Today I try to ensure that my motives are good, and that I am doing something for the right reasons. I know this is the case when I can eliminate my ego from the equation, and truly feel the rightness of my actions. I am so deeply grateful for my time in the Program, together with the blessings of my Higher Power, I am truly able to live with and love others, from deep within my heart. My future is in the hands of the Master, I believe there is more work for me to do – but it is not for me to decide, that’s God decision. Living within these twenty-four hours help me to keep life in perspective, one day at a time. I can live one day at a time, it is so much easier than living in the past, the present and the future!! Thank goodness for the life I have today, and thank goodness for the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous!! HAPPY SOBER NEW YEAR!!!
I will be forever grateful that the doors were open when I finally arrived at the Fellowship, the absolutely “last house on the block,” for me. There are no paid positions in A.A., with the exception of a few “workers” in the World offices in New York. Despite that fact, the benefits of serving in the Program are none-the-less very evident. One of our “sayings” is that we “grow or go.” I believe that service work has kept me growing in the Program, not only for my own personal growth, but for the growth of others, as we learn from each other. I have learned how to work with others, how to be one of the many and yet – I continue to step up for service, when needed. I have seen others learn many things in the Program – some learn to read and write, some learn that they can share at a very personal level, like the other night when a man told how he killed his wife by driving drunk, and newcomers in the room were HORRIFIED! The benefits of being part of a group continues to grow and change as I age in the Program. Those of us who were once shy and reticent, find that we can be outgoing and willing to do whatever needs to be done. We each serve a greater purpose in the Program. I am grateful for the service work I have had, it truly is a gift – one that continues to give; day after day and year after year.
Meetings are a respite from the busy world outside the doors of A.A. They are a chance for me to focus on my recovery. Once the meeting has started, I can focus on hearing the experience, strength and hope of others in attendance. I can forget the grocery list, the telephone call I need to make, or what I will cook for dinner, etc., just for that hour. Although random thoughts will flit through my mind, at will. . . I still hear the message of sobriety. Sometimes the connections made with others in attendance before and after the meeting are just as important as what I hear during the meeting. I’ve never been to the same meeting, twice. Each one is different, because each one is comprised of different members. I may hear the same story from an oldtimer, but then a newcomer will relate to that story in a different way than I heard before. Or someone will talk about how they are working the Steps and something I have never heard before will come to light – it’s always different in some way. What is important is that I continue to “Suit up and show up.” I am a member of A.A., I am a sober alcoholic, and I am just one among many.
Change has occurred in my life and change is what recovery is all about. I trust and have faith in the God of my understanding. Acceptance always brings to mind the blessed Serenity Prayer, where I ask “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and, Wisdom to know the difference.” Every small step I have taken in recovery has been a step towards acceptance of life, acceptance of faith, and acceptance of my Higher Power, God. I am grateful for all the lessons in recovery, and especially the lesson of learning to “Let Go and Let God.”
For me, working the Steps is but a beginning to my recovery. I believe it takes faith in God (unity), working the Steps (recovery), and carrying the message to those who are still suffering (service). Wisdom comes in the lessons I continue to learn – each day, every day. Changes in my behavior changes my perception – of me, and those I share this world with, they are what tells me that God is at work. My job is my recovery, I pray that I remain not only sober, but with some degree of serenity. I admit my alcoholism, I have come to believe, and I have turned my life and my will over to the care of the God of my understanding. I see the Steps in groups of three : Steps 1,2, and 3; are the “give up” Steps, where I admit my disease. Steps 4,5,and 6 are the “open up” Steps, where I get honest. Steps 7,8 and 9 are the “make up” Steps where I learn to say “I’m sorry.” And the final three 10, 11 and 12 are the “keep up” Steps, which are the “maintenance” Steps. With practice….. these simple, powerful Steps can transform my life into the joy of living. Through the recovery process of A.A., my transformation is a reality.
I found hope at that first meeting. No one told me to leave, no one told me that I did not belong, and no one told me that I was in the wrong place. Just the opposite happened – I felt welcomed and accepted. I listened to others talk about their problems, which I expected, but then came a surprise – they talked about how the Steps helped them with those problems. It was more than a litany of problems, it was a way out of the darkness that had been my life for so many, many years. I heard solution, I heard hope and I heard understanding. There was so much to try and comprehend, then someone said I should Keep Coming Back, that this was a life-long program of change and growth, it was not a class that I would “graduate” from. I relaxed a little, knowing that it was a “process” not an “event.” I was at the beginning of recovery, and it was a day by day regime, that would continue for my lifetime. I am so very blessed today of all days, Christmas, to be able to be at a family function-SOBER. That NEVER happened in the past…..although some are not here with us, they will always be in my heart. My dad, uncles, aunts, a cousin who was very close, and a dear friend who passed the beginning of December. Still, I have Hope, that because I am sober, the life that was promised to me, I can live ♥♥♥ One Day At A Time!