Festivus for the Rest of Us – Jill F.

Oh the holidays. “Festivus for the rest of us” stems from the show “Seinfeld”. George’s dad explains one Festivus tradition as “After Christmas dinner you gather all the family around and you tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!” Oh, how my family loves doing that, only it’s not just the past year, it’s everything you have ever done wrong since the day you where born.  I’m sure if your like me, you like to remind yourself of every way you have disappointed everyone you know in the past year.

Character defects and asking the God of our understanding to remove them are a big part of our sobriety and step work. I my self viewed my family as one big character defect, my Higher Power as not removed them. Of course, my Higher Power and I seem to have different ideas about what my character defects are and are not. Its a good thing. When I did my first 6th step and tried SO hard to be willing and ready to give up all my short comings I beat my self up pretty hard. At the same time, I realized that I seemed to be just as hard on the people in my life as I was on me. We are all human, everyone of us, and being imperfect is a part of it. Drinking always seemed to fool me into thinking that all my problems where not me; I was a victim. It was not my fault they do not understand me, I’m awesome. They are the jerks. Once I started to gain a little more sobriety and clarity through working this program, I realized I was not perfect, and I could not expect the people in my life to be perfect either. I could let go of my defects, but that also meant letting go of theirs as well. Spending any amount of time with them without drinking my self blind drunk and finding the purse that I’d puked the next day depended on it! So here it is, your guide to character defects, brought to you by someone wrought with them…but ok with it and letting them go one defect at a time.

Yep, you screwed up. A bunch. the secret is, look at it, own it and knock it off. People will bring it up. Over and over again. You do not have to react, because you know you are not that person anymore. Smile nod and accept. If you show that you let it go, they will too because they are not getting the reaction they anticipated. With that…oh my gosh! you have changed!

Everyone has them. Alcoholic or not. I’ve been told, I don’t know how many times “ The things people do that bug you the most are the same things you do.” This as been told to me by people with far more time in the program than me.  Yeah right. I do not leave my car blinker on for six straight blocks while driving 25 miles and hour in a 40 mile and hour area, only to turn right instead. Then of course a few days later there I am, radio turned up singing my heart out and I look down. Crap: blinkers be going for the last ten minutes. Whoops. So I have learned that if I want the right to be mad at someone for leaving the blinker on, I better make sure its because its something I’ve never done. This has given me the ability to notice my own behavior and defects of character and not only forgive and correct my self, but give the same treatment to others.  Disappointments are going to happen throughout life.

It’s up to you how you choose to let them go.

-Jill F.


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