Many people in the program were extremely successful in their given careers. Among us you will find lawyers, doctors, CEO’s, architects and other professionals. We were highly regarded by our colleagues in our respective fields. A good part of our success was due to discipline and hard work. That was why it baffled us when it came to our drug of choice. How could we be so successful in our professional life; and yet when it came to a drug, alcohol or food we constantly relapsed. We had so much self directed will in one area of our life and yet in another we did not.
Many of us entered the program because of this very paradox. Early on we learned that our experience was actually quite average among addicts and alcoholics. When it came to our drug of choice, we needed to accept that willpower alone would not help us break our endless cycle of use and remorse. We accepted that we were indeed powerless over alcohol, drugs or food. We needed to turn to a “power greater than ourselves” for assistance. For some, that power was their home group or sponsor. For many, we had a true spiritual awakening and recognized the role of a Higher Power in removing our obsession to use.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to let go of my will in some area of my life?
There is a reality to sobriety that is irrefutable. We cannot and should not attempt to do this program by ourselves. That was our modus operandi while we were active. Although we had many feelings of anger, fear and shame we chose to not share those feelings with anyone else. We walked around in a state of upset. As a result,when the opportunity appeared for us to relieve ourselves of all of that upset through our drug of choice, we were more than willing participants. Then of course we felt remorse for using; or for actions while we were under the influence. Since we didn’t share this with anyone else, it was just piled on along with all of the other buried feelings. The cycle of upset, drug of choice and remorse had begun once again.
When we finally put down the alcohol, drugs or food, the cycle was temporarily broken. However if we failed to change our behavior, we would quickly end up back on the despair treadmill. A big part of that change was the acknowledgement that this is a “we” program. The failure to recognize this usually lead to relapse. Utilizing the wisdom and support of other members of the fellowship was critical to recovery. Once we got beyond our pride or shame and opened ourselves to the help and concern of others; we had a much greater chance of success.
Personal Reflection: Am I practicing a “we” program?