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A Note on Self-pity from Chris Raymer

Chris Raymer, VP of Recovery Services 


“Self-pity is one of the most unhappy and consuming defects that we know. It is a bar to all spiritual progress and can cut off all effective communication with our fellows because of its inordinate demands for attention and sympathy. It is a maudlin form of martyrdom, which we can ill afford.” – Bill W.


Love that quote! I spent a whole bunch of my youth waiting around for things to change so I could “finally” be okay. I wish I could blame it all on my drinking. Most of y’all have heard my story… After years of therapy, meds, and meetings, I finally found some hope in a meeting I’d never been to before. I will always be grateful for those folks that grabbed me that cold November night in ’87. They opened the book and showed me what the symptoms of alcoholism looked like. Saved my life.


What I soon realized was just not drinking wasn’t gonna be enough for me. I was SO not a happy camper! I was hugely grateful that the desire to use was gone but totally ungrateful for anything else. Alcohol and drugs had been my answer to just about everything. I was feeling stronger by the week thanks to the steps but my life was pretty boring. 35 years old and not a clue what I want to do with my life.


One night I was sitting in the back of the room frowning, waiting for the meeting to start. (Like always…FILLED with self-pity.) This nice lady walked by, pausing just long enough to inform me that it was “perfectly okay for me to be happy”. Bless her. My anger at her comment sent me to a good therapist. Bless her too! Last I heard she still practices up in North Texas. In quick order she got me to see that it was NOBODY’S fault that I was miserable. (The same thing I had seen in my 4th step?!) No longer allowed to be the victim, she made me promise to do something fun that weekend… just for me. You wouldn’t think that would be hard to do but it took me days to come up with a short rock hunting trip up in North Texas. I know, that probably sounds real lame but it was a stretch for me. I planned it all down to the last detail. Saturday morning early, I headed out all by myself. (Speaker tape in the cassette player… that long ago!) Still have some of the Pyrite I found on that creek bed. Just me and God. Best day I had had in ages.


Driving home that night, tired and happy, I saw that I had the power to not only stay sober but have a full life too! The nice lady was right. It’s okay to be happy! Taking ACTION that day was the key. I sure understand that life can be tough as hell sometimes….  We are ALL sad at times. It’s when I continue to justify that sadness over a long period that the trouble starts. It blocks us from the Power that will direct our lives. It prevents us from receiving the courage to make the necessary changes we MUST make in early sobriety.


It took some caring folks in recovery to look me in the face and encourage me to stop being the victim. SO not easy. So worth it. None of us gets to do this alone. Including me. I hope all of our Alumni and family will remember we are here if you need to visit.


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