We all have expectations about the way life is supposed to unfold. We expect water to come out of the faucet when it is turned on. We expect other cars to stop for the red light when we have the green light. We expect bananas to taste like bananas when peeled. All of these are common forms of expectations. Where the addict gets into trouble is when their expectations are unrealistic.
The self-centered addict expects other people to do what they say without question. They also expect life events to unfold favorably to them. The addict gets into more trouble when a sense of entitlement is coupled with these unrealistic expectations. They believe that based on their superior intellect, good looks or their bank balance that life should just give them everything that they want with no effort on their part.
These unreasonable expectations are rarely if ever fulfilled. I can sit on my couch all day and wait to receive accolades from others from doing nothing. Or I may hurt someone emotionally and think that they should just get over it. After all I am simply telling it like it is. This is muddled thinking on the part of the addict. Yes, we need to be truthful with others. But that truth is to be tempered with empathy and compassion. It has been written that the truth is to be spoken in love. We are not supposed to go around clobbering other people over the head with our version of the so-called truth. Our expectations that our perception of something is the true perception of the thing in question is also faulty and self-centered thinking.
Upon coming into sobriety and working and applying the 12 Steps in our lives, we are able to see how misguided our thinking had become. We mistook opinion for truth. Our addictive life had become normal to us and it became hard for us to differentiate the truth from falsehoods.
We would fight to the death to prove our point or that our position was the right one. Even when presented with facts that proved our opinion to be wrong was presented to us, we still held onto our faulty thinking. We had to go to work in the program to root out these misguided expectations and ways of communication. Somewhere along the line we had to decide if we wanted to be sober, or right?
We had to learn that just because I am well qualified for a job doesn’t mean I will be hired for the position. I also may not have the relationship that I thought I was deserving of. Hundred-dollar bills are not going to mysteriously show up in my wallet. We had to learn to live life on life’s term and that the terms may not coincide with our expectations! And when coupled with our sense of entitlement we were in big trouble.
But thankfully there is the 12 Step program to help me get rid of these defects and shortcomings in my faulty thinking. I learn that others may see things differently that I do. And that’s OK. By taking and applying the steps in my life I am better able to agree, to disagree, and leave it at that. I don’t always have to be right. I come to realize that I am a worker among workers. No more and no less. With my expectations in check, I am able to live a more serene life. This cuts down on my anxiety level and I am more apt to remain sober. I get promoted to the status of a human being, just trying to do the best they can on a daily basis. This is a reasonable expectation with no sense of entitlement attached to it. It is with this mind set that I can enjoy my life and sobriety and release my death grip on old, faulty ideas.