All that worrying…
A few days ago on one of the online recovery sites I’m a member of, I posted a reply to someone who bashed belief in a Higher Power. He was all about multiple paths to sobriety, which is fine. I agree with that. If you’re into a non-spiritual, non-religious method, great, as long as it works and you are sober. But he couldn’t “get” AA or the Big Book, hated being “preached to” about “recovery industry dogma” and subsequently called belief a nasty word.
I charitably pointed out that his attack on belief was in contradiction to his desire for tolerance for his own path. I didn’t call him a hypocrite, even though he was being one. I wished him well on his path, and also that he gets peace (for he indeed seem angry, irritable and resentful). That’s all. I was careful to phrase things so as to be not unkind (because if I have a mind to, I can easily tear you to shreds using the written word. But I was careful.)
That was the last thing I did before going off to work. All the way to work I regretted posting my reply, for although I wasn’t angry or hostile, most of the replies in his thread to that point were backing his viewpoint, and I expected there to be a “flame war.” And I really didn’t wish to be a part of one. It has been my experience in some online forums (not always, but often enough to cause me this fear) that people hostile to belief (including the “tolerance and diversity” crowd) tend to overreact when faith or belief is mentioned, even casually. Or, if not some of his supporters, then he’d get all hostile. I know that believers can sometimes be obnoxious and go ballistic, too. Hence my own restraint.
But, being me, I tend to obsess about things, and my regret over replying to this person dominated my thoughts en route to work, and pretty much all morning. As a result, I was mentally preparing all sorts of responses to every reply I anticipated, planning and preparing for all sorts of conceivable responses I’d read. So, more time wasted obsessing. And chastising myself for replying in the first place.
I tend to avoid online debates because of what AA’s “Big Book” says about anger and resentment, etc. I can easily obsess about “DON’T YOU KNOW JUST HOW WRONG YOU ARE!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? LET ME GIVE YOU A PIECE OF MY MIND AND CORRECT YOUR THINKING!!!!” and such. I am never this way in real life. At least I don’t think so. I guess in my alcoholism, I can exhibit “troll” behavior when online. There are clouds of wounded and dying electrons dotting the internet circa the late 1990s early 2000s. As such, I typically avoid online debating. I forget about this and pay a price, now and then. The result of which is that I renew my resolve. I do once in a while get into a discussion over something relatively innocuous, only to get my dander up when the other person just cannot see the wisdom and rationality of my point. But no major political or religious debates. Which kills me as I’m rather political and religious.
But anyway, after a while I got over my posting and just focused on my work.
And so when I got home, first thing I do when getting online is to log into that site and look for the carnage.
Nothing. A few replies that were supportive, some critical. Where’s mine???? I scroll up and down.
GONE! Deleted!!!!!!! I know it was posted as I was getting notifications from the thread.
Wow. I guess it struck a nerve he couldn’t handle, or something.
“All that worrying.”
My lesson, which I need beaten into me, and rooted in the Big Book, “No more posts of that kind. No more engaging in online discussions like that. Maybe, some exceptions, like a newcomer or chronic relapser wanting to go back out, or some other “constructive criticism,” diplomatically and charitably offered (and read a dozen times over to ensure nothing offensive).” And if someone still takes issue, walk away.
Sometimes it’s tougher, harder, and requires more courage and fortitude to “just walk away” than to succumb to the intoxicating passions of righteous rage and anger.
“Anger and resentment, the dubious luxuries of normal people.”
“We cease fighting everything, even alcohol.”
“How important is it really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety?”
(The quotes are approximate, my Big Book is in the other room and I’m too lazy to get up off the couch to get the exact quotes.)
GONE?!?! Deleted!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Why, the nerve…. I oughta go back there and…!
NOTE: This post was taken from a something I had written in an online discussion forum for people in recovery. I edited it somewhat.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"