Time Takes Time

Two early messages the Newcomer hears in AA are “time takes time” and “it takes what it takes.”  These are important lessons in sobriety.  “Time takes time” addresses the frustration in early sobriety when progress seems very slow but the desire to change is very high.  We are willing to go to any length and we are here to go that length, but time seems to creep.  We look around at people with longer time in the Program and we want what they have – that peace, confidence, lack of struggle.  They are settled in, they have arrived, but we are new to the game and not sure of our footing.   We want to be Harry (in a dress or otherwise), but we cannot.  We are entirely willing, but willingness cannot bring about the results we seek – only time can do that.  There is no shortcut, no matter how sincere the desire.  The saying “it takes what it takes” is used to answer the perennial question of why some alcoholics need to have such dangerously low bottoms, while others do not, or why some relapse several times before achieving lasting recovery and why others seem to have it easier.  The answer “it takes what it takes” does not really answer these questions, because (a) they can rarely be answered and (b) the answers do not matter.  Another way of looking at “time takes time” and “it takes what it takes” is to see them as synonymous.  We cannot become physically sober until we are ready and we cannot become emotionally sober until we are ready.  It takes what it takes to get to Step One, and it takes time to get through all of the Steps.  It is all about acceptance of the past and living one day at a time in the present.  It takes and takes.  But all the while, it gives and gives.

Photo courtesy of MK

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8 thoughts on “Time Takes Time

  1. As Culture Club said, time won’t give me time.
    But lately my time reading all of your words of wisdom and encouragement is time well spent. Love and blessings to you all.

    🙂

    • 🙂 ahhhhhhhhhhh Culture Club!!! Nice.
      Emotional sobriety is my aim everyday. The character defects that were shown from taking my 4th step has thrust me into another orbit of my recovery. When I first came to the rooms-I wanted ALL of it-and NOW……..it certainly was “painstaking” for me to understand how time takes time. Mother Superior would say, (as she shook her head in disgust)-you will NEVER get the concept of serenity Sister-…….if she could only see me now!!!
      I rock, Mother! AND….today, I am serene 🙂

      • Great video sister, so enjoy the visuals as i reflect on the struggles of keeping emotionaly sober. Much better since i am in the program and not around it. Thanks for the sobriety everyone. Kt

  2. Time Waits for No One

    Time waits for no one
    except time’s friends.
    And even then it’s difficult to keep pace with an all-star.
    Time plays the game fair-like.
    But, not always.
    I was thinking about humming birds the other day. All day. They live nearby. They have a very tiny house on a very tiny street.
    Humming birds know about time, but
    they don’t worry about anything at all.
    Where they dine how they play where they sit.
    Ever see a humming bird sit or sleep?
    Humming birds are sneaky too.
    Humming birds are never in a hurry.
    They simply are the hurry.
    Humming birds know things we don’t.
    They know how long or short it takes to understand what they need.
    And, how to get it.
    We don’t.
    We guess, they know.
    We plod, they fly.
    We struggle, they are effortless.
    We trudge, they flitter.
    They are one with the Earth, We want to conquer it.
    We direct, they pollinate.
    We are demanding, they simply do.
    We focus on some pretty bad stuff, the suck nectar from flowers.
    I like humming birds.
    Maybe, someday I will come back as one.
    ‘Til then I focus on my nectar from my flowers in my day among the hours.

    • I have hummingbirds too. Have you ever seen them hover against an expansive vista? Strangest thing until you realize what it is. Perhaps a metaphor for recovery, strangest thing until you realize what it is.

  3. When I entered into this process of recovery a little over a quarter century ago now I was so ingrained in the incessant desire for immediate gratification, of course that’s the way I thought this should happen. I never cease to be amazed and I hope to never forget to acknowledge and be grateful for the powerful wisdom instinctive in people who have turned away from self-seeking and self-serving desire towards the total calm and absolute confidence in the higher power which was there all the time but never actively sought or found.
    A couple of things they told me immediately grounded me in patience; (1, “Keep coming back”; (2, “You are a pickle – you were once a cucumber but you never will be one again”.
    A higher power than I arranged a sponsor.
    His presence in thought, word and deed encouraged and helped anchor me.

    We spoke of patience; I desired patience.

    True and heartfelt desire is a prayer always answered. 🙂

  4. When I was in rehab, I was told that, for every year I drank, it would take a month for my nervous system to recover. I drank for about 28 years so it took over 2 years to start to feel “normal” physically. I don’t know if there is any scientific basis for this, but it seems to make sense. I find gratitude and 1 day at a time work well too!

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