Meditations: Unacceptable Behavior

By Michael Lyding

Rationalization is giving a socially acceptable reason for socially unacceptable behavior, and socially unacceptable behavior is a form of insanity. — AA Big Book, p. 552.

I did not want the life I was living. I was doing things I did not want to do. I drank excessively. I did not enjoy drinking any longer – but I still drank excessively.


I treated other people in ways I did not want to be treated. This behavior was not the way God made me to be, and my actions resulted in an inner turmoil so painful that I could not be honest with others or with myself. I rationalized that these people deserved it, that it was really their fault. If they treated me right, I would not treat them the way I did. Is that insanity? How could it be anything else?

From society’s view, sanity means that I must act responsibly. I should neither kill, nor have illicit affairs, nor deliberately try to ruin someone’s life. These and other rules of conduct may be found in any society’s law books.

Unacceptable behavior – insanity – also includes acting outside my personal innermost standards of integrity. If I feel badly inside when I mistreat people, even if my conduct is not criminal, then something is wrong. If I repeat negative behavior, especially if it is behavior I do not want to repeat, is that not insanity? Is there any wonder I did not like myself when I got to the Twelve Step rooms?

The Twelve Steps have the answers for me. The Steps are why people with such miserable stories are no longer miserable. They are happy, joyous and free much of the time. They are useful. They work the program and choose to continue to do so.

You will be amazed before you are halfway through. — AA Big Book, p. 83

Mike Lyding was born in 1945 in Phoenix, AZ. Since becoming sober in December 1993, he has been drawn to prayer and meditation. While meditating at age 58, he learned he had a desire to write. So far, the result has been two daily meditation books primarily for the recovering communities, Grateful, Not Smug (Daily Recovery Meditiations) (2006) and Gratitude a Verb (2009).

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.