Today I know that I never have to do this thing called recovery, alone. There are always others in the Program who remain willing to listen, to spend some time with another sober woman, to love and support our “Sisters in Sobriety.” That was one of the nice surprises that I found in recovery; friends, true friends. Women who take the time and patience to develop solid relationships with other women and the men in the program. I have come to know that there is more to a relationship than meets the eye when it comes to the men in the Program. I receive the support I need from both women and men. Recovery is a life process, one that will continue to teach me how to be a better person, more like the one God intended me to be.
This Program never ceases to amaze me, it has helped so many in such a variety of ways. Whether it’s “inside” or “outside” it has been strong enough to be the guiding force in the lives of many, and with the additional help of therapists and counselors, lives have been saved and “turned around.” I believe that there are literally thousands of people who are incarcerated for “crimes” committed under the influence of alcohol. Thank goodness that the Corrections Department provides help for those who are serving time. Bringing A.A. to the prison system is referred to as H&I work, and it is being done in many facilities, and from what I hear A.A. provides a very needed connection for those in the “system.”
Blessings of AA both inside and out.
Step Three was about having faith in the God of my understanding and demonstrating that faith by not making life changing decisions, but believing that God has a plan for me. A plan which enables God to perform the “miracles” He has in my life, when I hold still long enough for them to materialize. I came to know that He takes better care of me than I ever did. I have been blessed to find the serenity I needed to “stay the path.” Today, I can and do make the decision to turn my life and my will over to the God of my understanding. I know God loves me and that He blesses me with courage and wisdom. That He manages my life and He has done for me what I could not do for myself. I have faith in God and I believe that He is a Power greater than the disease of alcoholism. My recovery is a gift, and my sobriety is my gift to God.
A year and six months later these three had succeeded with seven more.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 159
If it had not been for the fierce determination of our founders, A.A. would have quickly faded like so many other so-called good causes. I look at the hundreds of meetings weekly in the city where I live and I know A.A. is available twenty-four hours a day. If I had had to hang on with nothing but hope and a desire not to drink, experiencing rejection wherever I went, I would have sought the easier, softer way and returned to my previous way of life.
Recovery has blessed me with so much more than sobriety. I have purpose and direction in my life today. A.A. affords me many opportunities to be of service to others. That was one of the attractions to A.A. for me. I could get as involved as I wanted. Sometimes that means just attending meetings and working with a sponsor. Other times that can be as a “trusted servant” in support of my Fellowship; or at District or Area levels. There are Conferences that need support as well as Assemblies, not to mention both Region and World Services. There are many ways to serve. I have found that service enhances my personal recovery. We each choose for ourselves how we want to define our own recovery program. Some choose to be of service and others choose to keep their program simple. Sobriety has truly been a gift that grows with time. I came searching for a way out of the pain, and I not only found that but I also found a whole new world, filled with friends, and those I have come to call my “Family”
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life, which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
–Henry David Thoreau
I claim that my purpose and direction in life is to stay sober and help others and to that end I do what is termed “service work.” I believe in being of service to others in whatever way that defines itself. I enjoy service work particularly when it comes to sponsoring others. My time with my sponsees is very important to me, and requires my undivided attention. Between sponsoring and fulfilling other service commitments I am busy, sometimes too busy, and forget to take some time for me and for my recovery program. I work to keep my priorities straight; God, Me, Program, and then comes family and friends. It’s up to me to take care of me, that I might then be there for others, be they family or friends. The cost of things includes the initial cost but maintenance of a “thing” can really have an impact on my life, my time and my intentions. Taking my time with decisions that create change in my life is always a good thing to do. A day at a time, a step at a time, and a “thing” at a time.
The Serenity Prayer urges me to “have the Courage to change the things I can.” There is great comfort in the familiar, and for me that can be as simple as writing this 24. Change can challenge my comfort level and it seems the older I get the less I like changes in my life. I have come to an acceptance of what works in my life, and what doesn’t. I knew change was inevitable when I first arrived at the doors of A.A. Little did I realize just how deep those changes were. There’s the story of the newcomer who asked her sponsor about change, and she said there are only three things she needed to change: everything she did, everything she said, and everything she thought. In other words there have been many changes I needed to make in my desire for sobriety and recovery. Change takes, acceptance, faith, and the courage to be willing to endure those changes in my life patterns.