Live and Let Live

An excerpt from page 11 of Living Sober states:  “We have learned it pays to make a very special effort to try to understand other people, especially anyone who rubs us the wrong way.”  Similarly, page 92 of the 12×12 says:  “[W]e begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong . . .”  Before I learned about the Fourth Step and the Tenth Step, I spent a huge amount of mental energy resenting people who annoyed or angered me.  I could not imagine extinguishing the bonfire of my hatred – its power seemed energizing and enlivening.  That seething enmity also shielded me from the daggers of others.  Were I to consider forgiving and forgetting, I could soon be reliving.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice – not gonna happen.  To transition from this frame of mind to the emotional state necessary to conduct a personal inventory was a complete about-face.  The churning and burning did not go away all at once and it does occasionally return.  But as I gained more experience with inventories and sharing my feelings with others in the Program, the unthinkable became more and more natural.  Once awkward and confusing, these tools now rest easily in the palm of my hand.  They help me live and let live.