Awhile back I was talking to one of my really good program friends. He had called me and had asked to see me. When we connected at a restaurant he was very upset. He felt he had made a very bad mistake.
We talked for a good long while. He gradually began to get a new perspective on the whole situation. He finally said, “I guess I can let myself off the hook on that one.” I responded by saying “I think you should just get rid of all those hooks.”
I have had lots of those kind of hooks in my past. They came to me because I was taught unhealthy expectations of myself. I felt responsible to chase away my whole family’s sadness. I was taught unrealistic standards of sexual thinking and behavior. My families sense of honor fell upon me. I had to succeed or I would let my family down. I was supposed to be well organized even though no one ever taught me those skills. I could never be late and so on.
All those hooks gave me a low level sense of not being OK even when in fact I was being successful. My wise uncle once said to me “George you get less joy out of your successes than anyone I have ever known.” I had so little joy because whatever I got done I felt I should have done more.
Almost 21 years of 12 Step programming has greatly eased my discomfort. I am capable of having real joy and serenity much of the time. I also have lots of room to keep growing. I hope that if I live to be 106 I will have kept on growing right up to my very last day.