Selfishness Program?
December 22, 2023
onion layers
Like the Layers of an Onion
January 22, 2024

There is a far too prevalent inclination in our fellowship to be annoyed by the fellow who is weighed down by his problems in life.

Patient listening is not an inherent human virtue. It must be cultivated. Some who feel that there is a reasonable limit to patience with such people, may be justified. But, who will step forward and define the proper limits of patience? Those of us who have achieved some measure of serenity while facing our problems, have more justification perhaps than others.

Many people have a relative peace of mind because of an ability to ignore problems. Remember that all of us came here with one big all engulfing problem that had us whipped. We acquired that problem because of ducking the realities of life. Literally we jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. The fact that we got back at all is a miracle of spiritual healing by God as we understand Him.

The griddle of life is chock full of problems. It was meant to be so. If you are sailing through your sober life with equanimity, the probability exists that you are so doing because you are not facing up squarely to the full reality of life and the responsibility it entails.

All of us need a deep sense of responsibility. First, we need to take charge of our own lives to the very best of our ability. To the extent that we do, we become less of a charge on others.

Having reached that point we must then move on to our responsibility toward others. We should have a constant awareness of the time when we were whipped and helpless, and but for willing, eager help from others, we might have perished.

That one in our midst, who in the early years of sobriety is constantly burdened with what to him is the smothering weight of insoluble difficulty, is the one who most needs our help.

Well can I recall the kindly patient ears of a few people that were imposed upon by me. Often there were some bits of wisdom, some of which remains alive and real to me right down to the present. But, more often there was nothing more than a quiet, kindly listening while the unburdening of a tortured soul went on endlessly.

The person weighted with his burden in life, may have an exaggerated view of it, but at least he is aware of it. Given the thoughtful hearing and advice which is at least well intended by us, he may one day meet the full impact of life squarely and well. If he does, then he may be helping us tomorrow.

Surely he is closer to the fullness of life’s significance, than is the one who achieves a mock serenity, which is really compliancy that comes through brushing off the problems of life.

When you are in that little back room of conscience where self-inventories are taken, look at the truth about your own success in solving problems. It may breed in you a new tolerance and understanding for him who is weighed down.

Central Bulletin, July 1962

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.