My Enemy, The Scorekeeper

A few months ago, I was really struggling with some anger issues. I had very little patience for others. Much of this anger was focused on those in the closest proximity to me. It did not seem to matter what they did, it wasn't right, and they knew it.

Of course, I knew that I was in the wrong, but I just couldn't seem to help it. I would apologize to them for my short temper, and then blow up all over again.

We were dealing with some family stuff which had us away from home over a number of weekends. This had me completely off my normal AA routine. I missed my home group meeting a number of times and was not really getting to meetings during the week either. This is not an excuse, just an acknowledgement that I need to stick to a routine as much as possible.

Eventually, over lunch with my sponsor, we discussed some of what was going on with me. I was sure i knew what his solution was going to be, even before we met. Surely he would tell me that I needed to step up my prayers and meditation. As usual, I was mistaken. He asked me "are you working with any newcomers right now". And of course I wasn't. The funny part is, that even though I had been sharing how the Big Book discusses working with others throughout the entire book, at that time, I was not doing it myself.

So, I have shared the problem, I have shared the solution, but what I really want to share today is how it all manifested itself in me. I have learned to recognize it more quickly. To me, it is another barometer of how I am doing. Much like swearing, lack of patience and intolerance of others, it is another sign that I may be straying from being of fit spiritual condition.

I have come to call this shortcoming "The Scorekeeper". You see, I am a horrible scorekeeper. I can give myself credit for everything I do for others. In fact, I can give myself credit for things I have only intended to do for others, without having actually done them. Yet if I am not in a fit spiritual condition, I will not recognize the wonderful things others do for me. Of course, that isn't what life is all about. I find things go best for me when I am of service to others with no expectations of anything in return. Only then, are the gifts of life huge and rewarding. I recently heard from a speaker that relationships are not 50/50. They or 1000 to zero. You see, if I am in a relationship, I can't be filled with expectations of what I am getting from it, I have to be concerned with what I am giving to it. Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. I have always been amazed at what I receive when I have no expectations. If I receive what I am expecting, I am probably selling myself short!

I very recently came to realize that my family and friends all selflessly do amazing things for me. In particular, I have come to realize that my wife does a tremendous amount for me. In fact, I believe she does things for me of which I am completely oblivious. I guess it is understandable if I do not her show gratitude for these things when they occur. However, I do think it is important to recognize and appreciate her always. I also realize that when she does things for me, and I know it, there is no excuse for not showing her how much I appreciate her. I am using my wife in this example, but of course I have been guilty of "scorekeeping" in every relationship in my life.

The moral to the story is this: I can't afford to keep score. Whether it is with my wife, children, family, friends, co-workers, strangers, etc, etc, I have to approach life from the perspective of giving, rather than taking. You see, I spent the first 45 years taking from life. It is now my turn to give back with no expectations of receiving anything in return.