One of the Greatest Gifts…

Michael R., alumni

“I tend to worry too much about what other people think of me, until I’m reminded how few people actually do!” – Anonymous

I remember very clearly the first time I was sitting in an AA Meeting and someone said, “what other people think of me is none of my business.” It was like I was hearing a totally foreign language that made absolutely no sense at all. I believe my initial, gut reaction was something along the lines of: what other people think of me is practically the only thing I ever think about!

One of the greatest gifts of getting (and remaining) clean and sober is to be freed from the tyranny of being constantly concerned over—i.e. obsessed with—what others are thinking about when it comes to the rather boring subject of…me.

As my Grand-sponsor always says: “I like examples”—so I’ll give you one here.

I used to think I was a terrible and ungraceful dancer because I was paralyzed by the greatly mistaken idea that all eyes were trained on me whenever I attempted this particular activity. I thought I had to have a belly full of booze or nose full of cocaine to be un-self-conscious while dancing when all I really needed was to stop being so self-absorbed. When I found Recovery, I became almost immediately less obsessed with myself and dancing in public became a simple pleasure rather than a uncomfortable phobia. Once I accepted that no one was paying that much attention to me, my sense of freedom and self-acceptance soared.

Now that’s one more thing I never thought I’d ever say—or mean.