Some simple principles such as honesty, acceptance, humility, and willingness are just a start to keeping the program of Alcoholics Anonymous simple!!! There are many more principles on this road to a “happy destiny.” Fear is the absence of faith, jealousy requires acceptance, and being resentful towards others is simply not a solution anymore. Humility tells me to expect less and to give more. Willingness is the key that opens the door to a new world, one that bears a resemblance to my hopes and dreams. And above all else, honesty is still an absolute when it comes to working the Steps and practicing the Spiritual Principles. Without these principles of behavior, my program does not grow and change . . . it simply drifts along, day after day, after day. But when I make a concerted effort to change, He will see me struggling and I know He will reach out His loving arms to me, and give me the strength and wisdom I need – that I might then be of use to God, to others, and to myself.
I really don’t think I began to learn about being responsible for my own feelings and behavior until some time into recovery. I still try to accept the responsibility for the behavior of others, when it is clearly not mine to assume. I encourage others to make their own decisions, to take the responsibility for their own actions and behavior, and to quit blaming others for their problems. On our chips is imprinted “To Thine Own self Be True.” That tends to put the responsibility right where it belongs, in my own lap. If I want change in my life, I am responsible for the actions that will cause that change. If others try to hold me responsible for their behavior, it is up to me to let them know that I am responsible for myself, not the behavior of others. My Higher Power reminds me through my actions of just what part of being responsible for my behavior, is solely mine, and what part is not mine. Today, I am responsible for me.
AA has taught me to value my sobriety over all things, even family. Without my sobriety, I offer up everything I am. If I can work the Program, trust my Higher Power and never stop connecting with the Fellowship, there is nothing that can undermine the core of my wellness. As soon as my priorities shift, the little telltale signs begin. Life is difficult, but maintaining sobriety is easy, if I do what I know needs to be done. Accumulated sobriety and a close relationship to AA have led me to carry an optimistic view of my future. The difficulties I have survived have emboldened me to face new ones that will come next. The experiences of others in the Fellowship and at This24 help me to develop my own faith that I can withstand extreme pain and sorrow and still stay sober. The collective courage of my fellow alcoholics becomes mine too. Red sky at night, do what is right.
The rooms of A.A. are filled with a diverse group of people. Our common denominator is we all suffer from the disease of alcoholism, and we have a desire to get and stay sober. That is our “Primary Purpose,” and the basis for our Program. I, for one, love the diversity of our membership. In introducing ourselves the only “identifier” is “alcoholic.” It matters not who we are beyond that definition. Our financial, marital, or other designated status in the community is not what we’re gathered together for. It matters not what job we hold, who we are married to, or if we are married or single, whether we have money in the bank, or just a few quarters in our pocket. None of it matters. For the most part, we did not arrive at the doors of A.A. in great financial, physical, or spiritual well-being. If we were lucky we came in a state of defeat – King Alcohol had whipped our butts. We were ready, we were willing, and we were desperate for recovery. What got you to the rooms?
I have had moments of feeling rejected, being cast aside, given no value, or discarded like something that has “turned” like a bad apple. I no longer accept or anticipate rejection, just the opposite has occurred since I became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am accepted in the rooms and by many members. My time in the Program has enabled me to make behavioral changes in my life that now help me demonstrate the spiritual values and principles of the Program. The old, negative behavior is not so present in my life; I treat others better, I treat myself better, I work to be of use to others, I strive to serve my Higher Power and trust He has placed me exactly where I am today, that I might then make amends to others and serve His purpose. I am happy, I am grateful for all my many blessings, and I am exactly right where His Divine Mercy wants me to be.
The first three Steps are all about surrender. Step One – I had to admit my powerlessness over alcohol. Step Two says I need to find and believe in a power greater than myself – God appears to be that power. And then Step Three asks that I make a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of this Higher Power. I’ve heard it expressed thusly: I have a problem, I believe God can help, I think I’ll let Him. In other words, I surrender. I surrender to the idea that I have a disease, and it’s name is alcoholism. I surrender to a power who is greater than me, and greater than my disease. I surrender to the idea that the Program works for whose who work it. I surrender to the notion that my life, thus far, has been based on mistruths and misguided trust in others. I surrender to the Twelve Steps as a program of recovery. I surrender to a faith in God, daily. And I surrender to the idea that I am right where I am supposed to be – in the rooms of A.A., and in the loving, kind hands of God, and you my trudgers, here at This24!! Happy Easter to those who celebrate….and to those who don’t-may you have an amazing day 💗💗💗
Consideration of change…. is a process, and requires thought, time, and lots of patience. I have too many times allowed and encouraged haste in my life, followed shortly thereafter by regret and even remorse, at times. I try to set boundaries for myself, and this works – when I adhere to them. Practicing patience does not come natural to me, I need to slow myself down, take time to breathe and come to an understanding of the need for time, space, and the idea that there are “things” being worked out in my life, and when I am “ready” change will occur. My life is right on God’s schedule, not necessarily my schedule. This weekend will be a testament to see how well I can practice. With family gatherings for the holiday, it will be a good time to Let go and Let God. 😇
You’re in our prayers Dan!! Keep us updated. Albert….are you there?