Getting The Right Glasses on the Right Way
Though you are providing him with the best possible medical attention, he should understand that he must undergo a change of heart. To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 143)
Recovery is not just a change of if you use or not: RECOVERY IS A CHANGE OF YOU! You must change your way of thinking and change your attitude which both lead to your actions. The way you see things and thins and reasons for why you see things that way must change if you expect to change. If you feel and think like an alcoholic/addict you will gravitate towards the actions of an alcoholic/addict (even if you keep resisting it you will still be drawn to these activities). Your whole world view must change.
Then, one day in A.A., I was told that I had the lenses in my glasses backwards; “the courage to change” in the Serenity Prayer meant not that I should change my marriage, but rather that I should change myself and learn to accept my spouse as she was. A.A. has given me a new pair of glasses. (Alcoholics Anonymous 4th Edition pg. 419)
This thought immediately makes me think of watching a 3D movie without the 3D glasses verse with the 3D glasses. When I look at the screen without the glasses I can kinda see the picture and can pretty much tell what is going on. The problem is that I am not seeing it correctly. I actually wear prescription glasses and if I put on my prescription glasses and do not put on the 3D glasses I can see a bit clearer, but they are still not the 3D glasses so I still am not seeing clearly enough to be seeing it correctly. The prescription glasses are a start, but the 3D glasses are a must to see clearly.
I think of no glasses as me using, I think of wearing the prescription glasses as me just abstaining, but not changing, Using the prescription glasses and then the 3D glasses on top is me starting with abstinence then actually changing the way I see things completely. Just as seeing more clearly allows me to better enjoy the movie in the good and bad parts; being able to see the world more clearly in the good and bad parts lets me enjoy life.
This sort of new filter for how I view life and feel about life is the focus. In the tidbit above the man has been focusing on how bad his marriage is and how messed up his wife was and the problem seemed to grow.
But then as I drank more and more, the alcohol seemed to affect my vision: Instead of continuing to see what was good about my wife, I began to see her defects. And the more I focused my mind on her defects, the more they grew and multiplied. Every defect I pointed out to her became greater and greater. Each time I told her she was nothing, she receded a little more into nowhere. The more I drank, the more she wilted. (Alcoholics Anonymous 4th Edition pg. 418)
His focusing on his wife’s problems led to his verbalizing what he was seeing. His verbalizing what he had been focusing on was making the problem he observed get worse and worse making his marriage worse and worse and in effect making his life worse and worse. Making his life worse and worse would only serve to make his desire to use worse and worse which made him notice more and more wrong with his wife and on and on. Is this not a cycle of insanity?
It’s funny that in all of this the implication is that she is looking more and more terrible as if she won a prize being married to this guy (and staying with him). Let’s catch up to reality a bit: He is a drunk, regularly abusive and admits to being the verbal misery spreader of the home and if you go through the rest of the story you will find that he is a person who always wants to have everything in his control and arranged the way that makes him comfortable. His wife’s problem (from his perspective) was that she doesn’t just sit around reading his mind and making sure whatever he wanted or was feeling at any given moment was satisfied.
The filter he was looking through was that one that wanted his wife (and ultimately the world) to be some sort of psychic slave labor with some added benefits. This filter (the glasses he had been looking through) said that he was supposed to be seeing a world that did what he wanted so he could remain happy. If a person is waiting for the whole planet to sit around trying to do everything it can to keep him/her comfortable there is massive disappointment at every turn in that person’s future.
Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him. Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?
The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 60)
Is his thinking clearly exactly what we are supposed to be confronting as the “first requirement” of working Step 3. He is looking through the self-will glasses and needed a new pair of glasses that would change his way of thinking and his attitude to break his cycle of insanity.
If you go through recovery and end up basically the same person that were but are just not using right now, you might find yourself a bit better off, but still miserable. Sober and focusing on what is wrong with his wife all the time and then telling her could never end with happiness: SOBER OR NOT!
Trying to do recovery and to decide what changes you are and are not going to make and deciding which parts you are comfortable with and ignoring the parts you are uncomfortable with happens to be exactly the same kind of self-seeking motivations that we are describing as part of the sickness. It’s like going to the doctor because you were poked in the eye and the doctor telling you to heal the pain from being poked in the eye by repeatedly poking yourself in the eye. We can’t cure our crazy using crazyness.
First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 64)
This is the key to the idea of having the lenses in your glasses in backwards:
I was told that I had the lenses in my glasses backwards; (Alcoholics Anonymous 4th Edition pg. 419)
They are backwards because they are focused on peace for yourself and what is wrong with the world when the focus is supposed to be peace for the world and what is wrong with you. That is recovery. This is also the starting point for Step 3. Get the right glasses and get them on the right way…
Stay sober my friends;