I am so grateful for the Third Tradition, as it allowed me to claim a seat in the rooms of A.A. until such time as I could identify myself as an alcoholic. All I needed was a desire to stop drinking – and I certainly had that, but beyond that I was a little unsure as I held a preconceived notion as to what an alcoholic looked like. I spent a great deal of time and energy making sure that I did not fit my “idea.” I truly thought I had to be someone who drank out of a bottle, and who mostly drank vodka – straight. Someone who had lost much of what defines others as “normal:” like a job, a car (with insurance) a spouse and/or family. Someone who drank for days on end, and someone who may have been arrested for D.U.I. There were similarities to others, just as there were differences. I soon discovered that what defined me as an alcoholic was what happened to me when I drank – me, my life, my world all of these changed when I took that first sip. And you? (Today is 60 days!!)
I’ve known people in the Program who could recite the readings, verbatim, but could not stay sober. For me it took knowledge of the Steps, as well as all the other “tools” of recovery. Wisdom, by definition, is accumulated learning – and therefore indicates that it will take time for wisdom to happen. It is a process, which affects the attitude and inner qualities of those who are utilizing change at a visceral level. It comes from deep down within, and it is truly God-given. While I cannot, with total confidence, recite the Twelve Steps or other readings, I do know that today I have time to learn. Experience begets wisdom, and wisdom begets right action. Being open-minded to the process of recovery is essential. I am capable of learning and re-learning whatever lessons I need, as I live this life of recovery, ONE DAY AT A TIME.
While I may not always understand the Spiritual Principles, I still work to incorporate them into my life. Generosity, unity, and service are but a beginning when it comes to service in the Program. In A.A. when I attempt to help others, I always come away from that experience feeling better about myself, so it’s a win-win situation. Everyone, at one time or another, experiences feelings of being discouraged. When that happens to me, and I go to a meeting, nine times out of ten I will hear someone who’s problems are greater than mine – and come away with a feeling of gratitude for what I do have. Whenever I can get my head out of the dark place it goes to, I have found on reflection that my Higher Power was at work in my life, once again. When I need help, I ask for it through prayer and meditation. I never have to do this thing called recovery alone. Thank you This 24 for letting me be of service!!
There have been times when it was more appropriate to let old hurts go, rather than hold on to whatever negative behaviors caused them. Making amends is not about how others treated me, but how I treated others. Some of my amends have been outright rejections, while others have been gratefully accepted. There are a wide range of responses – over which I have no control. Whatever the response, I am to accept and listen to those with whom I am trying to apologize. I do my part only. There are times when it is not appropriate to make amends, as it will bring up behaviors that may hurt or cause others pain or discomfort. The best I can do never repeat that action again. Making amends is something that continues to unfold, day after day. It also affords me the opportunity to forgive myself for my poor behaviors.
Judgments are made, all the time. (Even comments here at This24-Lol) Sometimes, in the process of hearing another’s story, I think to myself “Well, I never did that.” But given enough time “out there” I have no doubt I would have reached the very bottom of the barrel. I was not above shortcomings and character defects, and by the time I got through working the Steps I had quite a list of behavioral “problems,” the least of which was gossiping. Talking about other members is not only discouraged but it goes against the very principles we are striving toward. Honesty, humility, and willingness to change, are just a few of the “essentials” I want in my “new” life. Positive action means taking the “higher path.” Whenever I take my “eyes” off of my behavior, I open myself to judgment and criticism. Who am I to judge another? I’m too busy clearing up the debris from my own past. I find that keeping my focus on my recovery is the best solution when there’s any question about judging others. My job is to stay sober and help others – period. No, I’m not perfect at this thing called recovery – but I work on it a day at a time!!
If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care.
– Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 116
Even after I had accepted a Higher Power, there were still times of uncertainty and confusion. I know today that my “emotional stability” comes to me one day at a time, It does me no good to rely on the hope of tomorrow, or the regrets of the past. My emotions, for the most part, are pretty “normal.” Before recovery my emotions were all over the place, one day up, the next day down and out. I am grateful for the stability that I have had since coming into the Program. At first I thought that I would be bored in recovery, but I have been anything but bored. I have had the experiences of wonderful trips, and visits to places I never thought I would see. I have developed friendships with people who I can socialize and can be a friend as well. Being around sober alcoholics has shown me that life can be enjoyable, fun and good; despite my disease. Being dependent upon God has relieved me of the burden of always thinking that I had to know everything and do everything. It feels good to sit back and see what God has in store for me. ❤
Not my will, but Thine, be done.
The quote talks about the courage it takes to risk letting go of my will, and the trust I need to Let Go and Let God. When I stopped long enough to take a good, hard look at my own life, I could see where my will had not gotten me where I wanted to be, or even close to it. The bottom line was that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I had to turn my will and my life over – every day, and sometimes several times during any given day. I was so used to expecting the worst in life, that it took a while to trust the process of recovery. One thing about trusting God – He is always there. It took a while for me to learn to trust the Program and to trust myself, once again. My faith in God was tested, and each and every time God came through. I simply had to stop “doing” and start letting my life unfold as God wills it. Faith works, recovery works, and the God of my understanding certainly works!!!