Making Exits in Our Lives

AA’s Third Step is more often portrayed as a step about all the deficiencies of self will. But self-will embodied in all kinds of control over everything in our lives—relationships, jobs, goals, medical issues, family, and, of course, addictions

Today, at a third-step table, I realized that much of my adult life was about exits, getting out of relationships and avoiding personal conflict, especially with another person in my life or family.

Whenever I got out of relationships, I often just left in silence. Or, I created some kind drama. Or I just said, in one form or another, “it’s over.”

I vividly remember one night many, many years ago, packing a small suitcase, coming down the stairs, and saying to my ex-wife, “I’m leaving.”

I came to the conclusion, today, that those exits were a clumsy way of taking control. Or avoiding a mature, compassionate response to someone who cared for me. I did that a lot when I was in my chronic alcoholic state.

There were other issues related to that kind of behavior, certainly. However, my drinking just made it easier to keep avoiding reality, especially with intimate relationships.

The twelve-step program opened me up to a whole new world of deep friendships and trust, two issues that were very much at the core of all dysfunctional exits I made out of many relationships and groups.

The program and the fellowship also enabled me to further open up to many communities that I belong to, communities in which I can now make exits that are mature, thought-out, and rational. And, more importantly, without hurting others.

Just some thoughts


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