Styles are constantly changing. For a while baggy jeans were all the rage. If you didn’t own a pair, you weren’t cool. At one time bell bottoms were the in thing. Today, it seems that everyone is wearing skinny straight leg jeans. We members of the fellowship are as concerned with fashion as the next person. Survey any meeting and you will see that our clothing choices follow modern trends. So yes, you will see us wearing skinny straight leg jeans.
Philosophically, we take a very different approach. A popular expression in the rooms is to “wear this world like a loose garment”. With a tight fitting garment, we don’t have much room to move. The same holds true in life. We need to display a degree of flexibility. This means that when appropriate we let go of old ideas and patterns that no longer work for us. We are open to applying new approaches in solving issues that arise. Often, we just need to let go of expectations and accept how things unfurl for us. Because we have flexibility we can even accept hurt and disappointment. Our jeans may be stiff and tight but our minds are limber and open.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to develop flexibility?
There are critics of twelve step programs that equate them with a cult. From the outside, perhaps it does appear that we are in lockstep around our actions.The reality is that regardless of our drug of choice, we are all in agreement about a number of tenets. As we say in AA; one is too many and ten are not enough. We can not drink or drug safely. We must practice total abstinence around alcohol,or drugs. We also agree about the importance of going to meetings and having a sponsor. It has been demonstrated time and again that these are important for the maintenance of sobriety. Beyond that, you will find a tremendous degree of variation in how people practice the program. There are people who meditate daily and others who almost never do. Some people have journaling as part of their program, while others have never utilized this technique. Some people go to a meeting once a day, while others go less frequently. There are members who fiercely protect their anonymity while others are very open about the program they attend. You will find certain members attending the same meetings for decades, while others like to experience new people at different meetings every week. Each of us has the flexibility to create the program of recovery which works for us.
Personal Reflection: How have I individualized my program of recovery?
Many of us have gone through life acting as if we had few or no options. When we made a mistake we claimed that we had always done it that way; and that we knew of no other way. To a large extent this was true. We had not grown up with particularly good role models. Some of us modeled the “my way or the highway approach”. Others modeled the “victim” or “people pleaser”. At the time we did not realize that our tool box often had only one tool and a broken one at that. In recovery, we have come to see that a problem often has more than one solution. We have also learned that certain responses are appropriate, and others are not. Through practice and with the guidance of others and our Higher Power, we have acquired new “tools” and learned which ones are best suited for each situation. Do we need to be firm or flexible? Does it require an immediate or delayed response? The best thing we can do for ourselves is to open our toolbox and examine our options.
Personal Reflection: Have I looked in my toolbox lately?