One of the most challenging things for an alcoholic/addict to do is to wait for something. We want things immediately and in the moment. This can be waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to change or just plain waiting for anything. Most of us have poor impulse control and we expect things to just happen when we want them to.
This leads us to living with unresolved issues. We want to be a year sober in 30 days. We look at ten years sober and think we should have all the experience that comes with ten years sober in 60 days. We have unrealistic expectations regarding what to expect when we make amends to someone. We want everyone to congratulate us on being sober. This isn’t going to happen as we want it to. Some people may be very hurt and distraught over how we treated them while in our addiction. They may not be forthcoming with praise for our newfound sobriety.
They say expectations can get you drunk. This means that our unrealistic views of how things should happen are not going to be met. We have to wait for things to work themselves out. This is especially hard for people new to the program. Alcohol and drugs gave us immediate relief from our problems. They smoothed over the rough edges of whatever was going on for a while. Unfortunately, we built up a tolerance to these substances and it took more and more of the substance to get us where we wanted to be. Once again, we had to wait for the desired effect to come over us. This often led us to take more of the substance and at times put us over the edge of where we wanted to be. This was a very unpredictable state we found ourselves in. We found ourselves in a state of extreme drunkenness or being insanely high.
Waiting requires patience. Most of us had no patience for anything. We were I want it now and in the moment. My experience in sobriety with patience is that it is a learned skill. Over time with practice, we begin to learn how to be patient. We see a situation and inventory it to see if there is anything we need to do to make it materialize. If there is nothing more to be done, we leave the situation alone. The example of submitting a job application and waiting to be called for an interview can be applicable here. Once the application is submitted there is nothing we can do in the moment. We have to wait for a response from the employer. This may take a week, or a response may not come at all. In the interim what we can do is to submit applications to other employers. We still have to practice waiting no matter how many applications we sent out.
Like I have previously said waiting and patience are learned skills. Over time it gets easier to wait for something. Our impulses have loosened their grip over our situations. We learn to stay comfortable while waiting rather than being anxious about whatever it is we are waiting for. There is no timetable in sobriety as for when this will happen. It does take time and practice to reach this desired state.