I have come to terms with my physical self. While I admire others who work on this aspect of their lives, consistently, I’m finding it harder to maintain any daily exercise plan. I’m still moving and still upright, and I’m grateful for both of those. I am a product of my time – I was born before the onset of organic food, health clubs, jogging, and other forms of taking care of our bodies. Today, I work to walk any distances, as I said my body is not what it used to be. Age has it’s limitations, but I strive towards whatever balance I can maintain in my life. One thing I know for sure and that is I am in charge of my life, with the help and guidance of God. It’s up to me to do the “foot work” in life, I can rest on my laurels or I can continue going forward – I choose to keep trying, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep working towards being a better “me.”
I know that I’m quick to forgive others mistakes and flaws – more so than I am my own mistakes and flaws. I do recognize that I am a fallible human being, and that I will never attain that elusive thing called perfection. I have stopped expecting perfection from others, and – myself. But I also have to admit that I tend to be harder on myself than I am on others. Lately it seems as though life is more of a struggle than it used to be. My immediate thought after making that statement is “What am I doing to offset the negative events in my life?” Am I working the Program, or just sitting on my laurels, complaining about my life? Am I trying to use the Steps, am I reading the Big Book, am I reaching out to others, am I taking an active part in my recovery? There are “tools” available to me – to get on the other side of this “struggle.” Sometimes I know what I need to do – do you?
In AA we are similar, and yet we are also unique in many ways. It’s common for others to tell us that we should focus on the similarities and not the differences, when we are new. I came to the tables not quite sure what my “status” was; did I suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, or any of the other “ism’s” I heard about? I came looking for answers to the insanity of my life, unsure where I “fit.” I believe this is true for many others, as well. Thank goodness for the 3rd Tradition which allowed me to keep coming back and reclaiming my seat at the tables. It took me a while to come to an understanding of what my “problem” was. As it turned out, “I” was the problem, my use and abuse of alcohol and other chemicals was but a symptom. Yes, I believe A.A. is a unique program, just as I believe that I am unique in my own way – but the message I received in the rooms was very clear – I cannot claim sobriety, or attain recovery without all of “you.” This is a “We” program, that is what makes it work. “We” means my fellow members of A.A., myself, and, of course, my Higher Power. Together we can and do claim sobriety and recovery.
I, for one, do not like being around others who have nothing else to say, except negative opinions. There is a big difference between a gathering of “normies” and a gathering of those in recovery. When I attend a “gathering” at my daughter’s home, the conversation is usually about what is lacking in their lives, in the Country or in the World. It’s all about bad politics, bad weather, bad deeds by others, etc. But when I attend an A.A.gathering of any sort, I hear about good things happening in the lives of others, about others reaching goals and aspirations. It’s just a totally different atmosphere, and given a choice, I choose to be in the company of my fellow sober alcoholics. When I am in the company of the “normies” I am reminded of the true blessing that recovery has been. Others outside the Program do not have the benefit of the positive energy that is generated in recovery. I truly believe I am blessed in many ways through sobriety and the Program of A.A.
I am responsible for me – and no other. Setting boundaries is one way of ensuring that my recovery continues, on my course to the God of my understanding and the path to improved behaviors, through the Spiritual Principles. I always have the choice to leave any gathering I may attend, I have the power to just walk away from negative conversations, I have the power to hang up the phone if the conversation is impacting my serenity. I can choose where I want to be and with whom I want to be around. I do serve as an example to others, and hopefully that leads to positive actions, not negative actions or deeds. Today, I have choice – not something I even considered before recovery, but I know I have the power to decide where I want to be and whom I choose to be around. It seems as though negativity begets negativity, while positive behaviors and actions beget positivism. I know it’s okay to take care of me, it’s okay to express my true beliefs, and it’s okay to walk away from the darkness – and search out the Light – it’s always there, I just need to look.
In the Big Book of A.A., there is a chapter entitled “There is a Solution.” and on page 25 of that chapter it states “We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.” Admitting defeat gave me a true sense of freedom, and a life unlike anything I ever dreamed of. The willingness to believe in this “power” has given me a new existence, a life based in a “new dimension,” a dimension of faith, trust and surrender. I gave up my old life and found a new one. This “new” life is based on spiritual principles which are in opposition to the old “principles.” Instead of mistrust, I found faith. Instead of bias I found open-mindedness. Instead of dishonesty I found honesty. Instead of false pride I found humility. I developed a sense of what it means to be of service to others, and learned the true value of forgiveness. I found a willingness unknown to me before beginning my journey down my spiritual path. I accepted all that was offered, I embraced the spiritual principles and have found them to be my guides to positive behavior. I am blessed beyond measure, and remain grateful for all my many blessings.
There are many anagrams for FEAR: Face Everything And Recover is one of my favorites, I know others have their own version. I faced fear when I took that first step over the threshold of the A.A. meeting hall. I faced fear when I spoke for the first time in a meeting. I faced fear when I did my 4th and 5th Steps. I face fear every day – but the love I receive from other members, from my family, from the good Lord above, all exceed the fear I feel. The stronghold of A.A. is always there for me to reach out and touch, to know that God is watching over me – I am blessed, and I know it. Fear and faith do not reside together, and I have heard it said that fear is the absence of faith. So I pray when fear wraps a cold hand around my heart. I ask the God of my understanding to remove the fear and replace it with faith. Today I have faith in my Higher Power, God; faith in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and faith in myself as a child of God. KEEP THE PLUG IN THE JUG