One of the great opportunities of living the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is our ability to become “God-Conscious.” Because our alcoholism is a brain disease, our brains reset themselves every night in our sleep to “alcoholic”. I find that I need to set my brain back every morning to “sober”.
I attended a lecture recently where the speaker described her recovery process from an accident. She said “healing is painful.”
My name is John and I’m an alcoholic. Sober by the grace of God, the application of the 12 Steps and the fellowship of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I haven’t found it necessary to take a drink since July 22, 1978.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes promises on pages 83 and 84. At the New Year, let’s see how these promises are coming true. We can all take inventory of these promises.
My drinking got me kicked out of school; it got me into trouble with the law; I was put on probation; I was court ordered to counseling and I was fighting constantly with my parents. I hated what I was doing to them and I loathed what I was doing to myself, but I didn’t know how to stop. I finally got honest with my probation officer one day and she suggested I go to a Young Peoples A.A. meeting.
I was recently speaking with a very impulsive Retreat guest who had difficulty maintaining a focus on one thing for very long. I was not surprised that his drug of choice was meth, because at the beginning of his meth use it actually calmed him down. At The Retreat we do Big Book studies that are two hours long at a time, and this was tough for him. He told me “I need something short and simple, that can work for me.”
Recently, I overheard a person in recovery talk about being concerned because he hadn’t had a spiritual awakening like Bill W. He was afraid he had done something wrong. He wondered if he had fallen out of favor with God. He questioned whether he had missed something when he went through the 12 Steps. He thought maybe he had glossed over some vital section of the first 164 pages.
On a recent trip home I got to join my family for their weekly breakfast. The waitress took everyone’s order, and then looked to me for mine. I had no idea what my order would be, as I didn’t have a menu. Everyone else knew everything on the menu! So, when I asked her for one, and she brought it back, I jokingly apologized for being the “problem child” this morning. This was immediately met with another family member stating “I hate to tell you, dear, but you always have been.” Of course, I said I already knew this.
In a way, we are all the people we have ever been. I am my five year old self, and my fifteen year old self, and my twenty five year old self, as well as the man I am today, at sixty-eight years old. We are, to some extent, the sum of our experiences. We can benefit from all our experiences, or be damaged by them.