Utilize, Don’t Analyze
Today’s meeting was a discussion from the book Living Sober. The purpose of this particular book is not to explain the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, nor is it designed to teach someone how to go through the 12 steps. Rather, it is a compilation of helpful advice from recovered alcoholics about how to maintain early sobriety.
Because, as anyone new to recovery can testify, the early days are confusing, chaotic, and sometimes, downright frightening. Generally speaking, a person does not decide to join AA because life is wonderful. Nine times out of ten, AA is the end of the road. We are at the end of our rope… sometimes legally, sometimes interpersonally, sometimes mentally, and often all of the above.
So we start coming to these meetings, and our lives are already in complete chaos. And we sit down, and start reading a 78-year old book, and we are more confused. And then people start sharing their personal stories, and we think, “How in the hell is this helping me, and my problems?” And then the meeting ends, and well-meaning people swarm us, and give us all sorts of unsolicited advice.
And then we have to leave the meeting, and go back to our chaotic lives.
Like anything new, recovery takes trial and error, it takes practice, and it takes consistency. When I hit my personal bottom, I already had an understanding of how 12-step meetings worked, so that confusion had been eliminated. I still had serious doubt that sitting in the basement of a church for an hour a day was going to fix my life, but, then again, anything I had tried on my own had failed miserably, so I was open to suggestion.
And, for me, that open-mindedness was the key to recovery. Previously, I was very skeptical of things that did not make sense to my personal sense of logic. Why does sitting in a room with a bunch of addicts help? Why does sharing my troubles with a group of strangers free me? Why would going through 12 simple-sounding steps become a gateway to a happy, joyous and free life?
And because it didn’t make sense, I had no interest in trying it. Again, until I had run out of options. Suddenly, I was able to look at my choices, and the negative consequences of my choices, and compare them to this group of people who really did seem pretty happy. They (for the most part) had peaceful demeanors, stable jobs, happy home lives. I, on the other hand, did not.
So, whether I understood it or not, whether I agreed with it or not, I was finally willing to give it a try. Take suggestions, follow advice, and not think too hard about anything…. I just did it. The bottom line was this: I may not understand how 12-step programs work, but I have all the proof I need by observing the success stories around me. My way wasn’t working, their way was, I might as well try it.
And, lo and behold, it worked! It really does not cost anything to give it a try, and as we like to say in the rooms, give it a try, we can always refund your misery!
The first day that feels like spring is always a miracle!
Posted on April 8, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholism, God, Health, Recovery, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.