Repeatedly in the rooms one hears people saying that one day they suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that they had had enough of their drinking, drugging or binging on food. For many of them this became their sober date. What they failed to mention is that in the past they had made similar declarations. Yet the next day they returned to their addictive behavior. Why did this last statement of contrition work?
Perhaps it can be likened to a combination lock. It can only work when all of the cylinders are aligned and click into place. The same is true of sobriety. Only when the right combination of circumstances falls into place does our proclamation of our last drink or drug hold true. Why did all of those circumstances align so that we finally, finally had the resolve to put down our drug of choice. Prior to that, left to our own devices we repeatedly had failed. We believe that it was only through the intercession of a power greater than ourselves that we we were able to say for the very last time that we were sick and tired of being sick and tired. The last cylinder clicked into place and we were finally on the road to recovery.
Personal Reflection: What locks continue to be opened for me through my Higher Power?
The life of an alcoholic, drug or food addict is not a happy one. All aspects of our lives had been negatively impacted by the choices we had made. Our health had often deteriorated because of our actions. A lot of stress had been placed on our relationships with family and friends. We also encountered many work related problems. All of these had taken a toll on our emotional well being.
We felt a sense of relief when we entered the fellowship. We thought that once we had stopped our addictive behavior, everything would be fine. It was a bit of a shock to us to discover that many feelings which had laid dormant for a long time, came rushing back in. It seemed like we had replaced one set of problems with another. As we immersed ourselves in the program, we saw that not using drugs and alcohol was only the first step. If we really wanted to become, “happy joyous and free”, a lot of work needed to be done. A rigorous examination of our character defects was in order. Out of that examination we began to see our role in the reality we created. We also learned about our powerlessness and the need to let go after we had done the requisite work. Our Higher Power was also called upon as part of this process.
Personal Reflection: Am I happy, joyous and free today?
We all the took that first step. After a long time of making excuses, we finally admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, food, drugs, sex, gambling or whatever our addiction of choice was. Some of us felt a tumble of relief like a heavy weight had been lifted from our chest. That deep dark secret finally had the light of day shown on it and was now in the open. Those were the lucky ones. Many of us began to back pedal immediately. “What was I thinking”, they exclaimed. “There is just no way that I’m an addict. You people had me under your sway and I admitted to something that just wasn’t true. How could I be an addict? I’m a successful businessman or businesswomen. I have advanced degrees from college. No one in many family ever drank or used drugs”
To you we say, “take a deep breath”. All you’ve done is admit that you have a problem. If you choose not to do anything about it, that is your choice. We are members of a program of attraction rather than promotion. If you want to go out there and test the waters again that is your prerogative. What we do know is that it took you a long time to get here and finally admit you were powerless and your life was unmanageable. Why don’t you stick around, have a cup of coffee and hear what we have to say.
Personal Reflection: Do you fully and completely accept your admission?
A program saying that has become almost universal is “one day at a time”. Along with many other concepts we found this particular one confusing in early sobriety. Part of our disease was that we were impulsive and had not given any thought to the consequences of each day’s actions. But now, at almost every meeting we heard someone repeating that “one day” quote. It sounded to us that you were saying we could continue our daily program of self-will run riot.
As our minds and spirits cleared, we began to awaken to what was really being said. Now, as responsible members of society, of course we needed to make plans for the future. Like others we saved monies for home purchases, went back to school to further our education and planned out family vacations. What had changed was our letting go of trying to control the future. We were able to drop all of our obsessive rumination about outcome. We would make all the necessary efforts, but the results were in the hands of our Higher Power. We didn’t need to “look too far down the road”, because ultimately we realized that we were powerless over it anyway.
Personal Reflection: Do I still think I need to look down the road?