“There’s nothing I hate more than a cheat,” was the indignant observation of a caller the other day as he described the actions of one of his latest ‘babies.’ “What irritates me most, I guess, is that he’s treating me like his wife and family, and has the conceited notion that he’s outwitting me! ME, once one of the most expert in double-crossing my wife, my family, my boss and all my friends who foolishly trusted me-before AA.”
How often we hear this complaint. How often we have voiced the same disgust and anger!
But let’s first examine ourselves before we judge everyone else. Are we perfect? Are we absolutely honest and completely dependable? Unless we are, we must learn to exercise more patience with the people who offend us than we do. A wise man once stated that the qualities we criticize most in other people are those we are often times guilty ourselves.
For example, let’s take the fault people object to the most – the breaking of faith. Our entire society is based on faith. Business in general could collapse without faith in the honesty of people. Only a small percentage of persons, fortunately, try to outwit them and invariably are caught and punished.
Accordingly, many whose “track-record” is poor at home or at work, keep their promises to the banks and the merchants only because of fear of the punishment they might suffer.
What causes people to break faith with those close to them who are zealous in maintaining excellent credit (faith) in business relations? Is it conceit? Does the offender think he knows more than the person he offends and fears his decision to do what he wants to do might be questioned?
This fault often starts with just a little fabrication to cover a bit of carelessness. How easy it would be to swallow pride and admit the fault! But, cheating “just a little,” he gets by with his breach of faith. It was so easy, without being conscious of it, he begins to lose respect for the person he fooled and, inevitably begins to develop a pattern. Getting by with little ones, he tries bigger ones until his luck runs out, and faith is destroyed.
Like the extravagant youngster who dipped into his father’s box of rubber bands. The kid had no sense of value, so he stretched and stretched each band until it broke. So does the breaker of faith stretch and snap the trust of those near and dear to him.
We in AA know that pattern. The stories we manufactured, the bluffs we tried, the lies we told! The more we drank the more fantastic our tales were, and in our blurry condition it was impossible to see the hurt look of broken faith in the eyes of the people who loved us.
Just as inevitably as night follows day, unless we elevate our standards and are convinced that we can’t cheat even a little, we won’t find that serenity which seems so elusive to us and yet is possessed by seemingly so many in our ken.
It’s a real challenge to all of us.