Denial is a strong emotion in me. It kept me “out there” for years and years. I do not sit in judgment of others, as to whether or not they are alcoholic. It is up to me to focus on my own issues, problems, and behaviors. I cannot judge another, and I cannot compare my life to the lives of others. At meetings I hear others talk about what their experiences were when they were drinking, and I listened closely as I might learn something about the disease of alcoholism, in all it’s forms. Some of us did drink daily, some of us binge drank, and some of us drank sporadically. Some of us only drank vodka, and some only wine or beer, and some of us took drugs in a variety of forms. However I define my drinking, the disease of alcoholism has always been present in my life. It can be found in my denial, in my minimizing the damage it did, in the loud justifications of why I drink, and in the rationalizing that enabled me to continue to function in a total state of denial. I am forever grateful for acceptance, which is the opposite of denial, as I am now living a sober, happy life in recovery.
Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.
Joy happens as we cease fighting everyone and everything and surrender to the good orderly direction of life.- Nancy Folsum
Living on the edge of depression and panic, we had little experience with joy. Our hearts were worn and battle-scarred, utterly unfamiliar with the peace that joy can bring.
Days, and sometimes years into our recovery, we one day find ourselves sitting side by side with joy. What a new feeling. It’s solid, it’s peaceful. It has nothing to do with where we’re sitting or standing. It has nothing to do with what’s going on outside us, or with who said what to whom. It is a feeling too happy to be true, and joy is the only word that pops into our head to describe it.
Joy is the gravy of recovery, and it is beyond measure. Now that we are living in a healthy and life-filled way, there’s always a chance that joy will find it’s way into our day. In this knowledge we rejoice.
Quote is from “Voices of Recovery” February 25th: “The Blame Game”
“We realize the futility of continuing to blame others for our compulsive behaviors and our unmanageable lives.”
-The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of O.A., p. 46 (edited and adapted for content)
Ouch! This idea hits hard. For many years I transferred blame for my uncontrolled behavior and unmanageable life to the villain of the day. Depending on the situation that resulted in my abuse, the villain could be my parents, sister, husband, children, employer, coworkers, friends, or enemies. In other words, anyone or anything that stood between me and my desires, which could cause in me those excessive behaviors. Today, I acknowledge that my compulsive behaviors are a choice not an outcome imposed on me by some external force.
I know today that my Higher Power will help me make reasonable choices about all aspects of my life, if I only ask. Thanks to the presence of a Higher Power in my life, I am no longer at the mercy of multiple dictators.
When we came to our first A.A. meeting, we looked up at the wall at the end of the room and we saw the sign “But for the Grace of God.” We knew right then and there that we would have to call on the Grace of God in order to get sober and get over our soul-sickness. We heard speakers tell how they had come to depend on a Power greater than themselves. That made sense to us and we made up our minds to try it. Am I depending on the Grace of God to help me stay sober?
Knowing what I need to do and doing it are two separate things. I came to the rooms of A.A. knowing full well that I had a problem with alcohol, and accepting A.A. as a solution to this problem, has allowed me to grow, change and become an achiever of true sobriety, one Step at a time. It’s all in the “Big Book.” I was told, early on, not to let doubt define my life – that through recovery all things and anything is possible. God has always been there for me, in my darkest hours, and in my happiest times. Today I have good, solid friends who share my recovery – women who have been there and done that, all with a strong desire to stay sober. Honesty is the first Spiritual Principle, that tells me how important this behavior is. I no longer have to lie, I no longer have to cheat, and I no longer have to steal – I am rid of those negative behaviors. Today my focus is on truth, honesty, and integrity, that’s a pretty deadly combo of Spiritual Principles. In the Program I was taught to use whatever I can, based on the Big Book “suggestions,” the principle of honesty, and a plan of daily living through the Steps and Principles.
I certainly know about the hard times, the bad times and those times of doubt, fear, and anxiety. In recovery I am learning to accept the good times, instead of waiting for that “other shoe” to drop. I used to expect bad stuff to happen to me – and while I know it still does – I also know that it is quite often offset by good events and happenings. I can easily see my growth when I compare my “now” with my “then.” Recovery is something that has to be worked for, it does not occur through some magic or mystical means. It does require effort, work, and being willing to claim my seat at the tables, again and again. God works in mysterious ways – heard that one quite often. While it’s true that I may not understand God’s intentions or His purpose for me, that’s not my job, it is my job to suit up and show up to my recovery. It is also my job to continue to put one foot in front of the other, and do the next right thing whenever I have doubts. I am reminded to do what is mine to do and leave the rest in God’s loving, caring and hard-working hands.