As we come to know in recovery, a disturbing array of character defects lies beneath our addictive behaviour. One of these is impatience.
I have come to see addiction as primarily having to do with power, so my understanding of impatience boils down to this: we get frustrated when things don’t happen according to our time schema. Behind this impatience is a view of self that is exalted, knows best, and should be obeyed if people knew best.
In recovery, we learn – painfully at times – how to wait in a sober way. First of all, we discover that our ideas may need more time in the oven than we initially think – perhaps we are not as brilliant as we imagined ourselves. Second, even if we do stumble onto a good idea, we have to come, sooner or later, to accept that things may not quickly – or ever – fall into line with our good idea.
This doesn’t mean that we resign from trying to influence anyone or anything, just that we do so from a perspective that is rigorously strained of resentful and arrogant impatience.