Nice Guys Finish...First?

By Matt Martinez 2018 07/10/18

One day someone at work called me a nice guy. That sent me into a full panic mode. How did it come to this, me being a nice guy? Nice guys finish last. They get run over. People push them around. They don't get ahead. All the cliches went off in my head. This can't be happening, I thought. I went to my sponsor for answers.

I came back to my home group skeptical of everyone. I had done what they said to do. I lived life how they said to live it. They had more sobriety than me. I believed they had all the secrets to staying sober. I decided to try out a new way of living. Yet, I had become a nice guy. Was this part of it?

Many times in AA, we talk about a psychic change. It's in the Big Book, and it comes from a higher power. I didn't know it, but becoming a nice guy meant I was in the middle of a psychic change. How did it happen? I got a sponsor and started working the steps. I began my sober journey. I moved beyond being dry. I started doing the work. My higher power was doing for me what I couldn't do for myself. One aspect of that meant I started the process of becoming a nice guy.

Sometimes in sobriety, people will tell me they could never see me drinking. They think I'm a boring, nice guy. Sometimes they say I'm too nice. I don't freak out when people tell me these things. It makes me laugh. I'm a real alcoholic and used to drink like one. I've learned some things about being a nice guy. It builds positive relationships. I've come to realize that's what life is about. Relationships with other people. Sometimes I will see people one time and never again. I want to make the one impression count. Others I see every day. When something goes wrong, will my reputation save me? Being a nice guy means I make meaningful connections with people.

There are other perks. I have a great reputation at work. I have healthy relationships with people. I get random invites from people I interact with. I get better service at restaurants. Nice guys are welcome anywhere. I'm comfortable wherever I go. The biggest perk is I'm not burning myself out. Sure, I get tired. I need time to myself. Those are the best days. I know there's nothing more I could have given to help other people. It's uplifting, not draining. I get a good night's rest, and I'm ready for a new day.

It's not always easy. It doesn't mean I get mad or get resentments. That's when I use my tools. Sometimes I have to add the sick man's prayer to my morning meditation. It helps me to adjust my expectations so I can be of service to them. Ultimately, I know my higher power wants me to be a nice guy. It helps me to be of maximum service to other people. That's my purpose now.

The final verdict is whoever came up with nice guy cliches was wrong. They live alone and are bitter. They can't handle what life throws at them. They have no one to reach out to when things go wrong. How do I know this? That was me when I drank. I talked the most smack, burned the most bridges, and sought out toxic people. When I underwent a psychic change and became a nice guy, my life turned around.

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