Thursday, March 18, 2010


From the ODAT, page 78:

"There is no advantage, no profit, no growth, in deceiving myself merely to escape the consequences of my own mistakes."

Our culture as a whole supports self-deception, we are in fact, encouraged in it - exhorted by advertising, to purchase that which we cannot afford, to impress those who we do not like. We learn to deny, repress, sidestep, defend, justify, and rationalise. We see this behavior modelled by those in government, industry, the entertainment field, everywhere we look. Our justice system allows for "the abuse excuse" and our family members are mowed down like wheat before the blade, with guns wielded by those who may face only the slightest of penalties before being let back out to prey upon us once more.

Honesty is a commodity not much valued, it seems. In this culture, it can feel a bit like "lost and alone in a world full of aliens" to work an honest program, to do our best to keep self-deception to a minimum, to own up to our mistakes, and to accept the consequences. We can be seen as wierdo weaklings engaged in "cult activity."

I've owned up to mistakes only to have the person to whom I'm speaking stare at me in flabbergasted astonishment, as though I'd suddenly sprouted a second head from the side of my neck, and it was talking to them. I've had people not have the slighest idea of how to respond, because they came loaded for bear, expecting me to defend myself, and instead, I've admitted my mistake, and offered an amend.

I've had people who, after I've owned up to a mistake, have forever afterwards viewed me with suspicion, because they "couldn't figure out what I wanted."

Sometimes, working the program can feel a tad lonely out there in the rest of the world, but it becomes a habit, if done long enough, and then one cannot bear to return to the previous crazed misery of "the way we were." I still have a hard time with those looks, though; find myself tempted to glance back over my shoulder, to see if there's an apparition behind me, which is the real cause of their amazement.


  1. I remember the feelings of relief and "cleanliness" I had in getting through my 4th and 5th Steps. Way better than the odd impressions that may come from "civilians." Thanks for the reminder!

  2. How cow!! I was thinking about my own tendencies of self-deception this very morning. What a gift of this program that strangers can mull over the same concept and realize we're not alone in our introspection. A teacher of mine commented that our minds are quite practiced at concealment, that it takes courage, patience and time to pull back the veil we've contructed to see reality. Perhaps it's part of our evolution to avoid admitting weakness; our survival at one time depended on our sense of invulnerability. Or maybe it's just ego- I haven't worked this one out. I'm just grateful for Step 4 so that I can look at myself without judgement and let go of what I can with compassion.

  3. The effects of the disease will probably continue to unfold as long as I am in Alanon and breathing. That old onion seems mighty big sometimes. I would never go back and pray that I continue to be willing and teachable. It was a rotten place to be...