One Way of Looking at Things
An AA brother shared a story about the best answer ever. It covers everything and everyone.
It was Friday night and a speaker meeting, and the speaker asked if there were any newcomers. Several people raised their hands. The guys went for coffee after the meeting and brought along a newcomer who had identified himself at the meeting.
After the waitress had taken the orders, one of the guys turned to the newcomer, who did not seem very happy; and asked, “how are things going?”
He leaned forward and, with an edge in his voice, said, “it’s good to be back at a meeting. I have been in and out of the Program and have been to several treatment centers. But this time is different. I am more ready now than I have ever been before. I learned something in the treatment center that I had heard before but never understood.
“I am not going to be the doormat of the world anymore. I am going to stand up for myself, take charge of my destiny and make the bastards pay. I have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow. I am going to sue my employer and my ex-wife. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired and now see that I must assert myself forcefully. They will pay, and I will gain my self-respect.”
The table was silent. No one knew what to say.
Finally, one old-timer spoke up. “My first sponsor was years ago. He heard me criticize someone in the Program. He sat me down and said, the strongest and most negative thing you can say about anything you hear or see in the Program is ‘that is one way of looking at it.’ And then, you keep quiet because there is nothing more you can say.”
“Well,” he continued, looking at the newcomer, “that is one way of looking at things.”
The table was quiet, and the newcomer bristled with anger. A look of irritation crossed his forehead like a flash of lightning. The old-timer took a sip of his coffee. And at that moment, something happened. The newcomer stopped himself. The working of his mind was visible; he leaned back in his chair, became thoughtful, and said no more for the rest of the session.
The bantering conversation of a ‘meeting after the meeting’ resumed.
After the coffee session we adjourned. The newcomer walked out with the old-timer and engaged in conversation. We learned later that the newcomer asked the old guy to be his sponsor.
“That is one way of looking at it,” is the best answer to everything, every time and everywhere.