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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Survival of the Self-Centered

One of the largest character defects... and perhaps most common in alcoholics... that I've had to work to overcome has been self-centeredness.

The recurring theme in my moral inventory was a life-long streak of self serving behavior. It dates all the way back to when I was the only child of the youngest child. "The poor kid whose no-good mom left him and his dad high and dry." Well. My mom and I are alot alike in some ways, but I finally chose to be better than what my history taught me.

When I say "what my history taught me", I mean the learned behaviors that I picked up over decades as a defense mechanism. I learned to be a survivor at a very young age. I was pretty spoiled in my early developmental years. Then I was put in a situation where I had to share, which bred great resentment and caused many problems on my part. That sharing environment quickly turned to dysfunction and a state of "every man for himself". It became a household of anger and resentment towards each other. Some of the behaviors that this spawned among us could be considered down-right dangerous.

To escape this, we found our own little worlds to live in. When these worlds clashed, things could get ugly pretty quick. A few of us, not all, began to look out only for ourselves and how we could survive the situation we found ourselves in. One... well... maybe two of the household went absolutely buck-wild, coming and going as they pleased. Me. I escaped into music, Doctor Who, drawing, trips to Auburn... creative stuff and things I found adventurous. Things that, in my low self-esteem, I thought set me apart. And if friends wanted to come along for the ride... well... I hoped they liked The Cure, because that's what we were listening to.

Another behavior that this survival instinct provided me was compulsive consumption. When someone is in survival mode, true survival mode, they will eat, drink, hoard, and consume as much as they can of anything they feel they need. My case was a bit different. If I liked something, I consumed as much of it as possible. Because it was mine. And if it wasn't technically mine, then it sure as hell should be. Get your own. And then I'll have that too.

If anyone wonders how I got hooked on booze.... well there ya go.

When I'd dug a big enough hole for myself, and someone would try to help, I'd take full advantage of the situation until I was no longer welcome. Then I'd move on to the next opportunity. It was a life of just getting by enough to fulfill my baser desires at other people's expense. Surviving and self-serving. Behavior that should never have existed in the first place, and certainly shouldn't have followed me into adulthood.

Now. If it makes me sound like less of an asshole, you could say that I was a bit of a freeloader who drank too much.

For those who really know me, you know that I'm not a bad person. I could actually be quite giving and considerate. For the most part, though, I always looked out for me. Because in my mind, I was the only person looking out for me. Even when that wasn't the case. That's more of a trust issue, though. I'll save that subject for a future post.

I'm happy to say that, today, that character defect is at the bottom of God's garbage can. I turned it over to him to do with as he sees fit. Does it try to pop back up from time to time. Of course. Any sane person would know that I was lying if I said it didn't. Do I have the tools, now, to keep it in it's place. Yes. I do. And as long as I'm doing what I need to do in recovery, the selfishness, manipulation, and lying will never be necessary. Not that they ever were to begin with.

Until next time, Namaste!

Mine.... Mine...... Mine.... Mine...


  1. Thank you for so honestly sharing your story, I only marvel over the amazing changes that can take place when we [let go]. Your story illustrates how a person in his worst can turn around and become the best that he can be. It is beautiful to read about.

    And now I was reminded about "Finding Nemo" (which I think the picture is from), I love that movie! I have been called Dory at times, as I can be as forgetful as she was in the movie. Gotta love the "whale speak" :)

  2. Thank you, Riversurfer. I always love hearing from you and receiving your kind feedback!

    LOL... I'm definitely a "Finding Nemo" seagull. Dory may have been forgetful, but remember that she had a beautiful heart! :)