the focus was on the newcomers attending their first meeting. In my head I congratulated myself for all the “good things” I said to them that would help them. Some phrases came back to me. I said to myself: “That’s really good advice, why don’t I do that?” That other old phrase “If you spot it, you got it” rings true here.
At whatever point I became aware that working on me is the only way I can possibly give back what was given to me. I also fell in love again, with service work. There are so many opportunities to give in Alcoholics Anonymous, at whatever level you feel qualified – or even unqualified - in which to serve. What I found out is that, moving to another level of service, I met many wonderful role models who were involved in service while also doing their own work. It’s a blessing like none other.
I overhead someone on TV recently say, “Transparency is the best disinfectant.” In that vein, it feels good to shine some light on one aspect of my darker self…. for your amusement, judgment or possible ability to relate to such things yourself. It’s great to be off the plateau!
Thanks for your time and thank you always for my sobriety.
Area 78 Delegate, Alberta, NWT, W. Nunavut