Arriving in the rooms of AA, NA, or OA in all appearances we looked like anyone else in the room. Usually we were adults ranging in age from 20 all the way up to a person in their 80s or 90’s. Sometimes we were still in our teens. At first, we couldn’t understand why some of you seemed to be so harsh with us. It seemed as if you were talking to us as if we were children. You told us, “get a sponsor!, make 90 meetings in 90 days, read the Big Book every day, etc.”. You almost sounded like our parents. Why didn’t you talk to us like an adult.
As we began to immerse ourselves in the program and work the steps we came to a realization. The reason you had been talking to us like a child was because when we were active that’s exactly how we had behaved. We had been totally self absorbed just like any 2 year old. We had done things without any concept of the consequences of our actions. Our actions often mimicked those of a rebellious teenager.
Through sobriety our way of life began to approach our chronological age. Though a bit late, we finally began to grow up.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to grow up in any area of my life?
Sometimes we will see someone behaving in an immature way and jokingly say, “ah, another case of arrested development”. Most of the people in this category just have a temporary lapse of mature judgement. They usually return to their normal state by the next day. We members of AA, NA and OA are in a somewhat different category. It has often been said, that the day that we picked up our substance of choice, was the day we stopped growing emotionally, psychically and spiritually. That is why, when we put down our drug of choice, we are in a state of great confusion. Many of us started using in our late teens or early twenties. Then came decades of drinking or drugging. Upon stopping we suddenly realized that chronologically we might be middle aged, but emotionally and spiritually we were still in our formative years. It was as if we had put our lives on hold for a very, very long time. We lacked many life skills. We really didn’t know who we were or how to fulfill our potential. By going to meetings, getting and speaking with a sponsor and doing step work, life began to change. We started to development spiritual and emotional awareness and began to become the man or woman we were meant to be.
Personal Reflection: Who were you meant to be?