This is painful to read in the beginning, but as time goes on we can begin to understand how selfish we had become while drinking. The need to seek alcoholic oblivion became the focus of our lives and crowded out the duties and responsibilities of normal living. We often neglected our families, cheated our employers, betrayed our friends, and avoided our creditors. When it appeared that we had injured or wronged others, our first thought often was about what might happen to us rather than concern for the victims.
Even in AA, we cannot seem to avoid being selfish. Some have even said that “AA is a selfish program, something we follow for ourselves.” This is perhaps true, but what we should be seeking is the unselfishness that makes us fit instruments for carrying out God’s will in our lives. We might begin by admitting without reservations that selfishness is a contributing factor in our alcoholism and that we need a thorough and radical change.
One way to go about making such a change is to accept group responsibilities that we’d rather ignore. I recall doing this a number of times just because of the improvements it made in my self-esteem. During my first year of sobriety, I worked a midnight shift in a factory and had not been able to sleep during the day. Just as I was about to catch a few hours of sleep, an AA friend called with an urgent problem. The result was that I went to work at midnight without having slept since the prior shift, but I felt as though I had chipped away at my selfishness. It has been good to go out of my way to take people to meetings and to be concerned about people in trouble. Sometimes it’s nice to do a good thing and not expect credit for it. I