Monday Meeting Miracles: 12/30
Posted by themiracleisaroundthecorner
The last meeting of 2013! Attendance was lighter than usual (8 people), but I attribute it to holiday commitments (at least, I hope so!).
Today being the 5th Monday of the month, I selected a group of readings from the book As Bill Sees It. This book is set up topically; today I selected the topic “temptation,” mainly because this time of year presents many temptations for the recovering alcoholic.
The lines that stood out for me in today’s readings were:
…any scheme of combating alcoholism which proposes wholly to shield the sick man from temptation is doomed to failure. If the alcoholic tries to shield himself he may succeed for a time, but he usually winds up with a bigger explosion than ever. We have tried these methods. These attempts to do the impossible have always failed. Release from alcohol, and not flight from it, is our answer.
~Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 101
It stood out to me because of my recent experiences, which I wrote about here. As much as I mentally prepared for the holidays, being back with the people, places and things that I associate with my active addiction had an impact on me. Temptation might be a bit stronger of a word that I would use for my personal circumstances, but it did affect me, and I was grateful to have a new set of skills with which to cope.
So for me, the words above hold true: I did not, and I do not, need to avoid alcohol, because I have been blessed with release from the obsession. Of course, that release is wholly dependent upon my maintaining my spiritual fitness, but what a blessing it is to be able to be with family and friends, eat at restaurants, shop in stores, and feel comfortable that I can remain sober!
It is hard to describe what the release feels like. Possibly the best example I can give is the thought process, so let me set the stage: a celebration attended by family and friends, all people with whom I once drank. Most of them are drinking, a few (including myself) are not, but when the thought occurs, I am noticing only the people who are drinking. So the thoughts would go something like this:
“Isn’t that drink pretty? I bet it’s delicious. Remember what that used to taste like? Remember how it used to feel? Wouldn’t it be fun to feel that way again?”
…Or something to that effect. Truthfully, the thoughts are way too fast for me to really record them properly.
In the past, the old me would have done one of three things when these thoughts arose:
- Drank, because dammit, I’m an adult and no one is going to tell me what to do
- Not drink, but be miserable for the rest of the celebration
- Not drink, but let those thoughts linger until a time arose when I could chemically alter myself in private
Here’s how the thought process ends for me now that I have been given a release from the obsession:
“The drink is pretty, but, let’s face it, you never drank for taste. It may have felt good for an extremely short period, but you ALWAYS drank past that, and the bad feelings were more intense, and lasted way longer, than any good feelings that might or might not have been produced. Finally, and most importantly, you will give up your sobriety.”
It is the last part of playing the tape through that seems most miraculous to me. Whereas I once lived by the motto, “tomorrow is a new day,” now the thought of giving up my sober time genuinely twists my stomach. I believe this shift in perspective is God-given, and I am grateful for it every day.
Another attendee had a spin on the readings that fascinated me, and has me thinking about my own choices. For her, the temptation is to remain set in restrictions she put upon herself in early sobriety, because it has been effective in keeping her sober. But she realizes now that in limiting herself, she is denying personal growth, and so she needs to push herself to reach out more to family and friends, so that she can continue her journey of self-development. It was a perspective on temptation that I never considered… the temptation to grow complacent, and I will be taking some time to consider how I have given in to that temptation. Probably more to follow on this subject as I ponder!
Everyone else had insightful things to share, from tips on refusing alcohol at parties, to dealing with the stress of family during the holidays. As always, I leave the meeting a better person than when I walked in!
The joy I feel in wishing all my friends in the blogosphere a wonderful, miraculous New Year‘s! I look forward to learning from all of you in 2014!
Posted on December 30, 2013, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged a sober perspective, AA, aa meetings, Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholism, As Bill Sees It, Drink, drinking, Miracle, one day at a time, recovering alcoholic, Recovery, Sobriety, staying sober, Substance Abuse, Temptation, Thought, today, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.