The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on page 62 states that it is believed that “selfishness and self-centeredness” are the root of our problems and behavior with alcohol. We live our lives on the basis that we can do as we please. When we step on someone’s toes, and they retaliate we just cannot understand why they are doing this. This usually causes us to build a resentment against this person.
For chronic alcoholics it is usually “my way or the highway.” Once having formed an opinion or belief about something this becomes a truth that all should embrace according to the alcoholic. When people disagree with us or negate our opinions, we become livid and may have an outburst of anger towards the other person. We just have to be right about everything. This is a manifestation of our selfishness. After a period of sobriety, we learn that it is better to be sober than right all of the time.
We feel that we deserve more than others. We secretly resent those who have more than we do and who have worked to get there. While we were lying around our home (if we had one) drinking ourselves into oblivion, that other person was going to work everyday and saving money. This was how they accumulated the nice things that they have. We may have become panhandlers trying to scrape up enough money to but our next bottle. We may sell off furniture or family heirlooms to have enough money to pay for our next spree. We will absolutely do whatever it takes in order to pay for our habit.
This selfishness and self-centeredness must be eradicated within us. This is accomplished by working the 12 Steps and applying the principles of the program to our lives. By doing this the dreaded selfishness is diminished over time by the Step process. We come to be of service to others other than resenting them for their hard work. We ourselves once we are restored to sanity, usually become hard workers and manage to accumulate nice things in sobriety. We are grateful for this and are happy to have a job that pays us a livable wage. We no longer squander our money on drugs and alcohol. We may learn to save money also. This is all quite possible once the selfishness is removed from our persona. We become upright citizens in our community. We are of service in and outside of Alcoholics Anonymous. We may volunteer at our child’s school, help out at a local county fair or if we attend church, we may be of service there also. We do all this and even enjoy it while staying sober on a daily basis. And the selfishness that bedeviled us is removed and we are able to live a happy, joyous and free life.