“Our Wants Are Never Fully Satisfied…”

The other day I was at an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting and a woman there had said something truly profound. Well, okay…I’m the one who thinks it’s profound, because it is something that I contemplate on a regular basis. But she said, “Our wants are never fully satisfied, yet we never satisfy our needs.” I found that a bit jaw dropping – especially in light of all the financial problems I’m facing right now.  If I’m honest with myself, maybe of the things I’m struggling with are what are commonly referred to as ‘First World Problems’ and I forget about the basics needs that are being met.

In addition to my sobriety, I’m fighting a huge financial battle right now and I am trying to make sure I’m meeting everyone’s needs (or maybe it’s their wants…) in my family right now. The problem is that I’m losing the battle to meet my own needs. That’s not good for me, or any alcoholic, really.  It is the breeding ground for resentment, by far.  But as I think about that woman’s statement and place it in the context of some of the resentments I have in life, it becomes readily obvious that I have many high expectations of myself, of others and the results of things I’m trying to achieve. In fact, the whole topic is a bit of a frustration to me, but I feel avoiding it is the worst thing I could do.

But I get what that woman was saying. It’s this idea that we strive and strive to meet those desires that lack the ability to sustain us. It’s what an alcoholic does – seeks the comfort and ease a drink provides them, but it lacks the sustenance of living or deciding upon actions that are based upon principle. I know this is a life I’m trying to live again. It’s a life that I have once had and somehow, somewhere lost perspective and began focusing on the things that don’t matter as much as the things that are needed.

For now, I’m not going to worry too much. I know there is plenty of time for me to worry about things, but I know for today that staying away from a drink – regardless of how much the obsession creeps into my mind – is the best thing I can do. Tomorrow may see me destitute, but it’s not entirely likely. Sometimes, the perspective I gain from listening to a statement like what was made in that meeting is the best thing for me.

And today, I’ll do my best to meet my needs and not my wants.  There is little else I can control.

And I’m 29 days sober, today.

12 thoughts on ““Our Wants Are Never Fully Satisfied…”

  1. Of course they aren’t – that’s about as close to impossible than anything can get because that which we want changes too much and our ability to actively pursue satisfying our wants is too dependent on other people and other things that we may not have any “control” over. What I want is one thing…what I’ll wind up getting may be something entirely different. Or, you can want anything you want to want… whether those wants get satisfied just depends.

    As a bread winner, we’re always about taking care of everyone else’s wants and, often, sacrificing our own wants at the expense of satisfying their… and it’s a incredible burden to bear and more so when you probably know that you’re not gonna be able to satisfy someone’s every want and need and, yes, the realization can hit you so hard that you’ve been fighting an uphill battle all along and one’s own reaction to this usually isn’t good, like hitting one’s favorite hair of the dog or, for some, just giving up because they’re trying to do the impossible and while sacrificing their own wants and needs.

    That statement is, indeed, a very profound one and one that covers a great many things in a person’s life and there’s no wonder why there are a lot of disillusioned people sitting around and asking, “What about what I want?” and the answer they get in return is along the lines of, “What about it?” or “This ain’t about you – this is about what I want, damn you, you selfish bastard!”

    Being driven to drink (in particular and in this context) is a very real thing and sometimes, it’s not what you have to do or endure that makes this happen – it’s not having your own wants attended to and having to set them aside if favor of what someone else wants, whiter it’s your employer right down to your partner and family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙏🏼 congratulations on 29 days! Maybe look back on this post if things start feeling rocky.. if you find yourself spending less time on your recovery and your needs.. I think this would be a good reminder for you. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very early in my sobriety (i.e. the first 60-90 days) there were many times where I had to tell myself all I have to do today is breathe…and not drink. That’s it! I am a high achiever and a people pleaser too, as a husband and dad to three kids, its easy to occupy myself all day trying to fulfill the wants of others. Thank you for your insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good day! I appreciate the reflections and the comment from your friend about our needs and wants. My understanding of the difference between our needs and our wants is that one is essential to subsistence and the other is not. Basically, a need is something that is required simply to sustain life. Air. Food. Some degree of security. A modicum of rationality that keeps me from ending my own life. Enough healthfulness to make it to another day. Shelter from the elements.
    In my limited understanding of the world, everything else is just a “want’. Whaddaya think?
    -Sam

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “seeks the comfort and ease a drink provides them, but it lacks the sustenance of living or deciding upon actions that are based upon principle” And this is the problem with alcohol or any other self-medication substance, what we want is only a temporary fix when what we need is a long-term achievement. I wish you continued strength!

    Liked by 1 person

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