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Octopus to Bed

I am sad about something. I’ve shared it with my sponsor, prayed about it to Higher Power, and mentioned it when a sponsee called, but it’s still there. I guess I need to share it with Lifeline too. that 10-year-old boy who feels alone and afraid came back. I had to leave with him as soon as the workshop closed. Someone called to me that I had forgotten the literature we were talking about, and I could only say, “That’s okay; it doesn’t matter.” I really wanted to say, “I’m sorry, but I feel isolated and don’t know why. Can I turn to you right now? Can we meet and talk about it?” But of course, I couldn’t say that because this person is not good at being honest and vulnerable. Guess I’m not cured. A Big Book passage I shared with a sponsee has just come to me, and it applies to me now: “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resent- ful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse, or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 86). In the last hour of that workshop and during the trip home, I felt resentful, selfish, dishonest, and very afraid. I was only thinking of myself. Right there, in my car on the way home, I asked Higher Power’s forgiveness, and I saw that I need to think, talk, and pray more about this. I will continue to discuss this person and the root of my sadness until this becomes a part of my story, not the definition of it. Yet, I still think sometimes that I am actually avoiding remorse and morbid reflection by talking about it. (Yes, I am crying as I write this, but not as much as I did when I told my sponsor about it.) The action I am taking is to . . . confess. It does feel like confession. I know program really works because now I can feel my sad feeling, but not be defined by the feeling. This too will pass. As a good OA friend says, “Sometimes recovery is like putting an octopus to bed. One arm or another will keep coming out, and I get to work on a character defect again and again and again.” Thanks for listening and allowing me a safe space to share. I wish you all a fear-free and abstinent day, and me too! — Derek K., London, England