In Year 1 of recovery, i was so excited to be free of the disease that i did not care where i had come from. Now in Year 2, the sheer distance i’ve covered makes it impossible not to notice where i was.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
That quote is from the AA Big Book, more specifically The Promises. That quote is testament to the fact that i am not fully recovered, because i still disagree with many of my readers and harbor regrets about my past actions.
Lately, memories come back to me at random moments, like stepping on shards of broken mirrors hidden in the carpet. Memories of how i mistreated friends, hurt those that love me, and even damaged my children cut me to my core.
The further i distance myself from the asshole i was, the more i realize what an asshole i was. It hurts to see how i behaved. That i did not know better does not lessen the pain.
That it means i am far enough removed from that guy to be shocked, however, does take away the sting, if only a little.
One of the first ever revelations i had in AA came when i’d just started in the rooms and was still wallowing in self pity. At the time, i believed the entire universe had nothing better to do than plot against poor, pour me because i was its center. Yes, this was unfair, but then everything that ever happened to me was grossly unfair. Emphasis on ‘gross’.
There’s a stoic motorcycle cowboy with leathers and a long grey ponytail who comes to the meetings and he’s a very quiet guy but when he does decide to speak, it’s golden. The first time i heard him say something, he addressed this idea of “The world is out to get me”.
If my roof is leaking it means two things.
1) There’s a hole in my roof.
2) I haven’t fixed it yet.
All of a sudden, i realized the Universe wasn’t responsible for my problems, i was.
The AA Promises should come with a warning.
“Be careful! These promises come true!”
The danger is that AA / Recovery will lift me up so high that i lose sight of why i needed it in the first place.
I need to remain grounded, otherwise I might get carried away. The more my recovery brings me, the more I need the meetings to keep my feet on the ground and my AA Fellowship as ballast.
The theme of my Tuesday Night Meeting is “Adventures In Sobriety”. At first, i assumed there was a specific definition to this and wondered what that was. Now i understand the signification changes not only according to the individual, but my own interpretation of it varies as well. i like it like that. It reminds me of life.
One Adventure sobriety has brought me is a plethora of opportunities that wine goggles prevented from seeing. Another Adventure i now have (perhaps unfortunately) is the energy to act on them.
“Unfortunately” because what with my fiction writing, freelance journalism, full time job and family…i want to do Everything now that i feel that i can.
The problem is, it’s easy to put any of these adventures in front of Recovery because Recovery brought them to me.
At times like these in my life, it’s critical to remember the Alcoholics Anonymous saying,
If you put something before your sobriety, be prepared to lose it.
Recovery: If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
One of my original followers, Day After The Hangover, commented recently that i should post about the advantages of recovery. As i will be reaching 1 year of sobriety in a week, i thought this might be a good time to do just that.
First on the list is this nugget.
i went on the wagon for 6 months one time. People always congratulated me and asked me how i was feeling and i always said better, and that was even kind of true. It did feel better living hangover free, but i still wasn’t happy.
Before i went sober this last time, i wasn’t happy. i knew i wasn’t happy. i also knew what i had to do to make myself happy, but i didn’t feel like doing it. It was too much work. It was easier not to try. It was easier to drink.
For some reason, i’m in a better place in my recovery now. The only thing i’m doing differently this time is attending group meetings, but whatever, i’m happier.
Recovery has given me the energy to work for what i need. The strangest thing is that, the more i work i do, the more it isn’t work. i’m making myself happy and i’m not even trying.
Recovery: If your life isn’t better, you’re doing it wrong.
Just to let y’all know i’ve updated the GlosAAry with another couple definitions:
Doing “Service” means volunteering in AA. A common example of “service” is helping out during an AA meeting by greeting newcomers, setting up the room or taking care of the coffee. By doing things beneath you, you lift yourself up. In doing things you’re too good for, you make yourself a better person.
“Service” is a pain in the ass because you’re supposed to be doing it for other people, but the more you do, the more you get back for yourself. Imagine trying to give all your money away, but whatever you donate you receive back three-fold.
“The Promises” is something that come straight out of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They will always materialize if we work for them.
Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 83-84
The strange thing about the promises is that you don’t realize how great these things are until you have them and that you get tons more stuff that isn’t even included here. Like you enjoy the holidays more. What’s up with that? And appreciate your family more. Who knew?
Just to let y’all know i’ve updated the GlosAAry with another definition:
Home Sweet Home and sometimes Home Sweat Home. Refers to the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting rooms. Members of AA will often talk about things they “picked up in the rooms”, meaning while attending an AA meeting.