There is a passage in the big book that says: “…we have ceased fighting anything or anyone — even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned.” This is one of the promises of step ten outlined in the Big Book.
The dictionary defines a milestone as: An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. To regain sanity is a wonderful milestone that marks the achievement of Step 2. To cease fighting anything or anyone is a joy and behavior change which leads to emotional sobriety. These milestones are reached by working steps 1 through 9.
I had a situation at work where I disagreed with how my group leader was conducting business. At first, I accused him of attacking and hindering me from doing my job. He wrote me an email essentially stating the same thing about me. I wanted to prove him wrong and show him that he was the problem not me. Instead, I took the email to someone in the AA program so they could give me an objective point of view. They were able to see that he was trying to get along with me and I was being difficult.
The next day at work, I responded to his email. I apologize for my bad behavior and I stated what my concerns were with the work situation. We came to an agreement on how to proceed.
I learned a valuable lesson about the accuracy of self-appraisal. Self appraisal is important and I am better at it today. However, it is very important for me to talk with my sponsor and think before I act. This is my definition of emotional sobriety.
There is a line in the 12 and 12 that I really disagreed with: “It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us”.
I believed that I was a victim, therefore, I had not done harm to anybody. This belief system was very difficult for me to break because bad things had happen to me and to be honest it just felt good playing the victim.
When my mother was sick, I went home more often, which gave me the opportunity to interact with my sib-lings. I learn a lot from them. They would tell their friends about my past behaviors so that their friends would know that I am not as well behave as I appear to be today. At first I was offended. However, as time passed, I knew what they were saying about me was true and these comments from my siblings showed me that I had changed.
Also, from observing my siblings bad behavior, I saw what I probably look like when I was behaving badly. This encouraged me to be aware and work my program.
When I reached Step 10, I could afford to be wrong. This means that I am able to accept criticism and really listen to other people concerns especially when it is about me.
I am aware that people do not always tell me when I am behaving in a way that disturbs them, so I am willing to accept the fact that I too can still behave badly and I must be vigilant in my quest to treat others with kindness and respect. In reality that is what I want from them.