White male. American. 36. Middle class.
This brief description actually goes a long way in explaining my position in life. Sure it leaves off a whole heck of a lot of vital information if one was to get to know me. At the same time, those six words clue the whole world in on a very real fact:
I am privileged.
I am so privileged and forget it most days. Possibly it stems from growing up and observing that most of my friends were much wealthier than me. Perhaps my disease of self and self-pity has lengthened the “blind spots” of my reality. No doubt the amount of pain I have experienced over the last 2 years hasn’t helped either.
But today I see it. Amidst the painful goodbyes, the feelings of shame, guilt and sadness. I realize that my life is one of blessings not curses. Despite the loneliness, I know deep down that I will never be alone.
I took an Uber to the airport this morning and my driver was a sharp, young man from Ethiopia. We got to talking about driving for Uber because frankly that is probably the one thing we have in common. He asked me if it paid well. Realizing this question is very subjective in nature I wisely responded affirmatively. He then explained to me that he is barely making ends meet driving full time. We compared notes and I quickly realized that I receive a MUCH larger percentage per ride!
I was furious and made it a point to give him a hefty tip. “That probably made his day” I thought to myself. It felt good to selflessly give to others in need. Until I realized that is what privileged people do. They think they can solve others’ problems by swooping in and being a hero. Then we pat ourselves on the back and go back to our bubble of a life.
I’m not saying that I shouldn’t have tipped him. I don’t think he felt hurt or insulted (like Korean taxi drivers might be).
I just think that I don’t get it. I will never understand what it’s like to try and live life swimming upstream.
My disease tries to convince me that the world is against me. That God is punishing me and that no one will ever love me. It tells me that I will never make enough money to live comfortably.
According to my disease I am the least privileged person on the planet.
That is such a lie.
I have so much to be grateful for and the reason that I am even able to see past the negatives in my life and be present and sober is my program of recovery.
I should never feel sorry for myself since finding recovery. The real tragedy is that people are suffering and dying from this disease and they don’t even know there is a solution.
At the same time I cannot carry anyone else’s burdens. Hell, I can’t even carry mine!
Yes, yesterday sucked big time. Another goodbye to my girls for 2 1/2 months. Meeting my ex wife’s boyfriend for the first time. Realizing he makes her happy. Accepting it.
That’s a lot of shit right there for my recovering heart to deal with.
Can I just go hire a prostitute? Can I just choose to hate him to make myself feel superior? Can I jump off this hotel balcony and end it all???
Nope. The disease would win.
What a privilege to live one day at a time…