Relationships...YEESH! Relationships...building, sustaining, nurturing, understanding them...all are big time LIFE things. And much more important then I ever realized though I placed great emphasis on friendship in the past, I still didn't really get it.
Alcoholic/Addicts are absolute DESTROYERS of relationships, ALL relationships...from casual acquaintances to marriage partnerships and everything in between. Based on my own experience, I would say ultimately it is out inherent selfishness that leads the way in the cause of such destruction. Most of the negative behavior of alcoholics branches off of that foundation of selfish, self-centered behavior. Not all of course, there are exceptions but I know in my situation and many of the folk who are my friends in recovery, this holds very true.
And that behavior, more then anything destroys trust and everything else just spins downhill from there. I would say that re-building relationships and trust are one of the biggest obstacles we face in recovery. We alcoholics have often lied so often, about so many different things that we have no credibility left with anyone.
I have stated here often that the driving force in my active alcoholism, the one thing people would notice is the obsession with self. Getting my way, taking care of me and mine and so on. Well, that doesn't even scratch the surface of the depth of selfishness in play here.
On Saturday night, in a post and on Facebook I made some rather rude comments about the Ohio State Buckeyes Football Team and I made them in jest. But what I really didn't realize and never have realized over the years was that this kind of thing really bothered my sister. Frankly I never even considered it and THAT is exactly what I am talking about.
In hind-sight as I look back I can now see that she had tried to communicate that to my father and I (Dad and I both are brutal in our distaste for OSU Football and say so any chance we get) over the years but I wasn't listening. And that is the point...I was not listening. Because I didn't care and I didn't care because it really didn't have anything to do with ME. I WANTED to make fun of them so I did regardless of the consequences.
I am not trying to embarrass my Sis here but on the contrary...she did me a huge favor by getting angry and firing off a FaceBook comment then we exchanged several private messages. This was VERY out of character for her, she normally wouldn't have said anything...At first I was angry, defensive and downplayed the seriousness of the issue saying it was only a joke...yada yada yada, blah blah blah.
But the point I was missing...and had been missing all these years was that my intentions for joking about Ohio State wasn't the point. No...the point was it hurt her feelings and I hadn't taken the time to notice or care...even after she got in my grill about it.
I learned a valuable lesson, unfortunately at L's expense that I still have a long way to go in changing my behavior and modifying how I interact with people. In the bigger picture of life, this is perhaps a smaller thing but it really is an important realization and change for me when it comes to relationships.
And that is another example of the "Nuts & Bolts" work of recovery. Becoming a better person, a better brother IS part of my recovery as is being a better listener.
Now I have apologized and tried to rectify the situation to the best of my ability. I don't want to go any further in sharing a private exchange between my sister and I, especially since she hasn't a clue I'm posting about this topic today.
But this demonstrates to me quite clearly the importance of listening, being aware and communicating to one another, no mater what the relationship is. So I owe my 'Lil Sis a big thank You this morning for having the courage (or just being ticked-off enough) to confront me about it because if she hadn't, I wouldn't have known or tried to change.