It’s time for another Grateful Heart Monday, the day I dedicate each week in my blog to one specific piece of gratitude, which for today is for the character named Bonnie in the television comedy series “Mom”, who’s played by actress Allison Janey.
Why I feel grateful for a fictional character on a TV show is simply for what Bonnie reminds me of every time I watch her in an episode. Bonnie is a recovering alcoholic who is more of a dry drunk than not. While she remains clean and sober several years in from an addiction that once controlled her life, she still continues to demonstrate many selfish and self-centered behaviors that were quite commonplace when she was active in her addiction.
Week in and week out, I watch as Bonnie searches for the angle in everything, always on the lookout for herself and how she can get something for nothing. I don’t think there’s a single episode where I’ve seen her do anything otherwise. And boy do I remember those days when I too lived as a dry drunk year after year after year. While I remained clean and sober, I only half-assed did the recovery work, causing my life to suffer, as well as those around me too.
Just like Bonnie, I used to think that the only thing I needed to do in recovery was stay away from alcohol and drugs. But I never got much healthier in my mind and body for as long as I kept that attitude. Instead, I remained selfish, self-centered, self-seeking, and self-absorbed, simply because I wasn’t doing any of the work needed to rid myself of these type of character defects that underlie all addictions. Bonnie truly demonstrates this to a tee in “Mom” and is such an incredible mirror for the person I used to be so oblivious to being.
While I initially found a lot of humor in watching Bonnie act this way in earlier seasons, I now find myself not laughing at her antics anymore because it ultimately is quite sad to see any person live like this as their sober years grow. In my case, after repeated years of living as a dry drunk no different than Bonnie, friends began dropping out of my life and avoiding me. This hasn’t happened yet to Bonnie in the show, but I remember it happening to me oh so well. It took a lot of loneliness and hard-earned lessons to realize this and how recovery from any addiction is so much more than just remaining clean and sober. It’s about doing the necessary work to purge oneself of all unhealthy behaviors and becoming more of a selfless being than a selfish one. And while I know this show is purely meant to be a comedy and constantly pigeonholes Bonnie into a set of self-centered behaviors simply meant to evoke laughter, I only find sadness for her character and anyone who still acts like this in real life.
Yet, in light of me saying that, I’ve found such a tremendous amount of gratitude continuing to watch Bonnie remain this way, because I can clearly see who I once was but am no longer. Today I strive very hard to place everyone else’s needs, wants, and desires ahead of my own more than not. That’s probably why I find more of a connection in “Mom” to Bonnie’s sponsor Marjorie, who follows the 12 Step recovery program more to a tee, striving to be more selfless than selfish and giving more than taking.
So, while Bonnie’s character may no longer evoke laughter from me when she does all her self-centered behaviors week after week, I’m reminded quite vividly of how she’s merely a mirror into my own past dry drunkenness and because of that I’ve found an immense wealth of gratitude to God for how far I’ve come in my own life of recovery from addiction…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson