It takes very little to be kind to others – and I believe the world would be a much better place if kindness was a common practice. But, as I know, I am not in charge of the world. Being kind to others who have not been kind to me provides me with very good lessons on being spiritually fit, and emotionally mature. If I can rise above my old ways of treating people, and work towards being kind to others because it is the right thing to do – I will be a better person for it. The Program teaches me this, and my Higher Power, continues to remind me that giving comes from the heart, not the brain.
I am grateful for the “living amends” that has enabled me to make amends to many whom I have forgotten. Today I work to be of service to my community, and to those who are in my life. Amends is something that will continue in my life, for the rest of my life. It is an opportunity to examine my own behavior and to claim what is truly mine. Making amends is another “tool” in recovery, but it is so much more than merely saying “I’m sorry,” it is an opportunity to make right some of the wrongs in my life. It is also a means of learning and accepting the reality of my behavior towards others. The Program is amazing, it is constantly teaching me new ways of viewing my life, and how I behave towards others. Slowly I am learning how to love and care for others, and through that process have learned to love and care for myself. I just need to be mindful of all the lessons available to me. I will find these lessons if I just keep my eyes, my heart, and my mind open to the blessings and teachings of my Higher Power.
Bondage – I can see now how I was bonded to the disease of alcoholism, it became my driving force, my master, and my abuser. Being in bondage is different than bonding with others. One is being under the power or authority of another power, influence or force – that’s bondage. Slavery is bondage, just as I was bound to alcohol. I was a slave to my disease. Bonding with others – on the other hand – means that we share mutual thoughts, feelings, emotions, likes and dislikes. I have found myself bonding with others because of the similarities we share as alcoholics. We understand each other, we “know” what it means to be an alcoholic. We share our Program of recovery, and we find both serenity and sobriety together, with each other. I have found “kindred souls” in the Program, we speak the same “language.” We feel the same feelings, we know what it means to hurt and, more importantly, how to rid ourselves of the hurt. Bonding with others takes time, and effort – but is always well worth the effort. I have been truly blessed with my friends of today.
I am learning to take care of me, slowly but surely. Routine is an important part of this process. I like the familiarity of routine, I know what to expect and when to expect it. Like the readings before the meetings – I’ve heard them over and over again, and yet I listen closely when they are being read. The readings have helped many an alcoholic learn how to read, just for starters, but they are so much more than just an opportunity to read, or learn to read. They help to bring my focus down to where I am, and not outside the rooms in the chaos of life. I am here, in this place, in this seat, in this here, in this now. I feel safe in the rooms, I feel secure and comfortable. I see familiar faces along side new faces – for that is what keeps A.A. going, it’s the newcomers – a place we have all been. Meetings help me maintain my recovery program.
Honesty, faith, sponsorship . . . those are some powerful recovery tools. When I first heard the term “recovery tools” I expected to be handed something substantial to fight my disease – like a list of “do’s and don’ts,” or the phone numbers of those who had succeeded, or a list of the most commonly used slogans, etc. Instead I have come to learn that recovery tools are the ways and means of the Program which have worked for others claiming sobriety. My Higher Power is at the top of the list when it comes to recovery “tools.” My H.P. gives me strength, purpose, guidance, and always hope for a better future, as long as I remain honest in both word and deed. To be less than honest is to cheat myself and all those I love and care for.
Body, mind and spirit – what a threesome. My recovery “program” seems capable of working on one of these at a time. On a real good day I can work on two, but all three constantly – well I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that concept. I do strive for clarity of my intentions, that my reasons continue to be on the right side, on that “higher path.” I work to understand and believe in the spiritual principles, as they relate to the Twelve Steps. I am mindful of keeping my nose out of the business of others, and I work to stay connected to the God of my understanding, for it is God’s will, not my will, that enables me to continue to claim sobriety and harmony of body, mind and spirit.