Yesterday I purchased a copy of Dr. Seuss’ book “Green Eggs and Ham.” I love the story in this book, and the lessons it teaches. On the one hand, it teaches the reader to be open to trying new things, as the main character, Sam, tries to convince his friend to try a serving of green eggs and ham.
I purchased the book for the other lesson it teaches. That is the lesson of persistence. Sam is passionate about green eggs and ham. So passionate that he does everything he can to convince his friend to give it a try.
After much pleading, and after facing rejection time after time, Sam’s friend finally gives in. He tries Sam’s green eggs and ham. He tries it and he likes it, announcing that, going forward, he will eat the wonderful meal at any time and any place.
As a salesperson, I love the story of Sam’s persistence. In a typical day, I hear the word “no” from so many people. In fact, I hear it so often that sometimes when a person says “yes” I almost miss it. I’m so prepared for a “no” that I’m sure my shock must sometimes be obvious to the person who says “yes.”
In the story, Sam’s persistence seems to become obnoxious. His in-your-face approach to selling is not my style. Yet his tenacity is something I want in my life.
The reason I bought this copy of Seuss’ classic book is that I received a very stern “no” this week from a prospective customer. My hope is that this simple gesture will remind him that trying something new, like my product, can be a good thing. As a sales tool it is a little bit out there, so we will see how it works out.
In Narcotics Anonymous, each recovering addict is called to be a Sam I Am. We see Sam trying to get his friend to try green eggs and ham at all sorts of times and in all sorts of places.
Likewise, each of us is called upon to live out recovery at all times and in all places. Our twelfth step encourages us to “practice these principles in all our affairs.” As green eggs and ham are to Sam, recovery should be to me.
It is important to note that Sam’s passion and tenacity never lead him to try and force his friend to try a bite. Nor is Sam ever seen trying to trick his friend into trying the dish. Instead, Sam consistently offers his friend the opportunity to try some green eggs and ham.
Our’s is a program of attraction rather than promotion (tradition 11). In the book, we see Sam’s efforts, and assume they take place within the five minutes or so that it takes to read the story. I would suggest that a different interpretation of the story. I like to imagine that all Sam’s pleas take place over a long period of time.
Stretched out over a year or more, Sam’s offers seem less in-your-face. Instead they take on an air of persistence that shows he truly cares about his friend, and wants to share his beloved green eggs and ham out of genuine compassion.
As a recovering addict, I must accept the fact that attraction is a long term process. It occurs over time, as those seeking recovery see the changes in my life, as well as the lives of others in the rooms. As we live out recovery, some (not all) will try this way of life.
In the end, Sam’s friend not only tries green eggs and ham. He loves them, going on to state that he will eat them any time and in any place. He’s convinced, and he’s ready to share his passion.
We see a similar miracle in the rooms of NA on a regular basis as people who seemed hopelessly lost in addiction try this new way of life. I have found a passion for the “green eggs and ham” found in recovery. Like Sam, I want to share that passion at any time, and in any situation.
Have a remarkable day!