On Monday, I came across this quote from the great Sufi poet: “Yesterday, I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
I sat with it for a while. Actually, I sat with all 25 of the quotes on the website (which, if you’re curious, requires a lot of sitting and contemplation, so I’m sure I need to go back and let the rest of them sink in. Honestly, the quote above stands out from the rest, but that’s for today. Tomorrow, my spirit may respond to something different).
Whoa, hold the phone…did you just say your “spirit”??!?!?!?!
Ladies and gentlemen, my critical inner-voice once again. Funny how much he sounds like addiction. And yes, I said spirit…and you can shut up. Now where were we?
Ah, yes, my spirit responding to the Rumi quote. I’m so used to living in my mind that my first instinct is to Google the quote and make sure it’s Rumi (like it matters…if there’s truth in the words, there’s truth there, and who gives a damn who said it?). Then my intellect wants to wrangle with it. The critical inner-voice says Of course you’re clever, and you could change the world if you wanted to. You just don’t want to, Robert, and that’s cool. Life’s hard enough, so just take it easy. While we’re at it, let’s have some wine, eh?
Nope. As Katie says, our brains got us into recovery and AA, so let’s not trust them right now. I couldn’t out-think, out-wit, or out-clever my addiction, so I’m dumping that. Well, I’m trying to dump that, but my ego likes to puff up like a toad and tells me I’m special, I’m unique, that I drank because I’m a tortured poet….
No, I drank because I’m an alcoholic. That’s it. There are unique aspects to my personality, and there’s no one on Earth exactly like me, but come on. I have more in common with the 7 billion or so people on the planet than I have differences with.
A newish fellow to our night group said some things last week that I took as red flags, and I told him that. His response was, “You don’t know me that well.” He’s right, of course. I thought about his words and didn’t respond.
When I heard the same things from him last night, I reminded him of what he said last week and that it worried me. He said once more that I didn’t know him well, and I replied, “I may not, but you’re an alcoholic, just like I am. We share the same affliction. That’s enough.”
We may have all driven different cars to recovery–and some of us walked, rode bikes and motorcycles, were dropped off my loved ones and delivered via ambulances–but we’re here. For me, I’m going to try to check my cleverness at the door. It may have gotten me laughs before, but it sure as hell isn’t going to keep me sober.