While I was still in treatment sober living was “strongly suggested” as the next step in my recovery. I was told that it would put into practice the twelve-step approach to living in a somewhat controlled environment that would benefit my sobriety and my overall spiritual well-being. Believe me I was more than a little bit skeptical that this would in any way, shape, or form benefit me at all. This blog delves into whether they were right or not. We shall see.
At a conference on recovery not long ago in Chicago, I listened to the speaker talk about making amends. The crux of her point was that the amend had to be equal to or greater than the offense. For example, you can’t falsely print on the front page of a newspaper that someone is a cheat and a liar and then print the retraction on page 17. No, if you’re going to set the scales of restorative justice evenly, the retraction has to go on page one.
“By 1937, some of us realized that AA needed a standard literature. There would have to be a book ... Well, we did quarrel violently over the preparation and distribution of that book. In fact, it took five years for the clamor to die down. Should any AAs dream that the old-timers who put the book together went about in serene meditation and white robes, then they had best forget it.” - AA Co-Founder, Bill W., November 1951, “Services Make AA Tick”, The Language of the Heart.
Tis the season to be jolly”, as the age-old song reminds us. In that vein, here are some stories to lift your spirits - Happy Holidays!
Q: How do you define recovery?
A: I consider myself a person in long-term recovery. To me, that means that I haven't had a drink or drug in over 42 years.
On December 11, 1934, while under treatment at Towns Hospital for alcoholism, Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, experienced a profound and lasting spiritual experience. This intense and life-changing spiritual awakening left Bill with an overwhelming sense of well-being and freed him from his obsession and craving for alcohol. Bill said this about his “hot flash”, “I knew I was a free man”.
A definition of the word sponsor published at a time when the A.A. program was in its infancy states: “Sponsor - One who assumes, or one to whom is delegated, responsibility for some other person.” Webster, circa - 1936
During the past several weeks we all have been thrown into a sea of unknowing, with no knowledge of the shore- where it is, when it will rise in our vision, when we will rest knowing it’s popping up in our horizon.
Just a little backdrop... Recently, I have experienced what some might define as significant losses: My last surviving parent died in October; I ended a long-term primary relationship in November; My darling dog of 10 years was put to sleep in February. I am an empty nester, living in a new home in rural America. Despite these losses, daily life was fulfilling and meaningful. I had a job I adored, good friends, a busy social and volunteer life, and, most importantly, a wonderful AA community that grew and deepened every day!
Johann Hari stated at the end of his viral “TED Talk” that… “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection”. This comment was received as a landmark and almost heretical statement in the field of addiction treatment. It sent shock waves through the recovery community. It was a new and innovative way to view addiction and address recovery.