M(3), 9/22: The Payoff

I’ve had a sudden and paralyzing attack of procrastination, and it’s hindering my ability to write this post!

As it is the fourth Monday of the month, our reading selection at this morning’s meeting was the first half of the final chapter from the book Back To Basics.  The book details how newcomers to the AA program went through the 12 steps of recovery back in 1946, when the Fellowship was still in its infancy.  Today’s reading focused on steps 10 and 11:

Step 10:  Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

Step 11:  Continued to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out

Steps 10, 11 and 12 are often referred to as “maintenance steps,” actions to be done every day for the rest of our lives.  The opening of the chapter talks a great deal about the rewards and blessings that come from having completed the first 9 steps, and the psychic change that would have taken place for the alcoholics who have earnestly done the work that has advanced them to step 10:

Congratulations.  You are the ones who are in the process of experiencing the personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism.  -pg. 112, Back To Basics

As I read the chapter this morning, I wondered to myself:  have I experienced the personality change of which they speak?  This self-inquiry immediately brought me back to a moment I had the day before.   For the sake of brevity, I will generalize the moment as an unexpected confrontation.  Those who know me and/or read regularly know that I am not good with anything that smacks of confrontation, and this was pretty black and white in its nature.  How I reacted in the moment would be difficult to say, as my brain felt frozen for the entire incident (which is my typical reaction to stress, my brain always chooses the “flight” option in fight or flight).  That said, the issue only lasted a few minutes, and everyone left cordially (enough), so I suppose it safe to say I handled things passably.

The bigger issue (well, one of them, anyway) was how I internally reacted, which was:  Not Well.  By the end of the remaining time I had to spend in the environment the confrontation took place, I felt physically ill.  I drove home distracted, which bums me out, because I should have been paying closer attention to my son, who was travelling with me.  I could not shake it off entirely for the rest of the evening.

What does this have to do with today’s reading?  It occurred to me, as I considered the situation:  this was how I lived my life in active addiction.  There was always drama of some sort:  either I was angry at one person, or trying to justify my side of an argument with someone who was angry at me, or stressing out about getting caught in a lie, or stressing out about creating the next lie… you get the picture.  Every.  Day.  Of.  My.  Life.

I am so grateful I don’t have to live that way anymore.  I am so grateful that I am not filled with the anger and resentment I saw displayed yesterday.  I am so grateful I have a husband in whom I can confide, friends in the Fellowship who will listen, and friends in the blogosphere who will read, and empathize.   I am so grateful to be sober, and to have that “psychic change” which sounds entirely hokey but is, in fact, true!

Today’s Miracle:

The mental changes that recovery has brought me, and enabled me to see the miracles in even the darker situations.


Posted on September 22, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. i get those moments too. I ask if I have had that change. I guess I figure since I am not walking on water, then perhaps I am flawed and hence I am not “recovered” or such. But then when we start to look back at how we live our lives, the actions we take and what we do to stay in contentment and serenity, I think we see that we have that change. Sure resentments kick up – we’re human. But knowing that and taking action…well that’s a psychic change in my mind.

    Great post, Josie!



  2. This is so heartening to read, Josie. The drama of life when fuelled by alcohol is such hard work and it’s so gratifying to appreciate our ‘psychic change.’ Hugs. Bea x


  3. I had a similar moment this weekend, not from a confrontation so much as an uncomfortable challenge. I felt like a failure and was wholly wrapped up in my own drama on the drive home and as such, not present for my kids. It still happens, though not as often as even a year ago. I can’t compare with how I was actively drinking because such dramas felt like the norm then. I didn’t even call them dramas. The awareness of reverting back to that stings, but it is a gift. It’s a wake up call because I don’t live that way anymore and I don’t want to go back. Because it feels like a temporary setback, I don’t take it so personally. I can detach from it and usually move on. What a gift.


    • Kristen my friend, how I miss you! If we don’t plan a 5K, let’s at least plan a get together. And I totally agree with your comment, back in the day I would not have even noticed this behavior, as it would have been normal. A gift is the exact word for it, and I thank you for it!


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