Monday, November 05, 2007

The exact nature of our wrongs

I spent about two hours this morning writing on my Fourth Step, examining resentments, their causes, their effects and my part. When contemplating the questions about my part ... How am I selfish? How am I dishonest? ... the answer seems to be a resounding ... in every way.

On the surface, people see me as a very giving person. I really do try to do a whole lot of people pleasing and I do enjoy doing things for others. But at my core, when it comes to my disease ... I'm as selfish as they come. I want .. I go after ... to hell with the rest. Likewise, most people who know me would say I'm a straight shooter. Boy, do I have them fooled. By telling them what I think about their situation, or even taking my own public inventory, it looks like I'm a pretty honest person. But I learned a long time ago that in order to protect myself, I needed to hide the truth and replace it with a smile and a lie. Dishonesty seems almost automatic in me at times.

The Way it Works in the AA Big Book says that honesty is the key to success in recovery. I wrote a prayer today asking God to help me have the courage and the strength to let go of dishonesty as a means for survival. It is a tool that served me once, but I don't need it anymore. I know that this won't be the only time I'll have to pray for that courage and strength. Something that deep rooted doesn't go away so easily.

I was reminded of the ironies of human behavior last night while watching "American Gangster." Russell Crowe plays a straight-laced New Jersey cop who, in a world of corrupt colleagues, stands out as one of the good guys -- honest to a fault. But when his wife takes him to divorce court she points out that while he looks like the most honest guy on earth to those around him, he had repeatedly lied to her, cheated on her multiple times (seemed like he was a sex addict too - a common affliction for those on the police force) and chose work and friends over his son all the time. It was a good movie ... I recommend it.


Recovering Wino said...

I was amazed that part of the "honesty" part was being honest with ourselves. I, too, looked pretty good from the outside, but I was so, so SO selfish. The first step is to be aware of how much we are tricking our own self into thinking we are "good" and "giving". It is still hard to be honest. It will always be a lifelong struggle. But I think that awareness is crucial.

bella said...

Honesty is freedom.
That being said, I think we do learn to lie to protect ourselves and try to stay safe.
Sometimes all I can muster is the self honesty that I am not be honest.
I admire your courage.

vicariousrising said...

Hi. I found your blog via The Junky's Wife. I liked your comment you left on hers about "no one's coming" regarding putting one's life on hold waiting for everyone else to get in shape before waiting for your life to begin.

Thanks for the recommendation for this movie. I love Russell Crowe and was thinking of seeing this, but thought his NJ accent was just awful. Still, I'd read that there was some ambiguity about the bad guy for both Denzel Washington & Crowe's character (one being a family man but a thug, the other unfaithful but a straight cop).

What I love about honesty is that it is so much easier to keep track of.

I'm glad to have found your blog. I'm going to add you to my links, if that's ok.

Best wishes,

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I'm to a big Russell Crowe fan, but now you have me curious about the movie. I felt my husband was one of the most honest people I'd ever met -- honest to a fault -- which was why I was so shocked to learn about all the lies. I found that true honesty, honesty with oneself, is completely different than the appearance of honesty. And I found that honesty is as hard for me as it is for him most times.