A dialogue from Bugsy, the 1991 movie portraying the life of legendary mobster, Ben Siegel, came to mind today.
In particular, the dialogue between Siegel, played by Warren Beatty, and Meyer Lansky, played by Ben Kingsley, in which Siegel tells Lansky of his seemingly hair-brained plan to fly to Italy in the midst of World War 2, work his way through elite Italian society to get close to and assassinate Mussolini.
Lansky’s response to Siegel was to ask him to promise never bring up this grandiose plan ever again because if he did, “… at best, nobody will ever take another word you say seriously ever again”.
I remember all the grandiose plans I would state to people pre-recovery. What I was going to do, where I was going to go, who I was going to be. It was not so much the fantasizing during my drinking, but more the self-deception due to my alcoholic thinking whether drunk or sober.
It was self-deceived because I seldom ever followed through with the stated plans. My behaviours, in fact, worked completely opposite to my verbalized intentions. How badly I harmed my credibility in those times. How sad it was for the people in my life to not be able to believe the words that came out of my mouth. Yet the saddest part was that I could not even see it. And truth remained hidden from me largely because some things were indeed working out. But it must have been largely by fluke because I was not often following through.
One noticeable change for me in recovery is my ability to believe my own words. This is partly because I less often state things that are unrealistic. And partly because recovery has taught me to align my words and behaviours so they are moving in the same direction more often than not.
As an ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic), I have also come to grips with the fact that I used to over-commit because I didn’t want to let anyone down. I was completely unrealistic. Yet this urealisticness was the very source of me then letting people down. Weird eh?
Being credible to ourselves and others is an amazing gift of recovery. We more often are able to say what we do and do what we say. Nothing more complicated than that.