The neutral zone: Occupying a healthy space after alcohol addiction

According to the infamous Charlie Sheen, “You are either winning or losing—there’s nothing in between.”

My recent experience says otherwise.

Intellectually, I understand that resentment is the dubious luxury of normal men and women, but for me, the alcoholic, it is poison. Yet for about a month, I watched resentment fester and grow. I remained on the sidelines, hoping it would go away, and having preferences for exactly how that would happen.

Only when the circumstance became unbearable, did I seek relief. I wrote some inventory. I put down on paper the resentment that was dominating my thinking—keeping me in emotional bondage. I wrote the actions that offended me and how it was affecting my life. My lessons/truths usually are found in the fourth column…where I was to blame. This time, however, my “ah-ha” moment was found in the third column as I heard the words I was reading to my sponsor: I want ___ to be exposed.

These words had come to fruition. Yet in that moment, the victory was not a victory at all. Something I was sure would make me happier, my job easier, had not. I had not “won.” Instead, I felt defeated. Once again, I believed the lie my ego was feeding me as truth. “As in war, the victor only seemed to win. Our moments of triumph were short-lived.”

I realized through my inventory that my resentment was essentially self-interested. Not necessarily that I sent the ball the rolling,or was guilty of similar actions, but simply that I wanted a situation to turn out the way I wanted it to – and it when it did, the victory was a hollow one.

As long as victory and defeat, winning and losing, are endpoints, disappointment and emptiness will inevitably befall me. I must grasp that these are illusive concepts not affirmative destinations. And when I buy into either extremity, I place myself at odds in my relationships with people, the world and ultimately myself. I need to lean into God and be content occupying the neutral zone.