Thinking of Others
Whilst I spent much of my drinking life thinking of others – what they were thinking of me, how badly they had treated me, how they had no respect, how they didn’t understand me, how I could manipulate them to achieve my objectives, how they were to blame for all my misfortune and how I was going to get even – I spent little time thinking of there needs.
The purpose of our lives today is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and to the people around us. Chapter 7, Working with Others, gives many fine examples of how we can think of the needs of the still-suffering alcoholic. It also mentions the necessity of getting to know them so we can put ourselves in there shoes if the tables were turned. Also the fact that we need to act the Good Samaritan every day, a kindly act once in a while isn’t enough.
I have found myself in many of the situations described in this chapter, and much to my surprise, been in a position to be able to help. But it was never like this when I was drinking. As a result of the efforts of other members of the fellowship to think of my needs when I was fresh through the door, through sponsorship and the working of the 12 steps, having a higher power in my life today, I have had a total change of thought and attitude, which enables me to be aware of the needs of others in my everyday life.
The Just for Today card suggests that we should be happy, and why not, if we accept God's will for us in our daily lives, then we are going to be happy, for sure God wants us to be happy. In thinking of others we are often able to change their day with a cheerful smile or appreciative comment. Doing something for somebody else and not getting found out is a great way to keep that smile in my heart. Being agreeable is yet another way of thinking of others, I don’t need to be right, but I can be happy and so can the other person. Being courteous is also putting others first, and makes for agreeable interaction.
I have found that God often uses people to help other people, to answer their prayers, to help their situation. How many of us met another alcoholic shortly after asking God for help in our seemingly impossible situation? By putting myself in somebody else’s shoes, even by thinking of their needs before a situation arises, I feel more prepared to act immediately, without thought, should I be given the opportunity. This focus is a great defense against self-centeredness and selfishness.
I see many small acts of kindness carried out at my home group’s meetings, these are being carried out by people thinking of others. But how often do we hear phones ringing during the meetings after the secretary’s announcement? How often do we need to be told to leave the meeting quietly, or to move away from the door, steps, tea hatch or where to park? Thinking of others does not come naturally to an alcoholic of my type, but if I want to enjoy a long and happy life of sobriety it needs to be worked upon, to be cultured. Just as through prayer and meditation can my relationship to my higher power grow, so also by practice can the constant thought of others replace that soul destroying self-centeredness and selfishness that was a great part of my miserable life when I was drinking. The only way I can keep what I have got is by giving it away, this seems to be applicable to all the wonderful blessing that I have in my life today.