09 August 2009

Jealously and Envy

"Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy."
- Aristotle (The Art of Rhetoric)

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Two things that I don't need or want in my recovery is jealously or envy. And thankfully, this part of me has no place in defining who I am or what I'd like to achieve. I really could care less if the neighbor has a better home or a fancier car. That's not what I wanted for a "healthier Dave."

I'm not saying that it was always like that, but it is now. I can be totally at peace, with sharing in my neighbors good fortunes, they worked for it and they earned it, more power to them.

Now envy on the other hand, took some time for me to work on. I wanted to be the center of attention at meetings, when I felt that "I had got it!" I had to know more then the person sitting next to me and if I didn't I usually ignored them and wouldn't recognize their growth. Then when others showed that newcomer some attention, my own insecurity showed itself.

I am so thankful to my Higher Power for opening my eyes to the joy of watching someone else grow. I've learned to almost feel a parental sense of pride, when a newcomer spreads their wings and you can see that light come on in their head.
My life in recovery grew to heights that I never imagined because people with more time in recovery then me were supportive. They were supportive not by ignoring me, but rather by heaping me with praise and building up my confidence and esteem.

I found how exciting this work (12th step) can be. I quickly got rid of my guilt with ignoring newcomers, by actively helping every newcomer that walked in the door. Whether it's at an AA meeting, an ACOA meeting, or CODA... a newcomer has something I want. That is their innocence thrown in with some fear and the hope that they can find trust. And I feel it is my duty to let them know they are welcomed and yes that I can relate.

Envy, in my opinion is the worst thing that can happen to me in recovery, because not only am I hurting my growth, but I'm also hurting someone else's. So, tonight... tomorrow... I'll listen and smile as someone shares and I'll be filled with excitement as I watch them grow.

For me, it doesn't matter how long someone has been in a program. Whether its been 40 years or one week, they were presented to me, for a reason and I believe that is to help both of us grow. And I can't do that if I'm jealous or envious.

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