Monday, September 14, 2009

Emotional Sobriety and Duct Tape

The other night at a meeting, a guy I'll call Jim shared his misadventure with his cell phone. It seems the battery panel wasn't holding the phone's battery in any more. Wanting to save some money on a replacement phone, he purchased one on Craiglist.

Alas, phone number 2 does not work, and as the reader can guess, the merchant is nowhere to be found for a refund. Angrily, he duct-taped the battery panel onto the original phone and stormed out of his house to a meeting, where many shared about how to make lemons when life hands us lemonade (or whatever non-alcoholic beverage you would make with a blackberry).

I asked him how his phone worked with the duct tape. Great! he enthused. So I asked, why did he buy a replacement phone when the duct tape fixed the problem?

"Because I didn't want people to think I couldn't afford a new phone."

On the surface, it looks like this guy's problem is scammers on Craigslist, but I think he has a part to play in his own misery.

Jim purchased the replacement phone out of pride. The duct tape solved the problem, but he wanted others to be impressed with his new gadget, and maybe therefore with Jim himself.  He wants life to improve based on an external condition: the ownership of a cooler-than-yours phone.  To make matters worse, Jim can't afford a new phone, so when he started prowling Craigslist, he did it to bolster a false image to others!

If Jim wanted to save time, money, and emotion, he could have adopted a grateful attitude for a cell phone that's working with such a simple fix. No Craigslist drama!

I know it's wrong to sell bad stuff to people - I get that. But "anger is the dubious luxury of normal men", and I am not normal. I need to focus every ounce of emotional energy into my sobriety.  I don't have the luxury of spending any of it on Craigslist crime, or whether or not people will think less of me if I have duct tape on the back of my phone.


Kenney said...

I think your concept of Jim's deeper problem is fairly accurate...I know for my self anytime I get to thinking about what others think I end up making decisions based on self & that always leads to trouble for this alcoholic...Thanx for your blog I am going to follow it & see what all is going on...Kenney