We alcoholics tend to have the attitude that the world owes us a living. This could not be farther from the truth. We come up with unreasonable expectations of people, places and things that end up not materializing. Just what is an expectation? Well, an expectation is an ego driven idea that we are entitled to something. It is filled with a lack of humility and self-will. Our lack of humility tells us that we deserve to have something that most people have to work for. We believe that we are so wonderful that the rules of society do not apply to us.
Expectations full of humility and self-will can get us into all kinds of rocky places. No matter how long you have been sober you are still subject to falling into this trap. Our self-will lifts its ugly head, and we are all set up for a dry drunk. This is acting alcoholically without drinking. Once caught up in this pit of self-will and lack of humility we find it very hard to get back on track again. We may need to discuss this our sponsor or other close-mouthed friend to help us get on the right track again.
Back in the day the saying going around Alcoholics Anonymous was that “expectations can get you drunk.” This is very true as the disappointment that comes with an expectation not being fulfilled can lead us to the bottle. It may also lead us to practice other defects of character which can be very dangerous to our sobriety. The book states that “selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of our problems.” This includes having expectations that we imagine we are entitled to something.
Entitlement is also another component of expectations. Based on our delusional thinking we believe we are entitled to things. Never mind that most people do not think this way. We believe that we are just so wonderful that the world ought to be handed to us on a silver platter. We believe we should have 20 years sober when we only have 6 months. We don’t see what the person has had to go through to get the 20 years. We just believe that we are entitled to that amount of knowledge and sober experience without actually doing the time to get it. At 6 months we feel we have got a handle on this program and are ready to go. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no “arrival” point in Alcoholics Anonymous.
So, you see how expectations can lead us back to the bottle through a lack of humility and a huge dose of self-will. The best way to handle a situation which could lead us to this end is to “do the footwork and stay out of the results.” Using this technique will not fail us. It will enable us to patiently wait for the Higher Power to sort out the situation.