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The Alcoholic and Control

“Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way.  If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great.  Everybody, including himself, would be pleased.  Life would be wonderful.” – The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 60-61

How many times have we believed that if a person would only act exactly the way we think they should, complete a task the way we think it needed to be done, and say everything just the right way, it would all turn out to be nothing short of perfect?  Haven’t we thought if a particular place would only accommodate us in the way we believed we deserved, thinking ourselves to be an unknown member of the Royal Family, our treatment would allow us to then be beneficent?  Hasn’t frustration wound us up when something didn’t go just our way, causing us to retaliate and behave with venomous attacks or passive aggressive, backhanding comments?  Don’t we speak through gritted teeth and forced smiles sure that everyone and everything, everywhere, would only do our bidding, as we so believe it is meant to be done, we could successfully function in the world?

Time and time again we try to arrange and manipulate situations to some script we have secreted away from the rest of humanity.  We try to feed lines to others, believing them to be at our bidding and perform our play as it is written in our heads.  We try to create scenarios where we become the victor, the hero, the savior, the good guy, the white knight, et al.  While attempting these superhuman feats to dominate the world around us, believing that the only option is the option that serves us the best, we fall flat and sink further with every move.  Our self-serving, controlling attempts cause others strife and consternation and that’s on a good day.

One of the key lessons that can be learned while in a California drug rehabilitation center is the understanding that we cannot control people, places, and/or things.  It is a lesson that we encounter and relearn over and over again, in a multitude of ways.  There are times when it can be difficult to hold to this concept.  More often than not, we find that it is imperative for us to actively place this tenet in our new-found life so that we may, in fact, be available and of service to others, not as we believe they should be, but as they actually are.

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